Thursday, September 25, 2008

To My Fellow Americans

My father-in-law sent me this, I enjoyed it...

To my fellow Americans...
I'm against the $85,000,000,000.00 bailout of AIG.
Instead, I'm in favor of giving $85,000,000,000 to America in a We Deserve It Dividend.
To make the math simple, let's assume there are 200,000,000 bonafide U.S. Citizens 18+.
Our population is about 301,000,000 +/- counting every man, woman and child.
So 200,000,000 might be a fair stab at adults 18 and up.
So divide 200 million adults 18+ into $85 billon that equals $425,000.00.
My plan is to give $425,000 to every person 18+ as a We Deserve It Dividend.
Of course, it would NOT be tax free. So let's assume a tax rate of 30%.
Every individual 18+ has to pay $127,500.00 in taxes.
That sends $25,500,000,000 right back to Uncle Sam.
But it means that every adult 18+ has $297,500.00 in their pocket. A husband and wife has $595,000.00.
What would you do with $297,500.00 to $595,000.00 in your family?
Pay off your mortgage – housing crisis solved.
Repay college loans – what a great boost to new grads.
Put away money for college – it'll be there.

Save in a bank – create money to loan to entrepreneurs.
Buy a new car – create jobs.
Invest in the market – capital drives growth.
Pay for your parent's medical insurance – health care improves.
Enable Deadbeat Dads to come clean – or else.
Remember this is for every adult U S Citizen 18+ including the folks who lost their jobs at Lehman Brothers and every other company that is cutting back.
And of course, for those serving in our Armed Forces.
If we're going to re-distribute wealth let's really do it...instead of trickling out a puny $1000.00 ( 'vote buy' ) economic incentive that is being proposed by one of our candidates for President.
If we're going to do an $85 billion bailout, let's bail out every adult U S Citizen 18+!
As for AIG – liquidate it. Sell off its parts.
Let American General go back to being American General.
Sell off the real estate. Let the private sector bargain hunters cut it up and clean it up.
Here's my rationale. We deserve it and AIG doesn't.
Sure it's a crazy idea that can 'never work.'
But can you imagine the Coast-To-Coast Block Party!
How do you spell Economic Boom?
I trust my fellow adult Americans to know how to use the $85 Billion.
We Deserve It Dividend more than the geniuses at AIG or in Washington DC .
And remember, this plan only really costs $59.5 Billion because $25.5 Billion is returned instantly in taxes to Uncle Sam.
Ahhh...I feel so much better getting that off my chest.
Kindest personal regards, Hank in Bull Hampsha

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Christian Club

Churches can make a difference in some way with some Christians, but it's unlikely they're making a dent in culture by reaching the unreached or helping the truly disenfranchised. [from The Tangible Kingdom by Halter & Smay].

I just started this book (thanks Dad!) and it is already getting the wheels in my head turning. I remember back to High School when we had "Christian Club" - a place where Christians could eat lunch together and hear some lesson by some local youth pastor. We were encouraged to bring our "non Christian friends" but in reality most of the kids did not really have any non-Christians that they could actually call friends, and those of us who did were too embarrassed by the lameness of the club to bring a friend. Sad reality, but truthful. Flash forwad to today. I look around at many churches and find them operating in much the same way. We as the church do a good job at creating a club for Christians. Christians feel safe inside and hang out with other people who do not scare, threaten or intimidate them. Christians jump from club to club feeling for the one that most matches their style. But just like the club back in high school, what good the church might be doing for those who are already believers is completely overshadowed by the fact that society at large is not really being impacted. People who do not believe in God and have no concept of a relationship with Jesus are left outside, because those inside the club don't really care about them and the club itself has no relevancy to them. I see churches doing a lot of good in the lives of "believers" - their lives are getting better and happier. But its those who actually need to taste the saving grace of Christ for the first time that are left wandering. What if churches across America stopped doing programming for believers? What if there was no club activities on the inside of the club? What if the only focus was on helping the community and world at large - primarily taking the time to invest in those who have never been a part of the club? Who knows. I have a hard time believing that will ever be the case. I love church. I just wish church could mean more to more people.

Monday, September 22, 2008

The United States of...France?

I read an interesting article on Time Magazine [onlinel] via this morning. It has some delightful witty sarcasm in it but takes an intriguing look at the state of the American economy and the direction it is heading with all of the government bailouts. "We're more French than France." It does make me wonder though. I heard Nancy Pelosi yesterday say, "We will not simply hand over a $700 billion blank check to Wall Street and hope for a better outcome." Now I am not a big Nancy Pelosi fan but that just seems to make a lot of sense. There just does not seem to be any consequences for making stupid mistakes with a lot of money for Wall Street. I understand that many people (most/all people?) are dependent upon Wall Street doing well, but I feel like $700 billion is just going to end up getting blown and then what do we do? Where is the accountability? If Mr. Small Business Owner makes stupid decisions and goes under - who helps him? Yes it is true that less lives are dependent upon him making it - but I am pretty sure he and his family and what small amount of employees he may have will all suffer. Its just so frustrating because this all seems like "regular people" are the ones getting fleeced here. If you are responsible, pay your taxes, invest your money, live within your financial means, and recognize accountability in your life - the US government has no care for you. Frustrating. When will our 2 candidates talk about this and be REAL with their answers? Probably never, but one could hope...

Sunday, September 21, 2008

I love my boys

Seriously. Outside of my wife there is nothing greater in this world than my boys. I absolutely love them so stinkin' much.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

I say the Red breathing.

Okay so I absolutely love sports. If you asked my wife, she would say that I love sports too much. Seriously. Since I can remember I have fallen on the obsessed side of sports. I remember for my tenth birthday my parents took me to Toronto to see the Blue Jays play (for some reason as I kid I loved all the Toronto sports teams). They fell behind after the first couple of innings, and so I did what any rational 10 year old would do. I started crying and ran away. Literally, ran from our seats onto the main concourse. Not sure where I was gonna go or what good it would do. I remember repeated arguments with my brothers about who was the best player, the best team, the best win, the best whatever. I remember getting into a fight with Ben Swails because the Packers lost the Super Bowl to the Denver Broncos. I remember not feeling sorry when Mario Lemieux got diagnosed with cancer because I was angry at the Pittsburgh Penguins for beating the North Stars in the 91 Stanley Cup. I remember taping up a photo of Byung-Hyun Kim up in the urinal in my college dorm room so I could pee on him I was so angry for him blowing back to back games in the 2001 World Series. I can also remember all of the times I have felt an immense amount of joy in my heart because my team or my player did well. What's the point? I have slowly begun to realize how much I let sports run my life. My whole attitude can change depending on who wins the Ryder Cup. I can be upset for weeks if the Packers lose a game on Sunday. Even the most obscure of sporting events can change my outlook for a day good or bad. The sad reality is that at the end of the day sports do not matter. They don't. Eternity is not impacted by who wins/loses. God doesn't stop being in control just because the Twins don't make the playoffs. There are bigger and more important things in life and if I spent about half as much time worrying about them as I do sports, I cannot imagine how much I could do for God. So while I will continue to watch Sportscenter, check, and follow my goal is to not get so wrapped up in them that I miss out on the real & true joys of life.

By the way, for those of you who didn't see Fever Pitch, when Jimmy Fallon's character is asked "Where do the Sox rank in terms of importance in your life?" he replies with "I say the Red breathing." Sad but understandable. :)

Tuesday, September 16, 2008


I love these guys. They make some pretty hilarious videos.

Love must be sincere

Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with God's people who are in need. Practice hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited. Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God's wrath, for it is written: "It is mine to avenge; I will repay," says the Lord. On the contrary: "If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head." Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

I am continously overwhelmed by this passage from Romans 12. I wonder what God could do with my life if I was obedient to these words written by Paul? I feel so convicted because I know that my life does not reflect this passage and then I wonder why I feel distant from God and people do not see Christ in me. My challenge, though, is to not wallow in self-pity but attempt to get my life to reflect these verses.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

University of Phoenix Stadium

So my wife and I got the opportunity to see the Cardinals game today at University of Phoenix Stadium (thanks Dad!!!). The game was great (Kurt Warner was amazing), the food was good (who doesn't like a Big Red Dog), the atmosphere was rocking (yes there are such things as Cardinal fans), and I got to count a football game as a date (score one for the boys). Glendale feels like it is California for those of us in the East Valley, but other than that I cannot complain about a single thing from today.

Saturday, September 13, 2008


One of the repeated conversations that my wife and I have is over discipline. How do we discipline our kids? How much is too much discipline? What things do you not worry about because discipline is not that big of a deal for them? When do you raise your voice? Do you have to spank them every time? All these things swirl around. Today Trenton wanted to play with some styrofoam cups we had leftover from our friend's going away party. I told him no. So he decided he was just going to grab them anyway. I told him NO again but still he did not stop. Finally I grabbed his hands and pulled him away and gave the classic "don't make me ask you again line." His response to that was to pick up a toy and throw it at me. Beautiful. What to do...what to do...So I immediately marched him over to a corner and made him stare at the wall for a few minutes followed by a short talk on listening. Not sure how much an almost 3 year old can comprehend...but then again he is really smart so I'm not going to sell him short on understanding. All this to say that I don't exactly know what I am doing. I do not want to be the strict Christian parent that keeps my kid from doing anything and punishes any sign of wildness. On the other hand I don't want to be the laissez-faire parent who doesn't discipline at all and as a result produces little hellians who do not respect any authority and end up getting into all sorts of self-destructing crap. Where is the balance? Of course the Bible is full of stuff on the importance of discipline and God disciplining us like we discipline our kids and so on and so forth. But as much as "spare the rod, spoil the child" looks good on paper - when does it apply and how is it properly applied to make sure my kids learn, grow, mature, and develop into solid men? How do I teach them that discipline is for their benefit? How do I teach them that I absolutely love them and that is why I discipline them? All of this is swirling through my head this morning as I try to get a grasp onto what exactly I am supposed to do as a parent via discipline. Then on top of all that, every parent with more than one kid has told me that each kid is different and you have to learn how to discipline them in their own way. Oh man. I guess this is all part of learning how to be a parent...

Wednesday, September 10, 2008


I absolutely love the return of football. College football (go Sun Devils!), pro football (go Packers!), fantasy football (too many teams this year but nevertheless go teams!), watching football, teaching Trenton about football, talking smack about football, everything to do with football. One of the best parts of football coming back to us though is the blessing of watching Miller Lite commercials. I absolutely love John C. McGinley (and love it even more that his Dr. Perry Cox character comes out in the commercials). The More Taste League. I just saw this one recently and it made me laugh. I am a simple person so if you don't find the commercials funny perhaps you have never seen Scrubs or you are dead...either way your opinion doesn't hurt my viewing enjoyment.


So I am writing this post at 4 am. I am tired, but so joyful right now. Trenton just started calling out from his bedroom so I went to check on what was the matter. As soon as I opened his door he looked up at me from his bed and said, "Dad...pee" - which in his short sentences was his asking to let him go to the bathroom. So he got up and ran into the bathroom and went pee on the toilet. How awesome that he asked - even in the middle of the night. This is a major breakthrough! Yea for peeing at 4 in the morning. Anyway I am a little loopy since this is the middle of the night, but now I cannot get that stupid "Its not a going problem its a growing problem" Avodart commercial about shrinking your enlarged prostate commercial out of my head. The guy in the commercial said he had to keep going to the bathroom in the middle of the night and here I am focusing on pee in the middle of the night. I am pretty sure Trenton's prostate is not enlarged, he just has a small bladder. So no worries on the Avodart, we'll stick with celebrating him choosing to pee in the toilet over simply just going in the night diaper we put him in.

Friday, September 5, 2008

What to do...

Well after the hoopla of both the DNC & RNC it comes down to a final two months of mud-slinging ads and a few debates to determine who will be the next President of the USA. I have really been interested in this election and like many people am honestly torn on what to do. There are "promises" (sketchy when it comes to politicians) that both candidates are making that seem positive. There are negatives to each candidate that stick out as well. I was talking to my buddy Jeremy and he said he is leaning towards not voting at all. Is that the solution? When it comes to not being completely comfortable one way or the other, do we abstain from voting? I don't know. Is leadership experience the most important thing? Is a impressive military service record the most important thing? Is natural charisma the most important thing? Is abortion stance the most important thing? Is tax policy the most important thing? Is health insurance the most important thing? There are so many variables. What about character? It appears in Scripture that the most important thing to God was whether or not a leader had character and was willing to follow after God. Where do Barack Obama and John McCain truly stand in their "claimed" relationships with Jesus? Where does that rank in a system set up to separate church & state? How do you evaluate a candidate outside the lens of your own personal biases? So many questions and I honestly don't feel like I have the answers. Does God care about this election? One way or the other, does God care that one of these guys wins? Or does God simply ask that the Christians of this great nation continue to seek and serve Him no matter who the leader is trusting that God remains in control...which then brings me back to does it matter who I vote for?

Monday, September 1, 2008


So one of the classes I am taking this fall is on the Islamic faith. I know very little about Muslims, and am looking forward to decreasing my ignorance. One of the first things we did in the class was read an article by Mona Eltahawy discussing "what does a Muslim look like." The saddest part of the article is the idea that people are genuinely shocked to see diversity amongst Muslim people. Because of the media and the ignorance of so many, it seems as if Americans have a perceived image in our heads of what a Muslim "must be" versus what they might actually be. This isn't to say that some people within the Muslim faith have not done wrong and projected the image we as Americans have...its just that it is unfair to stereotype all people because of the actions of some. I think about my own Christian faith and see all of the examples that I do not want to be lumped in with. Do I really want to be represented by Pat Robertson? By James Dobson? By Joel Osteen? By the abuse issues in the Catholic church? By anti-homosexual tirades? By the Republican party? The media only seems to latch onto the sensational news stories and then projects those as status-quo for a whole group. It is frustrating when trying to share Christ with someone because they already have some misconceptions based upon what they have seen/heard on television. The article and subsequent class discussion that went along with it really reminded me of how often I listen to stereotypes and get duped by the media. Not every Muslim wants to burn an American flag...just like not every Christian wants to bomb an abortion clinic. Unfortunately the only way to move beyond these simplistic and foolish generalizations is to cut down on our ignorance. That is my hope with this class.