2013 Pigskin Picks of Profundity…..Week 11

I was hoping for a really good rebound after an abysmal Week 9, and I guess it could have been worse. Baylor destroyed Oklahoma. I totally didn’t see that coming. I rolled the dice on LSU giving Alabama a game but instead they were trounced by 3 TDs. On the flip side the Ravens did beat the Bengals, Stanford upset Oregon, & Wisconsin rolled over BYU. Zach & I both went 3-2, meaning our season looks like this:

Your Humble Potentate of Profundity   =             26-24

Zach                       =                             22-28

We’re doing all college games again this week and I’m even giving you a bonus pick. I’m generous like that. Can I keep my head above water?? Will Zach have an awesome week and take the season lead?? Stay tuned!!

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Georgia                at            Auburn (-3.5)

georgiaNeither of these teams would seem to have a realistic shot at playing in the SEC championship, but both could still end up in a rather pleasant auburn(and profitable) post-season spot like the Cotton Bowl or Chick-Fil-A Bowl (the old Peach Bowl). The Bulldogs have had an up & down season after some lofty pre-season expectations. Conversely, I don’t think anyone would have predicted such a solid season for Auburn after a 3-9 campaign in 2012, yet here they are riding a 6 game winning streak, including an upset of the Johnny Manziel & the Aggies in College Station, TX. Not only is this a classic trap game for Auburn (archrival & #1 team in the country Alabama await in a couple of weeks), but I am just not convinced that they are better than Georgia. Conversely, Zach is all in on Auburn and thinks they’ll win this one handily.

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Michigan St. (-6.5)           at            Nebraska

nebraskaThe Spartans have snuck up on just about everyone this season, although I’d be remiss if I didn’t humbly point out that I ranked them 22nd in Michigan_State_Spartansmy pre-season Top 25. Meanwhile, the Cornhuskers have flown somewhat under the radar for some reason. The winner of this contest will be in the driver’s seat to face Ohio St. in the Big Ten (which has 12 teams) title game. I had the Cornhuskers as a Top 10 team in the pre-season and still don’t think they are that bad. I am a bit surprised that they aren’t currently ranked. That would change with an upset here, and that is exactly what I am predicting. Zach is still smarting from the Spartans spanking his Wolverines but he did learn a healthy respect for the Michigan St. defense and believes that will be the key in a big 3 touchdown victory.

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Oklahoma St. (-3)            at            Texas

My WV Mountaineers have been in The Big 12 (which has ten teams) for two seasons now and I still can’t get a good read on the conference. Just when I think I texashave things figured out something weird happens. It seems like just yesterday there was buzz about Texas ridding itself of longtime head coach Mack Brown, but since then the Longhorns have reeled off 6 straight victories and now find themselves ranked in the Top 25 and not out of conference title contention (although they have to hope Baylor crumbles which seems unlikely). Meanwhile the Cowboys still just have that one perplexing loss to the ‘Eers marring their season. As much as I like Oklahoma St. and think they are a fine team it feels to me like the early season drama woke up a sleeping giant in Austin, TX and Coach Brown has something to prove. Texas just hired a new athletic director and I’m sure he’s pondering whether or not a change is necessary. A home victory this week would render the point moot, which is exactly what I think will happen. Zach concurs.

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Houston               at            Louisville (-16)

We haven’t picked a lot of American Athletic Conference games here so far. The AAC is a new conference made up of Big East leftovers and a few C-USA houstontransplants and to be honest the quality of football isn’t really all that…enticing. If given a choice between watching a Temple-Connecticut game or an SMU-Memphis matchup and lowering my junk into the same pot that the Thanksgiving turkey is being deep fried in…well, I’d actually have to think about it. However, Houston has traditionally been a fun team with a high powered run & gun offense. We also shouldn’t forget that they came within a whisper of an undefeated season just two years ago, and after a losing season in 2012 they seem to have rebounded a bit. Meanwhile the bloom is off the rose in Cardinal Country. One loss to Central Florida and not only did The ‘Ville plummet down the rankings but QB Teddy Bridgewater…a nearly unanimous choice to be the #1 overall pick in next spring’s NFL Draft just a few weeks ago…seems to be falling down the pecking order and might not be the first quarterback drafted. I smell an upset here, and even if that doesn’t happen I think the game will be a lot closer than 16 points. Zach agrees again.

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Stanford (-4)      at            USC

USC_Trojans2Stanford is coming off an impressive upset of the Oregon Ducks and has vaulted themselves into the national title conversation in the unlikely photo.stanfordtreeevent that either Alabama or Florida St. falter. USC has won 4 out of 5 under interim head coach Ed Orgeron and will likely receive a plum bowl slot regardless of how they fare the remainder of the season. This is yet another classic trap game, although in reverse. Stanford has nothing grand to look forward to, but one has to wonder if they might be a bit full of themselves after dashing the Ducks’ national championship dreams. Orgeron isn’t currently considered a serious candidate to get the USC gig long term, but the powers-that-be might reconsider if he can engineer a big upset in this game. I think it just might happen. Zach, on the other hand, believes that Stanford’s momentum will not only carry them to a victory in this game but that they still have a good chance to play in the national title game.

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Oregon St.          at            Arizona St. (-13.5)

I loves me some west coast football. I am actually off from work this Saturday night and will happily tune into whatever obscure channel on my cable box hostsOregonStateBeavers2 the Pac 12 Network at 9:30pm. The Beavers are coming into this one with two straight losses, while the Sun Devils are riding a 4 game winning streak and are in a battle for a chance to play in the conference title game. I don’t know enough about either team to dissect them with any semblance of credibility but I think a two TD spread is just too much. I am hoping for and expecting a much closer game. Zach thinks we might be crazy, but also believes we could both be right in calling for the upset.

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2013 Pigskin Picks of Profundity…..Week 7

It’s been an odd & stressful week in The Manoverse. I’ll spare you the details, but the fact that I am just finally getting around to doing this week’s PPP a few short hours before kickoff tells the story to an extent. Thank goodness we didn’t pick any Thursday or Friday games this week and obviously there’ll be no extra games like last week. Speaking of last week, I went 4-4 (thank you for the last second assist Ohio St.), as did Zach. That brings the season’s total to this point to:

Your Humble Potentate of Profundity    =             17-16

Zach       =             16-17

Thank God we aren’t trying to make a living doing this, right?? Anyway, on to this week…brief & dirty!!

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Oklahoma (-14) at Texas

TEXAS LONGHORNS.1271817676In my Pre-Season Top 25 I ranked Texas #4 and opined that “the Longhorns are finally primed to re-ascend to theoklahoma top of The Big 12 and possibly contend for a national championship.” Oops…I may have been slightly wrong about that. Texas is instead 3-2 and head coach Mack Brown is fielding questions about his job status. Meanwhile the Sooners are undefeated and just about where I thought they’d be at this point. Long story short on this one…I think Texas is a dangerous animal that’s been cornered. I’m not at all confident that they’ll win this annual renewal of The Red River Shootout, but I think they’ll be competitive and certainly won’t lose by two TDs. Zach, on the other hand, believes that Brown’s days are numbered and that Oklahoma takes this one easily. Actually he is very specific, saying that the Sooners will win by 24 points. We’ll see.

My Pick          Texas

Z’s Pick           Oklahoma

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Florida at LSU (-7)

Two Top 20 SEC teams in another highly anticipated clash. What else can be said?? I like LSU to pull this one out at home. Zach agrees.lsu_logo

My Pick          LSU

Z’s Pick           LSU

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Oregon (-14) at Washington

The Huskies are a lot better than anyone thought they’d be this season, but do they really have a shot against the #2 Ducks?? Maybe the Oregon-Ducksmore interesting question is whether or not Oregon can cover the points. They have won their five games thus far by an average of 47 points. Now I will grant that they haven’t played anyone of note, but still…that’s a high powered offense. I think Washington gets exposed here and Oregon wins easily. Zach goes so far as to say it’ll be a blowout that’ll be over in the first quarter.

My Pick          Oregon

Z’s Pick           Oregon

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Green Bay (-3) at Baltimore

The Packers haven’t exactly been world beaters this season. They are 2-2 and in 3rd place in their division. The Ravens aren’t that much better at 3-2. I find it interesting that Green_Bay_Packers_HelmetBaltimore isn’t getting the standard 3 point home field bump, especially since they have a better record. That tells me that the oddsmakers know…just like most of us…that Green Bay is a lot better than average and will start to prove it soon…probably this week. Zach concurs.

My Pick          Green Bay

Z’s Pick           Green Bay

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New Orleans at New England (-2.5)

I find this point spread baffling. Yes the Patriots have the home field. But the Saints are clearly the better team and unlike the Packers I’m not sure that New England will be 10_new_orleans_saintsbreaking out of their funk anytime soon. Now, I know what you’re saying…”But humble Potentate of Profundity…the New England Patriots are 4-1!!”. Yes…yes they are. But have you watched any of their games?? Each of those four victories has been a real uphill climb. New England is definitely not the same stellar team that we’ve watched run roughshod over the NFL for the past decade. They have issues. Conversely the New Orleans Saints look like the real deal and have plowed thru their schedule like a fat kid at an all-you-can  eat buffet. This’ll be tough & close, but in the end I think Drew Brees throws for 300 yards and 3 touchdowns en route to a double digit victory. Zach seconds that emotion.

My Pick          New Orleans

Z’s Pick           New Orleans

 

Righteousness – Hunger, Thirst, & Persecution…Part 1

I am well aware that The Manofesto has been somewhat sports-centric lately. That tends to happen during football season. Rest cornassured however that I have not forgotten the mission of this little rest stop on the ol’ information superhighway to be a cornucopia brimming with the vast array of topics that frost my cupcake. And for anyone who might be following the progress of our concurrent examinations of The Sermon on the Mount and The Fruits of the Spirit that thinks things may be moving a bit slow…you are not wrong. For some reason God has not laid upon me the inspiration to complete these series in a prompt & timely fashion, and I have decided to follow His lead and go with the flow. At the moment though I am being guided to pick up the pen (so to speak) and take a stride forward.

 

Over the past couple of years we have looked into why The Sermon on the Mount tells us we’ll be happy if we mourn, if we are meek, and if we are poor in spirit. Our next step in studying is to define righteousness, something so important that we will be persecuted because of it. We’ll get to that, but first we are told that hungering and thirsting for it will make us happy.

 

Now I am pretty fortunate. I live in the United States, grew up in a solid middle class home, and throughout my adulthood have had DrinkingWatereatrelatively stable employment. I have always had a roof over my head and food on the table. I cannot identify with the folks we see on television in impoverished Third World countries who know true hunger. But when it’s been a few hours since my last meal and my stomach is growling, y’all best not be standing between me and wherever the food is stashed. And we’ve all had that parched, dry feeling in our mouths on a hot summer day or after any type of strenuous activity. Nothing feels as good as that moment when we finally get to pour an ice cold drink down our throat. But do we seek God on a daily basis like we hunt down the nearest pizza joint on a night out with friends?? Do we earnestly yearn for a relationship with The Lord like we desire that cold beverage??

 

The Hebrew word for righteousness is tzedek, which means integrity, equity, justice, & straightness. The root of tzedek is tsawdak, which means upright, just, straight, innocent, true, & sincere. To be called righteous in Scripture is a compliment. It means something akin to what we say when we call someone “a great guy” or “salt of the earth”. Righteousness is simply freedom from guilt or sin. It is following the ways of God. It is doing the right thing (according to God, not Spike Lee). However we tend to go about such things halfheartedly. We give lip service. Just like most of us have never experienced true hunger or thirst, we aren’t really passionate about living Godly lives. The book of Revelation says “I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth”. Yuck. That sounds rather unpleasant, but it can be avoided. God is happy…and He promises that so are we…if we have a sincere hunger and thirst for understanding His Word and knowing Him personally. In the fourth chapter of the Gospel of John Jesus tells a Samaritan woman “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked Him and He would have given you living water.”  Righteousness describes the nature of God – justice, truth, mercy, and love. So here Jesus blesses those who hunger and thirst after…who deeply desire to identify themselves with…the nature of God.

 

It is extremely important to recognize a significant distinction made by Jesus. He says “blessed are those who hunger and thirstright after righteousness”…not those who are righteous. To hunger and thirst for righteousness is to hunger and thirst for Him and for transformation into the fullness of His image and likeness. Implied in this blessing is an understanding that we are being challenged to commit ourselves to a process, a journey, an ongoing reaching out for the righteousness of God. This blessing comes with a promise that we will be satisfied, we will be filled, and we will be transformed by his Holy Spirit. Thus it seems that as we hunger and thirst to identify ourselves with God, God’s Holy Spirit will honor that desire, fill us and transform us. Matthew 6:33 instructs us to  “seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness”. To thirst after righteousness means wanting to live according to God’s will instead of the world’s.

 

Both a physical and a spiritual appetite are normal for a healthy human being. Neither the body nor the soul is self-sustaining…both must be fed regularly. Just as physical hunger is a sign of physical health, so is spiritual hunger a sign of spiritual health. But while we instinctively understand that when we are physically hungry or thirsty that we need to eat food or get something to drink I am not so sure that we recognize or comprehend the spiritual appetite. Restlessness and longing are universal traits of the human heart. Gambling-The-Problemcollege-guys-drinking-300x200God has put eternity in our hearts and we have a wretched yearning. Many of us understand that there is something missing in our life…that too often we are unhappy, frustrated, anxious, unfulfilled, bored, angry, and discouraged. We try to solve those issues any number of worldly ways…spending money we don’t have on things we don’t need, climbing the corporate ladder, scenic vacations, accomplishments of creativity, stunning cinematic productions, national sports extravaganzas, illicit sex or pornography, drugs & alcohol, gambling, overeating, etc. But the longing remains. In Isaiah 55:2-3 we are asked “Why do you spend your laddermoney for that which is not bread and your labor for that which does not satisfy?”, but then we are given the answer: “Hearken diligently to me, and eat what is good, and delight yourselves in abundance. Incline your ear, and come to me; hear that your soul may live.” Why is that so hard for us to grasp?? The very first Psalm says “Blessed smoking-man-300x262is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the path of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night. He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth its fruit in its season, whose leaf also shall not wither; and whatever he does shall prosper.” Yet in our humanness we shun the opportunity to prosper, mostly because we think that walking in the counsel of the ungodly and sitting in the seat of the scornful is a lot more fun. The 37th Psalm tells us that “a little that a righteous man has is better than the riches of many wicked, for the arms of the wicked shall be broken but the Lord upholds the righteous.” I think it’s that “little” part that is our downfall. We want more. We are too bullheaded to grasp the fact that most of the time that “more” is temporary. Proverbs 10:2-3 says that “Treasures of wickedness profit nothing, but righteousness delivers from Michael_Dudash_Living_Water_700death. The Lord will not allow the righteous soul to famish, but He casts away the desire of the wicked.” We’ve all been told that “you can’t take it with you”, and we get that on a physical level. When you die your fancy car, nice big house, and whatever else you’ve collected in your time here on Earth won’t be buried alongside your body. But we need to wrap our heads around the fact that there is something more important than those possessions that we enjoy so much…our soul. And while we can’t haul a boat or a fat bank account into the afterlife we will be taking along our soul. It says that the Lord will deliver the righteous from death. We have the opportunity to live eternally in a place that’ll be a lot more fun and way more awesome than anyplace we’ve ever lived or visited in this world. As my new minister might say “ain’t that cool??

Stay Tuned!!

Heroes & Heels…..A Summer 2013 Retrospective

Well, I guess it is officially autumn. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. Pumpkins, sunshiny 50 degree days, candy corn, football, the smell of cinnamon & cloves, warm apple pie, hot vegetable soup, The World Series…it’s all good. But before we fully embrace fall & all it has to offer let us take a moment to say a fond farewell to glorious summer. You may have noticed that I have not done a Heroes & Heels since the May edition. At some point I decided it would be a good idea to wait three months and do a summer retrospective H&H combining everyone who grabbed my attention over the course of three months. Now that the time has come to deliver I’m not so sure it was such a great idea, but nevertheless we shall forge ahead. So as always these are the people…dating back to June…who I feel deserve some measure of admiration or contempt. Enjoy!!

 

 

 

 

Roy Costner IV

Mr. Costner was the 2013 valedictorian of the graduating class of Liberty High School in Liberty, South Carolina. Apparently Thumbs_upthat school district has bent over and allowed the ACLU and the heinous Freedom From Religion Foundation to push all prayer from any kind of public events. But Costner is the kind of Christian we all should aspire to be and in the midst of giving his school approved (of course) speech at the commencement ceremony he tore up his written remarks, thanked his parents for leading him to Christ at a young age, and recited The Lord’s Prayer. Sometimes it takes courage…and faith…to do the right thing.

 

Aaron Hernandez

If I have to tell you why this moron is here you must have been living in a cave for the past few months.frowny-face

 

The Supreme Court

In June The Supreme Court continued to contribute to the decaying of America by ruling that “married” gay frowny-facecouples are entitled to the same federal benefits as real (one man & one woman…like The Bible says) married couples.

 

Bill O’Reilly

O’Reilly is one of the conservative pariahs…alongside Rush Limbaugh & Sean Hannity…that liberals like Al Sharpton love to Thumbs_updemonize. But it turns out that Sharpton is a liar (shocker!!). After Sharpton twisted O’Reilly’s words one more time back in August O’Reilly responded by revealing that he had once donated $25k to one of Sharpton’s charities to buy Christmas presents and Christmas dinners for hundreds of poor people in Harlem. Oh those evil conservatives!!

 

Montia Marie Parke

Miss Parke is the complete opposite of Roy Costner IV. She is a Minnesota high school cheerleader who somehow frowny-facemanaged to force a mentally impaired classmate into prostitution. To anyone who has ever whined & cried about something called “cyberbullying”…you just need to shut up now. This is actual bullying.

 

Don Thompson

Thompson is the CEO of McDonald’s. In response to a particularly precocious 9 year old’s question a few months ago at a frowny-facepublic Q&A inquiring as to why the fast food giant “tricks kids into eating food that isn’t good for them by using toys and cartoon characters” Thompson assured the little girl that McDonald’s “doesn’t sell junk food” and trumpeted the plethora of healthy options on the menu. You know…like the Premium Southwest Chicken Salad that’s only 450 calories and 21 grams of fat.

 

Pima Community College

Terri Bennett is a nursing student. She requested that the college enforce the use of English in her classes after several of frowny-faceher labs, group studies, & clinicals were conducted in Spanish…a language in which she is not fluent. In response school administrators called Ms. Bennett a bigot and suspended her for 9 months. This college is in Arizona. One of the 50 states of the United States of America…where we speak English. Someone needs to remind the politically correct suits at this school of those things.

 

Maurkice & Mike Pouncey

Maurkice is my boy. He’s a fantastic center for my Pittsburgh Steelers. But a couple of months ago he & his twin brother frowny-face(who plays for the Miami Dolphins) pulled a bonehead move by wearing “Free Hernandez” caps in reference to their college teammate Aaron Hernandez. Sorry gentlemen…I know all about “innocent until proven guilty”, but public sentiment isn’t with you on this one and sometimes it’s best to keep your opinion to yourself.

 

Leah Remini

TV actress & talk show host Remini was one of many celebrities who got sucked into the cult of Scientology. But a couple ofThumbs_up months ago she finally wised up and ditched Tom Cruise, John Travolta, & all their weirdo buddies. Better late than never. Good for her.

 

Michael Dyson

Dyson is a sociology professor at Georgetown University and a frequent talking head on MSNBC. A few months ago, afterfrowny-face the Zimmerman verdict was announced, he made an analogy comparing how black folks felt about that whole deal to how many of us felt after 9/11. I guess it isn’t shocking that MSNBC employs such an offensive idiot, and even less astonishing that he’s a college professor.

 

Charles Dickens Primary School in Hampshire, England

Luke Blagden is a 10 year old student at the school. He was thirsty. It was a hot day. His teacher wouldn’t allow him to get a frowny-facedrink of water. Why?? Because there were a few of his Muslim classmates who were fasting for Ramadan and “it wouldn’t be fair to them” for Luke to be able to quench his thirst. And yet Christians are the ones who constantly get accused of ramming our beliefs down others’ throats. Hypocrisy at its worst.

 

Rolling Stone           

The 40 year old pop culture magazine put Boston Bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev on the cover of its August issue. I suppofrowny-facese we shouldn’t be shocked. This is the same piece of journalistic garbage that once put Charles Manson on its cover in 1970.

 

Holy Trinity School & The Diocese of San Diego

Carie Charlesworth was a 2nd grade teacher at a private school in San Diego, CA…until she was fired in April following a frowny-faceJanuary incident in which her abusive husband showed up at school and the powers-that-be put the whole place in lockdown. Ms. Charlesworth spoke out about the situation this summer. I understand that the safety of the children is one of the school officials’ primary responsibilities, but it seems very very wrong to blame a person for their spouse’s abusive behavior. And we wonder why an estimated 70% of domestic violence situations go unreported.

 

Ashton Kutcher

I’ve never been a big fan of Kutcher. He always seemed like kind of a dufus and none of the TV shows or movies he’s Thumbs_upstarred in have really frosted my cupcake. However, a few months ago he really impressed the heck out of me and probably a lot of other people when accepting a Teen Choice Award. His speech was thoughtful, genuine, & chockfull of sage advice. He told the youngsters in the audience that “opportunity looks a lot like hard work” and said that he “never had a job in my life that I was better than”. He said that “the sexiest thing in the entire world is being really smart, thoughtful, and generous” and that “everything else is crap that people try to sell to you to make you feel like less so don’t buy it.” Then he wrapped up by relaying something he’d learned from late Steve Jobs which is that “everything around us that we call life was made up by people who are no smarter than you and you can build your own life that other people can live in. So build a life. Don’t live one, build one.” It may have been one of the best acceptance speeches any artist has ever given, so kudos to Mr. Kutcher.

 

Ships of the Sea Maritime Museum in Marietta, GA

A few months ago 11 year old Lexi Haas and her family attempted to visit the museum while on vacation. Lexi was denied frowny-faceentrance because her wheelchair might dirty the precious carpet inside the museum. Apparently the facility has its own (I assume squeaky clean) wheelchair that handicapped people are invited to use while visiting. As a person in wheelchair I can confidently say that this is unacceptable. I am NOT going to go thru all the hassle of transferring out of my own very expensive wheelchair that is specially fitted for me just for a bit of entertainment. It’s not worth the aggravation. There are other entertainment options. For anyplace to ask a person to do that is extremely offensive. To their credit Lexi’s family declined to pursue legal action and took the high road of simply exposing the stupidity of the museum.

 

Hunter Mahan

Mahan is a professional golfer who had the lead going into the final round of the Canadian Open in July. However, upon Thumbs_uphearing that his wife had gone into labor with their first child 31 year old Mahan immediately withdrew from the tournament and was present for the birth of his daughter. It’s nice to see a pro athlete with his priorities in order.

 

Temar Boggs & Chris Garcia

These two young men were simply helping a friend move some furniture in Lancaster, PA back in July when they were Thumbs_upinformed by police that a local 5 year old girl had been kidnapped. Boggs & Garcia, age 15, took off on their bicycles to search the neighborhood. Upon spotting the vehicle with the girl & the kidnapper the boys gave chase. The kidnapper became spooked and released the girl, after which Boggs & Garcia took her to the police. I never did hear whether the kidnapper was caught, but the important thing is that the little girl is safe. Good things happen when teenagers put away the video games and go outide.

 

President George Bush

In July the first President Bush…at age 89…shaved his head in support of the 2 year old son of one his Secret Service Thumbs_upagents. The little boy is battling leukemia. It certainly makes one wistfully recall the bygone days when Presidents had class & decency.

 

Marlon Wayans

Have any of the Wayans brothers done anything of note since In Living Color went off the air two decades ago?? Anyway, frowny-facethis irrelevant moron had a bit of a meltdown on Twitter after the Zimmerman verdict was announced in July, tweeting things like “the jury just said ‘fuck niggas’!!! We are officially game, like deer” and “black parents hold your kids at home because apparently killing black children is okay”. Maybe if he could act half as good as he overreacts he’d be a working actor and wouldn’t have so much free time to spend on Twitter.

 

Diana Nyad

On September 2nd Nyad became the first person to ever swim 110 miles from Cuba to Florida without the protection of aThumbs_up shark cage. I am reminded of the Austrian gentleman who skydived from space last year. There doesn’t seem to be any logical reason why these folks do this kind of stuff rather than get a normal job like you & me except that they’re just wired differently. To that I say kudos because it makes the world a much more interesting place.

 

Miley Cyrus

Come on…you didn’t really think I’d forget about this talentless little tart did you?frowny-face?

 

 

Heroes & Heels…..May 2013

May hasn’t been a particularly productive month here at The Manofesto. Just another one of my infamous funks. But atleast I am bringing you this edition of H&H on time for once!! We shall see what we can do to get June off to a rousing start, but in the meantime, as always these are the individuals & entities from the past month that I feel deserve my particular brand of praise or scorn. Please enjoy, and stay tuned for some fun & interesting things coming to The Manoverse!!

 

 

 

 

Dan Lebatard

NBA star Lebron James celebrated the first week of May by receiving his 4th League MVP award. King James received 120 of 121 votes, so even with the tremendous honor being bestowed a firestorm quickly developed aimed straight at the lone rebel who denied James a unanimous vote. Somehow a rumor blew up that Lebatard, a sportswriter for the Miami Herald and host of ESPN’s Dan Lebatard is Thumbs_upHighly Questionable, was the person who cast his vote for Carmelo Anthony instead of James. How did Dan react?? Perfectly in my opinion. He did not deny the rumor and instead chose to simply retweet all the hilariously sad vitriol hurled his way on Twitter. Anyone who follows his feed was entertained for hours by the total overreaction of overzealous Miami Heat fans. It turns out that the Anthony vote was courtesy of a sportswriter in Boston and that Lebatard doesn’t even have an MVP vote. Kudos to Dan Lebatard for hysterically playing the masses for the fools that they too often are and getting himself some free publicity without ever saying a word. Well played sir…well played.

 

Jay Mohr

Another day, another out-of-touch Hollywood liberal. As long as these idiots are around I’ll always have fodder for H&H. Mohr…a moderately successful comedian & actor with a smokin’ hot wife…tweeted after the Boston marathon bombings (a tragedy that, frowny-faceironically enough, didn’t even involve guns) that “the 2nd Amendment must go”.  I am a solutions oriented guy, so let me offer an olive branch to Mohr & his ilk. We conservatives may possibly be more open to new stricter gun laws IF you and your friends are willing to get Roe vs. Wade overturned. Gun violence kills about 30,000 Americans each year. Abortion kills over 1.2 million babies annually. Checkmate assclown.

 

Homer Hickam

Hickam is a West Virginia native and an actual rocket scientist. He is also an author, best known for his 1998 autobiographical tome Rocket Boys, which was developed into the 1999 film October Sky starring Jake Gyllenhaal. A few weeks ago he stepped in to offer support to 16 year old Keira Wilmot, a Florida high school student who had been suspended and arrested after a science experiment Thumbs_upcaused a small explosion at school. No one was hurt and no damage was done, but we live in a PC “no tolerance” society in 21st century New America, and the young woman’s intellectual curiosity and willingness to take a chance in the name of science was obviously frowned upon by the “education” establishment. Enter Homer Hickam, who not only applauded Wilmot’s efforts but rewarded her with a scholarship to the United States Advanced Space Academy in Huntsville, Alabama. USASA “offers a college-accredited program through the University of Alabama in Huntsville that includes STEM education plus college and career preparation”, and I think it is safe to say that this young lady will learn more in her brief time at Space Camp than she ever has during her years being indoctrinated in public school.

 

IRS

The Internal Revenue Service has long been regarded as one of the more evil entities of the overinflated United States Government. No frowny-faceone enjoys paying taxes, especially when the funds are increasingly utilized to support social programs that allow lazy bums to enjoy the fruits of the labors of those who do work for a living. It has recently come to light that during the past few years (i.e. during the Hussein Obama era) the IRS has purposely derailed the applications of conservative groups seeking tax exempt status. If such a thing would have happened during a Republican presidency that President would have already been impeached, but for obvious reasons Mr. Obama is more Teflon that John Gotti ever was.

 

Charles Ramsey

On May 6 three young women…Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michele Knight…who had all been missing for about a decade…wereThumbs_up able to escape their captor with help from Ramsey. He was just enjoying a Big Mac in his Cleveland, OH neighborhood when he heard screaming and assisted the young ladies and called 911. I wonder how many other people would have simply walked away and chose not to get involved.

 

Jodi Arias

I don’t follow these criminal trials that the media selectively chooses to sensationalize, and this one was no frowny-faceexception. But one couldn’t help but hear a little about this case in recent weeks. Arias is a 32 year old Arizona woman that was convicted of murdering her ex-boyfriend. She tried to claim self-defense, but the fact that the guy was stabbed 29 times, his throat was slit, and he was shot in the head betrayed that theory. Sometimes I’m really glad to be single.

 

Tiger Woods & Sergio Garcia

Two of professional golf’s brightest stars apparently don’t like each other. I don’t know why and I don’t care. All I know is that it frowny-facebecame a story a few weeks ago and both parties came across like petulant children. Shut up and hit your little white ball into the hole.

 

Ed Buckner

Buckner is a well-known atheist, which is his right as an American. But like so many atheists Mr. Buckner doesn’t seem to grasp the actual meaning of our Constitution. He whined like a little girl when he found a Bible in his cabin at a state park in Georgia. The Georgia DNR removed the Bibles from the park but soon thereafter they were put back on orders from Governor Nathan Deal. An frowny-faceorganization called the Freedom from Religion Foundation got involved, and that tells us all we need to know. Why?? Well, because The Constitution of the United States guarantees all Americans freedom OF religion…not freedom FROM religion. I’m sick to death of atheists & liberals who don’t understand the difference. Specifically the First Amendment states that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” So unless the government tries to institute a national religion then no one has anything legitimate to get all worked up about. Here’s an idea Mr. Buckner…if you see a Bible and it offends you leave it in a drawer and don’t read it!!

 

Prospect Park

Yes I’m a soap opera fan. My sister and I had a babysitter who got us interested in Days of Our Lives and General Hospital when we were in grade school and we’ve both watched for over 30 years. Over time I became a fan of a few other shows as well. In 2012 one of those shows, One Life to Live, was cancelled by ABC. Prospect Park, a Hollywood production company, snapped up the rights for OLTL (as well as All My Children…which I never watched) and announced plans to show it online. The plans seemingly fell thru and three of frowny-faceOLTL’s more popular actors brought their characters to General Hospital. A year later Prospect Park renewed their plans and sued ABC over GH using the OLTL characters, forcing GH to write out those characters and clumsily bring back the actors as whole new characters. Then, a month after OLTL and AMC were relaunched on The Internet for four shows per week Monday-Thursday Prospect Park announced that they were cutting back and each show would only be on 2 days per week each. They spewed forth some sort of poppycock about viewing patterns or something. It was all total BS and a vague attempt to force viewers of one show or the other to watch both shows. I don’t know what kind of substandard incompetent organization Prospect Park is, but their actions have been total bush league and this humble Potentate of Profundity is now a former OLTL viewer as a result of the whole mess.

 

Kylie Bisutti

Ms. Bisutti is a former Victoria’s Secret model who gave it all up for The Lord. She decided that her job conflicted with her beliefs and Thumbs_upchose her faith over money & fame, saying that her body is a sacred temple and should only be be…ummm…enjoyed…by her husband. She further concluded that lingerie models are not good role models for young girls and that they lead men into temptation (ain’t that the truth). Kudos to Ms. Bisutti for walking away from the kind of life that the world promotes as a dream come true and not allowing herself to be “conformed to this world” but instead being “transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”

 

Bette Midler

Yet another out-of-touch celebrity. While yours truly thinks imprisonment and impeachment should be the result frowny-faceof the IRS’s appalling breach of the public trust “The Divine Miss M” actually thanked them, saying she loves the IRS for targeting The Tea Party and other conservative groups. What can possibly be said about that level of stupidity?? There aren’t words.

 

The Indy 500

By most accounts the 2013 Indianapolis 500 was a rousing success. At 2 hours 40 minutes it was the fastest one ever. There were a record 68 lead changes…doubling the old record…and 14 different leaders (another record). More cars stayed in the race and on the lead lap than ever before, mostly due to the fact that there were fewer laps run under caution than ever before. However, all this frowny-faceexcitement led to a yellow flag finish that was anticlimactic and a complete dud. Hardcore Indy car fans seemed jazzed about winner Tony Kanaan finally capturing the Borg-Warner Trophy after a dozen previous tries, but just because the winner is a nice guy doesn’t mean the result is anything to be applauded. I am not an engineer nor a ‘car guy’, but I am aware that there are safety concerns in regard to open wheel racing trying a green-white-checkered finish like NASCAR. However, these are smart people and I am quite positive they could figure something out. I am sure Kanaan is enjoying the spoils of war, but I don’t understand how it could feel like anything more than an empty victory.

Heroes & Heels…..A Special Double Feature

Sharp eyed citizens of The Manoverse may have noticed that there was no H&H published for March. As usual I missed the deadline, but instead of just missing it by a day or two we were a week into the month before I had the time & inclination to even ponder writing the piece so I decided to just skip the whole deal. However, the good news is that means today you get a double dose!! You’re welcome. At any rate, these are the people & stories from the past couple of months that I feel deserve either praise or a healthy dose of derision. Enjoy.

 

Dennis Rodman

You remember Rodman. He was an above average pro basketball player in the 90’s that was even more infamous for his off court antics, but he’s been out of the spotlight for a few years. That all frowny-facechanged a couple of months ago when…for reasons seemingly unknown to anybody…he traveled to North Korea and apparently became fast friends with “supreme leader” Kim Jong-un. Rodman went so far as to suggest that Jong-un wasn’t such a bad dude because he is a basketball fan and that he “just wants to be loved”. The retired rebound master plans to return to North Korea this summer so that he & Jong-un can “just hang and have some fun.” Call me crazy, but when Dennis Rodman is taking the lead in American diplomacy it’s not a good sign.

 

Glenwood Gardens Retirement Home

I spent 6 months in a nursing home at the young age of 33, and it honestly made me reconsider my position against euthanasia. That being said, I would like to think that if my life had ever come frowny-faceperilously close to ending prematurely while I was there someone would have stepped up and taken the necessary steps to prevent my untimely demise. But apparently such things are against policy at this Bakersfield, CA facility, where an 87 year old resident died a couple of months ago after she went into cardiac arrest and a nurse refused to administer CPR even after a 911 dispatcher pleaded with her to do so. I wouldn’t feel a bit of remorse if every “skilled’ nursing facility in the country was shut down and then burned to the ground, but hopefully there is a special place in Hell reserved for the idiots who work at this dump.

 

Jim Carrey

Hollywood is seemingly filled with liberal morons and Carrey has proven to be no different. He has frowny-facerecently gone on a rather vociferous anti-gun crusade, which included a supposedly funny video belittling gun owners, The Constitution, and the very dead Charlton Heston. He also made several insulting comments about gun owners on Twitter. Here’s an idea Jimbo…maybe you should shut your piehole and concentrate on making a decent movie that won’t bomb at the box office like nearly everything you’ve been in for the past decade.

 

Park Elementary School (Baltimore, MD)

There have been several of these types of incidents recently but for some reason I made note of this one specifically. In early March a 7 year old student at this school was suspended after he chewed a pop tart into a shape that a teacher thought resembled a gun. The child said that was not what he had frowny-faceintended to do, but here’s the deal…even if he had intentionally done so to my knowledge no one has ever been shot by a pastry. The politically correct anti-gun nutjobs in this country are way way way out of control. Personally I think that everyone responsible for this fiasco should be terminated and never allowed to work in the education system ever again. If I am ever blessed to father a child I will very seriously consider home schooling because quite frankly I’d be scared to death to let my offspring be indoctrinated by the asinine joke that public schools in 21st century New America have become.

 

Senator Rand Paul

On March 6 the junior senator from Kentucky engaged in an old fashioned filibuster that lasted nearlyThumbs_up 13 hours. Apparently he was protesting President Obama’s stance on use of drones against Americans and blocking (temporarily) the nomination of a new CIA Director. I won’t pretend to know all the particulars about the issues involved, but it was nice to see a politician stand up (literally) for his beliefs and act in the way that one would hope all our elected representatives would on our behalf.

 

New Rochelle, NY City Council

In April this group of mental giants voted to order a Gadsen flag removed from a local armory because they believed it to be a Tea Party symbol. First of all a Gadsen flag…for the 3% of residents in McDowell County, WV literate enough to know about this new fandangled internet thing and read The frowny-faceManofesto…is a historical American flag with a snake symbol and the words “Don’t Tread On Me” that was designed by a South Carolina Congressman during the Revolutionary War. In other words it predates the Tea Party by about 230 years. Secondly, what exactly is wrong with the Tea Party?? What is so bad about believing in smaller government, lower taxes, & a balanced budget?? And what about Freedom of Speech?? You remember…The First Amendment, The Constitution, etc.?? Oh yeah…that’s right…liberals hate all that stuff just like they hate America, and this group of liberals proved it.

 

AJ Clemente

On Sunday April 21, 2013 young AJ Clemente began his journalistic career as a news anchor in Bismarck, ND. By Monday morning that career had come to an end. One of the first things Clemente did was drop an F-Bomb on live television. And then he proudly announced to the world that he had recently graduated from West Virginia University. I am an alumnus of West Virginia’s other statefrowny-face school Marshall University but I live close to WVU and have been a Mountaineer fan my entire life. It is embarrassing to me that a school in my home state would produce such an idiotic graduate. To Clemente’s credit he has self-deprecatingly taken his lumps in a very public way after a clip of the incident became a hit on YouTube. He’s making the rounds on television, with appearances on Letterman, The Today Show, & Inside Edition. I am not suggesting that the young man should have to pay for his mistake forever, but maybe he should try a gig doing print or internet news…safely away from a live microphone.

 

Kristen Bell & Dax Shepard

More Hollywood assclowns. These two are actors of some fame. She starred in the TV show Veronica Mars a few years ago and has done a handful of movies that mostly tanked at the box office. He stars in a pretty decent NBC show called Parenthood and has also been in a few bad movies. They’ve been a frowny-facecouple for several years and in March welcomed a daughter. Good for them. Congratulations. Of course they aren’t married and have publically announced that they will not get hitched until the state of California legally allows gays to marry. Well okay…kudos to the happy couple for believing in something and sticking up for what they believe in, but like so many of their peers in the entertainment industry they choose to self-righteously support sin, debauchery, and “alternative lifestyles” that go against the Word of God. Supporting same sex marriage is more important to them than their own relationship and the opportunity for their daughter to grow up in a stable home with married parents. Wow…talk about misguided priorities.

 

Nebraska & East Carolina Football

Both schools’ football programs deserve kudos for allowing young terminally ill children to participate Thumbs_upin their spring games and fulfill a fantasy by scoring a touchdown. The small stuff really is huge sometimes.

 

Cheryl Sabb at Cedar Hills Elementary in Jacksonville

A young 4th grader’s father was stunned to find one of his son’s school assignments on which he’d frowny-facewritten in crayon “I am willing to give up some of my constitutional rights in order to be safer or more secure.” Turns out that after a guest speaker had instructed the young crumb crunchers about our Bill of Rights the teacher…Ms. Stabb…had the entire class copy down that sentence. You see liberals are all about separation of church & state, except when the religion is liberalism and then they do not hesitate to indoctrinate their students, whether they are in grade school, high school, or college.

 

Chris Broussard

It is likely that I will have more to say in the near future about the big story where an active NBA player Thumbs_uphas come out of the closet, but I want to take this opportunity to give some respect to Broussard, an NBA analyst for ESPN who stated on television the following


“Personally, I don’t believe that you can live an openly homosexual lifestyle or an openly premarital sex between heterosexuals, if you’re openly living that type of lifestyle, then the Bible says you know them by their fruits, it says that’s a sin. If you’re openly living in unrepentant sin, whatever it may be, not just homosexuality, adultery, fornication, premarital sex between heterosexuals, whatever it may be, I believe that’s walking in open rebellion to God and to Jesus Christ. I would not characterize that person as a Christian because I do not think the Bible would characterize them as a Christian.”

 

Every single word spoken by Broussard is the absolute truth, but predictably he has been lambasted by the masses as a bigot and a homophobe. Atleast liberals are predictable. Broussard had to know that he’d get creamed for his honesty but he said it anyway. Bigtime kudos to the guy, who will most likely be looking for a job in the near future. But atleast he can be secure about knowing that he’ll spend eternity in the loving embrace of the One True God.

 

The Fruits of the Spirit – Faithfulness

“What makes an authentic disciple is not visions, ecstasies, biblical mastery of chapter & verse, or spectacular success in the ministry, but a capacity for faithfulness. Buffeted by the fickle winds of failure, battered by their own unruly emotions, and bruised by rejection & ridicule, authentic disciples may have stumbled and frequently fallen, endured lapses & relapses, gotten handcuffed to the fleshpots and wandered into a far county. Yet, they keep coming back to Jesus.” – Brennan Manning

 

 

 

fruitsThus far in our examination of The Fruits of the Spirit we have looked at love, joy, peace, longsuffering, and kindness/goodness/gentleness/meekness. And now we’ll take a closer look at what exactly God expects out of us in exhibiting the fruit of faithfulness. This one has been a long time coming and to be honest I’ve really struggled with writing what you are in the midst of reading. The words just haven’t come easily. I believe there is a reason for that. The other fruits we have discussed or will discuss (we will finish up with temperance…at some point) could…theoretically…be discussed on a purely human level. They are behaviors that deal with how we act toward ourselves & toward each other. Of course we know that from a Biblical perspective there is a deeper significance, but hypothetically we could be kind, patient, loving, etc. just because it’s the right way to treat people. However, being faithful is a whole new ball game. Why?? Because it deals with how we treat God. Faithfulness is authenticity, the power & motivation for Christian living. Faithfulness is the one fruit that we give to God, whereas the others are from the Spirit working in us. Faithfulness is both an attitude and an action shown toward God.

 

The word faithful means a variety of closely related things: loyal, full of trust, constant, steadfast, devoted, staunch, and firmly & resolutely sticking with a person, group, cause, belief, or idea without waver. These adjectives imply adhering devotedly to someone or something that elicits or demands one’s fidelity. Constant stresses uniformity and invariability. Steadfast implies fixed, unswerving loyalty. Staunch suggests unshakable attachment or allegiance. Biblically speaking faithfulness comes from the Greek word pistis, which at its root is about holding fast or steady. Pistis is considered one of God’s strongest personal characteristics. God is a covenant maker who is faithful to that covenant with us even when we don’t hold up our end of the bargain, which is all too often for most of us. Pistis was common Greek lingo for trustworthiness and is the characteristic of a person who is what we would call reliable. The Hebrew for faithfulness is emunah, which literally means firmness, figuratively means security, and morally means fidelity. Being faithful combines prioritizing what is important and being committed to those priorities. God wants to be the #1 priority in our lives and desires for us to remain committed to that priority. I don’t know about you, but in that regard I fail miserably.

 

I’ve never been to Yellowstone Park near the Teton Mountains of Wyoming. However, most Americans have heard of one of the park’s most famous features…the geyser known as Old Faithful. From what I have read about Old Faithful it isn’t the biggest or most powerful geyser, but it is the most reliable…the most faithful…erupting every hour or so. We tend to like our people as we like our geysers. Whether it is a friend, a spouse, an employee, or any other relationship humans engage in, we like to know who we can count on. One of the best abilities to possess is dependability. oldfaithfulTalented & smart are positive traits, but if a person isn’t dependable then those positives hold little value. Proverbs 25:19 says that “like a bad tooth or a lame foot is reliance on the unfaithful in times of trouble.” I used to be a supervisor at a teleservices company and one of the biggest issues we faced was retaining dependable workers, because it didn’t matter how skillful folks were at their job if they didn’t show up for work half the time. Of course we seek exceptional skill & talent in almost everything, from sports, business, & entertainment to our personal relationships, but faithfulness…reliability, loyalty, and the ability to have priorities in their proper order…is a bedrock prerequisite that, at the end of the day, outshines everything else. Afterall, what good is marrying the prettiest gal in town if she’s just going to end up breaking your heart?? Obviously God understands that much better than any of us, because while we are oftentimes led astray by superficiality, glitz, false promises, & emotion, God doesn’t care about any of that silliness.

 

What God also doesn’t care about is our own shallow, worldly take on faithfulness. In the holiday classic A Christmas Story the narrator tells us that “Some men are Baptists, others Catholic. My father was an Oldsmobile man.” We all have a particular level of allegiance to certain things. My friend The Owl has knowledgeable opinions about who makes the best guitars and other assorted musical equipment. My friend Greg has manufacturers of photography equipment that he prefers. I have been a diehard fan of the Pittsburgh Steelers for almost four decades. All that is fine, but it must be understood that the kind of faith we are speaking of here goes much deeper and is far more FGN02medimportant. What we are dealing with is faithfulness to one thing and one thing only…God and His guiding principles. Without faith in God and faithfulness toward God nothing else matters. Even Confucius instructs to “hold faithfulness and sincerity as first principles.” So why then does it seem to be so darn difficult for us to manage this first principle?? Faithfulness is based on what we value as important and our commitment to those things. We must love Christ above all else. If we are not willing to put Him before earthly possessions & earthly friends and obey Him above e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g else (including our own carnal desires) then our attachment to Him is tenuous at best. Faithfulness is love hanging on. It is love saying, “I will not quit. There may be misunderstandings, there may be disappointments, there may be discouragements, but I will not quit.” Being faithful requires personal resolve not to wander away from commitments or promises and requires trust in God. Humans can show a powerful capacity to be faithful to what we believe to be important, be it a spouse, friendship, employer, school, athletic team, or a brand of particular products. Where we often fall short is in translating that level of commitment & loyalty to God. Doubt, distrust and misplaced anger are the opposite of faithfulness, and they cause us to lose our trust that God is in control. When we are not exercising our faith we will be consumed with doubt & distrust. We use God as a kind of vending machine to get what we want then lose our patience with Him when things don’t go our way, but we have it all backwards. Proverbs 28:20 tells us that “a faithful man will abound with blessings.” In other words, God doesn’t have to prove anything to us…we’re the ones that have to prove our faithfulness to Him.

 

Deuteronomy 7:9 says to “know that the Lord your God, He is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and mercy for a thousand generations with those who love Him and keep His commandments.” Psalm 101:6 says that “My eyes shall be on the faithful of the land, that they may dwell with me. He who walks in a perfect way, He shall serve me.” In Matthew 24:35 Jesus says that “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but My words shall not pass away.” Psalm 100:5 says “The Lord is good & His love endures forever. His faithfulness continues through all generations.” 2nd Timothy 2:13 says that “If we are faithless He remains faithful. He cannot deny Himself.” Jesus told His disciples before He ascended to Heaven that “I will be with you always, even to the end of the world.” Hebrews 13:8 instructs that “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.” So you see God is faithful to us…always. All He asks is that we return the favor. But how??

 

We are studying the Fruits of the Spirit, right?? As I’ve mentioned, if we are doing things right we will bear visible fruit much like one can clearly see apples or oranges on a tree. If we are being faithful to God & His way there should be some proof.

 

Faithfulness means being selfless. Contemporary culture goads us in to asking “What’s in it for me? What are my needs, my ambitions, my desires, my goals, my hurts, my values, my profit, my benefit?” God says faithfulness is proven by giving our life away, by looking at others rather than concentrating on our own self. How can a person be faithful to God when he loves himself more treethan God? How can a person be faithful to God when his own gratification means more to him than pleasing God? We live in a world in which selfishness is promoted as the way to go. Television, movies, & music promote instant gratification – why wait, why deny ourselves, why sacrifice, why not go along with everyone else??? The occasion to sin, the incentive to do so and thus sin’s frequency & intensity are at their highest levels since just before the Flood. In other words, the environment to commit sin more easily grows ever more amenable, and human nature takes advantage of it. We have been born into an environment in which it is exceedingly difficult to remain faithful. Hollywood sells adultery & fornication as acceptable as long as the people involved are attractive and somehow oppressed thus “deserving” of a “better” relationship. We constantly hear, “Indulge yourself because you deserve it.” This isn’t really all that surprising. The apostle Paul saw this coming hundreds of years ago when he wrote in 2nd Timothy that “in the last days perilous times will come, for men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power.” But 1 John 2:15 urges us to “not love the world or anything in the world” because “if anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them.” Romans 12:2 says that we should “not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” So when the world tries to persuade us to be self-centered and have a Me First attitude we need to remember that faithfulness requires the direct opposite.

 

Faithfulness means living by the correct values and making sure our witness has integrity. A faithful person knows what’s important and what isn’t important in life. A faithful person can differentiate the significant from the trivial and considers what kind of testimony they have with unbelievers. It is more important to ponder what unbelievers think about you and how they see you than what fellow believers think. Christians should have an impeccable reputation of being dependable and keeping their word.

 

Faithfulness means good stewardship. How you handle your money is a test because the way thattithe you handle your worldly wealth affects what God is able to do in your life. We spend all our lives earning & accumulating money, saving it, and spending it. If we haven’t been faithful handling worldly wealth, who is going to trust us with true riches?? One should always ask “Do I pay my bills on time? Do I live within my budget? Am I consistent in tithing? How does my giving compare with my spending? How does my spending compare with my saving?” Luke 16:10 says that “he who is faithful in what is least is faithful also in much, and he who is unjust in what is least is unjust also in much.”

 

Faithfulness means developing & using our gifts and talents. If you are not using the spiritual gifts God has given you people are getting cheated. Just because we can’t do the spectacular doesn’t excuse us from doing nothing. Faithfulness is based on what we do with what we have. The old hymn Victory in Jesus says that “He sought me and he bought me with His redeeming blood”. God has made an investment in our lives and He expects a return on it.

 

bible11350Faithfulness means obeying God’s Word. God defines faithfulness as obedience to the commands of Christ. 1 Corinthians 4:1 says that “Men ought to regard us as servants of Christ and as those entrusted with the secret things of God.” A Christian is responsible to be a good custodian of the truths God reveals and to minister these truths in a reliable manner to those who will be taught. But how are you supposed to obey something you know nothing about?? You’re going to have to become familiar with the instruction manual. Romans 10:17 says that “faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God.”

 

Faithfulness requires us to look inward and ask some difficult questions. How do I exhibit faithfulness in my daily life? What can I do to develop a better attitude of faith? What hinders faithfulness from working and being exhibited in me? How can I make faithfulness function better, stronger and faster even in times of uncertainly and stress? We all have our stumbling blocks. We all face temptation. Holding true to the course God has laid before us is difficult amid this world’s many alluring distractions clamoring for our time and attention. Being faithful necessitates identifying our weaknesses and overcoming them. Jesus tells us in Luke that “no servant can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other.” We must commit to God and make Him our priority. Easier said than done?? Perhaps. But an apple tree doesn’t stand out in the middle of an orchard prayer-end-of-the-age-intercessionsaying, “Now how do I develop apples?” An apple tree produces apples because that’s what apple trees do. And when we are Spirit-led Christians, when we are a branch attached to the vine who is Jesus Christ, then we produce fruit because it’s the natural thing to do. We don’t have to sit around & think about it & analyze it. We just have to be careful that our branch is never detached from the vine. 2 Timothy 1:13-14 implores us to “hold fast the pattern of sound words which you have heard in faith and love which are in Christ Jesus, that good thing which was committed to you keep by the Holy Spirit who dwells in us.” Author Oswald Chambers said that “faith is deliberate confidence in the character of God whose ways you may not understand at the time”, and that is true. But the more we pray & study the more apt we are to understand. Actor & evangelist Kirk Cameron says that one should “Put your nose into the Bible every day. It is your spiritual food. And then share it. Make a vow not to be a lukewarm Christian.” We are pressured on every side to develop negative habits, tempted to be unfaithful in church attendance, in prayer, & in studying the Word of God. But if we prioritize and determine to serve God faithfully then people will be able to count on us. We’ll be consistent, trustworthy, & reliable. Hebrews tells us to “fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” We need to seek the Holy Spirit’s reinforcement in developing regular, positive, spiritual habits. We must cultivate these habits so that they become automatic. And when Satan tempts us, we can be prepared because we’ve grown the fruit of faithfulness.

 

 

 

 

Heroes & Heels…..February 2013

Oops I did it again. Ah well…I won’t bore you with my lame excuses except to say that hopefully the snow stops soon, the sun shines more brightly in March, and I awaken from my hibernation in time to get the next edition of H&H published on the final day of the month which is the way this is supposed to work. Anyway, these are the people & stories that either dominated the news or for some reason caught my eye during the short month of February and earned either my praise or my scorn. Enjoy!!

 

 

Douglas MacArthur Elementary School

The school in question is in Alexandria, VA and recently had a 10 year old boy arrested after he brought a TOY gun to school. Actually I’ve seen a few of these types of stories lately and it really frustrates the living daylights out of me. I understand the sensitivity to guns frowny-faceafter the tragedy in Newtown, CT, but for goodness sake children aren’t even allowed to use their imaginations and play anymore. When I was a kid we played Cops & Robbers, Cowboys & Indians, and all kinds of other games that were sure as heck a lot healthier than most of the idiotic video games little ones play nowadays, but apparently the lunatic fringe on the left doesn’t agree.

 

Dr. Ben Carson

Dr. Carson is Director of Pediatric Neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, MD. In 1998 he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom (the highest civilian award in the United States) by President George W. Bush. A few weeks ago at the annual National Prayer Breakfast, with President Obama just a few feet away, Carson gave a fantastic Thumbs_upspeech that became a viral sensation. He was highly critical of political correctness and floated his ideas about health care, making it quite obvious that he isn’t exactly a fan of Obamacare. Dr. Carson…who just happens to be black…is proof that critics of President Obama don’t dislike him because we’re racists…we dislike him because of his policies & beliefs. I have long said that I have no problem with a black person being President but that we simply elected the wrong black person (twice). Dr. Ben Carson is exactly the kind of person around whom conservatives can rally.

 

Chris Rock & Amanda Peet

Liberal celebrities using their fame to advance leftist causes is nothing new. Last month these two mental giants got together with a bunch of other gun haters and said a bunch of frowny-faceidiotic things about gun control. It is certainly their right to say whatever they want, but it is also my right to chastise them for their intellectual shortcomings. Rock in particular was in rare form, calling President Obama “our boss” and equating the President & First Lady with “our Mom & Dad”. No Mr. Rock. I have my own parents and I have a boss. The occupants of The White House are neither. We fought a Revolutionary War for a reason…maybe you should read up on that a bit.

 

The Groundhog(s)

As I write this I am looking out of one of the windows in The Bachelor Palace at a rather frowny-facerobust spate of snow. Odd, since back on Groundhog Day both the nationally recognized Punxsutawney Phil and our local harbinger of weather French Creek Freddie both were said to have seen their shadows indicating an early spring. Evidently groundhogs are liars and not to be trusted.

 

Aaron Klein

I am not sure exactly when this occurred, but I saw the story at the beginning of February. Mr. Klein is the owner of a bakery in Oregon and is currently under investigation by that Thumbs_upstate’s attorney general. Why?? Well, because Klein is a Christian and recently declined to make a “wedding” cake for a gay couple who were getting “married”. Klein faces a possible $50,000 fine and flat out said that his faith is more important than politically correct legalities and is willing to lose his business rather than violate his principles. Kudos.

 

Mayor Michael Bloomberg

Everyone knows that Mayor Bloomberg has been successful in getting sugary drinks larger than 16 ounces banned in NY City. What folks are just now beginning to understand is just how wide of a net that ban entails. Apparently pizza places will no longer be allowed to frowny-facedeliver 2 liter bottles of soda with customers’ food, and families can no longer share one big pitcher of pop. On top of this stupidity Bloomberg is now targeting Styrofoam, which he is actually kind of behind the times on since McDonald’s stopped using that more than two decades ago. This guy is a real piece of work. He’s just a political whore (he’s been a member of both parties and is now an independent) who abuses his power to restrict the freedoms of citizens. I don’t care how awesome The Big Apple is…I have no interest in ever going there until this idiot is long gone and his draconian laws have been reversed.  

 

Judge Ye Not

In recent years I have developed what I refer to as hermit-like tendencies. I have stated…only partly in jest…that if I were to ever win the lottery or otherwise come into a princely sum of cash that I would love to fake my own death, move to some remote island,mansion and hole up in a mansion reminiscent of stately Wayne Manor complete with Batcave (minus the bats). I’d have my books, Internet access, radio & TV, and of course Rocco. There would certainly be a few family & friends…my Dad, my sister & nephews, The Owl, and Greg…that would know the truth, but for the most part I’d be completely off the grid and I’d be happy. The reason is simple…humanity too often aggravates me and the less I am forced to interact with people the better I feel.

It wasn’t always this way. While I’ve never been an extrovert I have been a “people person” and enjoyed meeting & talking with different folks. A confluence of factors has led to my semi-withdrawal, probably beginning in 2006 with the two years of my life that was spent in hospitals, “skilled” nursing facilities, and homebound with medical issues that I won’t bore you with now because that’s not my purpose at the moment. It is adequate enough for my purpose here to state that solitude changes a man…alter’s one’s perspective in a deeply profound way that is difficult to reverse. At any rate, there have been other events & observations before & after that carved this path, but that was the major detour from which I’ve never quite returned to the main road…and I’m not sure I’d want to even if I could. Things happen for a reason and I’m okay with that fact.

My general unease & antipathy was recently reinforced in a truly eye opening way. And that’s saying something because I had heretofore been under the delusion that my eyes were wide open. I suppose there is always room to learn & grow.

Eph 1-7I cannot & will not go into any detail here, but suffice to say that an acquaintance of mine found themselves in some trouble…some pretty serious trouble. The story became public. What this person is accused of doing is dreadfully tragic. However, in America aren’t we all “innocent until proven guilty”?? And even if a person is guilty didn’t Jesus teach us that “he that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone”?? Doesn’t The Bible teach us about mercy, grace, & forgiveness?? Unfortunately modern American society doesn’t seem to believe in such principles…atleast when it comes to someone other than the person they see in the mirror each morning.

The story I am referring to was published on a website. Again the details are not important and not mine to divulge anyway. But I was truly saddened by the comments that dozens of readers left. I know Americans enjoy our blood sports, and I sincerely understand why the accusations involved evoked such passion & rage. Yet I couldn’t stop thinking…where is the mercy?? Folks were calling for this person to be shot, stabbed, beaten, burned, raped & murdered. And yes, some even suggested they be stoned, proving some familiarity with God’s Word but obviously not enough. This is all before a thorough investigation has been conducted and due process of law completely plays out. My my my…jump to conclusions much??

Look, I don’t know who did what in all this, but I do know a couple of things. I know that this person’s family is standing behind them and stepping up in ways that a month ago I am sure they never fathomed they’d be asked to do. This is a good, decent, close knit family. I am closer to the parents than the offspring and the little ones, and they are people with a deeply abiding faith, a strong moral center, and unquestionable love for one another. A few comments on the aforementioned article cast aspersions on the entire family rather than family_holding_handsjust the one person, which angered me tremendously since I know what kind of people they are. The fact that they are supporting their loved one is good enough for me and sufficient validation to doubt the veracity of the story as it is being portrayed in the media. Secondly, I know things that I have done in my life. No I have never killed anyone or committed any kind of violent act, but I have sinned in ways that I definitely wouldn’t want published in the local newspaper or discussed on television. I suspect many of you out there in the Manoverse might feel the same about your mistakes. As my relationship with God & our Lord & Savior Jesus Christ evolves & deepens I become more grieved by past errors and increasingly aware of when I choose the wrong path (which isn’t as often as it used to be but still far too much). I would hope that, if a wrong that I did ever grew into some kind of public spectacle, that others would grant me some level of mercy…but after these recent events I have my doubts.

What’s worse is that I can look back and see where I have been just as judgmental as the people who left those awful comments. I am far too quick to size up a person…assess their motives, assume their lack of moral fiber, and judge their actions. It is so easy to be reactionary in 21st century America. Social media gives us all an avenue to respond without thought, to opine without knowing all of the facts. Everyone is a critic, a pundit, and an expert. The mere fact that I can call myself a writer, publish The Manofesto, and dole out my viewpoint on anything I choose is proof of this. Who am I?? I am no better than you. I do sincerely believe that I don’t go off half-cocked and say anything too crazy in this forum, but in other situations I am easily angered and lack patience, understanding, wisdom, & compassion.

Jesus asks “Why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye but do not consider the plank in your own eye?” and cautions us to “first remove the plank from your own eye, and handsthen you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.” I am not advocating free reign. I am not saying that criminals should not be punished or that people should not be criticized when they make bad choices. But The Bible teaches us that “as iron sharpens iron, so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend”, countenance in this case meaning character. Unfortunately too many of us spend a lot of time tearing others down instead of trying to help them or lead them to become better people.

I don’t have any easy answers or quick fixes for this issue. However, I can confidently say that we would all benefit from taking a moment to think…to look in the mirror and reflect on the mistakes that we’ve made and the skeletons we have in our closet whether they are big or relatively benign…before we haughtily lash out at others. No one is perfect…not you and certainly not me. The world would certainly benefit from more empathy & kindness rather than judgment, contempt, and anger.

 

Points of Ponderation…..Episode 1.13

A semi-regular attempt to address some of life’s minutiae that might otherwise be overlooked…..

 

 

 

I had originally planned to do an entire piece about the on-again gun control debate, but I honestly just don’t have the stomach for it at the present time. Between liberals who are hellbent & determined to spit all over The Constitution & do whatever it takes to take away the freedoms that our Founding Fathers deemed so important that they specifically enumerated them in the Bill of 2ndRights, and sanctimonious Christians who take passivity to a whole new level because their idea of Jesus is some sort of easygoing, “It’s all good. Just chill out & let it go dude”, submissive milquetoast who wouldn’t want us to stand up for what’s right…well, I’m just kind of exasperated by the whole thing. I had mentioned in the State of The Manofesto that I had decided to pretty much steer clear of sociopolitical debates at the moment, but I was going to make an exception on this very important topic. Not now. I think it is best for my mental & emotional buddyjesuswell-being if I just keep my opinions to myself, which kind of sucks since the charm of…dare I say the whole point of…writing a blog is to express one’s opinions, and when I feel restricted in my ability and/or desire to do that it kind of paints me into a corner.

 

 

MTV’s new show Buckwild has been a big topic of conversation here in West Virginia. It is generally not my protocol to condemn something without giving it a fair chance, but in this case I have no intention of ever watching the show. First of all, MTV wasn’t even my thing when MTV was cool & popular, and since now it has strayed completely away from its original purpose & openly caters to wvthe lowest common denominator it definitely isn’t worthy of my time & attention. Secondly, Buckwild has been compared to Jersey Shore, which is kind of like trying to get someone to taste your cooking by comparing it to vomit. No thank you. And finally, you must understand that I am born & bred in West Virginia. I am well aware of the positives & negatives of my home state. I choose to concentrate on the positive and try my best to ignore the negative whenever possible, but unfortunately pop culture rarely utilizes that tactic. West Virginia is usually the butt of the joke. We are portrayed as a bunch of illiterate hillbillies who do nothing but drink, smoke, party, listen to country music, go to the bathroom in an outhouse, and sleep with our relatives. I won’t deny that there is an element of our population that ratifies such stereotypes, but most of the folks I know are somewhat educated, dress well, drive decent cars, have jobs, speak clearly, and frown on inbreeding. That is my West Virginia, and so I will not give credence to a “reality” show that once again allows us to be a punchline. Your mileage may vary.

 

 

So the Oscar nominations have been announced. Of the 9 nominees for Best Picture I have seen only Lincoln, which is a very good film. I have a level of interest ranging from mild to moderate in seeing atleast 5 of the others but likely will not catch them until they are available on PPV or video-on-demand. It has always struck me as odd that apparently no great films are released for about the first nine months of the year in the eyes of The Academy. I realize it is kind of a “Which came the_dark_knight_rises_2012-t1first…the chicken or the egg??” kind of thing. Studios now just kind of follow the “rules”. They release their big budget action flicks & sequels in the summertime, and wait until late fall to unleash the more cerebral “Oscar worthy” films. But when did those rules come into play?? Who came up with them & why?? As tongue-in-cheek as The Sammy Awards may seem because of the way I present them thru the prism of my quirky sense of humor, I take them seriously to a certain extent and meant it when I said that The Dark Knight Rises is a true epic. I also said that it is “too good to overlook”, but apparently The Academy doesn’t share my tastes. It is disqualified from being considered “artistic” because it’s about a comic book character and was in theaters during the summer. That’s a load of poppycock in my humble opinion.

 

 

I have commented in the past about how much I enjoy the occasional haircut. Besides being a rather sensuous experience it also can provide an opportunity for a bit of innocent flirtation, a skill I like to practice whenever possible (although since I am 40 & single I’m obviously doing it wrong). However, I seem to have inadvertently developed the wrong ability. Now even though I am openly non-PC it is also never my intention to be mean-spirited or offensive, so that is not my goal here, but I must be honest. On atleast three occasions in the past several months…at different hair salons…I have eagerly anticipated some social interaction & meager physical contact with a lovely young lady only to be Hair Cutting Scissorswaited on by the one stylist that isn’t going to do anything other than provide (hopefully) a decent haircut. Yes, I am talking about the one male employee in the place…and he usually isn’t batting on my team if you catch my drift. Let me be perfectly clear…that person’s orientation is their own personal choice and has nothing to do with anything except the fact that it really kind of defeats part of my purpose. If I wanted a dude to cut my hair I’d go down the street to Joe Bob’s Barber Shop and get a fine haircut, as well as some stimulating conversation about sports & politics. When I choose the more…feminine…shop at the local mall or shopping plaza my intent has a broader purpose, and when I get stuck with a guy with frosted blonde hair who loves musicals & thinks Channing Tatum is OMG HOT it seemingly confirms my belief that God has a sense of humor and is really messing with me. Plus I end up with gel in my hair and look like a cross between Nathan Lane & the crippled kid on Glee. Yes I actually did watch that show once. It was horrifying, as if Saved by the Bell and Cop Rock had somehow crossbred and produced the worst TV show of all time.

 

 

Long time West Virginia U.S. Senator Jay Rockefeller has announced that he will not seek a 6th term in 2014. I know this will cause a lot of sleepless nights, upset stomachs, & nervous tics throughout my home state, but personally I am glad. I have never understood West Virginia’s love affair with rockyobama1Rockefeller, a wealthy carpet bagger who has simply used our state as a tool in his quest for power. It is a strange dichotomy that, in a state where most people detest “the rich” and can’t stand anyone who has more than they do (which is pretty much the entire rest of the country besides Mississippi and maybe Kentucky), a significant majority of people here have spent the past four decades voting for a man (first for Governor then for Senator) who is the very definition of an affluent, out-of-touch trust fund baby born with a silver spoon in his mouth that has never had to actually work a day in his life and cannot possibly have the slightest clue about the kinds of issues that most of his constituents face on a daily basis. Of course that description could fit almost the entirety of both chambers of Congress nowadays.