Wednesday, April 30, 2008

The Wright Move by Barack Obama

Until yesterday, Democratic Presidential Candidate Barack Obama has a potential millstone tied to his neck and threatening to cripple his campaign if not downright sink it. That millstone was Barack’s former pastor and a person who played a role big or small in his spiritual upbringing. As most people know and have seen, Reverend Jeremiah Wright, the man in question made several inflammatory remarks about the United States, her government and on the issue of race; some with credence such as social injustice in the nation’s history and others that were just ridiculous.

Now, if the most outrageous statements that I have made over my short life and even in the eight and a half years that I have been serving God were looped in short 30 second intervals, I would probably be ostracized by many. I believe that is certainly what happened with the play of the issue in the media when this first broke in March. That said, if that were the case for me, I would like to believe that there would be some repentance on my part if my inaccurate and inflammatory statements clearly wounded people (a common occurrence in my life I might add). Instead over the past few days, Rev. Wright seemingly sort to exploit the attention to further his own personal ventures at the expense of the effect on his church and a friend in Barack Obama who stood by him in light of the statements that were made.

When Barack gave his reverting speech on race in the United States last month in Philadelphia, I applauded the fact that he refused calls to disown his former pastor choosing instead to separate himself from the remarks and give Wright the benefit of doubt that he was grossly mischaracterized based on 30 seconds of the worst things he has said. Former Republican Presidential Candidate and Baptist Pastor Mike Huckabee even came out to his defense citing the era in which Wright grew up in, the sixties where racial tensions and divisions were unlike anything I have ever or probably will ever face. There was a personal element to it for me. I am close to my Pastor and he has helped shaped the person I am today and will be tomorrow and while my pastor might unintentionally create laugh lines for a couple of my friends (you know who you are) with his command of the English language, that is a far cry from the Black Liberation Gospel that Wright subscribed to.

Don’t get me wrong, the church is supposed to stand up and advanced the message of the bible and not adhere to all the practices of our culture. We are called to be in the world but not of it and certainly what is preached goes to that effect but not to preserve a culture that is outside the kingdom of God. In essence, from the leadership down, we strive to protect and enhance kingdom culture wherever we go. I have laughed with my pastor concerning this issue and the prospect that I may someday want to venture into the public eye and that he should watch what he says. But the truth is that I know him and he is a man of character and someone that I can follow now and 30 years from now regardless of whatever position I might be in society, be it a janitor or the CEO of a large corporation.

Back to Rev. Wright, it is clear that with his performances and antics over the past few days, that he was unrepentant for what he said and further yet, he showed no sensitivity to Obama’s campaign and what it was striving to do i.e. lift the conversation of race from one that preyed on hatred to one which found a way for us to begin to close a dirty chapter in this nations history.

For now, it seems like the breakup is complete. It saddens me that it had to come to this. I believe that this is emotionally one of the hardest things that Barack Obama has had to do in his political career but sometimes, the hardest thing to do and the right to are the same…in this case, this was the Wright thing to do.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Rant 2…Hard to go Green without Green

I was inspired by a reader to continue my rant on the issue of going green or for people who don’t understand the lingo, using less energy and taking care of the environment. The same argument could also lend itself to getting people to eat healthy and a host of other issues but for now, let’s talk about being green.

First of all, I would like to say that I am one of the suckers that does believe in global warming and that man does play a role as a catalyst to this effect. How big a role? I am really not that sure but I believe it is a big enough role that it does tip the scales. For those who aren’t believers, I suppose you have a right to your opinion but I would say this…what a man sows, he will reap and it is hard to make the argument that the constant increase of CO2 and his bitter cousin carbon-monoxide can’t possibly be without consequence and a prime example is the smog you see in large cities like Los Angeles and Las Vegas, two cities that I have driven into with a rude shock as to how dirty the air is. At the very least, if we take care of the environment which God has blessed us with and global warming is a fallacy, what do we lose? However, if we continue at this pace, and we destroy irreparably our environment, it is our kids and their kids that pay the price.

Now all that said, I think the governments of the world (yes, not just the United States) and corporations as well as individual citizens all need to be a part of the effort. It doesn’t have to be this uber inconveniencing effort and it could potentially be very rewarding to all there parties involved in the long run. How? Well, for the companies, new revenue stream, for the government, the ability to create new jobs and for the citizens, well, new jobs and the feel good aspect of it. Governments should invest in small businesses that are working on developing these new technologies that reduce dependence on non-renewable sources of energy using tax incentives and protecting their intellectual property better than they are right now. Big corporations should make it financial feasible for customers to actually consider green alternatives. For example, don’t make the hybrid car significantly more expensive than its less fuel efficient counterpart. Don’t charge significantly more for the more energy efficient bulbs when you don’t have to.

I know what the corporate excuse will be…”we are trying to recoup our investment.” Well, that maybe the case but do you not realize that people will buy more if you make your prices more reasonable? Also, you have a case now of cheaply made fakes coming from places like China and that hurts your brand. Don’t charge people to recycle…period. It makes no sense and at that point you are appealing to the “decent nature” of people and listen, they want to help but in hard economic times, no one cares more about being green than getting or keeping more green. Well, this is starting to seem more like a term paper than a blog so I think I will end there.

Before I am done, a word to fellow citizens considering going green, do some research and you will discover amazing things that you can do to cut both the cost of going green and increase the value. Energy efficient light bulbs are great but so it making sure you use less power but turning off everything that doesn’t need to be on. Just a thought and certainly something I need to do more of everyday.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Yesterday was Earth Day...Today, I have a Rant albeit a small one

Yesterday was Earth and of course everyone and their pets get to be conservationist for one day...from Network Stations making their logos green to Web Portals greening out their homepages to (here is my favorite) everyone I pay a bill to asking me to go with "paperless billing." Okay, that is where I draw the line. Yeah, I am centrist and I believe in the environment and I believe we should take care of what has been entrusted with...but here is the problem- None of these companies care enough for the environment care enough to make it worth our while.

What do I mean? They care more about their bottom line than they do about the environment otherwise they would give me an incentive to go paperless...i.e. they would take less paper from me. Seriously, if each of these companies would offer me what it costs them to send me the "papered bill" off my phone bill or bank statement or what other bill they send to me, I would gladly go paperless. Maybe we could share the cost? Meet me half way and lets call it what it is..."SAVING MONEY" not being Green. That's right, at this stage of my life, I care more about saving green than being green. Sometimes, being green (while I believe it is a worthy cause) costs average customers too much green.

This doesn't just apply to billing companies but to the food want to eat healthy, you have to pay a premium and again, another worthy cause that may cost average consumers too much. Anyway, back to my original point...any "biller" who wants me to go paperless must agree to take less coin.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

200th Post...on this particular blog anyway.

Like the title says, this is my 200th blog on this forum anyway but I am sure I have rambled collectively more than 200 times online. No specific rhyme or reason for this post other than me rambling about life in general. So lets get to the highlights...

The University of Kansas just won the NCAA Basketball Championship almost a week ago. I am a fan and my bracket chose them although I didn't win the unofficial pool on facebook...that honor sadly goes to Obi. I did pick the final correctly which he can't boast of. Anyway, it was great the share that victory with many friends. I would talk more about the game but heh, I don't want to.

Another thing of note...I will be a candidate for the CPA exam starting this summer. I know, it is crazy and I don't know what I am thinking. I planned on taking it earlier this year but lets say work got in the way. I am not worried, at least not yet. I know one thing for sure is that I am going NEED GOD to pass. I am planning a small vacation to Florida before I start studying so that should be my calm before the storm. I am going to for sure need a lot of prayers.

As a church, the topics of evangelism and miracles are focuses now and I think they should always be. I think those two issues are critical marks of the call of God on any Christian. I wish I was well versed in both. The common denominator is faith and the bible does call us to live by faith. However, faith often feels like the most elusive part of Christianity. It is not impossible. I think it is key to understand it is through, by and for Jesus i.e. living by faith. I have been reading through the book of Romans and Paul really addresses the issues that we face with failure...we forget that we are in the plan of God. We forget that we have bought into what he is doing not the other way round. We forget that are foot soilders here to carry out his strategy and we are not to be overtly concerned with the strategy but we are to obey. If we have this attitude, we will lose heart less often because it leaves the burden on Jesus.

Well, that's it for me...don't forget to tip your waitresses.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Bed Ridden- 10 Things I am Currently Thinking

It is my second day of being bed ridden due to flu and strep. I had recently bragged at work how I had never missed a day of work due to sickness...well, that streak is over. That said, here is the latest issue of little segment I like to call "10 Things I am currently Thinking"

1. I would really love to see what the earth looks like from the moon and I don't mean pictures. I would like to see it for myself but that probably won't happen.

2. I am wondering if God just wanted to give me a couple of days off. I mean, it is a rough way to take it but I have actually got some much needed rest the past 32 hours.

3. Gas prices are mean

4. I am turning into my father when it comes to what I watch on TV...he watched a lot of CNN while I grew up...I watch a ton of MSNBC. Yikes!

5. This past winter was brutal...but don't I always say that?

6. Blogging is starting to be quite popular among my social circle...strange. I hate to say I was ahead of the movement. Who am I kidding? I have been ahead of the movement.

7. Accounting 2 days away from it has actually been nice.

8. Wikipedia's running list of today's April Fool's Day jokes have been entertaining. Check them out at

9. I may go driving for a few minutes just to say I left the house today.

10. I am grateful for friends like Justin Newman who brought me some Chicken Totilla soup for lunch!