Saturday, February 26, 2005

The Media -- They Cause Their Own Problems

Recently I read an article in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune entitled "Governor should not undermine the media" by Gary Gilson. Mr. Gilson is the executive director of the Minnesota News Council.

I am sick and tired of people crying about the media being attacked. As the title of this article states, they cause their own problems! We have a fresh memory of Dan Rather lying blatently to the American public regarding the President's National Guard service and how he was trying to make this an issue dangerously close to the election. Then suddenly we found out that the whole thing was a lie and Rather's credibility was called into question and several people lost their jobs over this situation at CBS. Dan Rather then subsequently announces that "he is going to retire" but that it had nothing to do with the recent events. He must really think that the American people are really stupid.

Gilson is mainly going after Republican Governor Tim Pawlenty (MN) and says that the Governor is taking cheap shots on his daily radio show. For those of you who do not live in Minnesota, you need to understand that there is been a love-hate relationship between the Governor and the Press in the last two administrations (Ventura and Pawlenty). Ventura was much more vocal about his disdain for the media. I do not agree with Ventura nor his politics, but I liked it when he basically told the media what to do and where to go. He was not going to stand for their tactics and garbage.

Gilson makes statements like, "But to subject the news media to general ridicule as the governor sometimes does, with the jocular and enthusiastic support of his broadcast sidekick, tears at the fabric of community. They regularly snicker at the news media, especially the Star Tribune, saying, in essence, "What do you expect from people who push a liberal agenda?"

Again, for those who do not live in Minnesota, the Star-Tribune is sometimes referred to as the "Star and Sickle" because of its definite liberal leanings, including their endorsement of John Kerry in the last Presidential election. He needs to grow up and realize that whining as he does will not do him any good because he fails to see that the media is far from objective and impartial in their reporting. If he does not believe what I am saying, tell him to get a copy of Bernard Goldberg's book called "Bias" and then he will see the agenda within the news media.

Gilson also states that, "It does not matter who occupies the top job in government -- Tim Pawlenty, Jesse Ventura, George W. Bush or Lyndon Johnson, all of whom have bashed the media. Any leader of the executive branch who smears the media may as well smear the legislative or the judicial branch. That damages a society."

Again, he is giving the media more credit than is due. Doesn't he think that false reporting or biased reporting will destroy a society also?

I do not see all of the media as evil. In fact, I have great respect for people who do deliver the news fairly, honestly, and most of all objectively. People like Brian Williams who recently took Tom Brokaw's place. On the local side, people like: Tim McNiff and Kim Insley who anchor the KARE-11 morning show, Frank Vascellero, Diana Pierce, and Julie Nelson who anchor the evening newscasts also on KARE-11. It is good to watch the news at various times, as I do and I can watch a story and have no idea what the anchor or reporters viewpoint is... that is the way it should be! Thank you KARE-11 for being a voice of objectivity within the media.

It is about time someone stood up to the media when they overstep their bounds and push their political agenda instead of reporting the news accurately, fairly and most of all objectively.

Then again, what can be expected of someone who is the Executive Director of the Minnesota News Council!

Friday, February 18, 2005

How Important is Church to you?

Recently I have heard and read a lot of discussion about the Sunday evening service (commonly held in Independent and Southern Baptist Churches--for the sake of discussion , I am only speaking about Independent Baptist Churches). There are two sides in this debate that seems to run full circle every so often on forums like the Fundamentalist Forums.

There are some that believe that the Sunday evening service should not be held and that it is a thing of the past. They feel that they can make better use of their time.

There are also those who feel that the Sunday evening service is a vital part of the Christian life and that it is a good thing to have them.

Personally, I agree with the latter, I have been a member of three Baptist churches since 1987

Faith Baptist Church (1987-1988)

Trinity Baptist Church (1988-2002)

Fourth Baptist Church (2002-present)

Each of one these churches presently has a Sunday evening service. In some cases, the Sunday evening service is the highlight of the day because some people are serving in other areas on Sunday morning and Sunday evening affords them the opportunity to worship with their families on Sunday evening. Sunday evenings are also the times where a lot of practical issues can be dealt with and in some cases a book study or a series can be preached. It is also a good time of fellowship with fellow believers.

You may be saying to yourself at this point, "Why make such a big deal about the Sunday evening service?" Well, as you may have read in the previous posts, I have been laid up with an ankle and foot injury for the last several weeks. Prior to my injury, I can count on two hands the number of times that I have missed church due to illness or other reasons. I always cherished my times at church because of the opportunity to worship God, learn the Bible, fellowship with other believers, encouragement, etc. Now being laid up, I have not been able to attend church for three weeks now and even though I am able to listen to the services via the radio (WCTS AM 1030).

Nothing takes the place of personal contact, it is one thing to listen to a church service, but it is another thing to be present.

Recently, while I was in seminary chapel last year (2004) a speaker came from a mission organization and right now it slips my mind, but I will never forget something that he showed us during his presentation. He had a picture of a group of Russian believers who were gathered in a forest somewhere in Russia and they were meeting to partake in the Lord's Supper and the weather did not look very inviting, they did not have building to meet in. They were huddled closely together to worship the Lord, knowing that if the KGB or military discovered them, they would have all been arrested. When I saw this picture, I was immediately struck with the thought of, "How important is God to you?" and I also thought of people that I knew who did not give much thought or priority to church services at all. Then I was struck by these people, who I did not know, but how they were WILLING TO RISK THEIR LIVES IN ORDER TO WORSHIP GOD! And then how we here in America take the opportunity to go to church with such glib and sometimes disrespect.

Would our church attendance habits change if there was a change of laws in this country and it was illegal to gather together for worship?

Seeing this image and going through my accident has given me a greater appreciation to attend church and to understand the importance of religious freedom in our great county..

Please think about those believers who risked their lives and gave up their comforts in order to worship God. Think about this the next time you are tempted to skip church and stay home for no good reason (I am not referred to illness,etc. but just pure selfishness and laziness)

I welcome your comments


Monday, February 07, 2005

Hospital Stays and Recovery

Around the end of January, I slipped on some ice in the parking lot of our apartment complex and subsequently broke my foot and ankle and it required me to have surgery. Needless to say, when I was in the emergency room and heard this news, I was not a happy camper. I am not one who gets squeamish about blood or doctors, but I was not really fond of the idea of having to have surgery.

After being treated in the emergency room, I was then admitted to the hospital and had to play the waiting game as to when they would operate. One of the pastoral staff members and his wife stopped by to have prayer with my wife and I once they found out that I was going to have surgery sometime that evening. Shortly after that, the surgeon came in and gave me the details of what he was going to do and then allowed me to ask questions. I had a few of them, but I was glad that he allowed me the opportunity to know what was going on with my care. I also think that he knew or sensed some nervousness or apprehension on my part. After all, I hadn't been in a hospital as a patient for many years (since I was a kid and had my tonsils out!)

After the doctor answered my questions and those that my wife had, he then took out a pen and proceeded to autograph my left foot. I chuckled at first, but then remembered the horror stories of people who went into the hospital for one thing and had something else done.

The surgery was a success and I was able to come home from the hospital on Monday 1/31.

I am very thankful for a lot of things that happen while you are in the hospital. They always check and recheck your ID bracelet to make sure that they are giving the right medication to the right patient. They are very particular about when they take your vital signs and they record everything. The nurses on my floor were especially kind and very efficient with their care.

A lot of people have heard their share of horror stories and bad experiences with hospital stays. I am thankful that mine was a positive one, in spite of the circumstances. As I was in the hospital bed and the nurses were in and out of the room periodically, I thought what it would be like if I had to take care of a number of people in various situations, probably not an easy job. I determined that even though I wasn't feeling the best and things were not 100% okay, I wanted to be a testimony for the Lord Jesus Christ, by being as kind and as nice as possible. Nurses and other healthcare professionals often work 10-12 hours shifts, sometimes longer and they probably are on the receiving end of a lot of criticism and complaining from patients.

Everyone also has their stories and comments about hospital food. I thought that the food was okay. It wasn't bad, and it wasn't great either. It met a need, I was hungry and they brought me breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I even got to choose my meals. The nice part about this was just before my accident, I was working out about 30 mins a day in an effort to lose some weight. I wanted to lose 10 lbs by the end of February. I was really serious about working out and was really trying to watch how much and what I ate. Well, in the hospital, there are no seconds, and the portions are small and no in-between meal snacks. This has really helped me because I have noticed a difference in how much and what I eat, now that I am home. It doesn't help that I cannot exercise, but I am able to at least control what I am eating and not devour everything that I see.

I am now at home recovering, trying to also complete some of my seminary coursework until I am cleared to return to work and seminary classes. Please pray for a speedy and thorough recovery. I return to the Dr. for a follow up on 2/16/05.

Hospitals aren't so bad after all.


Saturday, February 05, 2005

OK, I finally decided to start blogging

After reading many blogs before they were popular and seeing how popular they have become. I have decided to throw my hat in the ring. I have always had an interest to write, but have never been able to make a decision on what I should actually write about. I am not a famous person or author, nor I am seeking such fame. Just a place to express my opinions and maybe improve my writing skills in the process.

I actually got inspired by reading a friend's blog: Notes in the Key of Life

Thanks Cindy, for giving me the motivation to start blogging.

I will be commenting on a wide variety of subjects. These may be things of local interest, national or world interest, or religious in nature.

Suggestions and comments are always welcome. I am looking forward to the journey
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