Open Letter to Ann Coulter from a Fellow Conservative


Just for some background, I’m not writing this open letter as an angry far-left wing liberal zealot. Other than a few naive years as a teen, I’ve been a staunch conservative and defender of individual liberties and an unabashed patriotic American. More recently, I’d describe myself as a conservative libertarian, at odds with the entrenched power and money-hungry leadership of the Republican party, while agreeing, for the most part, with their policies. At the moment, I can’t think of much that you and I disagree on politically speaking. If you don’t believe me, go ahead and read the posts on my blog, Dave’s Dominion, and I’m sure you’ll agree with most of what I have to say there.

Though while we agree on much of what we passionately believe in, I sometimes disagree with your tactics. This brings me to your recent use of the word “retard” in one of your tweets:

I highly approve of Romney’s decision to be kind and gentle to the retard.

I know what you’re probably thinking. Actually, I think you already commented on that today when you said “screw them” to the “word police”. Being the word police is not my intention. I fully support your and everyone else’s right to use whatever words you wish to use, even ones that are personally offensive to me. If someone were to try, by use of force or law, to prevent you from using that word, I’d be one of the first in line to defend your right to do so. I’m not a free speech denier by any means.

However, as the parent of a special needs child, your use of the word “retard” in this context is offensive to me. One of my favorite sayings is “He who is offended by nothing likely cares little about anything to be offended by in the first place.” I care deeply about this issue. Parents of special needs kids know the feeling that word evokes.

Look, no one would refer to a Down Syndrome child, someone with an actual mental handicap, by saying ‘retard.’ Where do you think the words ‘imbecile,’ ‘idiot,’ ‘moron,’ ‘cretin’ come from? These were all technical terms at one time. ‘Retard’ had been used colloquially to just mean ‘loser’ for 30 years. But no, no — these aggressive victims have to come out and tell you what words to use.

Your above statement is technically true. However, unless you’re the parent of a special needs child yourself, it’s difficult to describe the feelings and images the word “retard” dredges up. These are the feelings of knowing that your child, as much as you love them, will never measure up to other “normal” children. It’s hard for me sometimes to listen to other parents brag about how their child made the Honor Roll at school, has a genius level IQ, or whatever the astonishing accomplishment is. Those are good things and, in a way, I’m happy for them. The sadness comes in the thoughts about my child never having a “normal” life. I accept my child for how she is and love her deeply but, at the same time, I think all parents have visions when their child is still an infant of how the future will be for them and when the realization sets in that there are going to be a lot of obstacles to that future, we go through a period of real mourning. That’s not to say that we’re constantly depressed about the future and running around saying “Woe is me!” but there are certainly times of worry and mourning over what it holds for them.

With great admiration, I read another open letter to you from John Franklin Stephens, a young man with Down Syndrome.

After I saw your tweet, I realized you just wanted to belittle the President by linking him to people like me.  You assumed that people would understand and accept that being linked to someone like me is an insult and you assumed you could get away with it and still appear on TV…

Well, Ms. Coulter, you, and society, need to learn that being compared to people like me should be considered a badge of honor.

As previously stated, this letter probably does little to convey how parents of special needs kids feel about your use of the word “retard”. My hope is that you’d at least consider it as coming from something other than an attempt at being the “word police” but from someone who cares deeply about their special needs child.

Thank you,

Dave Kellogg, “Dave’s Dominion” author

A Response to Samuel L. Jackson’s “Wake the F*** Up!” Video

Count me among the majority that enjoy a good movie, especially when times are tough and I’m trying to get my mind off the depressing news of the day. It helps me unwind and centers me, so I don’t get too focused and wrapped up in what’s going on in the world of current events, politics, and the other junk that tends to clutter my mind sometimes. On the other hand, I don’t particularly care for actors and actresses in those same movies who speak out on their political views. When I see a movie, listen to music, or read a book, I don’t want to associate a particular actor’s, musician’s, or author’s political views with their work. I want to enjoy it for what it is. Yes, they obviously have the right to do so but it seems like a lot of them also seem to believe they’re privileged to knowledge from on high that the rest of us don’t have access to. Case in point, Samuel L. Jackson. Consider the below video regarding his support of Obama for President and apparent disdain for Republican candidate Mitt Romney.

In the first scene, Jackson’s initial swipe at Romney is that he’s an “out-of-touch millionaire”. Hmmm…A little class warfare right off the bat there, Mr. Jackson? This little nugget seems a little disingenuous considering Jackson likely makes far in excess of what most Americans will make in their entire life. Of course, Mr. Jackson fails to mention Romney’s generosity and that he gives far more of his income away than does Obama or Biden. Romney’s charity also does not extend only as far as the spotlight reaches. Most of his charitable giving has been away from the camera lights of the press.

Jackson then goes on to claim that Romney has declared war on schools, the environment, and “fair pay”, without giving any details, of course. He then mentions that Romney’s “against safety nets and if you fall, tough luck!” All this is fine and dandy posturing but without any specifics, there’s not much to comment on here. But it certainly makes for good talking points straight out of the Democrat playbook to make the “out-of-touch millionaire” into an evil son of Satan. Demonization…Ah, yes, the tool of the ignorant.

The next scene may be the most unbelievable of all…The claim made by the little girl is that Mitt Romney is no fan of civil rights and that he’s OK with “voter suppression”. The underlying and unspoken accusation here is that Romney is a racist. Enter the proverbial throwing down of the race card, a move reserved for those incapable of stringing together more than two brain cells at a time. In typical fashion, the term “voter suppression” isn’t specifically defined but I’m certain they’re referring to voter ID laws. Unfortunately for Mr. Jackson, most polls show that a vast majority of the public, around 70%, support voter ID, a number that crosses political and racial boundaries. In at least Indiana (considered to be the most stringent voter ID law in the country) and Georgia, voter ID has actually led to an increase among minority voters, a segment of the population that alarmists claim are being suppressed by such laws.

Another claim the young girl makes in this scene is that Romney is not worried about the poor, something that Romney has just flat-out never said nor indicated. A straight up lie by Mr. Jackson.

Mr. Jackson then makes his appearance in the scene and says that Obama sent seals to Bin Laden’s place and that Romney “sent jobs overseas”. This has been thoroughly debunked already by organizations like Consider their article on “Obama’s Outsourcer Overreach“. This is coupled with the fact that, during Obama’s presidency, he’s responsible for the largest shift in wealth from America to overseas than any administration before him.

Two scenes later, Jackson claims that, if elected, Romney and Ryan will gut Medicare. Obviously, he fails to mention that the Obama administration has already proposed its own changes to Medicare, those that would be similar to what he claims Romney wants to enact, that result in approximately the same cuts. Both campaigns have pointed out that the other is wanting to cut about $700 billion from the program. Yet again, a hypocritical claim from the Obama camp.

There are a few other accusations floated here also but I think you get the point. Don’t get me wrong…I love many of Jackson’s movies but I’m not a big fan of his politics. I’d at least respect him a bit more if he put more thought into it than simply repeating the brain dead talking points from the DNC about Romney, the “out-of-touch” millionaire.

Mr. Jackson, until you get your facts straight, instead of telling us to “Wake the F*** Up!”, maybe you should just “SHUT the F*** Up!”.

Yours truly…

The Squawkers

You know the type…They’re the folks that seemingly love to draw people into an argument, feeding off the negative reactions of those around them. They’re the self-appointed guardians of intellectual superiority, with the supernatural ability to be the judge and jury of the hopeless sinners left in their proverbial wake. I like to call them “The Squawkers”.

In my experience, there are four main types of this particular species. These four types can include all spectrums, ideologies, and political parties.

Type #1 is the race baiter. The race baiter, normally a hard-left liberal, will typically turn any argument that even remotely includes someone of any particular minority into an accusation of racism against the other party. This type doesn’t care if the target is part of the imagined slandered race or not. In their rose-colored world, anyone that dares disagree with them on race-related matters is automatically stamped with the “RACIST!” label and is summarily relegated to subhuman status. It doesn’t matter if the target is interracially married, with mixed-race children, living in an integrated neighborhood, with close friends from India, Brazil, Abu Dhabi, and the South Pole. That target is the scum of the earth. They’d have to be because, well, it’s just too much effort to find more than a couple of brain cells to put together to make up any kind of intelligent argument to prove otherwise.

Type #2 is the free speech denier. This type, like the race baiter, eventually reaches an intellectual wall, at which point the “You’re denying my freedom of speech!” card is tossed on the table. No matter how many times or different ways you explain that someone has the right to say something but that they maybe should use some self-restraint in what they say, you’re automatically slapped with the free speech denier label and intellectually shipped off to Neverland.

Type #3 is the lack o’patriotism claimer. This particular type, usually a hard-right individual politically-speaking, thinks anyone against war for any reason at all must hate their country with an unbelievable passion. Why, those folks are dope-smoking, flower-in-hair wearing, pinko-commie, pansies who ought to be living in a commune somewhere in the wilderness of Canada!

Lastly, type #4 is the hater…This is probably the most widespread type and isn’t relegated to just political issues. If you think REM sucked rocks and you’re glad they broke up yesterday, then you’re a hater…OK, I’m just kidding on that one. Anyway, this label is quite frequently used when someone disagrees with something like gay marriage, abortion, and other social issues. If you’re against gay marriage, you’re an anti-gay bigot. Think abortion should be outlawed? Well, then you must hate women and want them to die in a back-alley abortion performed by an unqualified doctor with an infected coathanger. And don’t even think about opposing universal healthcare, you hating hater who hates!

Do you get the point? It’s so easy to fall into the trap of shutting down the intellectual response in favor of the emotional. Yes, emotions play a part in almost any discussion. Many people believe passionately about certain things and I believe it should always be that way. It doesn’t bother me if someone passionately disagrees with me. I respect it when someone will argue with me, defending their point when they clearly believe in what they’re saying. It shows me they care. However, it can be taken too far as described in the four types above. These are the folks who go overboard and allow emotion to override everything else. There’s room for both logic and passion in my world.

Revisited – 9:11: A Personal Reflection


I wrote this for last year’s 9/11 anniversary and, since it’s been getting so much traffic on my blog recently, I thought I’d bring it back again this year. I can’t think of anything more appropriate anyway. This is in memory of those who perished on 9/11, almost ten years ago to the day. May God bless the families who will relive that day.

In the four years since I started blogging and only really two years blogging on a regular basis, I haven’t really even thought of putting my own words about my memories of 9/11 to paper…Or to screen, in this case.

However, earlier today on the way home, I listened as former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani was interviewed regarding his memories about what happened back in 2001. When asked about what memory was most etched in his mind from that day, he recounted the painful memories he has of being close enough to the two devastated towers to witness trapped World Trade Center workers leaping from the wreckage and flames to certain death near or over 100 stories to the pavement below. The picture you see above is of one of those desperate souls who perished that day.

On 9/11/2001, I was at work in downtown Indianapolis on the 17th floor of what is known as the “Gold Building”. There are several buildings considerably taller than the Gold Building but it stands out due to its gold-colored windows, causing it to distinguish itself from other buildings in the Indianapolis skyline. Shortly after 8:45 AM, Deb, our office manager hurriedly moved through the office saying something about an airplane striking one of the Twin Towers in New York City. I guess at the time we were certainly a little stunned but it had probably not dawned on anyone just yet that a terrorist attack was under way. We had a small, portable black-and-white television set that Deb had set up in her office as the news played, informing us of what was going on.

Honestly, after hearing about that first plane crashing into the tower, I don’t remember much detail of what we learned over the course of the next hour or two. I do remember hearing about the second plane and realizing that it was now certainly no accident and then we heard a little later on about the plane striking the Pentagon. By this time, there was little work being done as we all tried to keep track of more pressing matters.

Then we heard about another plane possibly heading towards Washington on a similar mission and, shortly thereafter, crashing in Pennsylvania. By this time, I remember feeling pretty numb, the kind of feeling you get hearing about the unexpected passing of a loved one or receiving bad news from the doctor.

Also by this time, emergency responders all across the country were preparing for the possibility of similar attacks occurring in their own localities. We were told that we could go home if we wanted. I didn’t see much point in staying since there weren’t many, if any calls coming in to our support department, so I decided to head home.

After arriving home nearly 45 minutes later, listening to the news on the radio the entire way, I planted myself in front of the TV and watched in stunned silence the news coverage of the events of the day being played on nearly every channel, including many of those that never covered the news. That’s pretty much all I did for the rest of that day. I honestly don’t even remember if I went to work that next day, which would have been a Wednesday. I think I must have but it’s mostly a blur by now.

Listening to Giuliani’s account of what he experienced that day, I wept as I thought of the despair that those people in the towers must have felt that day. I cannot even begin to fathom how hopeless that must’ve felt to be trapped on the floors above the initial devastation. I’ve found it horrifying enough to have had dreams where I was falling and the helplessness I felt from it, to say nothing of actually falling to certain doom. What must the man in the above picture have been thinking in his last few seconds alive, knowing that he would not wake up to see his family the next day? What of those who made last-second phone calls to their spouse or child, knowing that the person on the other end of the call would soon be without their husband, wife, father, or mother? What went through the minds of those responders who rushed fearlessly into the soon-to-collapse towers in the hopes of saving maybe just one more person?

One of the sights I remember from that day as I looked east out the windows of the 17th floor of the Gold Building was that of a rainbow circling the sun. I’d never seen anything like it before and perhaps my mind and/or eyes were just playing tricks on me. I don’t even know if something like that is possible but I took it as a sign that, despite the evil that had occurred that morning, much good would or could come from it. Time really did seem to stand still that day.

May God bless and heal the families of those who lost their loved ones on 9/11/2001.


Facing the Bully

Over the last few weeks, I’ve been involved in a men’s group studying the book “Wild at Heart” by John Eldredge. He relates the following story in chapter five, “The Battle for Every Man’s Heart”:

A few years ago now my middle son, Blaine, made the big transition to first grade. That’s a huge step for any child – leaving the comfort and safety of Mom’s side, spending all day at school, being among the “big kids.” But Blaine’s a very outgoing and winsome boy, a born leader, and we knew he’d handle it swimmingly. Every night at the dinner table he regaled us with tales of the day’s adventures. It was fun to recall with him the joys of those early school days – a shiny new lunchbox, brand-new yellow No. 2 pencils, a box of Crayolas with a built-in sharpener, a new desk, and new friends. We heard all about his new teacher, gym class, what they played at recess, how he was emerging as a leader in all the games. But then one night he was silent. “What’s wrong, Tiger?” I asked. He wouldn’t say, wouldn’t even look up. “What happened?” He didn’t want to talk about it. Finally, the story came out – a bully. Some first-grade poser had pushed him down on the playground in front of all his friends. Tears were streaming down his cheeks as he told us the story.

“Blaine, look at me.” He raised his tearful eyes slowly, reluctantly. There was shame written all over his face. “I want you to listen very closely to what I am about to say. The next time that bully pushes you down, here is what I want you to do – are you listening, Blaine?” He nodded, his big wet eyes fixed on mine. “I want you to get up…and I want you to hit him…as hard as you possibly can.” A look of embarrassed delight came over Blaine’s face. Then he smiled.

Good Lord – why did I give him such advice? And why was he delighted with it? Why are some of you delighted with it?, while others are appalled?

Yes, I know that Jesus told us to turn the other cheek. But we have really misused that verse. If you take one passage of Scripture and hold it up while ignoring all others, you will come to absurd conclusions. Paul said, “It is good for a man not to marry” (1 Cor. 7:1). Well then – no man should marry. Jesus said, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor…” (Matt. 19:21). Then why do you still have possessions? Do you see the foolishness of this?

If Jesus intended to teach us, “Never resist a bully,” why does he also tell his disciples, “But now if you have a purse, take it, and also a bag; and if you don’t have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one” (Luke 22:36). Buy a sword? “The disciples said, ‘See, Lord, here are two swords.’ That is enough,’ he replied” (Luke 22:36). He arms them. And that little matter of making a whip and using it to clear the temple – that doesn’t seem like turning the other cheek, now, does it?

We do not want to teach boys that bullies should never be resisted, and we do not want to teach bullies that they can get away with it! Yes, Scripture teaches the wise use of strength and the power of forgiveness. But you cannot teach a boy to use his strength by stripping him of it. Jesus was able to retaliate, believe me. But he chose not to. And yet we suggest that a boy who is mocked, shamed before his fellows, stripped of all power and dignity should stay in that beaten place because Jesus wants him there? You will emasculate him for life. From that point on all will be passive and fearful. He will grow up never knowing how to stand his ground, never knowing if he is a man indeed. Oh yes, he will be courteous, sweet even, deferential, minding all his manners. It may look moral, it may look like turning the other cheek, but it is merely weakness. You cannot turn a cheek you do not have. Our churches are full of such men.

At that moment, Blaine’s soul was hanging in the balance. Then the fire came back into his eyes and the shame disappeared. Now, I gave that advice to a boy I could trust who was at the time in first grade. I did not give this advice to a high school boy whose enemy might pull a gun on him. There is wisdom and context. But we must not strip a man of strength and call it sanctification. Yet for many, many men their souls still hang in the balance because no one, no one has ever invited them to be dangerous, to know their own strength, to discover that they have what it takes.

I guess I’d never really looked at that whole “turn the other cheek” passage in that way. I’ve never really believed that Jesus was quite the passive man that he’s often made out to be. You know, the guy in all those Biblical movies that has that meek look on his face all the time, devoid of much emotion or strength, and seemingly floating two feet off the ground and never really engaging anyone in the process. On the other hand, I probably never really pictured him as the angry, driven man who chased the moneychangers out of the temple, either. Regardless, Eldredge makes a great point here.

I’d put it another way…God doesn’t want me, as a Godly man, to be a limp dishrag. Yes, there are times when I should keep my calm, turn the other cheek, etc., following the example of Jesus. However, there’s another part of me that needs to passionately engage, to fight strongly for what I believe in.

One of my favorite sayings is “If you’re offended by nothing, you likely don’t care enough about something to begin with.” Point being, there SHOULD be things that we get riled up about and offended by. Should we be offended by everything? Obviously not, but I think Christians have, for too long, fallen into the trap of thinking that we need to just be nice, fall into line, and keep the peace for the sake of our testimony when there are times, in my opinion, that we need to stand up and fight with the kind of passion that Jesus had when he drove those crooks out of the temple.


I’ve been struggling with coming up with anything to write here recently or even just being inspired to write SOMETHING, for that matter. Thinking about that, the following song came to mind, my favorite song by one of my favorite bands, Dream Theater.

Other than the obvious topic about trying to put down thoughts to paper, I find some significant truths in the lyrics that the writer may not have intended. For instance, part of the lyrics say “So I wither and render myself helpless. I give in and everything is clear”. As a believer in Christ, that’s a great way t o state a truth fundamental that I need to follow more closely in my own life, which is that I never really find what I’m looking for in Jesus until I “Wither” to myself and allow His spirit to make everything clear to me. That isn’t a withering that makes me someone who I’m not but, conversely, who God had created me to be in the first place, the real me.

Do yourself a favor and check out this great song…

Let it out, let it out
Fill the empty space
So insecure
Find the words
And let it out

Staring down, staring down
Nothing comes to mind
Find the place
Turn the water into wine

But I feel I’m getting nowhere
And I’ll never see the end

So I wither
And render myself helpless
I give in
And everything is clear
I break down
And let the story guide me

Turn it on, turn it on
Let the feelings flow
Close your eyes
And see the ones you used to know

Open up, open up
Don’t struggle to relate
Lure it out
Help the memory escape

Still this barrenness consumes me
And I feel like giving up

So I wither
And render myself helpless
I give in
And everything is clear
I break down
And let the story guide me
I wither
And give myself away

Like reflections on the page
The world’s what you create

I drown in hesitation
My words come crashing down
And all my best creations
Burn into the ground
The thought of starting over
Leaves me paralyzed

Tear it out again
Another one that got away

I wither
And render myself helpless
I give in
And everything is clear

I wither
And render myself helpless
I give in
And everything is clear
I break down
And let the story guide me
I wither
And give myself away

Like reflections on the page
The world’s what you create

What’s the Message Behind “The Message”

While I was teaching a class on Galatians, I began to realize that the adults in my class weren’t feeling the vitality and directness that I sensed as I read and studied the New Testament in its original Greek. Writing straight from the original text, I began to attempt to bring into English the rhythms and idioms of the original language. I knew that the early readers of the New Testament were captured and engaged by these writings and I wanted my congregation to be impacted in the same way. I hoped to bring the New Testament to life for two different types of people: those who hadn’t read the Bible because it seemed too distant and irrelevant and those who had read the Bible so much that it had become ‘old hat.’

My SAS (Short Attention Span) personality forced me to take a break from writing a follow-up to my previous article about Rob Bell’s new book “Love Wins” when I started thinking more about a topic I’ve delved into in my spare time recently. The above comment is from “The Message” author and pastor Eugene Peterson. Regardless of the fact that there are a plethora of Bible translations available in readily understandable, modern English, I still have to question some of Peterson’s work in this particular Bible version.

Author and Pastor Eugene Peterson

My main problem with this translation is his use, overt in at least two different instances and likely a third, of occultic terms and phrases. The first example of this can be found in his rendering of “The Lord’s Prayer” as it’s found in the Gospel of Matthew. From the NIV:

“This, then, is how you should pray: “‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.’
(Mat 6:9-13)

Now here is Peterson’s version:

With a God like this loving you, you can pray very simply. Like this: Our Father in heaven, Reveal who you are. Set the world right; Do what’s best– as above, so below. Keep us alive with three square meals. Keep us forgiven with you and forgiving others. Keep us safe from ourselves and the Devil. You’re in charge! You can do anything you want! You’re ablaze in beauty! Yes. Yes. Yes.
(Mat 6:9-13)

There are several problems with Peterson’s translation of this passage, in my opinion, but I’d like to focus on the text in bold. Instead of the phrase that we are so used to in the English language, “on earth as it is in heaven”, Peterson instead mysteriously uses the phrase “as above, so below”. This phrase is heavily tied to the doctrine, or belief, of Theosophy. The phrase actually originates from the beginning of The Emerald Tablet. This tablet is a text that claims to reveal the “secret of the primordial substance and its transmutations” and is claimed to be authored by Hermes Trismegistus, a combination of the Greek god Hermes and the Egyptian god Thoth.

In the Gnostic Society Library, the phrase is described as follows:

“As above, so below” — a “great word,” a sacramental phrase, a saying of wisdom, an aphorism, a mystic formula, a fundamental law – or a two-edged sword of word-fence, that will probably do the wielder serious damage if he is not previously put through careful training in its handling?

Whether this famous “word” is of Hermetic origin or no, we will not stay formally to enquire. In essence it is probably as old as human thought itself. And as probably, the idea lying underneath it has been turned topsy-turvy more frequently than any other of the immortal company.

“As above, so below” doubtless enshrines some vast idea of analogical law, some basis of true reason, which would sum up the manifold appearances of things into one single verity; but the understanding of the nature of this mystery of manifoldness from the one – all one and one in all—is not to be attained by careless thinking, or by some lucky guess, or by the pastime of artificial correspondencing. Indeed, if the truth must out, in ninety-nine cases of a hundred, when one uses this phrase to clinch an argument, we find that we have begged the question from the start, ended where we began, and asserted the opposite of our logion. Instead of illumining, not only the subject we have in hand, but all subjects, by a grasp of the eternal verity concealed within our saying, we have reversed it into the ephemeral and false proposition: “As below, so above,” Deus, verily, inversus est demon; and there’s the devil to pay. But fortunately there is some compensation even in this in an illogical age; for, as all the mystic world knows, Demon is nothing else but deus inversus.

I’ve heard it said that Peterson could have just accidentally translated the phrase this way, not intending it to be the occult phrase described by the above quotes. If this was the lone instance of such a phrase, I could possibly see that. However, due to other similar problems with the text of “The Message”, I seriously doubt it.

The next conspicuous use of occult terminology in “The Message” is Peterson’s use of the term “Life-Light” in place of the simple term “light” in some passages. For example, the NIV renders John 1:5 as follows…

The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.

…while Peterson’s “The Message” says the following…

The Life-Light blazed out of the darkness; the darkness couldn’t put it out.

The Greek word “phos” is what is rightly translated into “light” in our English Bible. Where Peterson gets “Life-Light” out of this word is beyond me. There are two more places (verses 7 and 9) in this first chapter of the Gospel of John where Peterson uses this term in place of the correct interpretation. Nowhere else in his translation does the term appear as far as I can tell.

Now consider what famous occultist and Theosophist Alice Bailey wrote in her book “The Destiny of the Nations“:

During the 2000 years Pisces has seen the spreading of the light. Aquarius will see the rising of the light, with Christ as the eternal symbol of both these great impulses. Humanity will move from the birth stages of the light within to the lifting of the life light in sacrifice, as we become the Risen Ones.

Lastly, I’d like to consider perhaps the strangest phrase of all in “The Message”. In Romans 15:13, Peterson writes:

Oh! May the God of green hope fill you up with joy, fill you up with peace, so that your believing lives, filled with the life-giving energy of the Holy Spirit, will brim over with hope!

The NIV translates this passage in the following manner:

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

I won’t delve into the original Greek of this New Testament passage here but, according to my use of Strong’s Concordance, the word for “green” appears nowhere in the text from which it was translated. Where it does appear is in pre-Christian Roman pagan religions:

Some scholars believe Bacchus or Dionysus to be the Green Man of the Greco-Roman period. Known widely as a god of ecstasy and divine rapture, he was also the god of vegetation.

A simple Google search on the phrase “Dionysus green man” yields tons of references to this ancient pagan legend, including some rather eye-opening information on “The Pagan’s Path“.

Lastly, I’ve heard the argument that “The Message” is not truly a translation but only a paraphrase. Reading the text of it, I would also likely come to that conclusion. However, Peterson, in his own words, says that is not the case. Consider the video below. At around the 17:45 mark, Peterson talks about how he didn’t want to go the route of a paraphrase because he didn’t want to do interpretation or explanation.

In summary and in my opinion, just the three examples I cited above make Eugene Peterson’s translation, “The Message”, a dangerous piece of work and something I wouldn’t recommend for anyone’s use as their main Bible translation. Did Peterson intentionally set out to produce a translation that was not only inaccurate but subtly or in some cases, blatantly occultic? I doubt it but, in the end, I’m not sure that it really matters.

Love Wins…But What About the Gospel? (Part 1)

Author & Pastor Rob Bell

God loves us. God offers us everlasting life by grace, freely, through no merit on our part. Unless you do not respond the right way. Then God will torture you forever. In hell. Huh?

This quote on the back of Rob Bell’s new book “Love Wins” sets the proverbial stage for what’s contained within its two hundred or so pages. Over the course of those same pages, Bell questions over and over again some of the essential doctrines that most Bible-believing Christians have believed for nearly two thousand years.

Admittedly, I’m not a charter member of the Rob Bell fan club (or its president, for that matter), so I wasn’t exactly clamoring to scoop up his new book when it hit the shelves. However, after reading on some of the controversy and getting involved in it to a degree, I thought perhaps I would spend some time in reading the book.

Now, I’m not one of those who advocates that in order to have an opinion on a controversial book, that you have to have read the thing in its entirety. In all honesty, there’s already been a plethora of articles written on this particular subject and many of them have been informative, well-written, and done in such a way as to be constructively critical while pointing out error. However, the others are nothing more than poorly-written hit pieces meant to do nothing more than injure the individual who happens to be the focal point, Rob Bell in this case. That’s not the intention here. The intention is, as others have attempted to do, to offer a counterbalance to Bell’s side of the story and warn against false teaching in the church. I’m sure Bell has some good things to say but his readers need to be aware that treading on thin theological ground can and does have major implications elsewhere.

That being said, this piece isn’t intended to be an in-depth theological treatise on the finer points of substitutionary atonement (sorry…had to throw in a couple of big spiritual words for effect) or fiduciary symbolism (two words that I thought just sounded really good but mean absolutely nothing together…). In other words, and all kidding aside, I’m not a theological expert, I’ve never gone to seminary, and I haven’t stayed at a Holiday Inn Express recently. OK, so I reneged on the kidding part…

In the preface to Bell’s book, he states the following about God’s love…

This love compels us to question some of the dominant stories that are being told as the Jesus story. A staggering number of people have been taught that a select few Christians will spend forever in a peaceful, joyous place called heaven, while the rest of humanity spends forever in torment and punishment in hell with no chance for anything better. It’s been clearly communicated to many that this belief is a central truth of the Christian faith and to reject it is, in essence, to reject Jesus. This is misguided and toxic and ultimately subverts the contagious spread of Jesus’s message of love, peace, forgiveness, and joy that our world desperately needs to hear.” (preface, page VIII)

I would argue that, on the contrary, a true understanding of hell and exactly what Jesus’ sacrificial death on the cross has really saved us from could be an essential ingredient to the salvation of many lost souls. Now, I’m no big proponent of the fire and brimstone approach to preaching to the lost but neither do I think it’s wise to avoid the topic altogether. It’s not something that I would throw in the face of a prospective convert just to twist the knife of guilt a little further or plant some kind of unnecessary fear within someone. As a good friend told me recently, just using a calm, matter-of-fact, humble tone with someone while breaching this topic may be the right approach.

Bell does go on to make a good point and one that should be heard by the entire Christian community:

Some communities don’t permit open, honest inquiry about the things that matter most. Lots of people have voiced a concern, expressed a doubt, or raised a question, only to be told by their family, church, friends, or tribe: “We don’t discuss those things here.” (preface, page X).

This is one of the things I find most troubling with some of my brothers and sisters in Christ. Honestly, there are a good number of unbelievers who ask hard questions, not intending to actually get or even listen to an answer, but to prod, provoke, and pretend that they are only honestly searching. Those aren’t the folks I’m talking about here. I’m talking about the ones who are honestly searching for and struggling with questions of faith and belief. After all, many if not most of the heroes of our faith struggled mightily in following our God. On this point, Bell makes another good argument, pointing out that Abraham, for instance, bargained with God and that Job and his friends argue about the “deepest questions of human suffering” and that “God is practically on trial” in the book of Lamentations. Our God isn’t afraid of us questioning him, nor is it sinful for us to do so as long as our hearts are in the right place. Anyway, much applause for Bell on this point.

Bell closes the preface by saying:

There is no question that Jesus cannot handle, no discussion too volatile, no issue too dangerous. At the same time, some issues aren’t as big as people have made them. Much blood has been spilled in church splits, heresy trials, and raging debates over issues that are, in the end, not that essential. (preface, page X)

That some Christians in the past have abused and misused the Bible’s calling to defend the faith (Jude 1:3) is no reason to entertain theological error. The writers of the New Testament often exhort their readers to not only watch for false teachers but to have nothing to do with them (2nd Thessalonians 3:14). But let’s also not forget that the very next verse, in this case, also says to not regard those folks as enemies but warn them like a brother. That’s the purpose of this article, and this entire blog for that matter.

All Aboard!

It’s religion, not in our selfish attempt at obtaining salvation, but religion in humble reverence to a loving God that is keeping us from being polluted by the world. That’s why we worship Him in song, in the word, and in service on a weekly basis. That’s why we serve Him in deed throughout the week, at our jobs and in our homes and wherever it is that God would lead us.

I often think about this subject. That is, how many in our society, including Christians, view religion in a negative manner as displayed in the above photo. As I wrote in a previous post, I understand the mentality. Our culture is, unfortunately, replete with numerous examples of man’s attempt at justifying himself and doing things for his own glorification rather than God’s. That’s the kind of religion that Christians are talking about when they speak of the word “religion” in a negative manner.

Where I have a problem with this whole line of thinking is that I don’t think many Christians completely understand what they’re saying. They’ve hopped on the bandwagon because, as I previously posted, it’s the “in” thing to do in Christian circles, i.e. it’s become kosher.

Where I’m coming from is simply this…Most folks that we come into contact with on a daily basis don’t attend church regularly. Even though we rightly say “It’s not about religion, it’s about a relationship”, they may not understand our participation in the whole religion bashing thing. I’ve actually run across non-Christians who sort of wonder about that whole attitude that many believers have and it kind of makes them do a double-take or make that trademark Tim Allen grunting noise. Those are the folks I try to think about before I start to participate in the whole “religion is bad” discussion.

The picture of religion I try to keep in my mind is the picture that Jesus himself painted for us in the scriptures. Religion is someone who volunteers to mow the yard of a neighbor who can’t do it for themselves. Religion is providing a safe place for a friend of your child to visit who may not have such a welcoming home to return to. Religion is saying a kind word to a worker at a store who may have dealt with rude customers all day. Religion is being there for a friend or family member who just lost their spouse or child even if you have no earthly clue what to say to them. These things are what Jesus meant when he talked about “pure and faultless” religion (James 1:27).


You’ve heard that elections have consequences, right? Well, is there some unnamed contaminant in the water in the Midwest that causes some politicians to temporarily (or otherwise) lose their ability to do the work they were elected to do? Is there something in the makeup of a Midwestern elected official that blocks the signals between the neurons in their brain from being able to travel from one cell to the next when they think about maybe showing up for work? These are the questions that plague those of us who actually value showing up for work and doing what we’ve been hired to do.

I can certainly understand being opposed to certain legislation and not wanting to vote on it, even it if it is heavily favored by the vast majority of those voting. However, what I can’t understand is purposely abdicating the responsibility to voice my opinion in the form of a vote when that is what I was elected to do in the first place. This is what rubs people the wrong way about this whole situation, regardless of party affiliation.

Part of the consequences of being in the minority when you’re in office is that there may not  be much you can do to stop legislation that you do not agree with. If that’s the case, the responsibility of being in the minority is that you either do what you can do, within the realms of the law, to stop the legislation by whatever means are available to you, i.e. by filibusters and other procedural tactics. Instead, these scofflaws from Wisconsin and Indiana just decided to skip town. No votes. No serious debates in their respective legislatures. Just a packed suitcase, a full tank of gas, and a friendly governor in a neighboring state who’s not willing to enforce the law and jettison your illegal rear end back to whence you came.

I know…You’re probably saying to yourself, “You’re an anti-union neocon!” Well, honestly, I’m not a huge supporter of unions. I do think they’re largely unneeded but I also think there are places and situations where they are not only acceptable but probably completely necessary. I’ve been a union member before and, if the appropriate situation presents itself, I may be a union member in the future. Though unlikely, it’s not out of the realm of possibility for me. Regardless, this particular issue really has nothing to do with being pro or anti-union, Republican, Democrat, or whatever the particular stripe. This has to do with one thing…The rule of law and showing up to do what you’ve been called to do. Plain and simple.