Saturday, January 31, 2009

Why Do You Carry a Gun?

This article is almost four years old, but I still get goosebumps reading it. Why do you carry a gun? John Connor answers the question by saying, "For life, liberty, and Little Lizzie."

I hope and pray I am never in a position where I will need to use a firearm for defense. But if I ever am, I pray and prepare so that I may be ready.

Friday, January 30, 2009

New Greeting

It seems that one of the toddlers at my wife's job is not a morning person. When one of his teachers asked him to pick up a toy he'd just tossed in anger, he looked at her and answered:

"Leemeelone, I bite."

Woohoo!  I think that's how I'll answer the phone from now on.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Christian Witness

This post and recording made me think...

Initially, I thought, "This is why I don't have any Christian symbols on my car."  I don't want to do anything stupid and have anyone think less of Christians because of it.  I guess it's easier to hide my Christianity than keep an eye on my witness.   

Personally, I think the voicemail, aside from being humorous, is unreasonable, and nit-picky.

Still, do I pay that much attention to what I do in public?  Is there anything I do that would cause others to stumble?

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Why Does a Christian own a Firearm? Part 1

There are many ways to ask this question: Why should a Christian own a firearm?  Is owning a gun a sin?

I was recently asked to explain the reasons why, I, though a Christian, own and use firearms. The person who asked me firmly believes in non-violence, and believes that by owning a firearm, I further the culture of violence. Moreover, by carrying a firearm, this person believes I am exhibiting a lack of trust in God.

Now, I have a 1939 Luger P08, which uses the 9mm Luger round. This pistol has been made famous through many war movies. It has a toggle action and fixed barrel. This gun has definitely seen better days, but since it has matching serial numbers (including magazine and wood grips), it’s a keeper. Furthermore, this thing shoots to point of aim and, mechanically, it is infinitely fascinating.

I also have a Stoeger (Beretta) Cougar 8000 in .40 caliber. This is also an accurate little gun and is very fun to shoot. It’s easy to carry concealed and is the one I use for that purpose.

I own a Rossi 68 5-shot, .38 Special revolver. This one, like the Luger, will not ever win any beauty contests. It has, however, become my wife's favorite.

Finally, I have the ubiquitous Ruger 10/22 carbine. I love this rifle! I use Tactical Innovations 25 round magazines (which I bought before the price skyrocketed because of the election). I also have a Tactical Solutions extended mag release. This rifle is the one I will use to teach my princesses the joys of target practice.

Now, when not being used, my firearms live in a gun safe. The gun safe is hidden in ... well, never mind. The point is that the guns sit in the safe when not in use. They sit. That’s all. They don’t go out by themselves or come in long after curfew. They don’t dirty up the house when we’re gone. They don’t fight amongst themselves or have verbal caliber wars. They don’t pick fights with the neighbors or start conflicts in the streets. They quietly and inanimately sit in the safe.

When I open up the safe to remove one, they do not react to me. Firearms, like kitchen knives, baseball bats, cotton balls, and teddy bears are inert objects, with no will or malice of their own. They are simply tools ready to be used when I need them. They are tools that I can use for target practice, dry-firing, hunting, self-defense, or simply admiring and cleaning. Although I practice regularly and carry a firearm in case I need it for self defense, that is just another use for the tool, again, independent of any thoughts or motives inherent in the gun itself.

Firearms do not perpetuate violence any more than cars do drunk driving, computers do identity theft, or forks do obesity. No, to get from the tool to the result, you need independent human action. Any attempt to eradicate violence, drunk driving, indentity theft, or obesity by banning guns, cars, computers, and forks will fail because these focus on the tool and not on human nature. And government will NEVER change the nature of man. No law will ever prevent human action. Man is innovative. He will find a way to accomplish his desires, whether for good or evil. He does not need handguns to do so. If handguns are not available, he will use something else.

Handguns are not violent, man is.

So then, if guns are not violent, do I personally perpetuate a violent culture by owning one? I'll cover that next time.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Superbowl Party Rehearsal

For top secret reasons, we had to put a hidden camera in our music minister's office. We discovered them rehearsing for the big Super Bowl Party Praise & Pizza Pie Concert.





Hmm...looks like we need to rehearse some more...

Friday, January 23, 2009

Why Capitalism is Failing

Or perhaps, "Why the Bailout will not Work."

There is something much deeper that is wrong with our financial system today. It goes far beyond anything that can be treated with a healthy dose of more money.

Yesterday, I saw this headline: Former Merrill CEO Thain resigns from BofA. That's curious.

He was headed to great things with BOA after the BOA Merrill merger on January 1. Heck, he barely had time to remove the protective wrapping from his new name plate. It seems that while Merrill was posting a $15.45 billion loss, its CEO, John Thain, was greasing the pole to the company's financial hell.

Note:

1. Just prior to the merger, this past December, Thain passed out $3-$4 billion dollars in bonuses to employees. This is customarily done in January, but by then, Merrill would be owned by BOA. I guess Thain wanted to make sure the money was paid out before someone else could stop him. Of course, if you're posting a huge loss, why are you handing out bonuses?

2. Thain became CEO in December 2007. Since he took over, shares dropped over 70%, and his company continued to tank. In his defense, this was not all his fault. The month he took over, Merril Lynch would have tallied $12.2 billion loss in the second half of 2007. How did he celebrate his new job? By spending $1.22 million redecorating his new office.

3. Then, last month, with his company still heading down the porcelain commode, and just having been rescued by BoA, Thain asked his compensation committee for a $10 million bonus. I want whatever he's drinking.

This reminds me of names like Tyco, Enron, etc..., where the leaders have lost their minds. Let's not stop there! What about lending institutions that ignored sound lending practices just to make bonus. Credit card companies that continued to strangle the borrowers, just because they could, knowing full well they were merely padding their losses. Rather than look out for the best of the company, investors, and customers, these leaders have looked out for themselves, sacrificing their companies at the altar of greed.

That is why Capitalism is failing. Not because of the theoretical system, but because we have subverted its principles for our own selfish gain. Financial leaders have thrown rules and morality out the door. They have justified their decisions with nonsensical, self-serving explanations, all the while pulling the rug out from under their employees and investors.

You can pour in all the money you want, whether you call it TARP or TRASH. Unless the morals and character of our financial leaders change, the situation will continue to worsen. A bailout will not suddenly convert selfish CEOs into business school angels. And no, Congress is no better. So I take no comfort in the fact that Congress will be looking over their shoulders.

Let's let Capitalism truly work. Let these companies fail. They are going to fail anyway. We either take the losses now, or our children will in the future. Let's take it now. Let the badly managed companies fall by the side of the road. Then, the remaining companies can take their cue from them.

Nah, let's just throw more money at them. There are bonuses yet to be paid, perks yet to be financed.

Tragedy at Nursery

I just saw this in the news: Knife Attack at Nursery.

I hate to use a tragedy to make a point, but gun control will never stop those intent on violence. Here, a man killed two people and injured many more at a Belgian nursery. And he didn't need a gun to do it. He used a knife.

No law would have prevented this tragedy. It is absolutely ignorant to believe we will ever legislate away evil. It is stupid to think for one moment that our paradise is within reach, if we only pass the right laws.

. . . for the intention of man’s heart is evil from his youth. Gen 8:21b

Our solution and salvation do not lie in more government or more laws. That will always be a step in the wrong direction. When man's folly is the problem, man will be incapable of a viable solution.

Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain. Unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchman stays awake in vain. Psalms 127:1

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Congratulations, President Obama

Mr. President,

Congratulations on your election as the 44th President of the United States. This is an historic occasion, where we celebrate not only the peaceful transfer of power, but also (and more historic), the first African American President of our Country.

During the campaign, I realized that I disagree with with you on so many different issues. This has been further confirmed as your positions have taken shape. There are other areas in which we are not that far apart. Unfortunately, the areas in which I disagree the most are those positions that mean the most to me.

All that aside, I believe the Bible is clear as to my duties toward our new leader.

First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. 1 Tim 2:1-2.

You have a tremendous duty on your shoulders, and the expectation of your supporters is sky-high. I will therefore pray for you. I will pray that God will guide you in your decisionmaking. I will pray that God will give you wisdom for all you must do. More importantly, I will pray that God will give you the courage to make decisions based on what is Biblically correct, not on what is popular or easy. Even if the result is something I may disagree with.

Furthermore, I will pray that God's will would be done for our Country and in your life, whether I disagree with it, and whether you disagree with it.

May God bless you and your family, and above all, God bless America.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Church Super Bowl Parties

Last year, there was a lot of press regarding the National Football League's position on church Super Bowl parties. They did not want that at all. It was a copyright violation. They did not have an issue with bars and restaurants doing so, but were concerned about churches having such gatherings.

Predictably, this issue caused a lot of heartburn because many churches had planned Super Bowl parties and this was coming out in the press just a few days before the game. Churches were now afraid that the Copyright Police (they don't exist) would break the door down and cart away their TVs just before the first commercial. Super Bowl parties across the land were cancelled.

At the time, the NFL rules for mass viewing of the game were:

1. The event must be free of charge.
2. The event must be viewed on a screeen no larger than 55 inches.

Senator Orrin Hatch became very interested in this matter and sent a letter to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell inviting him to explain, "prior to formal Senate consideration of this issue." Now, I don't see anyone being in any hurry to answer questions from our friendly Senators.

So, Mr. Goodell, probably wanting to decline the invitation to talk, wrote to Sen. Hatch and announced a change of rules for church Super Bowl parties. Specifically, the NFL "will not object" to live showings of the game, on any size screen, provided the following conditions are met:

1. The event is free of charge.
2. The event is held "on premises used by the religious organization on a routine and customary basis."

In English, this means that as long as your event is free, and held on your church property, you can have your party.

I like the use of the words "will not object." It's almost like saying, "I may not like it at all, but I'm going to keep my mouth shut."

Oh, yes. The source for all my quotes above:

Press Release by Sen. Hatch

Correspondence between Sen. Hatch and Mr. Goodell

Party on!

And save me some pizza.

Get a Better Grip

The possibilities for a pun are endless.

A man is taking care of his business in a Centerville, Utah Carl's fast food restaurant restroom when it all goes . . . never mind.  According to the news reports, the toilet "never knew what hit it." The patron of the restaurant was pulling up his britches when the gun fell out of the holster, hit the floor and discharged.

Just to clarify, this was not the gun's fault.  The gun could no more resist the pull of gravity than we can.  This was not a failure of gun control, at least not in the usual sense.  This was a failure of the holster to properly control the gun.

Carrying a handgun requires a "package" deal.  You have to comply with legal requirements.  You have to purchase a reliable gun.  You have to purchase a sturdy belt, and finally, you have to purchase a quality holster.

When I made the decision to carry a handgun, it was critically important that I purchase a good holster.   I needed a holster that would hold the gun securely.  The first holster I purchased was the "Split Decision" from High Noon Holsters.  This was a soft holster with a "Chicago screw" to hold the gun in place.  This holster worked well, but I wanted something that would remain open even after I removed the gun.  That's when I purchased the Don Hume holster I current use, the H715-M.  This holster does not use the Chicago screw, but is boned, or molded, to the specific model pistol it is intended for.  The molding of all the gun's contours serves to hold the gun securely.  This one has worked perfectly.


As an experiment, I hung my pistol from the holster, fully loaded with snap caps, upside down, for more than 30 minutes.  It never budged.  I shook the chairs that were holding the belt . . . nothing.  

If you look closely at the holster, you can see a scuff mark on the edge, near the pistol's grip, across from the safety/decocker lever.  That happened when I was playing catch with both of my daughters.  My youngest threw the ball way to my right.  I dove for the ball, ran out of grass, didn't see the hole, and fell.  I flipped, rolled over on to my gun side and slid for a few feet.  The gun never budged and stayed securely in the holster.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Speaking with the Police

Ring...

Little Big City PD-Homicide, this is Tired Detective...

Hello, I'm Lawyer With a Gun. I've been retained to represent Mr. I.M Freakinout, who is a person of interest in the homicide of Kind Grandfather. It's my under . . .

**interrupting**

Detective: He must have something to hide.

Lawyer: . . . standing that . . . excuse me?!

Detective: I said he must have something to hide.

Lawyer: What makes you think that?

Detective: Well, he went out and got himself a lawyer. Why would he do that if wasn't guilty?

Lawyer: Oh, I don't know...maybe he thinks it's his right or something. Personally, I just think he's being smart and protecting himself. No different than what you would do, I imagine. What's the concern?

Detective: Well, he's the deceased's grandson and the victim was found in his apartment by ...

**my turn to interrupt**

Lawyer: ...him, I know. It's a high rise, with high crime. And the door was kicked in.

Detective: We just want to ask him a few questions. It won't take long.

Lawyer: You've already met with him twice. He's been very cooperative, but now he's concerned that you guys want to see him again, so he came to see us. So...what can we do for you?

Detective: I still don't see why he needs a lawyer. I'll have to give you a call back.

Lawyer: Sure thing! Here's my number ...

-o-o-o-o-o-o-


-o-o-o-o-o-o-

You know the kicker to my true story above? Some weeks later, they arrested someone else, in possession of the victim's items. He confessed to committing the crime and was convicted.

My client was never bothered again.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Three Circles

I had been in law practice for about five years and we were in the midst of planning the upcoming year. Then, Congress changed the bankruptcy laws and we lost 90% of our clients. Just like that, my law partner and I were faced with the reality that the firm would be unable to support both of us. It was time for me to leave.

I ended up in a leadership position at a church, leading its administrative, operational, human resources, and legal departments. I went from co-managing a small practice to leading several large departments of a large church. This did not match any prior experience, nor was it something that I felt particularly equipped to do.

It was an overwhelming experience. For the first few months, I struggled to find out what it really meant to trust God. At times I was discouraged because as an attorney, my value to a client was based on my knowledge of the subject matter. Working for the church, however, I had no prior experience, no prior knowledge, and thus, in my mind, no value to the position.

Then, God began to work on me and showed me the concept of three circles.

The red circle represents what I believe I can do—the limits of my perceived skills and knowledge based on an honest assessment.

The yellow circle represents what my mentors and true friends believe I am capable of. Those are the skills and knowledge that they see God developing in me.

The green circle represents my Philippians 4:13 potential. This is what I am capable of accomplishing with God’s help. This is where God calls us to meet Him.

This place is so far removed from what we believe we can do that it is frightening and overwhelming. You see, we are completely comfortable and capable in the red circle. Anything beyond that takes us out of our comfort zone.

The belief, encouragement, and help of friends will often get us to the yellow circle. Yet no further.

God, of course, is not willing to leave us in the red or yellow circle. He will push us into His purpose. Because it is there that we will be forced to depend on Him and only Him. And there, He will receive all the glory.

So, when God calls us, we will feel overwhelmed. We will be nervous. In fact, if we are completely honest with ourselves, we will be afraid.

Now, we can remain paralyzed by fear and speculation. We can remain bound by past failures or rejections. We can collapse under the pressure.

Or, we can run into His arms, and with child-like faith, embrace His calling. Not because we are equipped to do so, but because He has called us. We can thrive and grow with this new challenge, firm in the belief that He who has called us will sustain and equip us. We will see God move in us in inexplicable ways, and those around us will marvel at God’s favor on our lives.

Then, over time, the green will become red, we will become comfortable, and before we know it, God will be calling us out again.

So, let’s not wait too long. Take God’s hand and let’s move.

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 2 Cor 12:9

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

First-time Church Visitors



Have I been in church so long that I have forgotten what it might look like to a first-time visitor?  Where is the line between tailoring the message to the visitor, and making the visitor feel at home?

Now I don't believe we ought to change the message to attract the unbeliever. But, what can we do to make the new visitor feel less awkward?  And yes, I know the video is an exaggeration and not everyone is as awkward or as inept as Mr. Bean, but bear with me.

Of course, like many things, it's easy to go too far.  This dichotomy has given rise to the seeker sensitive movement.  Churches made an effort to tailor the experience to what the unbeliever was seeking.  As a natural progression, we are now tailoring the message to what the unbeliever is seeking, while not addressing necessary themes like repentance and redemption.

Where is that balance?  How do we decide when we are working to draw people versus allowing God to use us to draw people.

And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.”

John 12:32 (ESV)

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Victor or Victim?

Great story, dumb warning.



The idiocy of the reporter's comment that police do not recommend fighting off an attacker. Whether true or not, what does the reporter want? A limpwristed victim? They would rather report on the homicide or the carjacking, rather than see a citizen stop the crime from happening in the first place.

This country was built on a history of fighting to protect our rights, our principles and our lives.

Nowadays, it appears that we believe the only way to keep our freedoms is to negotiate with evil.

It is wrong to think that belief in freedom always leads to victory; we must always be prepared for it to lead to defeat. If we choose freedom, then we must be prepared to perish along with it.
--Karl Popper

I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty than to those attending too small a degree of it.
--Thomas Jefferson


Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.
--Benjamin Franklin