Relections Of…

As each year closes I think of the events, the happenings as well as the ups and downs of the previous 364 days.  This year has been something else and it seems as if time is going in a whirlwind.  Before we jump too fast into 2009, let’s reflect a bit on what your world was like for the 08.

1. What was your greatest personal success?  A goal you wanted to reach when the year started?

2. What was your most enjoyable time?

3. Did you lose someone significant to death?

4. What made you laugh the hardest?

5. What was your greatest act of kindness?

6. What great blessing did you receive from God or man?

7. Is there something you said or did that you would take back?

8. Discover any great new restaurants that have now become a favorite?

9. What news story rocked your world the most?

10. Favorite movie of 08?

Friday we will talk about goals and dreams for 2009.

**Thank you to all who took the time to visit us here at bbg (blessed, broken, & given) in 2008. 

Happy New Year ~ Grace & Peace – cmac

Bobby Rush, Please SHUT UP!

I was willing to let the new year slide on in on the sports tip…but NAW I can’t now cause of some foolish posturing of Rep. Bobby Rush (Il) over this “appointment” of Roland Burris by the embattled Illinois govenor.

Ya’ll know the basics:  Gov. Rod tried to sell the senate seat and was busted for it – wiretaps and all.  With most everyone on his ASS trying to get him to step the hell down, he defiantly throws Burris right in the faces of the citizens of Illinois and the nation.  Most definitely the governor learned a thing or two about arrogance from Bush and Cheney.

Because Burris is black and on the left right side of Rush’s politics, he wants the other Senators who don’t support the governor making the pick in the first place to accept this selection. 

Now Rush is going all Malcolm Farrakhan and shit “warning” the other senators not to reject a black man.  He is comparing the other senators to Bull Connor and George Wallace if they don’t accept Burris, liking it to a lynching.  WTF? 

Look, I know that there are no other African-American senators.  I know we need more of them.  However, it’s up to us to get them elected into office.  Period.  I think it’s good business sense to appoint an African-American to President Elect Obama’s seat.   Maybe Burris isn’t a bad dude.  The first African-American elected to state wide office, he’s lost every other major election he’s been in since.  Which means the majority of the people don’t want him.  Who knows, maybe he would do a good job and be a shining light to the people of Illinois.  From his lame ass posturing about how his appointment would “take a a major issue off the table” in assuring that Illinois has a full complement of senators in Washington, – Oh please spare me.  The truth is Burris has wanted to be senator for a long time.  The point is I don’t care if he is the Dahli fuckin Lama – he was appointed by a man facing corruption charges for selling the same seat.  If he was appointed after the governor stepped down by whatever means the state decided, that would be fine.  This shit here is whack though!  The president elect agrees that Burris’  appointment shouldn’t fly.  But Rush persist in using racial rhetoric to try to force this through. 

I mean damn! Black folks have to be consistent.  And Rush is full of shit!  If Blagojevich would have appointed someone with the politics of Alan Keyes or Larry Elder, he would not be pontificating about constitutional fucking law.  He would be calling Al Shapton to march.  And it ain’t no secret that Rush and Obama have some political history back from 2000 when Obama lost to Rush for the same seat Rush is in now while Obama is on his way to 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.  Can you say, “Hater in the house!”

Alan Keyes

Anyone who knows me knows that my politics are as black as a trillion midnights!  But Rush sounds like a damn fool!  And he and others who subcribe to letting this shit slide the way it’s being done for the sake of blackness needs to shut the fuck up!  You are flat our WRONG!

NFL Addition ~ Denver Broncos I give you Bill Cowher!

Let me run down the math:

1. Jets coach Eric Mangini gets fired.

2. Bill Cowher says he is interested in talking to the Jets about a coaching position. 

3. Jets GM Mike Tannenbaum says he’s not opposed to sharing duties with a coach like Cowher.

4. Bronoc’s Fire Mike Shanahan – who is beloved by owner Pat Bowlen and has been untouchable even in dark times before and after they won 2 Super Bowls.

5. Coach Cowher says he is no longer insterested in coaching the Jets.

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure this one out.  Cowher took a couple years off since leaving Pittsburgh.  He has the itch again to coach.  The Jets were ok… but not a storied franchise like the Steelers.  But with big time dollars and GM duties, he could have done a Bill Parcells (Buy the groceries and cook the meal.)  No way he goes to that cesspool of a team The Cleveland Browns.  Denver siezes the opportunity and calls Coach Cowher. 

Broncos – “Bill, you want some of this?”

Coach Cowher – “I can’t talk about that, you have a coach!”

Broncos – “Well we can take care of that.”

Coach Cowher – Well then call me back when you do.”   click

 It all makes sense.  Like the Steelers, the Denver Broncos are an institution not just a team.  They have a fan base across the country.  Their seats are never empty.  No one cares about the Rockies.  This is yet another place where Cowher can be king.

The only coach with a name and reputation better than Shanahan’s at the moment is Bill Cowher’s.  It’s a match made in Bronco heaven.

I waited for ESPN to make this connection last night.  But because they are so controlled by the NFL’s marketing team, they wanted to wait so it won’t look so bad for the Jets.  They didn’t want to have the appearance out there that there was a quid pro quo for firing Shanahan.  So they will let it ride for at least 24 hours I suppose… maybe let the New Years bowl hype take over.  That’s ESPN for you though.. a thoroughly predictable non-journalistic institution. 

I called my friend Paula today.  She, along with her husband Curtis and son Demetrius are from Denver and are die hard Bronco honks.  She hadn’t made the connection yet – but was happy to hear the good news.

Since I love the Steelers, I can’t help but be happy for Cowher.  He kept us relevant every year and gave us a Super Bowl.  After taking some time off to enjoy his family, I ain’t mad at him!

I also have people in Pittsbugh who have four season tickets on the lower bowl at Heinz Field.  I already called to get dibs on a ducket when the Broncos visit.

Happy New Year Denver!

Political Game of Chicken? Gov. Rod still “acting like” the Gov, Names Replacement to Senate Seat

 

In the “up your nose with a rubber hose” move of the day.  Rod Blagojevich is naming himself a Senator by the name of Roland Burris, a former Illinois Attorney General.   After serving stints in the state as a state Comptroller prior to the AG’s position, Burris has done his thing on the political consulting tip with his firm, Burris & Lebeb Consulting, LLC. 

What is the next move for the people of my home state?  Will they fight this appointment or what?  Is Gov. Rod offering him up as a trojan horse knowing he won’t get to hold the seat?  And did they have to meet in a park somewhere to agree on what the payoff would be?

That’s what I really want to know! 

Grandson’s Baptism~

Well I hadn’t seen my new grandson Xavier William since he was born.  But I had occasion to attend his baptism service which was conducted according to the Lutheran faith of his parents.  He was just toooo handsome in his little Christening suite.  He looks just like his mom when she was a baby! 

Anyway it was a joyous occasion though I was feeling a bit under the weather. 

I look forward to keeping Lil X in the new future overnight.

*Pictured 1. Xavier with his parents Justin and Chrystal and the pastor, 2. The sprinkling, 3. X and Grandad

First to the “L” Word May Determine Direction of the Relationship?

I came across this article from cnn.com and it basically says that women should NOT be the first to say, “I love you” in a relationship. 

The ironic part to me is that a feminist wrote the article who also believes it’s perfectly fine for a woman to ask a man out, make the first move, and even propose.  She believes these three words however opens a bit of a “Pandora’s Box”. 

… I love you” uttered too soon, before the man has processed his feelings and reached the same level of adoration could end a relationship that just as easily could have had an eternal shelf life. As soon as those words are said, they change the dynamic. If a man isn’t feeling the love quite yet, he may suddenly feel pressure to manifest that emotion. And if the woman doesn’t get the response she expected, it could damage her confidence enough to derail the whole relationship entirely.

I have my own views on this subject, and I have heard others as well that agree with some of the beliefs from the author.  However, never with the caveat that a woman can basically do everything but utter the ‘L’ word first. 

I would gather to guess that my female feminist friends would not agree with any limitations set on them within a relationship.  Equally though I feel most of them have more traditional standards than they readily admit to.

So where do you the reader come out on this?  Is it fair game for women to do whatever in pursuing a man?  Or should she take a more conservative approach and allow the man to pursue and ‘conquer’ or win her heart?

True Sexy! Celebrating the Life of Eartha Kitt

 

What can you say about this legend.  In this day an age when some female performers show as much skin and cleavage as they can, non could match the sexiness and elegance of Eartha Kitt.  Kitt could merely talk and purr like a kitten and she could have her way on any given day.

My first rememberance of Kitt was when she starred as The Cat Woman on the Batman television series.  She had a body that could kill and a style that was second to none.  Always confident and commanding respect.

Kitt left us on Christmas Day 2008 at the age of 81.  After her many accomplishments and such a stellar career, I don’t find it strange that she would depart on a day when her most famous piece of work is most revered.  “Santa Baby,” is her signature card – and when listening to it… my favorite line is,

“Santa Baby, forgot to mention on I just need one little thing… a ring.   I don’t mean on the phone.”

She meant that stuff too!

Anyway – she will be missed!  Today we celebrate the life of Eartha “Miss Kitty” Kitt.

Best Female Athlete

I wonder if anyone has ever had as great a year as Candace Parker.  Coming off a National Championship at the University of Tennessee in 2007, Parker let the Lady Vols to a second straight title before being the top pick in the WNBA draft.  The Los Angeles Sparks went from worst to first and won the WNBA title in August.  But it doesn’t stop there!  Parker also led the US Olympic Team to an another undefeated record on their way to the Gold Medal. 

Since high school Parker has won all sorts of personal awards.  This year alone she was a Kodak All American, SEC Tournament MVP, John Wooden Award winner, ESPY Best Female Athlete, the WNBA Rookie of the Year and league MVP, and now AP Female Athlete of the Year.  Candace is also a very engaging young woman who earned the respect of such veterans as Lisa Leslie who is a former WNBA champion and MVP herself.  Normally a rookie that comes in with such accomplishments may not fit in as well as the veterans.  But Candace has done the opposite.  She can play with anyone and is a leader wherever she goes.

The future is bright for Candace Parker.  Congratulations to her and other female athletes who aspire to excellence!

Ideals vs Ridiculous Ideologies

          

I have had some pretty heated debates with blogger buddies as well as personal friends regarding the extreme reaction of the liberal and gay communities regarding President Elect Barack Obama’s choice of Rick Warren to participate in his inauguration.  I am on record as saying that any wise group will learn to pick their battles and that there are differences between ideals and ideologies.  To me ideas should be fought for.  The ideal of equal rights or equal pay for women for instance.  Ideologies are often a set of extreme beliefs that people try to push off on others.  I’ll give you an example:

So did you hear the story about the woman in Florida who says she got fired because she refused to answer the company phone with the greeting, “Happy Holidays,” because it was a against her religious views not to say Merry Christmas?  Well apparently she felt it was selling out to the mainstream to say anything generic regarding the day commemorating the birth of Christ.  Nevermind that we live in a diverse nation and some people don’t celebrate Christmas.  Nevermind that some people celebrate Hanukkah, some Kwanzaa and others none of the above.  Oh no, she couldn’t stomach the thought of considering that for one minute.  Instead she decided to buck her boss’s wishes and go “rebellion” by doing her own thing.

I have been in church circles long enough to know where this comes from.  Its the evangelical victimization thinking that Christmas and Christ are under attack by a liberal god hating society.  I remember having a discussion with a former co-worker who refused to go to the company “holiday party” as long as it was called a holiday party and not a “Christmas” party.  He wanted me to sign on to a petition to change the name.  I wasn’t buying it.  I know that some people are turned off by Christians bombarding them with their beliefs.  I know that some anal ACLU types like to drive the city looking for nativity scenes in public places so they can try to legally have them removed.  There is a battle for control of the culture.  Both sides of these and other arguments are often trivial to the big picture in terms of what we lack most in this country – RESPECT FOR OTHERS and their beliefs.  Both the woman in the above story and the anti-Christians are ridiculous in my view.  But I will deal with the Christians on this rant.

I have a few questions for Ms. Tonia Thomas and people who believe as she does – that to say “Happy Holidays” is some sort of sin.

1) Is there a Christmas Holiday in the bible?

2) Is there any record in the bible (which you believe is the authentic Word of God) of Christians yearly celebrating the birth of Christ – similar to the Jewish faith in celebrating the Passover?

3) Was Jesus born on December 25th?

The answer to all of these is a resounding NO!

Memo to Tonia Thomas and others who pontificate on such ridiculous treaties:  You can choose to celebrate Christmas anyway you desire.  That is what freedom is all about.  But to lose your job over whether you say Merry Christmas or not is ludicrous!  For one that is your JOB!  You work for a company.  That company has an owner or ownership group.  The powers that be get to decide how they want to greet their customers!  When YOU own your own business, you can say Merry Christmas, Praise the Lord, hell you can speak in tongues if you want to cause its YOUR business!  It’s no strike against your religion, nor is is a diss to Christ to say Happy Holidays.  I am sure Jesus is not turning cartwheels because you thought you were making a stand but merely lost your job because of your insubordination.  (Look that up in the bible about obeying those whom you work for)  I know you really thought you were doing something.  But sorry; this isn’t like someone asking you to deny your faith or worship Baal.  You allowed someone at church to soup you up into believing this rhetoric.  And it’s a shame.  But this is why folks can’t get along today.  You are NOT going to win over any of your secular friends by being a blow hard at a job that you don’t own over how to answer the phone that you don’t pay the bill on.  You are no martyr like Paul or John.  And Barack Obama won the election too – so get over yourself!  Folks are losing their jobs at an alarming rate all over the country, and you refuse to answer the damn phone the way they ask you to.  How stupid is that?  If I was your boss I would have fired your ass too.  “What you can’t do what I ask and I am paying you?  BYE!”

 menorahKwanzaa Clip Art

 

Glad I got that off my chest.  I’ve officiated more than a few basketball games in December.  A lot of them at Christian and Catholic schools.  When I congratulate a coach or shake his/her hand, it’s come quite naturally for me to say, “Merry Christmas” as I understand this is a special time for them.  I’ve celebrated Christmas as a child.  And at the same time never taught my kids to believe in Santa Clause nor expect me to break the bank for toys and gifts.  As well I will never question, judge, or disrespect my friends who teach Santa to their kids, no revere the Advent season.  It’s all about respect!  We need to learn to do more of that.

There are times to protect religious beliefs.  And there are times when folks are just plain silly and trivial. 

With that said, Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Kwanzaa, and Happy Holidays. 

Peace and God Bless~

 

Rick Warren ~ Controversial Figure Finds Himself in the Middle

This is an article from Rachel Dodd a religion writer for the AP.  I think it brings some interesting reflections on where Warren (a Christian who does not believe in gay rights and abortion – but who has not been a vocal blowhard on either topic) finds himself.  I see him as a person wanting to bridge a gap between the two sides where they can see eye to eye on at least a human level.  At the same time I think both sides are trying to force him choose a side. 

 Rick Warren’s biggest critics: Other evangelicals

By RACHEL ZOLL
AP Religion Writer 

Rick Warren is in a place he never expected to be: at the center of a culture war.

 The pastor chosen by President-elect Barack Obama to give the inaugural invocation backed Proposition 8, which banned gay marriage in his home state of California. But he did so belatedly, with none of the enthusiasm he brings to fighting AIDS and illiteracy. 

When other conservative Christians held stadium rallies and raised tens of millions of dollars for the ballot effort, there was no sign of Warren. Neither he nor his wife, Kay, donated any of their considerable fortune to the campaign, according to public records and the Warrens’ spokesman. 

In fact, his endorsement seemed calculated for minimal impact. It was announced late on a Friday, just 10 days before Election Day, on a Web site geared for members of his Saddleback Community Church, not the general public. 

For gay rights advocates, that strategy was nothing more than an attempt to mask Warren’s prejudice. They were outraged that Obama decided last week to give a place of honor to a pastor they consider a general for the Christian right. 

Lost in the uproar was the irony of Warren’s plight. Ever since he began his climb to prominence in the 1980s, he has battled complaints from fellow evangelicals that he isn’t nearly conservative enough. 

“The comments from many of the evangelicals further to the right of him are often critical for his lax stance on their passionate issues,” said Scott Thumma, a professor at Connecticut’s Hartford Seminary who researches megachurches and writes about the challenges for gay and lesbian Christians. 

On paper, Warren might look like any other religious traditionalist. He is the son of a Southern Baptist pastor, graduate of a Southern Baptist seminary, and his megachurch in Orange County is part of the conservative denomination. 

But Warren holds a different worldview than his roots suggest. 

He has spoken out against the use of torture to combat terrorism. He has joined the fight against global warming and, encouraged by his wife, has put his prestige and money behind helping people with AIDS. The Warrens have done so at a time when a notable number of conservative Christians still consider the virus a punishment from God. 

“If you want to save a life, I don’t care what your background is and I don’t care what your political party is,” Warren said in a recent interview with The Associated Press. “I think some of these humanitarian issues transcend politics, or ethnic or religious beliefs.” 

While many religious conservatives openly condemn Islam as inherently evil, Warren reaches out to the American Muslim community. This past Saturday, he gave the keynote address at the convention of the Muslim Public Affairs Council, based in Los Angeles. 

“His social consciousness is somewhat left of center, but his theological, ethical stance is right of center,” said the Rev. William Leonard, a critic of the Southern Baptist Convention and dean of Wake Forest Divinity School in North Carolina. “That’s the thing that makes him potentially a bridge person.” 

Warren’s outlook has come at a price. Many from the Christian right don’t trust him. 

A registered independent who does not endorse candidates, he has called old guard evangelical activists too partisan and overly focused on gay marriage and abortion. 

In the run-up to the Saddleback forum he led last August with Obama and Republican Sen. John McCain, those giving Warren the most grief were conservatives. They were convinced he wouldn’t be tough enough on Obama. (Obama wound up stumbling in his appeal to religious voters while answering Warren’s question about when a baby gets human rights. Obama said it was “above his pay grade” to respond “with specificity.”) 

“For probably the last 25 years, evangelicalism became co-opted, and for most people it became a political term,” Warren said. “And it got identified with a certain style of political leanings.” 

The attacks on Warren stretch to how he presents the Gospel – watered-down and soft, according to his theologically traditional critics. 

Warren’s phenomenal best-seller, “The Purpose Driven Life,” which has sold more than 30 million copies worldwide, partly reflects the self-help ethos of baby boomers, although he insists it isn’t an advice book and he defends its religious content. 

Still, the tone of his writing is deliberate. Warren, 54, is among a generation of pastor-CEOs who use marketing studies, polling and census data to create congregations that will attract people who never go to church. One of Warren’s most important mentors was the late Peter Drucker, considered the father of modern management. 

Warren started Saddleback with one other family in 1980 in California, a state with one of the lowest percentages of churchgoers in the country. Saddleback now draws more than 22,000 worshippers each week. 

As the church grew, so did the critiques. “The pioneers get the arrows,” he says. 

Warren survives the pounding partly because of his personal integrity. He donates 90 percent of his many millions in book royalties back to the church. He says he stopped taking a salary from Saddleback six years ago. No scandals have tainted his ministry. 

He is also one of the savviest leaders among his peers. 

His speaking invitations range from church groups to the Davos World Economic Forum and the United Nations. Saddleback’s reach is now so broad, it’s nearly its own denomination. 

Warren provides sermons, study materials and guidance to hundreds of thousands of clergy worldwide through pastors.com and his other Web sites. Warren’s “40 Days of Purpose” spiritual campaigns have been conducted in more than 20,000 churches, and he recently joined forces with Reader’s Digest to launch a multimedia global juggernaut based on his “Purpose Driven” writing. 

Now he is trying to revolutionize faith-based humanitarian work through his P.E.A.C.E. program. It unites local churches, businesses and governments to fight poverty and disease, promote peace, and combat what he calls spiritual emptiness. The pilot project for this effort began in 2005 in Rwanda, which has been dubbed the first “purpose-driven nation.” 

It is no surprise that he and Obama have become friendly. Each tries to operate outside a strict liberal-conservative divide, and has risked angering his supporters to do so. 

“You can’t have a reformation without somebody opposing it,” Warren says. “If I wasn’t making a difference, nobody would be paying attention.”

Associated Press Writer Lisa Leff contributed to this report. 

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