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Jim Killebrew has 40 years of clinical psychological work for people with intellectual disabilities, and experience teaching, administration, consulting, writing with multiple publications. Dr. Killebrew has attended four Universities and received advanced degrees. Southern Illinois University; Ph.D., Educational Psychology; University of Illinois at Springfield, Counseling Education; M.A., Human Development Counseling; Northeastern Oklahoma State University, B.A., Psychology and Sociology. Dr. Killebrew attended Lincoln Christian Seminary (Now Lincoln Christian University). Writing contributions have been accepted and published in several journals: Hospital & Community Psychiatry, The Lookout, and Christian Standard (multiple articles). He may be reached at Killebrewjb@aol.com.

Welcome to my Opinion Pages

Thanks for stopping by and reading some of my thoughts. I hope you will find an enjoyable adventure here on my pages.



The articles are only my opinion and are never meant to hurt anyone nor to downgrade any other person's ideas or opinions.



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Monday, March 3, 2014

Ukraine, Russia and the United States




By now, of course everyone knows the Ukrainian infantry in Crimea has been surrounded by gunmen and the Russian forces have moved into the area to take control. Of course it was not a surprise that Russia, under the leadership of a KGB operative like Vladimir Putin would take such action. Putin’s main objective is to re-establish the federation with those former Soviet satellites like the Ukraine so as to retrieve Russia’s power and prestige in the region. The fact that Ukraine is a sovereign nation seems to make little difference to the Russian leader.



The United States response has been little more than a flurry of denouncements of the action over the past few days, including the President’s statement he is “watching” the situation and claiming the “costs” will be high for Russia. The United States Secretary of State, John Kerry, remarked on Sunday Russia’s action was an, “incredible act of aggression.” Mr. Kerry remarked that Mr. Putin “was acting in 19th century fashion by invading another country on completely trumpet-up pretext.” As a result of his actions, Mr. Kerry further suggested the West could impose a set of economic sanctions, asset freezes and perhaps some Russian business disruption in the Western countries. Mr. Putin has wanted to host the G8 Summit at Sochi, where the Olympics were held, sometime in June. But Mr. Kerry suggested that not only may those meetings not be held in Russia, but Russia might even be expelled from the G8 for the current actions. Mr. Kerry further suggested that visas might be banned for high-ranking Russian leaders in the future.



For sure the invasion of another country is an egregious offence and Russia should be held accountable in some way. But that accountability is not going to come from the United States or any other European state from the West. Perhaps some of those things the Secretary of State mentioned on Meet the Press will come to pass and it may be enough to at least start some negotiation, but the consensus is that Mr. Putin is resolved in his decision to maintain control of the ports in Crimea. When he looked out across the world and listened to the world leaders, he was likely more emboldened to continue with his venture than turn away. His actions seemingly have reinforced that thought.



Really, what can the United States do about it anyway? The Russian fleet is stationed on the Black Sea in Crimea. Does anyone think that Vladimir Putin is going to willingly back down from the West when he knows our current President has no stomach for anything other than diplomatic negotiation? Mr. Putin knows as most bullies know, it is easier to receive forgiveness than it is to receive permission. Of course, in his case, he is seeking neither. We need to realize that Mr. Putin does not think like the Western diplomat. The West uses a logic that assumes the world morality is going to judge the Russian actions in such a way as to move Mr. Putin from his position so the world leaders will like him. He doesn’t care if the world leaders like him. He only cares that they fear him. What better way for leaders who are at best squeamish about entering a fight than to start a fight and crush the opponent with superior power? No, Mr. Putin will assume control of Crimea, and if that doesn’t satisfy him he will move eastward toward Kiev.



Let’s go back and examine the historical activities unfolding on October 22, 1962. The Soviet Union had placed missiles in Cuba ninety miles off the US border. President Kennedy decided it was in the best interest of the United States to ban the missiles from Cuba and ordered them out and for the Soviet Union to stop brining them to the tiny Southern Island. He ordered a blockade around Cuba and warned the Soviets not to cross that line. Mr. Kennedy’s “red line” was much heavier that the current President’s red line. We all know what happened; the Soviet Union blinked and turned their ships around and did not penetrate the blockage President Kennedy had established. Even then, the Soviets recognized they had crossed a line that could not be defended. They were putting nuclear weapons and a missile delivery system ninety miles off the shore of the United States and to protect that they would have to fight a battle from half-way around the world. It made no sense then, and it makes no sense now.



Someone says, “That is not the same as now; those missiles were just off our shore. But think about it from Russia’s current perspective. Ukraine has moved toward wanting to be a democracy. When it broke from the old Soviet Union they began to court the Western European way of life, perhaps even looking toward the United States. In fact, the United States started sending missionaries into that country by the hundreds, flooding it with Bibles and other Christian literature. Revivals broke out and churches began to flourish. What had once been forbidden territory became fertile ground for conversions moving from totalitarianism to a form of democratic freedom. More recently, the people in Ukraine have moved to gain acceptance from the European Organizations to identify with them. Russia is sitting there with the two land masses touching each other, with the Russian fleet in the Black Sea off Crimea, and the Ukrainian move has brought with it a chance there might be Western-style military squatting within a few miles of the Russian Federation. Is it any wonder that a former KGB operator who is now the Leader of Russia would take actions to prevent such a thing?



So, as Russia has sent their military into Ukraine on a mission of invasion, the United Nations sits almost stagnant in the wake of the Russian movement since the Russians sit on the UN Security Council ready to veto any action proposed against the Russian government for invasion and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) has no clear-cut plans to either protect or engage since the Russians invaded. So perhaps the best position would be for the Secretary of State Kerry to speak his bluster on the Sunday morning talk shows, using the Administration talking points, then withdraw back to his corner and keep singing his song of declaring that Climate Change is the single-most debilitating threat against the US national security. Perhaps his stand on Global Warming will be the very thing that will scare Vladimir Putin and will knock him off his game.



Jim Killebrew

Monday, January 20, 2014

Martin Luther King, Jr. struggles


Martin Luther King, Jr. struggles

 

The time was the 1960s and the world seemed in turmoil.  The country was gearing up for a war it did not want, poverty was staggering in the United States amidst one of the richest countries in the world and Black citizens were still treated as second-class citizens...especially in the South.  1954 had brought a Supreme Court decision that was to end school segregation, but that edict had not been heeded by those in the South.

 

John Fraser Hart wrote in 1967 in his book "The Southeastern Untied States, "The attitude of most Southerners, when they contemplated the future of their region, was compounded with hope and fear.  Their hope was for rapid industrial development that would change the retarded rural South to modern cities.  Their fear was the necessity of accepting the practice of racial equality.  These hopes and fears were both interrelated, for cities are centers of change, and the growth of cities would bring increased pressures for integration."

 

So on August 28, 1963 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. stood in front of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC to deliver his "I Have a Dream" speech where he said the promises that had been given a hundred years before had been broken.  He said, "But one hundred years later, the Negro still is not free. One hundred years later, the life of the Negro is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination. One hundred years later, the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity. One hundred years later, the Negro is still languished in the corners of American society and finds himself an exile in his own land. And so we've come here today to dramatize a shameful condition."

 

Dr. King's call for justice continued.  His insight had come from personal experience through the suffering of injustice and broken promises.  He continued, "In a sense we've come to our nation's capital to cash a check. When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men, yes, black men as well as white men, would be guaranteed the "unalienable Rights" of "Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness." It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note, insofar as her citizens of color are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check, a check which has come back marked "insufficient funds."

 

Echoing that call for justice much evidence had been laid on the foundation of the "defaulted promissory note" Dr. King had described.  Jona Hannah, author of "Public Education," 1964, issued a Staff Report, in which Hanna "indicated that with the close of the 1963-64 school year, ten years after the Supreme Court’s decision in the School Segregation Cases, just a small portion over nine percent of the Negro children in the Southern and Border States were attending public schools with White students.”

Hanna continued, “In the year 1963-64, there were 181 school districts in the 17 States which admitted Negro pupils to White schools for the first time, the largest number added in any year since 1956-57, the third school year after the Supreme Court’s decision.  On a regional basis, 19.7 percent of the school districts in the 11 Southern States had started the desegregation process, whereas 92.4 percent of the school districts in the Border States were desegregated in some degree.  Two states, South Carolina and Alabama, experienced their first desegregation below the college level when schools opened in September 1963.  Mississippi was the only state maintaining completely segregated elementary and secondary schools in 1963-64.”

 

One Governor, George Wallace in Alabama was defiant toward integration.   Robert Sherrill, author of "Gothic Politics in the Deep South, (1969)," had quoted George Wallace in 1962:  "I shall refuse to abide by any illegal federal court order, even to the point of standing at the schoolhouse door in person.”  Of course everyone now knows that is exactly what he did.

 

On September 9, 1963, President Kennedy issued a statement in which he accused the Governor (Wallace) of trying to provoke Federal Government intervention.  The President charged that the Governor’s actions were motivated by personal and political reasons.  He said the Governor knew that the United States Government must carry out court orders, and that most citizens of the four cities involved were

willing to face the difficult transition with the same courage and respect for law shown by communities in neighboring states.  President Kennedy said that the government would do whatever was necessary to see that Federal orders to desegregate public schools were carried out in Alabama, but added his hope that the Governor would allow local officials and communities to meet their responsibilities in this regard.

 

Robert Sherrill, author of "Gothic Politics in the Deep South, 1969" wrote, "The stage was set at the University of Alabama.  Sherrill painted a perfect picture of a political George Wallace at work.  Reporting in Sherrill’s Gothic Politics..., “George Wallace was given a podium and microphone to make his speech, in front of the television cameras.  As Deputy Attorney General Katzenbach approached, Wallace held up his hand like a traffic cop, the Governor and Katzenbach began to talk.  Later, the temporarily federalized National Guard general stepped in, as Wallace saluted him, and announced it was his ‘sad duty’ to have to take over from the Governor.  Wallace, at that point, consoled him by saying, ‘I know this is a bitter pill....’ At that point, Wallace stepped aside to surrender, not to the federal government, but to a Southern soldier acting under duress.’”  These were the politics of George Wallace.

This was the segregation that existed in the Southern schools.  The attitudes of the leaders of the South, and the people who lived there, was to keep the South segregated.  They wanted regional growth, and larger cities with more industry, but they feared integration.

 

Dr. King encountered pressures and opposition from many sources.  The opposition even came from fellow preachers and pastors.  They were complaining that he was moving too fast in trying to gain equality, justice and integration.  From his perspective the country had moved too slowly.  From his jail cell in the city of Birmingham, Alabama Dr. King wrote, "We know through painful experience that freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed. Frankly, I have yet to engage in a direct action campaign that was 'well timed' in the view of those who have not suffered unduly from the disease of segregation. For years now I have heard the word 'Wait!' It rings in the ear of every Negro with piercing familiarity. This 'Wait' has almost always meant 'Never.' We must come to see, with one of our distinguished jurists, that 'justice too long delayed is justice denied.'"  (Martin Luther King, Jr., April 16, 1963, "Letter from a Birmingham Jail")

 

As Dr. King stood amidst that giant crowd in Washington, DC that day, his mind may have gone back to the leaders of the Church who had pierced his efforts with criticism and cries to "wait."  He continued his speech, "There are those who are asking the devotees of civil rights, 'When will you be satisfied?' We can never be satisfied as long as the Negro is the victim of the unspeakable horrors of police brutality. We can never be satisfied as long as our bodies, heavy with the fatigue of travel, cannot gain lodging in the motels of the highways and the hotels of the cities. We cannot be satisfied as long as the negro's basic mobility is from a smaller ghetto to a larger one. We can never be satisfied as long as our children are stripped of their self-hood and robbed of their dignity by signs stating: 'For Whites Only.' We cannot be satisfied as long as a Negro in Mississippi cannot vote and a Negro in New York believes he has nothing for which to vote. No, no, we are not satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until 'justice rolls down like waters, and righteousness like a mighty stream.'"  (This quote from the Bible; Amos 5:24, American Standard Version)

 

Our remembrance of Dr. King rings in our ears and echoes in our minds each time we remember the man and his work.  With all the struggles he faced as he delivered the check to America to cash it in for all Americans who want to be free, his legacy remains forever embedded in our collective memory as we rehearse the monumental work he did for all humanity.  It can be summed up by his own words as he ended his speech in Washington.  Read those words again and remember a great man, his struggles and his dreams.

 

"Let us not wallow in the valley of despair, I say to you today, my friends.

And so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal."

I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia, the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.

I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

I have a dream today!

I have a dream that one day, down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of "interposition" and "nullification" -- one day right there in Alabama little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.

I have a dream today!

I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, and every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight; "and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed and all flesh shall see it together."  (Isaiah 40:4-5, KJV)

This is our hope, and this is the faith that I go back to the South with.

With this faith, we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith, we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith, we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.

And this will be the day -- this will be the day when all of God's children will be able to sing with new meaning:

My country 'tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing.

Land where my fathers died, land of the Pilgrim's pride,

From every mountainside, let freedom ring!

And if America is to be a great nation, this must become true.

And so let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire.

Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York.

Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania.

Let freedom ring from the snow-capped Rockies of Colorado.

Let freedom ring from the curvaceous slopes of California.

But not only that:

Let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia.

Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee.

Let freedom ring from every hill and molehill of Mississippi.

From every mountainside, let freedom ring.

And when this happens, and when we allow freedom ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God's children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual:

                Free at last! Free at last!

                Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!  

(Martin Luther King, Jr., "I Have a Dream," August 28, 1963, Washington, DC)

 

Jim Killebrew

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Abortion effect

Abortion was made legal in 1973 with the Roe v. Wade decision.  People whose persuasion for life have been known as pro-life proponents, while people who have favored a woman's right of choice to terminate the baby through death have been called pro-choice proponents.  Since the time of the legalization of abortion there have been almost 56,000,000 (56 million) babies who have been put to death through the legalized abortion laws in America.  These are the facts of abortion; without emotion, without science, opinion, debate, spin or religion; simply facts.
 
During the past forty years since the legalization of abortion there have likely been millions of words written about the practice.  Politicians have won and lost their races based on their position on abortion.  Even the Obamacare insurance law is having a difficult time with the issue with the funding of agencies that might intermingle taxpayer monies in their budget that might help pay for abortions against public opinion.  Even with all the words written and politician wins or loses, the effects of a law that elevates the right of a small slice of women in society whose condition places them in a unique position to serve as the Emperor of old Rome at the gladiator games with  thumbs up or thumbs down to take or spare the life of another human being, the full effect of the abortion still has not been felt.  We can only catch a glimpse of the horrific effects simply because of the passage of forty (40) years of cumulative carnage.
 
Think about it in terms of actual loss and the effect it would have on our modern day responses.  We have experienced things in history that have kicked off world wars for our society.  Pearl Harbor was an attack that was labeled by the President as a "Day of Infamy" that prompted Congress to declare war on the aggressors and their axis of powers who teamed to destroy the American way of life.  The significance of the 38th parallel between the Koreas or the de-militarized zone between the two Vietnams showcased wars that claimed thousands of lives.  The terrorist attack on the Twin Towers on 9/11 that claimed thousands of lives resulted in a ten-year war with Iraq and a continuing war against terror in Afghanistan.  Yet these events pale by comparison to the war being waged against the unborn child in America.
 
Think of the largest city in America; the most populated city in America, New York, New York with a population of 8,336,697 souls.  Imagine if you can, that city being attacked and each and every citizen of that city was completely destroyed.  It would dwarf the attack on 9/11 and would make the news all over the world.  I suspect that it would likely start a war with counter attack on the perpetrator of that attack.  As if that would not be horrific enough, think of the top 74 most populated cities in America.  See the following cities that combined have 55,871,224 people living there.             
 
New York, New York; Los Angeles, California; Chicago, Illinois; Houston, Texas; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Phoenix, Arizona; San Antonio, Texas; San Diego, California; Dallas, Texas; San Jose, California; Austin, Texas; Jacksonville, Florida; Indianapolis, Indiana; San Francisco, California; Columbus, Ohio; Fort Worth, Texas; Charlotte, North Carolina; Detroit, Michigan; El Paso, Texas; Memphis, Tennessee; Boston, Massachusetts; Seattle, Washington; Denver, Colorado; Washington, District of Columbia; Nashville, Tennessee; Baltimore, Maryland; Louisville, Kentucky; Portland, Oregon; Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; Milwaukee, Wisconsin; Las Vegas, Nevada; Albuquerque, New Mexico; Tucson, Arizona; Fresno, California; Sacramento, California; Long Beach, California; Kansas City, Missouri; Mesa, Arizona; Virginia Beach, Virginia; Atlanta, Georgia; Colorado Springs, Colorado; Raleigh, North Carolina; Omaha, Nebraska; Miami, Florida; Oakland, California; Tulsa, Oklahoma; Minneapolis, Minnesota; Cleveland, Ohio; Wichita, Kansas; Arlington, Texas; New Orleans, Louisiana; Bakersfield, California; Tampa, Florida; Honolulu, Hawai'i; Anaheim, California; Aurora, Colorado; Santa Ana, California; St. Louis, Missouri; Riverside, California; Corpus Christi, Texas; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; Lexington, Kentucky; Anchorage, Alaska; Stockton, California; Cincinnati, Ohio; Saint Paul, Minnesota; Toledo, Ohio; Newark, New Jersey; Greensboro, North Carolina; Plano, Texas; Henderson, Nevada; Lincoln, Nebraska; Buffalo, New York; and Fort Wayne, Indiana.
 
What if each and every city listed above with the almost 56 million people was completely destroyed?  Would that make an impact on our American society?  Would the death of that many citizens cause the politicians to make war with the killers?  Would there be anything else in history that would even compare with such a mass death of a society?  Would it be enough to take notice that something in society might be wrong?  Would this horrendous act of human destruction in the 74 largest cities in America go unnoticed because their killing would somehow be declared "legal?" 
 
Of course that idea would be preposterous and would never be considered.  And yet, here we are, 40 years after the United States Supreme Court upheld a decision that killing through abortion was legal.  The effect:  the equivalency of the killing of the entire population of the 74 largest cities in America.
 
Isn't it amazing how logical, rational, reasonably prudent, common sense minds of so many Americans could be controlled by thoughts so bizarre and evil as to actually come to believe and even accept as normal a concept that a pregnant woman in our society should have the power of life and death over the human being she carries simply because it has been granted as her choice?
 
Jim Killebrew     

Friday, November 15, 2013

Honesty and integrity


 
 
Honesty and integrity
 
Honesty and integrity are prerequisites to character. I remember a debate back in the Clinton era when people like James Carvel and George Stephanopoulos who were running the 1992 Clinton campaign succeeded in convincing most of the American people that "character" in a politician did not matter. In fact it was made into a joke with the phrase, "It's the economy, stupid." Of course we all know they really did believe that character did not matter, given the "bimbo" eruptions, stains on the dress, lying to congress and impeachment that plagued the nation for the next eight years after James and George put their man in office. To omit character from an individual is to admit that person has little, if any, honesty and integrity.
 
Recently we followed the politicians in New York running for Mayor who had been charged with "sexting" pictures of personal, unmentionable body parts to young women. Even after having resigned in disgrace the practice continued a year after the resignation. Now, during the election people were to reject the idea of character and integrity in favor of electing the guy to the high office of Mayor of New York City. It seems a case of some people having stratospheric gall, or that people are so gullible as to accept anything pushed down their throats. In either case, when we stamp out character from any walk of life, even political life, we are endangering those around us who must live and work with those who have experienced a "characterdectomy".
It is interesting how those same people are maligning Christianity in today's culture.  Christian living practices honesty and integrity. To accept Christ and His lifestyle is to be "Christ-like" and walk in His ways, not the ways of the world around us. Honesty stands above even riches, glory and fame. To maintain one's honesty and integrity is a far greater calling than to step on others to gain wealth or notoriety.
 
 Proverbs 19 starts by talking about honesty and integrity. The first verse reads:
 
 "Better is a poor person who walks in his integrity than one who is perverse in his speech."
 
 Honesty and integrity have been maligned over the past several years. Integrity is doing the right thing even when no one is looking. A life lived with integrity is a life that is deemed honest in all dealings with everyone around us. Reputation is formed and trust is gained. We seek out those whose reputations reflect their honesty; we know that when we do business with those people we are not likely to be cheated. As integrity grows within the person, his way of life becomes obvious for all to see; he is said to have a good and true character.
 
 It is from character that a person's decisions are made. Each day, almost every minute of the day we make decisions. Each decision we make has consequences that result in influencing or affecting another in some specific way. When we have gained a reputation based on integrity and honesty and have formed a character of good report, the direction of our decisions are mostly for the common good of others.
 
 The opposite of that is true as well. When we choose to ignore our "higher calling" and practice the more "perverse" way of life, we fall into a pattern of life-style that leads us into a downward spiral that oftentimes leads to despair and self destruction. The Apostle Paul refers to that "sin nature" and some of those outcomes such as "…hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, divisions, the feeling that everyone is wrong except those in your own little group, envy, drunkenness, wild parties…." (Galatians 5:19-21)
 
 Having internalized the Christian way of life by accepting the work of Jesus and His sacrifice by the shedding of His blood on the cross, we are free to yield ourselves over to His leading as He works through us to lead us to this way of life that produces integrity. The good news is that by yielding ourselves to Him through faith, we have His promise that He will continue to provide us the help to grow toward abundant life. He promised never to leave us, "I [Jesus] am with you always, even to the end of the age." (Matthew 28:20)
 
 Christian living should contain elements of:
 
 Submitting your life to Christ;
 
 Being receptive to the leading of His Spirit;
 
 Growing by practicing honesty and integrity in the Spirit;
 
 Giving all the glory to God.
 
 As we examine our politicians or those who govern our lives, isn't it just common sense to expect the person to have a decent level of decorum with a high measure of honesty, integrity and character?
 
 Jim Killebrew

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Obamacare: Where is the Adult in the room?

 
The news is full these days of the debacle of the Obamacare  implementation.  Millions of people are learning their policies are being canceled, employer mandates were delayed, but apparently when resumed tens of millions more Americans will find their employer will force their employees into the exchanges for their insurance.
 
Aside from all that, as well as the deception through a series of repeated lies from the President and his Administration, the law is forcing millions of American citizens to purchase insurance products from private providers for products the government has decided the individual needs, even when the individual does not want the product.
 
Now, even the democrats who voted for the law are trying to walk back from their actions.  Especially those who are trying to get re-elected next year.  Why are they trying to distance themselves from their law?  Because the law is toxic and they didn't have to read it first to know that.  The first flaw was the fact they passed it without having read it.  That alone indicates they didn't provide due diligence in the interest of those they were elected to represent.  Blind trust and allegiance to one's party affiliation and the "promises" made by those whose political ambitions will likely profit by passing certain legislation is not leadership nor representation, it is haphazard stumbling into a morass of ever-sinking quicksand.  Our current situation seems to be proving this as a fact.     
 
Even beyond all of that, the President has a long list of scandals basically unaccounted for.  Benghazi, fast and furious, circumventing the laws such as deportation of illegal immigrants by exempting certain classes of those he wants to keep in America even though under the law they would be deported.  He has also changed the Affordable Care Act by exempting many classes of people from the law, all outside of Congressional involvement, and now making promises to the American people they could keep their policy if they liked it, knowing all the while it was an untrue promise; and this was done prior to his re-election during his own campaign.  Through that deception he led the American people who voted for him to vote under a false pretense that led to a possible outcome built on a false promise he knew he couldn't keep.
 
In other circumstances if a person promises people certain levels of services or particular products that are not based on the truth, and do not deliver what has been promised, a crime is committed and the person making such claims and taking people's money based on that claim is usually arrested, indicted, tried, and if found guilty, sent to prison.  In this case, not only are millions of people being vacated from their insurance policy, it is happening because the federal law has precluded those policies because they have failed to meet the standards established by the Affordable Care Act.  Insurance companies are being forced to cancel those policies because the government declared they are sub-standard and in the words of the President, "lousy policies."  This, despite the fact, that the individuals who purchased those policies chose the coverage they wanted based on their preference and budget; notwithstanding the government's mandated requirements.  Consequently they have "changed" and are thereby exempted from being "grandfathered" as was promised.  
 
Each day some new revelation emerges that reveals another building block of information that exposes his promised plan of initiating a "fundamental change" for America leading toward building massive governmental control and socialism.  We are now learning that as the waiver for the employer mandates are lifted, it is likely that the larger majority of insured who receive their insurance through their employer will likely have their policies canceled as well.  The employer will be unable to continue with the premiums since they will rise to a cost-level that will be unsustainable by the employer.  Therefore, the individual employee will likely be forced into the exchange established by Obamacare.  At that point people will not be able to keep their policy, they will not be able to keep their doctor or clinic, but will be subject to the prescriptive healthcare established by the dictates of the various plans designed and implemented by the government.
 
It is time for Congress to take hold of this issue and either delay or appeal the law and formulate a bi-partisan select committee to develop a system that is fair and affordable that allows the individual to have direct input into their personal plan that outlines the provision of their personal healthcare managed in concert with their physician and themselves.  Provisions for portable plans across state lines and pre-existing illnesses should be a part of those plans as well.
 
It is time for the adult in the room to stand and take charge of this situation.  Past events have proven neither the President, his staff, nor the democrats in Congress have the qualifications to be that adult in the room. 
 
Jim Killebrew

Monday, October 21, 2013

Modern Church and cultural relativity

Over the past few months I have been having conversations with some who believe Christianity has been changed significantly since the time of Jesus.  The premise has been, a sort of "cultural drift" regarding the Church that presumably has tainted the original intent and establishment of the Church.  A popular thought is that through the years the teachings of Jesus, or at least the functionality of His purpose, has changed significantly resulting in a Church that is hardly recognizable when compared side-by-side with the First Century Church.  Indeed, the multi-cultural influence coupled with the passage of time with its incremental change has diluted the Church teachings to say the least, and at most, has changed the Church entirely from its foundational teachings from Jesus.
 
Offered are the examples beginning with the changes that started taking place even with the Apostles in the First Century.  The entire discussion of the Jewish Christians who maintained the obedience to the law plus the faith in the Messiah.  The Apostle Paul spent a great deal of time and effort writing his epistles outlining his reasoning for not depending on the law (works) in regard to salvation and sanctification.  Even though this was addressed in the first century by the Apostle Paul and the Apostle Peter at the time, it is very evident in religions around the world today that followers depend on works more than faith in what Jesus did on the cross once, for all.  If it started that early in the Church, so goes the reasoning, then it is reasonable to assume that changes will continue throughout the ages.
 
Throughout history we have seen the influence of culture on the Church.  With each impending influence it appears there is yet another incremental change that either adds to or takes away from a fundamental teaching of Christ.  Even in great moments of history we see significant shifts in the message and the Gospel.  From the politicalization of secular Rome with Constantine, to Christianity becoming the state religion of Rome, and the establishment of the "Vicar of Christ"  with total power of Christ centered in the "Rock of St. Peter" as the Pope over the "Universal Church" through Catholicism, all the way to the "Reformation" with Martin Luther protesting what the Church had become through years of change.  Even in the nineteenth century we experienced the "Restoration Movement" even then sometimes referred to by a few as "Campbell-ites."  From the establishment of the Restoration Movement to now we have splinters, many of whom continue to preach "unity", even though that has not always been achieved.  Indeed, other great "movements" have ensued in the past 150 years that have tried to return the Church to the original, or at least reawaken the spirit of the Church.   "The Great Awakening, the second Great Awakening, the Restoration Movement, the Spiritual Renewal movement, and the Third Wave movement of church fellowship."  (Steven Chapman)
 
Beyond even those few examples we see hundreds or thousands of variations of denominational practice even to the point of disassociation with each other.  That doesn't even count for the thousands of sects that are culturally relative throughout the world.
 
In order to marginalize the authenticity of the Church, some would like for us to believe that the church has been subverted throughout history by cultural change and the different arguments from various factions that have contributed altering, and somewhat, contradictory interpretations of doctrine. By having such altering movements through history and cultures the Truth established by Jesus is said by some to have been altered to such an extent that it is difficult, if not impossible, to unravel the current Christian world view from what it is now back to the original founder of the Church.  So the conclusion of that thought is that we have incrementally moved from the true representation of Christ beginning with the time He was waving at His disciples as He ascended, and each subsequent year afterward.
 
To many it has the sound and logic of relative truth.  In some people's mind it sort of makes sense given all the arguments and doubts the early church had as recorded in The Acts. Jew verses Gentile; circumcision verses non-circumcision; speaking in different languages as a sign of the baptism of the Holy Spirit; miraculous healing with the touch of a hand, or even having a shadow fall over you; or eating/not eating clean/un-clean food. Even the very debate that the Apostle Paul so eloquently presents in relation to the law (works) versus faith in the work that Jesus alone did on the cross. If we have been so fully corrupted by the subsequent years and the multiple cultures in which men have created and lived, then there would be no way to uncover the real representation of Christ since it would have been so far removed.
 
One thing in the above analysis has been omitted:  God's Power!  I believe that God’s power and timeless message will stand firm until He decides to return and claim His own.  God looks at mankind and our having fallen in love with our sin nature. Knowing that we cannot do anything to save ourselves from our own sin, we are still in need of salvation.  God knew that if redemption was going to be completed at all He was going to have to do it Himself. He gave the first clue as recorded in Genesis 3:15.  So here comes Jesus who presents Himself as a perfect sacrifice and does His work on the cross. God judged it and counted it perfect; accepted Jesus’ sacrifice and raised Him from the dead. Satan was defeated, death was cheated, and we, covered by the blood of Jesus, now can walk across that once-deadly chasm that separated us from God and stand directly in front of His Throne because we are covered by the blood of Jesus.
 
 Now as we stand in Jesus, covered by His blood, saved by His Grace our faith in Him urges us to walk in Him. How do we do it? We follow the Apostle Paul’s example and declaration: “Live by the Spirit and you will not carry out the desires of the flesh. For the flesh has desires that are opposed to the Spirit, and the Spirit has desires that are opposed to the flesh, for these are in opposition to each other, so that you cannot do what you want.” (Galatians 5:16-17) Find a Bible and read the entire book of Galatians to discover that you can be free in Christ, led by His Holy Spirit, and grow to maturity in Him.
 
 I believe that we can truly know what God wants from us. He wants us to worship Him, accept Him and seek Him. I believe that God transcends all cultures and even our time-line that controls generations. He uses the power of His Word to convict us of His Truth and our simple job is to accept it or reject it. It is our “Free Will” that hinders us. We choose to hide ourselves in everything else, including our respective cultures, to refrain from submitting to Him. But when we do finally see Him and accept His grace and become obedient to Him, He gives us His Spirit, along with power, to live in the reflection of Jesus. We must, however, continue throughout our entire lives to exercise our “Free Will” and submit to Jesus and have faith in the work He did on the cross and His work saves us; as we continue to submit to Him He gives us His Spirit to grow us through the power that comes from the Holy Spirit.
 
So, what I am trying to say with this little piece is even with such variances and incremental changes throughout the past twenty-one centuries, the Church has stayed in tack through the power of the Holy Spirit pointing to the Grace of God and the work that Jesus did on the cross.  I believe that has survived through the ages and we can still be called "Christians" because the power of God's Holy Spirit has protected the Word through the ages and continues to testify of Jesus and His work on the cross relative to our salvation and growth.  Even with the incremental changes passing through various cultures, God has not, nor will He, allow His Church to be destroyed or buried under cultural relativism even though the modern church of various religions have built the "broad" road through their front doors.
 
Jim Killebrew