Tuesday, September 30, 2008

An Interesting Addition To The Bail-out Conversation

Most everything you will ever read on my blog will have come out of my own head. Today, however, I post something that came out of the head of Dave Ramsey, Christian financial advisor. This is a very compelling addition to the bail-out conversation. Let me know what you think.

Dave Ramsey's Common Sense Fix

Years of bad decisions and stupid mistakes have created an economic nightmare in this country but $700 billion in new debt is not the answer. As a tax-paying American citizen, I will not support any congressperson who votes to implement such a policy. Instead, I submit the following three-step Common Sense Plan.


a. Insure the subprime bonds/mortgages with an underlying FHA-type insurance.
Government-insured and backed loans would have an instant market all over the
world, creating immediate and needed liquidity.
b. In order for a company to accept the government-backed insurance, they must do two
1. Rewrite any mortgage that is more than three months delinquent to a
6% fixed-rate mortgage.
a. Roll all back payments with no late fees or legal costs into the
balance. This brings homeowners current and allows them a
chance to keep their homes.
b. Cancel all prepayment penalties to encourage refinancing or
the sale of the property to pay off the bad loan. In the event of
foreclosure or short sale, the borrower will not be held liable
for any deficit balance. FHA does this now, and that
encourages mortgage companies to go the extra mile while
working with the borrower—again limiting foreclosures and
ruined lives.
2. Cancel ALL golden parachutes of EXISTING and FUTURE CEOs and

executive team members as long as the company holds these
government-insured bonds/mortgages. This keeps underperforming
executives from being paid when they don’t do their jobs.

c. This backstop will cost less than $50 billion—a small fraction of the current proposal.


a. Remove mark to market accounting rules for two years on only subprime Tier III
bonds/mortgages. This keeps companies from being forced to artificially mark down
bonds/mortgages below the value of the underlying mortgages and real estate.
b. This move creates patience in the market and has an immediate stabilizing effect on
failing and ailing banks—and it costs the taxpayer nothing.


a. Remove the capital gains tax completely. Investors will flood the real estate and stock
market in search of tax-free profits, creating tremendous—and immediate—liquidity in
the markets. Again, this costs the taxpayer nothing.
b. This move will be seen as a lightning rod politically because many will say it is helping
the rich. The truth is the rich will benefit, but it will be their money that stimulates the
economy. This will enable all Americans to have more stable jobs and retirement
investments that go up instead of down.

This is not a time for envy, and it’s not a time for politics. It’s time for all of us, as Americans, to

stand up, speak out, and fix this mess.

Friday, September 26, 2008

PETA, Are You Kidding Me?

I was just forwarded an article that was posted on a news website that details another stunt by People For The Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA). According to the article, representatives from PETA made a pitch to the owners of Ben and Jerry's Ice Cream to replace the cow's milk in their ice cream with human breast milk. The statement said, "If Ben and Jerry's replaced the cow's milk in its ice cream with breast milk, your customers — and cows — would reap the benefits."

Naturally, they go on to admit that it is basically a preposterous notion, yet it is a very telling minority position held by a few wacko extremists. First, one needs to realize that the name of their organization belies their true intent. What sane, thinking person would not want to treat animals in a fair and ethical manner? The problem is PEATTT comes closer to describing the true intention of PETA. That would stand for "People Elevating Animals To The Throne."

The same people opining the plight of the bovine community in supplying our lactose libations, could care less about the plight of unborn babies around the world who are not treated in a very ethical manner. It sickens me when people have a greater concern for animals over which God granted us dominion, than they do for their fellow human beings.

The next time I grab a pint of Chunky Monkey out of Food City's freezer, I will be sure to enjoy it just a little bit more.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

The Frivolous Post Regarding The New TV Lineup

Well, it is that time of year again. Cooler temperatures (Praise Jesus), turning leaves, football and, of course, television. I need to say right here how much I appreciate whoever it was that invented the digital video recorder (DVR). Not since the TV remote and sliced bread have we seen one singular invention transform the cultural landscape. Long live the DVR! Now those of us who have lives and are quite busy can still watch quality programming at a time convenient for us.

Here, in no particular order, is a rundown of my favorites with a few editorial comments:

Heroes- Wow! What a season premiere. Paige and I were quite taken with this show until things started getting a little weird last year. I think the writers strike gave them a chance to get back on the straight and narrow. Good stuff!

Smallville- I posted this and then came back to include this one. Paige and I have seen every episode of Smallville that has existed. We bought a couple of the season DVD sets. I have been a sucker for the Superman franshise ever since I was a little kid watching the black and white Superman series starring the late George Reeves. I have seen all the movies and series since then. Smallville's spin on the whole Superman storyline is original and though some of the episodes have been "throw aways" with very little to do with the main plot lines, on the whole, this has been a winning series. We don't miss an episode.

DWTS- Dancing With The Stars once again does not look like it will disappoint. Cloris Leachman, while funny and entertaining, does not deserve to be moving forward as it is a dance competition and not a comedy competition, but we need to remember that some of the voters are people who are living to advanced ages now and their judgment is somewhat impaired (HAHAHA, I'll hear about that one). Misty May-Treanor is my dark horse favorite.

Criminal Minds- Sometimes I get tired of Thomas Gibson's (Hotch) dark and brooding ways. He was much more likable on "Dharma and Greg." I love this show, however. It is CSI meets Law and Order. Smart AND action-packed. It is must-see-Wednesday-night-after-church TV. Yesterday's season premiere was choice.

Football Night In America- The show that precedes NBC's Sunday night football game. For those of us who get home from church/lunch at 2:00 and are back at church at 4:00 and miss all the Sunday afternoon games, this is a great opportunity to see all the highlights and hear the story lines from the day. You can't beat studio hosts Bob Costas and Chris Collinsworth for the right combination of intelligence and humor. Then you have Keith Olbermann and Dan Patrick together again running the highlights. Two thumbs way up!

The Mentalist- Simon Baker, who previously starred in a lawyer series that I liked but can't recall the name right now, is back as a former "psychic" con artist whose powers of observation make him a huge help to police in solving crimes. Wacky as that may sound, the pilot episode was interesting and holds much promise. This may be a "wait and see" if it lasts, but I thought it was entertaining.

The Unit- Bravado, intelligence, war AND romance- nuff said! Love it!

NCIS- I love Mark Harmon's character, Jethro Gibbs. I am a sucker for the crime genre and I have a great respect for all things military so I have to watch this show.

If you have a few favorites to which I need to pay attention, please leave me a comment to that affect and when I might see your little jewel of a show.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

A Change Is Gonna Come

"I was born by the river...," Sam Cooke's haunting, soulful classic spoke to a generation of African-Americans who had been mired in racial inequality promising a change, long overdue, was gonna come. It reminds us of an undeniable truth of life: Change is inevitable. In every facet of life change must take place. For organisms to grow change and adaptation must be in effect. What is true for organisms is also true of organizations. Business, industry, government and, yes, even churches must change in order to grow. I am biased toward that last type of organization and will spend the rest of this post talking about church change.

When someone starts talking about change in church that someone must be prepared for confrontation. For some reason, people have the misconception that churches are immune to change. The mantra that my Southern Baptists are known for is: "We've always done it that way!" On the contrary, I could make a strong argument for the fact that the church of Jesus Christ, to which all Christ-followers belong, has the sole purpose of seeking change. We want to see lost people changed into children of God and we want to see children of God change every day to be more and more like Christ. In order to be effective at those tasks the church must individually and corporately change to meet the needs of her people.

At Indian Springs, where I serve, we are on the verge of some very important changes. At the present, we offer two worship services and one Bible study hour on Sunday mornings. The church has seen continued growth over the past several years and this Fall we have seen our Bible study numbers exceed 500 on successive Sundays. Classrooms that were made to hold 30-35 people are running over 40 consistently. The bottom line is that we have run out of Bible study space. So on Sunday, September 21 we will go from one Bible study hour to three Bible Study hours at 8:45, 10:00 and 11:10AM.

Along with the change in Bible study hours, we are adjusting the times and meeting places of our two worship services. At 10:00AM, our Worship Celebration with full choir and orchestra will convene in our sanctuary. Those choosing to attend this service can choose either the 8:45 or 11:10 Bible study hours. At 11:10AM, "The Spring" with the praise band will convene in the Student Assembly Center (our old sanctuary). Those attending this service can choose either the 8:45 or 10:00 Bible study hours.

The Spring service is probably the most radical change as it will be meeting in a much more intimate and less formal setting in our newly renovated Student Assembly area. This service has been meeting at 8:30 on Sunday mornings in the sanctuary- not exactly a time that most not-yet-Christ-followers find appealing.

Rest assured many have questioned these changes. Some people have commented, albeit in love, that these changes are forcing church families to make certain choices. Much of it is simply the fear of the unknown. That is understandable. But these changes are not being made to accommodate our church family as harsh as that might sound. These changes are being made so that we may accommodate those individuals who are searching for the answer that is only found in Christ. We must make room for others. Our new administrative/education minister, Joel Brister, aptly pointed out that we must be willing to move over and let someone else have a seat, both literally and figuratively. If we allow personal concern over how change might affect us and our family to outweigh our desire to reach people for Christ, we have grossly misunderstood the command, commission and call of God.

A change is gonna come... and it is going to be amazing to experience. I can't wait. Can you?