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Monday, August 30, 2010

Isn't God On Our Side?

At the Restoring Honor Rally in Washington Saturday, Glenn Beck said that God is not on your side. Instead, he challenged his audience to "Put yourself in a position where you are on His side." This confused some folks.  After all, isn't God on our side if we are doing right?

I think Glenn Beck was absolutely right. I know what he meant.  God doesn't pick sides. He loves everyone equally.  He is "no respecter of persons".  God wants to be on everyone's side.

The question really is not whether God selects your side to favor. The question is whether you choose to be on God's side and give up the idea that your side even belongs to you.  It doesn't, you know. The great issue of our day comes down to good versus evil?  Do we follow God's leading? Do we hand our lives over to him to mold us and make us into decent, kind and free people or do we rebel?  Obedience or rebellion to God are the only two choices. There is no neutral third choice.

In fact, if you have a "side" that you think belongs to you, then it's not very likely that that side is God's side is it? Mine or God's? That's the real choice isn't it?  Am I on God's side or my side? After all, when you think about it, the devil's side is the penultimate "MY SIDE".  It's the side of self-interest, self-promotion, self-first. If you are on "My Side", then the Devil is on your side.  Good luck with that. You may want to reconsider who your allies are there.

I'm just telling you what I think.

Tom King - Tyler, TX

*Image (c) Yahoo News

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Division of Labor

And the eye cannot say to the hand, "I have no need of you"; or again the head to the feet, "I have no need of you."  
- I Corinthians 12:21 NASB

My Sweet Baboo gave me a job yesterday.  She's decided to take up clipping coupons and wants some labels for the book and since I "know so much about computers", she assumed I would be just the bloke for the job.
She is, of course, absolutely right.

In a trice I whipped up a mail-merged page of labels for the old photo album that she is recycling for the purpose. I used Microsoft Word and created a PDF file with it which I printed, not only for her, but also posted for the use of my readers on my Howdy Ya Dewit website.  She has an old dayplanner she'd rather use, but I'll need to buy some plastic pocket pages for it.  Once I do get the new pages, I'll get out my Adobe Pagemaker and jazz up the labels even more with border and pictures and make it all cute.  She'll just have to remind me to buy the pages about 65 times. I think a grocery coupon book is a wonderful idea.


I've learned that each of us has things we are good at and things which we are not good at.  If you keep asking someone to do something they just aren't good at, you are setting yourself up for lots of disappointment and frustration.  I, unfortunately, have the attention span of a jackrabbit on a date.  I could never keep up with clipping coupons, although once I spent an hour doing it and saved us something like $40 at the grocery store.

Not likely to ever happen again, though. Move on, folks.  Nothing else to see here.

That's why I have a garage full of projects I haven't got started on yet.  One day, I'll get a bug to do one and the time (which I don't have much of these days) and I'll get out there and build the six inch telescope, the box dulcimer, the canoe rack and cookie tin banjo I've been collecting parts for.  My how-to weblog is a monument to my trips to the shade tree to try and figure out how to make something myself or repair something on the cheap because I can't afford to buy it at the store.

Actually, I enjoy making things and my ambition is to build myself a greenhouse and a big workshop out back for the purpose. My wife's ambition is for me to get all my crap out of the garage.

We each have our purpose.  If I can help you in 5 minutes or so, I'm your guy.  If you want me to remember to do something later, drop me 3 or 4 e-mails and whack me upside the head about an hour before I'm supposed to have it done.

Or you can tell Sheila and she'll worry about it every day until she makes me get it done.

We each have our functions and as the Apostle Paul said, "The eye cannot say to the hand, 'I don't need you.'"  Well, the eye actually can say that and probably will before it's over, but that don't make it so.
I'm great if an airplane drops on your house or your septic tank explodes or you need to wrestle a water buffalo out of your pantry.  Sheila can not only show you how to cook, bake or clean anything you can imagine, but will have it pretty well cooked, baked or cleaned by the time she gets through explaining it to you. I play the guitar so most people can tolerate it (except my immediate family members who think its funny to moan and hold their ears every time I pick the thing up).  Sheila doesn't play. She rehearses over and over until its perfect.  She's the one you invite to perform special music at the church. I'm the one you stick with song service every week and a backup band of 5 or 10 kids who may or may not actually play the instruments they are holding at the time.  Beautiful music or joyful noise - pick your body part!

I'm just tellin' ya' what I think.


Friday, August 20, 2010

Credit Where Credit is Due

The Thorny Issue of Authorship on the Internet

Someone posted a humor bit on Facebook this morning that was very, very funny. It was also presented without the name of the original author and was somewhat modified from his original work. The piece was a barely disguised rip-off of W. Bruce Cameron's 1997 copyrighted piece "The Chili Judge". Bruce (left), a noted humor columnist, is also the author of "8 Simple Rules for Dating my Daughter" the column and later book that was turned into the John Ritter sitcom of the same name. You can read the original version of his lesser known ode to chili here:

The Chili Judge
Copyright 1997 by W. Bruce Cameron

I've had two or three humor or parody pieces of my own ripped off without a byline credit or my copyright notice, so it bothers me when someone swipes something like this without crediting the author and rewrites it without permission.

Some people do credit me when I spot the parody piece and write to remind them that I wrote it. Problem is, the thing is posted all over the place and circulates in e-mails by the millions, so I have no control over the work anymore. You may have read it yourself - "Lou Costello Buys a Computer" It was written as a skit, so now there are even several video versions of the piece all over Youtube. Cameron's Chili Judge also has a video version rewritten in some places, but in several places paragraphs were lifted whole from Cameron's column.

It would be nice if someone would do a little 5 minutes of author research before deciding the "funny fairy" musta wrote it and placed it in the public domain for them to automatically use as they see fit.

I realize it's a compliment to the author that someone thought the piece was good enough to steal, but a compliment, that doesn't mention who it is that you are complimenting, isn't really very complimentary.

I allow anyone who asks to use the Lou Costello/Computer skit freely. It's included in at least one book I know of where the book's author asked me to allow her to use it to illustrate a point.

I was pleased to grant the rights to her - no charge. She very kindly included my byline, copyright notice and web address.

The people who post funny stuff like this may not credit the author. We authors have little or no control over that.  An author probably won't sue you for compulsively passing his or her work along to ten friends in the next 20 minutes so that you don't have bad luck or people won't think you don't love Jesus.

But if you decide to send something you found funny and enjoyable to several hundred friends, it would be polite to check who the original author is and at least give them credit or ask if you can send a link to the author's posting of the original piece.

Like this guy did:

or this one:

I'm just sayin'


P.S.  And don't assume the person who sent something funny to you actually wrote it. People take credit for things they didn't do all the time (see Wikipedia under "President" or "Congress").

Monday, August 16, 2010

Men in the Valley

It ain't gonna be no smooth ride if you're doing the right thing.

Brett and Kay McKay wrote a fascinating piece on the “Art of Manliness” weblog entitled “The Seasons of a Man's Life”. The article points out that the lives of men seldom go along on a steady upward track. At best it is a slowly ascending series of peaks and valleys. However much our spouses desire it, our fortunes rise and fall like a roller coaster. Often the great men among us—those who actually accomplish something significant in this life—pass through what King David called the “Valley of the Shadow of Death”.

David knew about those valleys. So too did men like Winston Churchill, Abraham Lincoln and Ronald Reagan. Throughout history, any man who sought to do good, to accomplish some noble purpose has faced a Valley Forge winter as did George Washington, a wilderness time as Elijah did or betrayal and slavery, sold away to Egypt by his own brothers as Joseph was.

Satan does not like brave or good men. He wages war upon them without respite. Men who seem to live a charmed life—one of steady accomplishment and certain rise to power—often wind up having tell-all books written about them after they are gone, explaining what rotters they “really” were all along. Give me a man, however, who has accomplished something selfless and good for his fellow man and I will show you someone misunderstood, persecuted or tried to the limit of his endurance at some point in his life.

Many of these brave men die in the midst of one of these trips through the “Valley”, never knowing the full effect of their courageous actions. The men like Crockett, Travis and Bowie who died at the Alamo never saw their brothers in arms strike down the very Mexican Army that slaughtered them. Never saw their friends and neighbors, outnumbered 2 to 1 or better, charging across the field beside the San Jacinto River shouting “Remember the Alamo” and winning for Texas it’s freedom from tyranny.

Nathan Hale understood a bit of it when standing on the gallows, a rope around his neck, he told the executioner he regretted he had but one life to give for his country. He never saw the end of the revolution and the nation that would rise out of it to bless the world.

I’ve told here the story of Col. John Boyd, who always told his Air Force Tactical Fighter School cadets they could “do something” or “be somebody”. Choose to be somebody and you take the road to promotion, money, power and rank. Choose to do something and you will face persecution, obstacles and loss of position. Choose to be somebody and you will lie, betray, cheat and compromise. Choose to do something and you retain your integrity, remain loyal to your friends and you just may accomplish something worthwhile with your life.

Jesus said, “Lo, I am with you even unto the end of the world.” The end of your personal world may be the gallows as it was for Nathan Hale, early forced retirement as it was for John Boyd or financial ruin as it was for Oskar Schindler, the man who saved the lives of so many Jews and exhausted his fortune during the holocaust because it was the right thing to do.

When Samuel chose the unlikeliest son of Jesse as the future king of Israel, he said of David, “Man looks upon the outward appearance, but the Lord looks upon the heart." I look forward in heaven to enjoying the company of real men. It seems there are so few honorable men here on this sad little planet. If there were not so, how much better off would this world be?

Tom King

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Daisy's Brown Eyes Shining

by Tom King (c) 2010

She ate my sock again today
A gesture that was meant with true affection.
Brown eyes looked up at me for sign
That I approved what lovingly was meant.

And when I barked in my gruff style
She cut those dark brown shining eyes at me
A sadder thing I will not see
A dog's regret for unintended crimes.

(c) 2010 by Tom King - All Rights Reserved