Wednesday, November 30, 2011

America: The Last Best Hope

AMERICA: THE LAST BEST HOPE Vol.3 From the Collapse of Communism to the Rise of Radical Islam by William J. Bennett

This book covers the history of the United States from the years of 1988-2008. I have a problem calling it history since I remember a lot of the issues that he brings out in the book. History, it seems to me, to be what took place before you were born.

With that said, the author begins with the presidency of George H.W. Bush. The author, who was on the president’s staff, has only high regard for him. He says only positive things regarding his former boss. Like the presidents”… lasting legacy may be the maturity and self-discipline that the president exercised while in office.” And in regards to the president’s 1992 loss of election to Bill Clinton the authors says, “Great nations are too often ungrateful nations. And we Americans have a great nation. But surely, for our gratefulness and greatness, no people can expect to show their thanks every time they have an election. And in the election year of 1992 gratefulness was at a discount.”

Just as high as he was on George H.W. Bush, saying nothing really negative. He was just the opposite with Bill Clinton, not necessarily saying anything bad, but never saying anything good. A good example of this was seen in the authors failure to mention that in the presidents re-election bid he failed to mention how Bill Clinton used the presidents phrase, “read my lips” in regard to raising taxes against him.

The book moves from Bill Clinton to the presidency of George W. Bush and his fight with Iraq and terrorism. The authors writing of the terrorist attack on September 11, 2001 left me in tears. He concludes the book in praise of an American that can elect a black president in Barack Obama

A few of the problems I had with the book is the authors failure to explain some things like the Iran-Contra affair in more detail. His mentioning of it and not more explanation was like watching a movie with no end. Also, as in his praise of Bush Sr., his bias seems to show through. Also I feel this book would have been better titled a political history of the US for the years 1988-2008. Though he mentioned and touched upon some cultural issues, there was a definite lack of those issues discussed to understand the US in those years.

Overall, this was a good book, an easy and interesting read. I would now like to read the authors first 2 books of the United States history.

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Mega-church or Mob

A friend of mine sent me this, I thought was pretty good.

How the mega-church resembles the mob:

1. Has a founding family, with a "godfather" type as pastor. It is assumed the son will take his place. Access to the "godfather" is limited.

2. The larger families, lord over smaller, sometimes giving the appearance of helping, this too, however, can be an attempt to cement control, and further prove the power of the larger family.

3. If your an outsider, your out, no special treament or knowledge is presented. Once your in your in, you become priveledged to know the future of the church, you are made to feel that your approval is valued. You may even be granted rare access to the "godfather" himself. If you last long enough, you may eventually be considered a "pillar" of the family.

4. As an insider you see all the works and learn the players (know the hit men, and see the hits, often the "family" tries to pull you into the hit, so that the element of control is enhanced).

5. As a mere footsoldier for the family, direction comes from the "godfather" through others, and you are expected to only carry out what you were tasked with.

6. Independent thought, or attempts to improve the process/organization/family will be met with some sort of minor punishment (broken knee caps, or amputated pinky finger); in an attempt to discourage any action outside of what is mandated by the "godfather". These attempts will be seen as a personal offense toward the "godfather" or a threat to the other high ranking family members. This is typically spiritualized as "taking some time off to prevent ministry burn-out".

7. Continued independent thought (even to the betterment of the "family"), will be considered offensive.

8. At this point a hit will be put out on you. From here it will only be a matter of time before you find yourself in a cement coffin, or face down in a drained pool. Do not attempt to explain your actions, or wonder why you had no chance to discuss the issues. You have stepped on an ego of a higher ranking family member, than yourself, you will be prevented from being heard. You will wonder what your offense might have been, the family will justify it as "creating a coup to overthrow the godfather" or "lack of unity with the family".