Saturday, November 24, 2007


I sometimes suspect that my fascination with Job is owing to a childish melodramatic interest in tragedy, and any pontification offered on the subject, pedantic, and stemming from a perfunctory knowledge of anguish gleaned from a brief but stormy voyage on the sea of despair, circa 1995. It is also no doubt the brooding indulgence of an occasionally melancholic temperament. ( And I am fully aware that my being transfixed by the trial of Job is no different than a silly sentimental school-girl's obsession with the tragedy of Romeo and Juliet.)

However, the previously mentioned voyage has marked me forever, for better or worse, and forgive me if I seem to have yet to gain my land legs. And if I am to offer anything of the slightest worth, even interest, on this blog, it had better be something that begs my interest, or you will have wasted just as much time reading it as I will have writing it.

Job appears to have been something of an anomaly, from my limited viewpoint. He was extremely wealthy and absolutely devoted to God. According to my knowledge of human nature, when things go well, our appreciation for God can be likened to our appreciation for an Internet connection. When it works well, you really don't think about it, but when you don't have it. . .

This is interesting also, when you consider that Satan insisted that Job served God for the favors. Was he exhibiting an astounding lack of knowledge of human nature, or was he ignoring it in the interest of an opportunity to inflict misery upon a human? Satan's role in this is obscured by the larger story, but it is somewhat mysterious, starting with his presence among the angels before God. What exactly was he doing there, and why was he allowed?

Perhaps the incongruity of an exchange between God and Satan is what has led some to believe that this "Satan"translated "Adversary" means just and only that and that Satan in this case is not the arch-enemy Lucifer whom God banished, but, in fact, God's prosecutor. The problems with that theory are many and significant, not the least of which is the fact that from this premise you must assume that in this particular case God plays prosecutor (intimating Job had committed an act worthy of prosecution and we are nowhere in the book led to believe that he had), defense attorney (at the end of Job God clearly states that Job had done no wrong throughout the whole ordeal, unlike his friends) and judge. ( God settles the wrong done to Job by his friends and rewards him for his consistent resistance to sin.)

The question remains however, why would God allow Satan in His presence? Perhaps we can simply compare the occasion to Satan's temptation of Christ and let it go at that.

One of the first discomforting things about this exchange is you'll notice God Himself first mentioned Job. Thus leading to the discussion as to Job's motives in eschewing evil. God, in His omniscience, obviously knew the course this discussion would take. Some have suggested it was the result of God's pride in Job, and I don't necessarily dispute that although I think it goes deeper than my dad is better than your dad. God saw that the ordeal would benefit Job, which is even more discomforting. If a man like Job, dedicated and blameless and as upright as he was, was in need of being driven closer to God by such horrible disaster, what awaits a lesser man like me around the next corner? Or does God reserve such bitter medicine only for those He trusts enough to take it and crushes a baby aspirin in a spoonful of grape jelly for the rest of us?

The book of Job and stories like it present a giant stumbling block for some. How could God so cruelly, and so unjustly punish one of His most well-behaved children? The question nagged at one Bill Watterson, the creator of the comic strip Calvin and Hobbes. Calvin and his long-suffering tiger are laying awake at night, commiserating and pondering over the meaning of the death of a baby raccoon they had found and adopted. Calvin wonders why the little raccoon had to die, and what a rotten, miserable world fate had fashioned for us. The strip ends with Calvin and Hobbes both hiding under the bed and Calvin stating, "Either it's mean, or it's arbitrary, and either way I've got the heebie jeebies." You could take this as Watterson's denial of a loving God or the plaintive question posed by someone who is just trying to make sense of the world sans God.

More later . . .

who knows how much later

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Is There a Pro-Lifer in the House?

My head is spinning.
How does a Republican presidential candidate who lobbied on behalf of an abortion clinic garner the Oscar for pro-life candidates?
Fred Thompson's latest response to the accusation of abortion lobbying was finally direct, and numbing. (His earliest response to the charge was an ill-conceived attempt at Reaganesque chutzpah. Something to the effect that it was summer and the flies were out. The flies were buzzing around his head alright, but it was mostly because they thought he was dead.)
But after playing coy about it for three months, he finally blurted out his excuse.
That was business, and this is politics, and he doesn't mix the two.
I don't have to extrapolate anything from that admission. He essentially said that profiting from abortion has nothing to do with opposing it. And the truly stunning thing is that he doesn't appear to be the least conflicted about it.
Add to that a television interview in which he was either desperately groping for the tolerance angle or possibly his brain hit the mother of all skip channels.
He stated that he didn't think it was right to consider jailing young women for having abortions.
The host of the interview still has to be scratching his head over that one. Did I ask?
I can't help but sympathize a little with Paul Weyrich and his surprised anger over the NRLC endorsement.
However, Weyrich suggesting that Thompson paid the nation's largest pro-life organization may be a little hasty. And did Weyrich presume that his guy was going to land that endorsement? Mitt Romney was initially pro-life until deciding to run for governor of Massachusetts. He then felt that choice was prudent, until deciding to run for president. Now he's back to pro-life. I wouldn't suggest that the timing was suspicious, merely that I feel sorry for him. All that hand-wringing must be emotionally exhausting.
One thing I can't help but like about John McCain. One thing. He is occasionally the soul of levity and brevity. Upon hearing of Pat Robertson's endorsement of Rudy Guliani, he managed, "Every once in a while, I am left speechless. This is one of those times."
It didn't really surprise me. The only time that Pat surprises me is when he does something normal. In a discussion with a black friend once, we were able to commiserate. "I got Jesse Jackson, and you got Pat Robertson." he said. Baggage neither one of us needed.
I guess I can only say one thing and I say it somewhat reluctantly.
Help, Huckabee.

Not much organization here, just a few thoughts.

Friday, November 02, 2007


Here in Kentucky, we appear to be on the verge of electing a Democratic governor.
We accept your condolences.
Four years ago, Kentucky took one small step forward out of the dark ages and elected Ernie Fletcher, a rising political star in the commonwealth.
It appeared to be part of a nationwide pattern, progressing toward a rational, business-friendly, consumer-friendly Republican paradise.
Once again, we seem to be part of a pattern, regressing toward big government and a tax ceiling higher than the starry host above.
The Democratic machine, after forty years in the governor's mansion, still had its claws dug into every other facet of our state's government, and refused to let go.
Their water boy, Greg Stumbo, the Democratic state AG, trumped up a host of discriminatory hiring charges against the Fletcher administration, and Fletcher spent almost the entirety of his term distracted by a created scandal. At the very worst, and with a liberal dose of fantasy added, Fletcher's hiring practices could be construed as unethical, but it is a painful stretch.
More realistically, it was a small act of retribution against forty years of constrictive Democratic cronyism. Additionally, it was a measure of expediency by Fletcher. He admittedly may have been trying to weed out Democrats in state offices to accelerate his agenda. To which I wished him the best.
This state is notorious for being unfriendly to big business and even more hostile toward the tax-payer. The overall tax rate in Lexington, the second largest city in the state, ranks third or fourth in the nation. From the top, not the bottom. The uncomfortable business environment has led to a mass exodus of the state's biggest business, horses, to states like Florida where they inexplicably believe that business is good for the economy.
The Democrats answer to this is that we must keep up with the times and our neighboring state of Indiana by voting in casinos.
Whether you eschew gambling or not, the support business systems brought in by casinos are somewhere between eighty and ninety percent organized crime.
Yeah, that's good for a party who is pledging to bring back ethics to Frankfort after that deviant Republican's merit hiring scandal.
I always feel a surge of hysteria rising to the surface when I hear Democrats talk about honesty.
Not to mention another big lie they sold when they brought in the powerball lottery.
They promised to shovel a big portion of the "stupid tax" (appropriately so called because the lottery is a tax for people who can't do math) into the education coffers. For the children, you know.
It may come as no surprise that they have not in fact, funded education with the stupid tax as they pledged to do, and would it have helped if they did? Why do we always assume that throwing money at kids will make little light bulbs come on in their eager little heads?
The polls show the Democratic challenger, Steve Beshear, with a fifteen to twenty-four point lead over the incumbent.
I am tempted to indulge in a little irrational exuberance (little Alan Greenspan lingo there) at the news of the statewide school poll. Schoolchildren have re-elected Fletcher by a margin of 54 to 46.
But there's a demographic caveat. Children obviously take their cue from parents, and parents will always prove to be a more conservative voting bloc than singles, college students, or, dare I say it, homosexuals. And that last voting bloc is nothing to sneeze at, with Lexington, once again a topper of dubious lists, the host to one the largest concentrated homosexual populations in the country.
The point is, voters don't care about anything important. They are fickle, astonishingly non-thinking, and apathetic.
Who care about the horses, bring on the casinos.