Guided by Stillwater

Raise awareness. Call to action.

Rock for South Sudan

In November 2007, I was able to go to southern Sudan. A local pastor, Charles, painted a very vivid picture of what it was like during the civil war prior to the 2005 peace treaty. Looking out at the field before us, he replayed just one instance of troops invading the village- lines of soldiers, shoulder to shoulder, coming in on each side. The people are defenseless in this village. Their tukuls provide little protection. While exploring one afternoon, I discovered some sort of explosive roped off in the grass that failed to explode. The people would cover their roofs with brush and branches to conceal them from the planes.

Charles

tukul

In March 2008, John Mark McMillan, Aaron Strumpel, and Travis Aicklen set out to make a difference in southern Sudan. They rocked for water. Scheduling eight shows in California, these bands used their giftings and musical abilities to promote a need, or better yet, a response. Every night, Travis would talk about what he experienced in southern Sudan (we went together). He would tell the crowd, “You spend your money on worthless things. People who were going to die are going to live because you gave.” And they did. They gave generously. Two weeks and eight shows later, $26,000 was raised. Since that time, one well has been dug with two more on the way (last I heard).

Rock for Water Crew

our well

Travis and I in Sudan

The NY Times just published this story: Violence Grips South Sudan as Vote Nears (PLEASE READ)

In the past, these rivalries occasionally became violent, with maybe a few warriors killed on each side. But the recent attacks seem more like infantry maneuvers. In one massacre this March, 17 villages were besieged and more than 700 people killed, according to United Nations officials….Diing Akol Diing, a county commissioner near Duk Padiet, keeps pictures of victims on his computer: Children with bullet holes in their chest. Old women curled up in pools of blood. Emaciated militia fighters in smart new camouflage.

“This is madness,” he says.

He clicks on a photograph of a dozen people wrapped in blankets, buried in a ditch.

“Mass graves?” he says. “We’ve never had mass graves.”

******

There is just a year until the peace treaty expires. It sounds like the north is preparing. It sounds like the south is scared, hoping to hold out, hoping for independence. It sounds like we need to rock again- not for water, but for the people- for their hopes, for their freedom…for their very lives. The world learned of Darfur too late. Let’s not let this happen with the south. Let’s not wait until another 2 million men, women, and children are dead. Let us help to give them voice. Let us proclaim their story. Let’s Rock for South Sudan.

I’m not sure what to do. I just want to help and I want you to help, too. Are you in?

If so, watch this video from Journeyman Pictures. If not, watch this video from Journeyman Pictures. (August 2006)

This video is from June 1993 and will give you some context.

December 15, 2009 Posted by | Current Events, Health Care, Politics, Religion | Leave a comment

OBAMANODOMA

“The Obama administration filed court papers Monday claiming a federal marriage law discriminates against homosexuals, even as government lawyers continue to defend the law.” – 8/17/09

“On June 11, 2009, the Obama administration defended the law’s validity in a 54-page brief that said the law is consistent with equal protection and due process principles and does not violate the right to privacy. Officials in the Obama administration and the Justice Department said that they are required to defend the law in court as long as it is still on the books.”

Flippy…floppy.

August 17, 2009 Posted by | Politics, Religion | Leave a comment

Obama in Cairo: Both sides now growing tired of his words

“If we are to fix America’s image in the world and if we are to heal the planet’s myriad ills, it will not be done through contrite kumbaya speeches about how we are all one world and how we should all coexist peacefully, no matter whether the remarks are delivered in Cleveland or Cairo. It will be done by leading through example, by righting the many wrongs here at home, by seeking justice and fairness for all, by doing what is right, not saying what sounds pleasing to the media elite and the pliable punditocracy.”

The Emptiness of Obama’s Cairo Speech

(READ THIS ARTICLE – It is written by a man from the Left.)

No doubt. Obama’s speech, though eloquent, was extremely disappointing. I think my main problem with it is that he seems to, as a Christian, completely dismiss the polarizing foundations of the differing religions. For example, as a Christian, Obama believes that Jesus is the way, truth, and the life. No one gets to God without going through Jesus. Again, as a Christian, Obama believes that JESUS IS THE TRUTH. Instead of acknowledging that he does in fact believe in tenets contrary to Islam, he says,

“As the Holy Koran tells us, “Be conscious of God and speak always the truth.” That is what I will try to do – to speak the truth as best I can, humbled by the task before us, and firm in my belief that the interests we share as human beings are far more powerful than the forces that drive us apart.”

As a Christian, even if he doesn’t legislate based on his beliefs, “speaking the truth” should acknowledge that certain tenets of these faiths are in direct opposition to one another. While attempting to shift the focus from differences to similarities, the foundation remains intact. I think his approach is naive and short-lived.

Also…

“In Al-Azhar University, the co-host of the “historical speech,” State Security police raided and detained at least 200 foreign students, held them without charges in unknown locations.” You can bet he wouldn’t mention this while talking about peace in the Middle East! (He did, however, mention Al-Azhar University). That story, HERE.

Complete TRANSCRIPT of Obama’s speech

June 4, 2009 Posted by | Politics, Religion | , , , , | Leave a comment

Validation

After various debates and a recent line of questioning as to “Why” I do not support same-sex marriage, I figured here and now is as good a time and place as any to answer these specific questions.

Q: What is unlikeable about this?

A: The recent struggle for “equality” in the same-sex marriage war is very hypocritical. While “Equality for All” is the slogan, it is not what the homosexual community and its supporters truly desire. If so, they would advocate for others who are prohibited, such as blood relatives and polygamists. I don’t see any same-sex marriage activists advocating for  two consensual siblings who “love” each other or religious fanatics that secretly have a dozen wives. I don’t think the homosexual community considers those people “equals”.

Furthermore, when does it end? What happens when THREE consenting adults love each other and just want the same rights as heterosexual couples? Is the world going to respond, “Who am I to judge people different than me? Just because that’s not my lifestyle does not mean I have the right to legislate morality for someone else.” That would be absurd. When would it end?

Q: Why can’t we just let these “others” get married, while you continue to live your life your own way?

A: Well, because I am a voting citizen like everyone else. Prop 8 gave me the option to vote my own conscience just as it did for everyone. This country was founded on the majority voice of the people and, even in a state as liberal as California, same-sex marriage is not supported.

Q: After all, church and state, as stated in our constitution, are separate. Correct?

A: Sure…sort of. Marriage itself crosses this “separation” as both a religious/spiritual union and one recognized by the state. Citizens of all religions and walks of life were given the opportunity to vote either in support or opposition of this “equality” issue. And then, to everyone’s dismay, California upheld the outcome last month! So, you tell me, how can you distinguish the boundaries of church and state as it pertains to marriage?

Q: Tell me if I’m wrong, the reason you don’t believe in gay marriage is because 1. the bible states a marriage as between a man and a woman, and 2. being gay is a sin (then again so is eating pasta carbonara)?

A: Yes, I believe marriage is reserved for one man and one woman. Yes, I believe homosexuality is a sin but I don’t know about “pasta carbonara”. Personally, I put homosexuality on the same level as unforgiveness, which is serious business: “But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins” (Matthew 6:15). However, take this Biblical verse about homosexuality as a whole and the same severity applies, “Don’t you realize that those who do wrong will not inherit the Kingdom of God? Don’t fool yourselves. Those who indulge in sexual sin, or who worship idols, or commit adultery, or are male prostitutes, or practice homosexuality, or are thieves, or greedy people, or drunkards, or are abusive, or cheat people—none of these will inherit the Kingdom of God” (1 Corinthians 6:8-10).

Now, I know many believe homosexuality is not a choice, but say that to those who are choosing to live contrarily to their homosexual tendency. You may have noticed, the above verse lists homosexuality with a whole gamut of things that are CHOSEN. Why would God throw in homosexuality, a non-choice, with a bunch of lifestyle choices?

Finally, I will say this, God is love and those who profess Christianity are not full of hate for “withholding marriage rights” from a certain group of people. In my opinion, and the opinion of many others, the homosexual community is looking to the Christian community for love but only in the form of validation. Just because I don’t validate a certain lifestyle, does not mean I do not love them. (I suppose this last paragraph sums up all of the questions).

For further reading: The Secular Case Against Gay Marriage

June 2, 2009 Posted by | Politics, Religion | Leave a comment

Pigs are Flying

Home Bible Study in San Diego in Violation of County Code?

The American Flag is Offensive in America?

If you think these stories are rare, they’re not and they’re getting worse.

In the Bible Study story, an average of 15 people meet together weekly to “have a meal, we pray, that was all.” I would understand hundreds or even dozens of cars taking up a whole block of residential parking but this? To put it in perspective, my church’s leadership totaling 16 people meets at a private home on Sunday evenings. This is a total of 10 cars. More than likely, this is probably the same scenario for the San Diego group that has been accused of  unlawfully using the land. Unbelievable.

In the latter story, is relatively cut and dry. Four hospital supervisors share an office – one of them put up an American flag. Apparently, “multiple” people complained about the flag, including one of the other supvisors, a woman who had immigrate from Africa 14 years ago. The woman who put up the flag is obviously proud of her husband and two sons who have previously served this country in the military, as well as her daughter who is currently serving in Iraq on her SECOND tour of duty. What happens when “Support the Troops” bumper stickers and bracelets offend someone? What happens when the 4th of July offends someone? Maybe the Lincoln Memorial will offend some racist from the south and be torn down! Unbelievable.

May 29, 2009 Posted by | Politics, Religion | , , , , | Leave a comment

Our Lady and the President, pt. 2

If you have not read the articles in Part 1, you should, especially the second one by Robert P. George.

So, Obama received a standing ovation at Notre Dame. The below article offers some very compelling arguments as to why this may be.

Perspective: Moral relativism and Obama at Notre Dame (OneNewsNow.com)

The clips I saw of his speech confirms Parker’s theory. Obama, as always, speaks in ambiguities and generalities. “How does each of us remain firm in our principles and fight for what we consider right, without…demonizing those with just as strongly held convictions on the other side.” While admonishing patrons of all faiths to find common ground, he fails to acknowledge the absurdity of this foundation. If this were not so, if this were not absurd, there would be a Palestinian state in the Middle East, for example, Jews and Muslims would be friendly neighbors. For Christianity, Jesus is the Gate; He is the only way to the Father. For those outside of the faith to say that this is arrogant or ludicrous to claim to be the only truth is just as laughable.

Imagine having a face to face conversation with Jesus. Imagine that as your conversation carries on, He says to you, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” To which you reply, “Wow, Jesus, that’s kind of arrogant. All religions are true for those who believe them.” Just because Jesus’ statement is absolute, uncompromising, and completely disregards the “validity” of other religions, does not mean it is not so.

In the above article, Parker exposes the moral relativism she has both observed and experienced throughout our nation’s universities. While moral relativists believe there is no universal standard, it seems this county has been, for quite some time, on the verge of indirectly creating one. This standard is called, “Me, Myself, and I.” That is, of course, unless you believe in Jesus. If you’re in this camp, you are probably experiencing the dismissal of your beliefs due to their lack of relevancy in a modern, progressive society.

While Obama encouraged the class of 2009 to have “open hearts and “open minds,” he seems to have excluded himself from this exhortation by maintaining a 100% pro-choice voting record and leaving the Senate as the most liberal Senator in US history. I believe his rhetoric is beginning to fall on deaf ears. The old adage “actions speak louder than words” comes to mind whenever I think change I can believe in.

courtesty of NY Times

courtesy of NY Times

May 18, 2009 Posted by | Politics, Religion | , , , | Leave a comment

Our Lady and the President

YouTube – ND Response – Official Video.

This video was produced by Notre Dame students who oppose the invitation extended to President Obama as the commencement speaker at this week’s graduation.  He will also receive an honorary law degree. They oppose Obama’s stance on abortion. In this situation, both sides of the spectrum have been thrust face to face.

Catholics: pro-life

Obama: pro-choice? (This article breaks it down nice and easy. Although the outcome is disturbing).

May 12, 2009 Posted by | Politics, Religion | , , , , , | Leave a comment