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Friday, May 30, 2014

A Peaceful but Determined Revolution

One of the many battles Americans must fight to preserve our Constitution and the  freedom to enjoy the rights guaranteed by it.  We are in the midst of a Second American Revolution against the tyranny of government − our own.  
A Contribution by Adam Brandon 2 days ago on Freedom Works            
The IRS will now delay new regulations that would have stifled your free speech rights.
After months of deliberations, the IRS plans to go back to square one and start over on their anti-political speech regulations. Due to the incredible volume of comments grassroots activists across the country submitted, the bureaucrats at the tax agency were forced to halt their plans. They had no choice but to listen to the voice of the people.
If the regulations passed, the IRS would have suppressed the free speech rights of millions of citizens across the country. Make no mistake: this was a deliberate effort to silence the views of ordinary Americans who want to petition their government.
Luckily, activists wouldn't stand for this radical power grab and sent over 150,000 messages to the IRS protesting the new rules - a record amount.
But the IRS’s new rules aren’t defeated yet. The bureaucrats will go back to work, trying to undermine the Constitution and Bill of Rights. As citizens, it is our job to be ever-vigilant of the government’s efforts to crush our freedom.

My Comment: Americans who love their freedoms must join this revolution using means that do not necessitate a shot to be heard around the world; means like those 150,000 who protested unjust rules and had the courage to do so.  It's not over.  More must be done by you and by me!

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

“Though none go with me, still I will follow”

“Though none go with me, still I will follow” 

The above is the title of a DVD I received through my membership in Netflix some months ago. The movie was quite inspiring and heartwarming (and I recommend viewing it) but I could not fully understand the meaning of the title until I searched the internet through Google and found the following story which explains the title. I have copied it verbatim and is in brackets [ ]; unfortunately I have not found the original source of the story on the internet:

[These words are taken from the hymn titled “I Have Decided to Follow Jesus.” But, actually, the words came out of the mouth of the martyr who lived in India many years ago.

More than 150 years ago in a pagan village known for headhunting in northeast India, a family became followers of the Lord Jesus Christ under the ministry of a Welsh missionary. When the village chief had heard about this family’s conversion to Christianity, he asked the father of the home to recant his faith in Christ.

With boldness, however, the Christian father responded, “I have decided to follow Jesus.” To force him to forsake Christ, a decree was made to kill his wife and two children. But, by God’s grace, the man proclaimed, “Though no one joins me, still I will follow.”

The persecutors murdered his wife, but he remained faithful to his Lord and Savior. Finally, they killed him, but even his death did not shake his faith. In fact, during his execution, the persecutors found him saying, “The cross before me, the world behind me.” Deeply touched by this man’s life, the chief announced, “I too belong to Jesus Christ!” Eventually, the whole pagan village was converted to Christianity.]

The hymn lyrics and melody, taken from Utube, are attributed to the Indian missionary Sadhu Sundar Sing and follow below:

I have decided to follow Jesus,
I have decided to follow Jesus,
I have decided to follow Jesus–
no turning back, no turning back.

The world behind me, the cross before me,
the world behind me, the cross before me,
the world behind me, the cross before me–
no turning back, no turning back.

Though none go with me, I still will follow,
though none go with me, I still will follow,
though none go with me, I still will follow,
no turning back, no turning back.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Heretofore Unverified Statistics Have Mislead the American People

The following is an interview of a best-selling author Shaunti Feldhahn who provides genuine statistics on the divorce rate in the United States through her new book,  The Good News About Marriage; the shocking outcome of these statistics reveals that  problems with marriage and the divorce rate are substantially less than is constantly reported by the major media which seems interested only in discouraging the American people by reporting myths concerning the foundation of American society − the American Family.  Fortunately we have a dedicated woman who is not afraid to research one of the most oft falsely reported and critical issues of our time.
Author Debunks Myths About Divorce Rates, Including of Churchgoers
May 16, 2014|9:05 am

Many of the most demoralizing beliefs about marriage, especially when it comes to discouraging statistics commonly passed around, are just not true, says social researcher and best-selling author Shaunti Feldhahn.

"A subconscious sense of futility about marriage is everywhere, as everything we hear says marriage is 'in trouble,'" states Feldhahn. "And while some of the bad news is accurate (for example, 41% of children are born out of wedlock), many of the most demoralizing beliefs just aren't true. For example, the notion that half of all marriages end in divorce or that the divorce rate is the same in the church… neither are anywhere close to true."
The Christian Post recently conducted an interview with Feldhahn, whose recently released, The Good News About Marriage, is the result of an 8-year investigative study that she believes reveals the truth about the state of marriage and divorce in today's culture and churches. Below is the interview.
CP: What compelled you to do this study?
Feldhahn: I started learning just how much of our discouraging conventional wisdom about marriage and divorce was wrong – and how much it was killing marriages. In all my own research with individuals and couples for my books like For Women Only I kept seeing that whether or not a couple "made it through" a tough time was directly tied to whether they had a sense of hope or a sense of futility. If someone thought, "We're going to make it," it was a completely different situation than once they started to think, "This is never going to get better." 

So the sense of futility was killing marriages – and yet, I noticed, we have a culture-wide feeling of futility about marriage.   Everyone thinks of marriage as being "in trouble."  Everyone just knows that "fifty percent of marriages have ended in divorce." Everyone just knows that "the rate of divorce is the same in the church as it is outside the church."   Everyone who has ever been divorced just knows that "60 percent of second marriages don't make it."
And yet I started coming across all this data that seemed to completely contradict this conventional wisdom. Like that according to 2009 Census Bureau numbers, 72% of people are still married to their first spouse – and the 28% who aren't, includes people who were married for years until a spouse died!
When I would share some of those numbers with people, the reactions were sometimes dramatic. Standing in front of me, I saw the difference between being defeated and feeling hopeful. People were grasping the good news like a life-preserver! I felt like this study had to be done.
It started pretty casually, but it became a drive for me and Tally Whitehead, my senior researcher, to understand and dig out any good news that was there. And to get enough clarity to publish The Good News About Marriage, it ended up taking eight years!
CP: What was some of the most important good news that you learned?
Feldhahn: The most important big-picture truth: contrary to popular opinion, most marriages are strong and happy for a lifetime. That doesn't mean most marriages are perfect; there are still plenty of legitimate concerns out there. But for our culture as a whole, the marriages that are unhappy, the ones that don't make it, are the exception rather than the rule.
To prove that, we debunk five different discouraging pieces of conventional wisdom about marriage in the book. Let me just mention two here.
First, is the idea that, half of all marriages are ending in divorce. While some high risks groups (like those married as teenagers) may have a 50% divorce rate, we've never come close as an overall average. After looking at dozens of studies, I believe one of the most meaningful statistics is the one I mentioned earlier: 72% of people are still married to their first spouse.
Now, that is only an overall average at one point in time, and the real question is what the numbers are for people who have had many years of chances to get divorced. And that is where I was really astonished. The highest-risk age group today is baby boomers, and many of that group have had thirty years of chances to get divorced.  And among those who have only been married once, even seven in ten baby boomers are still married to their first spouse!  Among those on their second and third marriages, the divorce numbers in that group are higher, but still: overall, this is good news!
Another very important finding was that the rate of divorce is not the same in the church. That is a misunderstanding of Barna Group data – because Barna was not trying to study divorce "in the church." They were studying beliefs, so those who said they held Christian beliefs had the same divorce rate as those who said they didn't. But since Barna wasn't studying actions, the researchers didn't include worship attendance in the analysis.
So I partnered with Barna and we re-ran the numbers: and if the person was in church the prior week, their divorce rate dropped 27% compared to those who weren't! Many studies have found that church attendance drops the divorce rate 25-50% compared to those who don't attend. It also increases happiness in marriage and has several other dramatic life and marriage outcomes that we cover in the book.
CP: When couples and pastors discover the "true state of marriage and divorce" how do they first react and how do they move forward with this information?
Feldhahn: Let me describe the responses of the pastors first since they are on the front lines and are the leaders who most need the hope before they can share it with others. I've privately briefed probably 40 or 50 leading pastors, therapists and ministry leaders over the past year, and after I give them about a 15-minute overview of what I've been finding, there's usually a long pause, and then they say something like this (actual quotes): "I'm staggered;" "This is pretty astounding stuff;" "If this is true, the implications are enormous."
There's an explosive sense of interest and hope. Many of these pastors say something like, "I knew that what we were hearing about the Barna data couldn't be the whole story, because it didn't match what I saw in our network of churches," or "I thought that more people were probably happy in their marriages."
These pastors would describe feeling like they had been, as one put it, "held hostage to bad data I couldn't contradict," and a sense of being liberated to say with confidence what they had always felt had to be true: that doing what the Bible says does matter to your life. That getting yourself in a church community does matter to your marriage.
The responses of couples have been similarly hopeful and explosive, but even more personal. Among the ones that are struggling, there's a sense of life and hope that comes back into their faces. It is like the difference between feeling, "Man, we're struggling, and half of all people can't make it through this," and feeling, "Yeah, we're struggling, but most people get through it so surely we can too."
But even among those who have fine marriages, there's excitement about this. Let me explain a really cool thing I've seen with a lot of congregations.
My favorite speaking format is doing pastoral interviews on Sunday morning at the sermon time, usually when a pastor is doing a sermon series on men, women, sex or relationships and wants me to share things like what women need to know about men, or what makes relationships work best, from the research for For Women Only or The Surprising Secrets of Highly Happy Marriages.
But since I've been telling the pastors about my Good News research the last few years, often the pastor will say "You know, lets end our time together with having you share this as the conclusion." And every single time when I share these encouraging facts, this buzz sweeps the congregation as people start whispering to their neighbor "What did she say?" and the pastor and I can see their faces just light up. Half the time, people start clapping.
It is so tremendous for me to see that reaction among the people there – but even better to see the encouragement it injects into the pastor. These pastors are on the front lines and they need this encouragement.
CP: How can the church learn from this study/book?
Feldhahn: We wrote The Good News About Marriage to be a small, easy read – the first half is the key points, and the second half is the more technical stuff for those who like that sort of thing – so that anyone who cares about marriage can quickly come up to speed on the essentials.
We hope every pastor will learn the five main points – especially the truth about the difference church attendance makes. Then we hope pastors will equip their people to lead the way in bringing this truth and life and encouragement into the places that they live, work and play.
We hope every person in the congregation will be aware enough of these key truths that when Sarah and Abby are having coffee, and Abby cynically asks "why shouldn't I just live with him, when half of marriages are miserable and end in divorce anyway?", Sarah can say, "Well, actually, believe it or not, that is a myth. Most marriages last a lifetime."
The church can lead the way in changing the paradigm about marriage in our culture, from one of discouragement and futility to one of hope! From the current conventional wisdom that says marriage is in trouble, to the conventional wisdom that says that this institution God created… it still works!
Interview appears in The Christian Post:

Monday, May 12, 2014

EMP revisited

In 2001 the EMP Commission, established by Congress, reported details of the devastation that can be produced by an EMP attack and made recommendations for protecting our electricity grids to avoid a catastrophy.  To date our Congress has not taken steps to follow these recommendations even though the cost of protecting our infrastructure would be nothing compared to the cost of repairing the damage caused by an EMP (Electromagnetic Pulse), if repair would even be at all possible.

Mr. Frank Gaffney, founder and President of Center of Security policy in Washington D.C., a non profit, non partisan corporation involved in elucidating policy that will protect nations from terrorist attack, explains in the following video the nature of an EMP Attack and the consequent devastation of a country without sufficient protection against such an attack:

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Offering to Help

After meeting the new executive director of a Care and Counseling Center in Hawaii whose mission is to help women with their problems of pregnancy, I wrote a letter giving her my background and offering my help and experience:

It was a joy and honor to meet you at the Pregnancy Counseling Banquet Saturday evening. I commend you for your belief that to fight the present culture of legalized murder of an unwanted unborn child, requires not just focusing energies on saving the child; it is vital to focus equally on the problems of women with problem pregnancies that may result in abortion. 

The Supreme Court decision Roe vs Wade in 1973 focused mostly on inventing the right of women in all the 50 states to abort their unwanted child; restrictions on abortion based on the gestation age of the child and reasons of the woman wanting an abortion were made of no use by the passage of a companion decision Doe v Bolton which allowed a woman to have an abortion for any reason of the woman’s health that would be exacerbated by not aborting the child.  Thus abortion for any reason of damage to health became abortion on demand in all 50 states.

Subsequent legislation has tended to only strengthen the abortion right.  Such legislation has focused on the woman and not the child.  However, were all this legislation to be suddenly struck down, our society would be back at square one before Roe vs Wade with the real problems of women unaddressed.

The problem is that the legislation of Roe vs Wade and following legislation did not at all address the real need of women to properly address problems before and after sexual intercourse resulting in pregnancy.  Failures in the home, in the church, in the school, in the various informational facets of society have left many women in a void, bereft of nurturing, love, care, and vital information about life and knowledge of a caring God.

Addressing the problems of women in a way that will essentially eradicate the crime of abortion is clearly a massive undertaking.  Solving the problem of abortion cannot be solved purely legislatively.

This massive undertaking came to my mind only a few years ago at the end of my involvement with Hawaii Right to Life starting in 1984.  Hawaii Right to Life was founded in 1974 with an educational arm and a legislative arm.  In the many following years we found that we had success in preventing the Legislature from passing some very dangerous anti-life bills  At the same time we had no success in passing any of our pro-life bills.  Nor did we have much success in getting pro-life information into the schools.  

Looking back, I believe we put too much emphasis and energy in the legislative area but who knows what would now be, had we not.  Today, legislatively, things are really a mess with the government in control of a single party, the Democrat Party, the Party of abortion.  But I hope, with the rise of many good pro life organizations, along with Aloha Pregnancy Care & Counseling, much can be done to help both women and the unborn.

What is of interest to me right now is to get the members of the churches, not just the pastors or priests, directly involved in fostering concerns for women needing information, love and care.  I don’t know exactly what might be needed but getting good information to church members could go a long way to helping women in need.

I am tired of getting blank stares from priests I have approached to concern them about the unborn.  Maybe I need to approach them about concern for women in need or maybe just give information to individual members.

I am willing to do whatever I can but at 79 my energy level is not what it was even during my 60’s.  I have come to the conclusion that I may not be able to do all I want but I wish to use my time in doing what my Good Lord wants me to do.  If you would like me to meet with you at your office at some time I would be most happy to do so.