Henry:  Get somebody else.
Undertaker:  Nobody else will drive it! So here.
Chris:   Oh, hell! If that´s all that´s holding things up, l´ll drive the rig.

The Magnificent Seven 1960

One of the most often asked questions has been why does God allow bad things to happen? Why does he allow evil things and evil people to exist?

There are many theories the most common one & reasonable one being that bad thing also bring out virtue as people rise to the occasion but there a much better answer comes from today’s Mass readings the first of which many of our protestant friends might have missed as it comes from the Book of Wisdom, which they removed when breaking away:

Before the LORD the whole universe is as a grain from a balance
or a drop of morning dew come down upon the earth.
But you have mercy on all, because you can do all things;
and you overlook people’s sins that they may repent.
For you love all things that are
and loathe nothing that you have made;
for what you hated, you would not have fashioned.
And how could a thing remain, unless you willed it;
or be preserved, had it not been called forth by you?
But you spare all things, because they are yours,
O LORD and lover of souls,
for your imperishable spirit is in all things!
Therefore you rebuke offenders little by little,
warn them and remind them of the sins they are committing,
that they may abandon their wickedness and believe in you, O LORD!

Wisdom 11:22-12:2

One of the basic tenets of Christianity is God’s love of his creation, or as it is often described: Loving the sinner but not the sin.  In this passage it talks of God moving slowly not by force but “warning”, and “reminding” the of sin, never excusing it, but always trying to help the sinner change direction.

The second reading of the week from 2 Thessalonians is a perfect complement to it

Brothers and sisters:
We always pray for you,
that our God may make you worthy of his calling
and powerfully bring to fulfillment every good purpose
and every effort of faith,
that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you,
and you in him,
in accord with the grace of our God and Lord Jesus Christ. 

We ask you, brothers and sisters,
with regard to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ
and our assembling with him,
not to be shaken out of your minds suddenly, or to be alarmed
either by a "spirit," or by an oral statement,
or by a letter allegedly from us
to the effect that the day of the Lord is at hand.

2 Thes 1:11-2:2

Consider the first half of the passage, it’s all about praying for people with the goal of bringing people to be brought to the ways of the lord.  Emphasizing again the grace of God.

Then see the 2nd half warning against people trying to create a drastic fear to try and force a conversion, an excellent answer to every single doomsday cult that has come up over the centuries who have either conned people out of their possessions or even worse tricked them into thinking they have a faith they do not and then when reality strikes destroying it.

And finally we have this week’s Gospel from Luke that completes the package:

At that time, Jesus came to Jericho and intended to pass through the town.
Now a man there named Zacchaeus,
who was a chief tax collector and also a wealthy man,
was seeking to see who Jesus was;
but he could not see him because of the crowd,
for he was short in stature.
So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore tree in order to see Jesus,
who was about to pass that way.
When he reached the place, Jesus looked up and said,
“Zacchaeus, come down quickly,
for today I must stay at your house.”
And he came down quickly and received him with joy.
When they all saw this, they began to grumble, saying,
“He has gone to stay at the house of a sinner.”
But Zacchaeus stood there and said to the Lord,
“Behold, half of my possessions, Lord, I shall give to the poor,
and if I have extorted anything from anyone
I shall repay it four times over.”
And Jesus said to him,
“Today salvation has come to this house
because this man too is a descendant of Abraham.
For the Son of Man has come to seek
and to save what was lost.”

Luke 19:1-10

We have Christ not only defying convention and expectation by dining with a well known sinner but reminding the self-righteous what his entire mission is.

Think about it.  What would have happened if God had, as he was sinning and extorting simply decided, forget it, he’s not worth my salvation, or the time and effort to bring him around?

But also  consider Zacchaeus.  He wasn’t seeking redemption, he wasn’t seeking conversion, he went to see Christ out of sheer curiosity and I suspect nobody was more surprised at his conversion than he was.

And as Kristen Powers informs us, that surprise is still going on to this day:

I tried to write off the experience as misfiring synapses, but I couldn’t shake it. When I returned to New York a few days later, I was lost. I suddenly felt God everywhere and it was terrifying. More important, it was unwelcome. It felt like an invasion. I started to fear I was going crazy.

I didn’t know what to do, so I spoke with writer Eric Metaxas, whom I had met through my boyfriend and who had talked with me quite a bit about God. “You need to be in a Bible study,” he said. “And Kathy Keller’s Bible study is the one you need to be in.” I didn’t like the sound of that, but I was desperate. My whole world was imploding. How was I going to tell my family or friends about what had happened? Nobody would understand. I didn’t understand. (It says a lot about the family in which I grew up that one of my most pressing concerns was that Christians would try to turn me into a Republican.)

I remember walking into the Bible study. I had a knot in my stomach. In my mind, only weirdoes and zealots went to Bible studies. I don’t remember what was said that day. All I know is that when I left, everything had changed. I’ll never forget standing outside that apartment on the Upper East Side and saying to myself, “It’s true. It’s completely true.” The world looked entirely different, like a veil had been lifted off it. I had not an iota of doubt. I was filled with indescribable joy.

God doesn’t throw people away he finds the of value and will spend till their very last minute of their lives to call them.

And he doesn’t ask their voter registration when he does it.

I had some problems with my data card and only today have been able to recover the photos from my trip to Fenway on Wednesday so we will put off my review of Nightmare in Silver till next week to give you to close our Baseball season some photos of Boston, Fenway and the most loyal of fans.

Red Line to Green Line to Fenway.
fenway real 001

There were alternatives to my $12 subway trip, VERY expensive:

fenway real 007

But on the cheep or full price it’s still an iconic park

fenway real 011

An iconic sign

fenway real 019

Iconic Statues

fenway real 015

And now Iconic beards

fenway real 018

But the real icons of Boston, are not the media under the lights…

fenway real 028

…Or covering happenings at the park

fenway real 024

The Kenmore Subway:

fenway real 029

Or the even the police that are there to protect

fenway real 027

the Icons are the fans

fenway real 022

Who stood and camped in line to see their Sox and was rewarded with victory

fenway real 021

But I couldn’t stay for the game, after all it was a no scalp zone.

fenway real 023

and without that fedora the scalp is all I have although the beard certainly fits in.

One of the things I have said over and over is that conservatism is not a tough sell if you are willing to make the case.

Several weeks ago I was a guest on the show Your Right to Know talking about selling conservatism. You can see the 30 minute show here.

A key quote was when I was asked how to persuade the young away from liberalism:

You say ‘did this work for you? Do you have a job. Do you have this college debt, has it given you anything? Has this gender studies major that you paid $50,000 in debt to get is it going to feed you?

Conservatism is a reality based philosophy that’s our advantage, it has real world applications & results and we should act accordingly

Trust me I’m the Doctor

Doctor Who The Eleventh Hour 2010

Trust me, like it says on the money

Oh God 1975

A while back Instapundit had a piece in USA today about the loss of trust in government:

One of the underpinnings of successful representative government is that voters feel they can trust their representatives, and those in the bureaucracy to whom power is delegated, to follow the law. That trust in government officials’ willingness to follow the law is the foundation for a sense that the law is legitimate, so that citizens feel a duty to follow the law as well.

One of the things people don’t understand about America is why it became what it was.  To be sure there are many factors that drove immigration but one of the huge factors that continued and still continues to drive people to leave their homes and come here even when the frontier was closed was the concept of rule of law.

It didn’t matter what the police said, it didn’t matter what the local don said you had a shot and that shot didn’t depend on currying favor with the local powers that be, you could do what you want, say what you want and think what you want.  As Dinesh D’Souza put it:

America has achieved greater social equality than any other society.: True, there are large inequalities of income and wealth in America. In purely economic terms, Europe is more egalitarian. But Americans are socially more equal than any other people, and this is unaffected by economic disparities. Tocqueville noticed this egalitarianism a century and a half ago, but it is if anything more prevalent today. For all his riches, Bill Gates could not approach the typical American and say, “Here’s a $100 bill. I’ll give it to you if you kiss my feet.” Most likely the person would tell Gates to go to hell! The American view is that the rich guy may have more money, but he isn’t in any fundamental sense better than anyone else.

Additionally there was regard of truth. The concept that a man’s word was his bond meant something, and if you were lying or dishonest that meant something too, there is an interesting scene in Tip O’Neill’s autobiography about a problem with Mike Kirwan subchair of the Subcommittee on Public Works of the Appropriations Committee:

At one point during the building of the Cape Cod National Seashore, Mike cut three million dollars from our project, although he had promised me personally that he would heave it in.  I called him on the telephone:

“Mike, you knocked out three million from Cape Cod!”

“You’re damn right I did”, he said, “It’s a waste of money and we’ve got better things to do.”

“Hold on Mike.  We were having dinner at Paul Young’s and you gave me your word that you’d put that money back in.”

“Well, you’re a nice son of a bitch, taking advantage of me when I was half-stewed.  But if that’s really what I said, I’ll put it back in.”

And he did.

One might question the wisdom of that spending of public money but it was a given that once a word was given that’s the way it was.

And THAT’s why the culture wars matter.

Under the old Judeo Christian culture, honor and honesty means something (Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor) but once you decide to reject those quaint ideas of honoring fathers and mothers, not committing adultery and not bearing false witness then it becomes pretty easy for you to go from Debbie Wasserman Schultz claiming the president was not lying to true believers saying it doesn’t matter if he did:

When you reject those kind of cultural rules then it becomes a cinch to defend dishonesty when it suits your belief.

And when you toss the basic ideas of truth then unethical behavior in government becomes a simple bridge to cross

The Internal Revenue Service shared highly confidential tax information of several Tea Party groups in the IRS scandal with the Federal Election Commission, a clear violation of federal law, according to newly obtained emails.

and after that checking on Journalists private info, that’s nothing.

This type of behavior is destructive to a free state, Glenn again:

And that’s the problem. Enough breaches of trust — and I haven’t even started to hit all the scandals out there, by a long shot — and ordinary people will start to assume that the whole system is corrupt. And if that happens, people will quit following the law because they think it’s the right thing to do, and only do so to the extent they’re afraid of getting caught.

I’m actually afraid of much worse:

people are going to start concluding this:

The government of The United States is not legitimate.

Act accordingly.

That’s all he can stands, he can’t stands no more!

If enough people start thinking that in our well armed society, bad things happen. I really don’t think the left sees this danger or if they do perhaps they have decided that an armed paramilitary IRS etc is the way to solve it.

But no matter how you look at it, the root cause, the linchpin that makes all of these things possible is the abandonment of the cultural values of honor & honesty.

Until or unless those vales are advanced by our society we have absolutely no business being surprised by anything like this, I’ll give the last word to president John Adams:

Because we have no government, armed with power, capable of contending with human passions, unbridled by morality and religion. Avarice, ambition, revenge and licentiousness would break the strongest cords of our Constitution, as a whale goes through a net. Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other. Oaths in this country are as yet universally considered as sacred obligations. That which you have taken, and so solemnly repeated on that venerable ground, is an ample pledge of your sincerity and devotion to your country and its government.

The best and brightest come here because they believe America will give them a fair shake, if our government becomes just another 3rd world nation, why should they bother?

************************************************

Olimometer 2.52

It’s a new week and a new month and like the proverbial closer who has just come off a save a new game has begun and last week’s and last months numbers are off the board.

Big things are happening at this site in a week, which will involve Magnificent things but until then the goal is the same, 15 tip jar hitters kicking in $20 to get me to a full $305 weekly paycheck.

It can only happen with your help, so please consider kicking into DaTipjar below.

If we can get $44 in the pot I’ll be on course for a full paycheck this week. Of course next week I’ll need $49 on Sunday. After all I’m going to have to cover Chris too.