Tribute to my friend

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Tonight I threw out Dingo’s food and water bowls.  Sounds like no big deal right? Well, if you love animals and your pets are your family, its tough. Very tough.

She was only three when I met her.  She lived a long and very healthy life despite running into the front tires of a pickup truck when she was young; and hanging herself out the car window as well.  Its a wonder she lived so long.

She was my baby girl.  She was my friend.  When I first moved to the United States while I was waiting for my permit to work, I had to stay home with her while Debbie worked.  So it was just the two of us.  She was the first dog who was truly my own.

She had purple ribbons on when I got here that night.  She made me laugh.  People asked what she was.  She seemed like part raccoon.  She used to sleep in a cage but then she learned to pick the lock from the inside and escape.  She used to use her paws to eat peanut butter off a spoon like a raccoon would.  She barked her fool head off at school buses and bicycles.  She was a comic.  We love her and miss her.  RIP Dingo and play with Jasper and Stormy.  We’ll see you later.

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Theology on tv

Yesterday, I was out at my mother in law’s house spending time with her wild and crazy lovable Bassador named Lucy.  She has satellite tv so I looked for something to watch and found “Seventh Heaven.” Yeah, cheesy. I know.  But I watched it anyways.  It was one of those special episodes about serious topics: this one had to do with hunger.  I don’t tend to cry over a tv show very often but this one did it.

In a country where we have vast resources and more than enough food to feed the entire world if need be, people who live here lay in bed and worry how they’re going to feed their kids the next day.  This should not be the case.  I know the old Protestant work ethic says

For even when we were with you, we commanded you this: If anyone will not work, neither shall he eat. (2 Thessalonians 3:10)

But does that give us an excuse to write off all the poor and needy, and even those who are working as hard as they can and just don’t make enough money to buy food after they’ve paid for their living space and utilities?  No.  I suspect that most people who are trying to feed their families aren’t lazy; they are hard working and just don’t make enough money because wages have not kept up with inflation.

Too many people stop at verse 10 in this passage and think to themselves “that person doesn’t work so they shouldn’t eat.”  They never read the following verse which puts this one into context.  It has noting to do with people who can’t work and it has nothing to do with poor people.  It has everything to do with this:

For we hear that there are some who walk among you in a disorderly manner, not working at all, but are busybodies. (v.11) NKJV

The ones who shouldn’t eat aren’t the poor.  They’re not the over worked and under paid.  They’re the people who refuse to work when they’re able to, who would rather spend their time living and acting in a disorderly manner, rather than working a job.  They are into everyone else’s business: they are busybodies.  We have to read Scripture in context brothers and sisters.  If we don’t do this, one could make the Bible say “Judas hung himself…go and do likewise.”  That wouldn’t be good.

Not only should we not misinterpret this passage but we should interpret this one correctly as it is very clear:

41 “Then He will also say to those on the left hand, ‘Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels: 42 for I was hungry and you gave Me no food;… (Matthew 25:41,42 a) NKJV

Jesus was saying that he was hungry and those on his left did not feed him; elsewhere in Scripture he extends this to all people.  If we see someone who is hungry and don’t feed him, we have denied the faith, and we have sinned against God.

It is time we put aside our self righteous indignation at those we feel “are lazy” and do what the Lord says:  feed the hungry.  If we do, we are honoring God.

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Words for the wise

It is 2015…did I miss something?  Wasn’t the advent of the Internet supposed to bring the world closer together?  Remember the old Coke commercial that so earnestly wanted to teach the world to sing in perfect harmony?  Remember “Can’t we all just get along?”

I remember.  And I’m frustrated with the lack of progress in our so-called progressive society.  The problem is that I am part of the problem.  Instead of using the Internet for positive purposes and instead of going on Facebook to simply enjoy funny pictures of God’s funniest creation: the loyal basset hound; or to talk to family and friends, I waste so much time letting my own self be drawn into ridiculously stupid arguments that have no substantial purpose in this world whatsoever.  I’m embarrassed of myself, and yet, disappointed in humanity.

Seriously! Can’t we all just get along? The answer is no.  Sure, we can do our part to try and get along with everyone but there will always be someone out there who just hates.  That’s the bottom line; they just hate.  Themselves, their lives, the barking dog next door, etc.  So they go on Facebook and make everyone else’s lives miserable.  I’ve done that myself and I’m ashamed of myself.  Better to just avoid those kinds of people in the first place and talk with friends and family.  And of course, laugh at pictures of basset hounds.

I believe that the Bible is the very words of God and He gives us advice on dealing with miserable hateful people that want nothing but to destroy your day, if not your life.  In Proverbs 1:10-11,15-16  it says

My son, if sinners entice you,

Do not consent.

If they say, “Come with us,
Let us lie in wait to shed blood;
Let us lurk secretly for the innocent without cause;…

My son, do not walk in the way with them,
Keep your foot from their path;

For their feet run to evil,
And they make haste to shed blood.

The advice is to be wise and not give them consent.  Don’t give them the permission, let alone, the opportunity to argue with you, falsely accuse you of things, or just plain bash you.  Avoid them and leave them to themselves to wallow in themselves.

I’m thankful for my helper, my wife, who helps me understand things in a way I haven’t seen them before.  This is the advice I’ve received from Scripture and the advice I give to anyone who wishes to receive it.  God is good, all the time.  And so are pictures of basset hounds.

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The way it is

Lately I have taken a deeper look into myself and my life.  Attending a prospective student event at a seminary and walking a labyrynth (as many Christians have done for over a thousand years) have caused me to see that I want to grow in my faith and I haven’t been living consistently to my beliefs for a long time.

How so? I have a bit of an issue with anger.  Say the wrong thing to me in person (or on Facebook) and I experience tightened muscles, increased heart rate, and a seething anger that I am surprised has never resulted in me snapping and getting free room and board for some amount of time.  My wife has even said I’m like a bull in a china shop, to which I laughed in response, but now wish I just wasn’t.  Mind you, I don’t believe it’s wrong to be angry and I’m going to get angry again in my life.  I just believe that in my anger, I should not sin.  There is no reason to make others suffer because I am angry.

Ephesians 4:25-27 says

“Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to your neighbor, for we are all members of one body.In your anger do not sin’ :Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry,  and do not give the devil a foothold.”  

Long story short, I’ve had a few things set me off the last few days but one thing I’ll mention…I was reading a site claiming to list the differences between the ELCA (which I am a member of) and the Missouri-Synod Lutheran church.  It said that the ELCA does not take the Bible seriously, and this approach comes through in seminary classes.  That they use a critical study approach and say that the authors of some of the books aren’t who “the church” believes them to be.  No.  They don’t do this.  Some professors do; some don’t.  However, they believe you need to learn the issues that ARE out there; the challenges that pastors WILL face from those who may think and believe differently from them.  In short, it makes me angry when people don’t take the time to do their research before making ridiculous claims about another group.  As for the ELCA’s stance on homosexual pastors and marriage: EVERY church is free to believe/teach their own particular belief on the matter.   If a member doesn’t agree, they are free to leave and attend another church that is more in line with their beliefs.  Like almost every other church and denomination in the United States and around the world.

 

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What determined the future of North America?

Ask anyone what really set the path for the future of the Western hemisphere in general, and the North American continent specifically and you will get different answers for sure.  Some will say the first settlers in Jamestown.  Others, maybe they’ll say the colonists who landed at Plymouth Rock.  And many will say the Revolutionary War, which established the independence of the United States of America.  All of these are plausible answers but they aren’t the answer that I would give.  What really set the path for the future of North America?

The French and Indian war…and not only that…but the Battle of Quebec.  Yep, on the Plains of Abraham in Quebec, the future direction of the North American continent was set.

Prior to that battle North America was divided between the Spanish, the French, and the British.  The Native Americans were also in the picture (I won’t call them Indians).  At that time the French controlled Quebec and the British wanted to take it so that they could control the St. Lawrence River which flowed to the Atlantic Ocean, making it the most important river on the continent.  Whoever controlled Quebec had the power.  When the British won the Battle of Quebec, they gained control over the seaway and they eventually won the French and Indian war.

After the war, they had to keep troops in North America to defend it against further attack.  The American colonists had been smuggling goods because the British had imposed a 6% tax on them.  The British realized they were not making any money so they cut the tax to 3% and the American colonists still weren’t happy.  They didn’t want to pay any taxes and they did not feel they needed the British to defend them anymore.  The seed of independence was planted in the minds and hearts of many of the colonists, and they eventually declared independence which caused the Revolutionary War. Had the British not won the French and Indian war they may have no longer had any troops in North America and there may have never been a war for American independence.

Thus, the Battle of Quebec set the future path that the North American continent would take.  If it hadn’t have been for the British winning that war, there may never be a United States of America.

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New Year’s message

Every New Year’s Eve I feel a slight sadness, even though I celebrate the coming year with hope.  As my wife can attest, I simply hate change. That’s all there is to it.  I get used to it being a certain year and I don’t want it to change.  It helps to reflect on the past year though and remember the good and the bad.

This past year we had many problems with our van.  My dad had back surgery that hasn’t seemed to help so he needs another one.  We had a terrible drought and we didn’t even have snow until the day after Christmas. Who wants snow the day after Christmas? I also was not able to make it back to Windsor for one single day all year.

Those are some of the bad; but there was plenty of good too.

My wife and I celebrated our fifth wedding anniversary in her favorite way: camping.  It didn’t even rain either, and it always rains when I go camping.  We had a wonderful time; I wish the weather would always be that great for camping.  I graduated from Ivy Tech with honors and just finished my first semester at IUSB with pretty good grades.  I became an American citizen and I got to vote in the presidential election.  I had 366 days to enjoy with my wife and our dogs, and some of my family visited at various times throughout the year. 

So like me, you’ve no doubt experienced good and bad this past year and we’d live in a fantasy world if we believed we’d experience no good or no bad in the upcoming year.  But despite any bad that may come, I hope that you have a prosperous new year, that you experience the love of God, the friendship of people, and the joy that comes from pets.  Throw out your techy gadgets and get a dog. 🙂  

Happy New Year folks, but remember the old one.

Brian

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Thank you Grandpa

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With it being the day after Remembrance Day, I wanted to post this picture.  This was my grandfather Earl George Pinnegar’s regimental plaque from when he was in the military. He served in WW2 with the Royal Canadian Engineers.  He was very proud that when my brother and I were in army cadets it was with the mechanical engineers corps in Windsor.  Thanks to my brother Sean for posting this photo.  Thank you for serving your country Grandpa, and I miss you.

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Freedom of speech or fundamentally stupid?

As reported by WSBT news in South Bend, Indiana, Jim Nicely is getting a lot of notice for hanging his American flag upside down.  

http://www.wsbt.com/news/wsbt-south-bend-man-flying-flag-upside-down-20121108,0,2075300.story 

As someone who has pledged allegiance to this Republic and to the flag for which it stands, I find this appalling.  Hanging the flag upside down is something that the military, and they alone, do in cases of emergency.  Being disturbed at the results of the election does not entail an emergency.  Mr. Nicely, you have every right to your opinion, even that you think the country is headed in the wrong direction.  But you don’t have the right to fly the flag upside down.  Elections are how we decide on who our leaders will be and the people have spoken.  In four years you will get another shot at it.  

Had the opposite happened and Mitt Romney won, with a liberal flying their flag upside down; people would have been clamoring for the offender to be shot.  Now because the President won re-election, it is suddenly okay for someone to do this? No, it is despicable and although not a punishable crime it is something the guy should be ashamed of.  Is he having a personal emergency and expecting the military to show up at his front door? If that were the case, this would be understandable.  But I simply don’t understand it.  Neither would the people who wrote the United States flag code.  

http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/4/8  tells us that the US flag code says:

(a) The flag should never be displayed with the union down, except as a signal of dire distress in instances of extreme danger to life or property

After reading this, what patriotic person would EVER fly their nation’s flag upside down?  Not this one.   

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First time voting

Yesterday my wife and I went to vote.  It was the first time I have voted in this country and it had been a while since I voted in Canada.  So I enjoyed the experience.  I refused to sit on a chair on the side of the room and instead, I chose to wait so I could go sit behind the cardboard box with the flag on it so I can vote like you’re supposed to vote.  The ladies there thought that was cute. I took a photo of my ballot and Debbie took some photos of me outside in front of the flag and election signs.

Some of my guys won but a couple of them lost.  In the end, the people have spoken and despite any rhetoric you might hear, we still live in a free country and it is going to stay that way. God bless you, and God bless the United States of America. And the rest of the world.

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It’s here!

The time has finally come.  I have been waiting for this day since I became a citizen of the United States.  Today is election day and I am excited!  I just dropped my wife off at work, I have no classes today, and so I will count down the hours until I put on the American eagle/flag shirt that my wife bought me and go and do my civic duty/Constitutional right to vote.  

I know who I am voting for and I have many friends who are voting for the other guy.  It has made things rather difficult at times during this nasty campaign but I hope when it is finally over, we can put aside our political differences and support whomever our President happens to be.  After all, how can our totalitarian enemies see that our system of freedom and liberty is any better than theirs unless we choose of our own free will to support our President even when we disagree.  They will be flabbergasted as in their countries, they are required sometimes at the threat of death, to support their ruler.  

Not only would it keep harmony among friends who have different political leanings and astonish people in less than free countries, but it is the biblical thing to do.  Romans 13 teaches that the governing authorities are placed there by God and we are to submit to them, as Jesus submitted to the point of death.  If an innocent man can submit to the authorities to the point of death, is it too difficult for us to support our President even if we don’t agree with him?

Anyways, I wish everyone a good day and urge all my fellow Americans to go out and vote.  And God bless America. 

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