Category Archives: current events

On Burning Burberries and Babies

Waking to the News

I don’t advise it, but it’s something I do often … I wake up to the news.

Honestly, the first thing I should do before rolling out of bed in the morning is pray or read a verse of Scripture. Yet, because my phone is my alarm clock, and because there’s usually a message that pops up right after I turn off the alarm, I habitually (may addictively) take a quick look (just a peek) at what’s happened overnight or the big news story of the day.

This morning, besides the incessant drum of anti-Trump rhetoric and the usual “Russian collusion” vitriol, there was a story about a clothing retailer that burned $37 million of its own over-stocked inventory.

And the masses rose up in protest.

Burberry Burning

Image credit: Wikipedia

Now, if you do most of your shopping at “off-the-rack” stores like I do, especially when items are on clearance, you’ve probably never even heard of Burberry. Again, if you’re like me, it is highly unlikely you’ve paid 3,000 dollars for a coat, so Burberry’s products are probably not hanging in your closet.

So, if you are a commoner like me (or just refuse to spend a lot of money on designer clothing), what Burberry does with their overstocked inventory couldn’t matter less in my mind. However, when the news came out that the British fashion label incinerated $37 million dollars worth of their clothes rather than let it fall into the hands of discounters or the “grey market,” a true meltdown ensued.

Many cried, “Why couldn’t they just give the clothes to the poor?” Others, like Sheena Raza Faisal at the website “Jezebel” wrote: “Let me be clear—the label literally burned fashion and cosmetic products carrying the Burberry trademark, because capitalism is a nonsensical loop of wastefulness.” Oh, the horrors of making a profit. Most just saw the whole thing as a waste of good merchandise – $37 million dollars worth.

Determining Value

But what are we really talking about? Are we talking about the burning of clothing that could have been offered to employees of Burberry or given to the coatless poor, or are we just upset that we didn’t get a chance at snatching up something for free?

Think about it, there’s something more offensive when we hear of expensive things being destroyed as opposed to inexpensive things. If Ferrari or Porche disclosed that it was going to reduce its inventory by crushing fifty $200,000 cars a month, you and I would be sickened. But if Ford announced that it was going to do the same with fifty of its units, each of which worth no more than $30,000, we’d barely sniff out a complaint.

The reason Burberry can charge so much for its products (i.e., $1,350 per coat) is because of low volume, high demand, and brand exclusivity (the very thing anti-capitalists complain about but love to wear). The $37 million dollars worth of merchandise equates to around 20,000 coats.

Had the same 20,000 coats retailed for only $50 each (like what I’d buy), we’d only be talking around a million dollars worth of merchandise burned. Sad, but not newsworthy.

Incalculable Value

But what of the worth of a child? What of the worth of an unborn baby? What of the worth of a human being with full potential? Who can determine it?

Burberry’s clothing and makeup products are expensive because of limited quantity, high demand, and prestige. However, very little about these products differ from similar products produced by other companies – only the label.

On the other hand, every human life (inside or outside the womb) has intrinsic value. In other words, each of us – including the unborn – are valuable despite anything else. We are valuable because of Who designed us, Who created us, and Who already set the price for us on the cross of Calvary.

People are up in arms because around 20,000 coats (and makeup) were destroyed last year. Yet, last year in the U.S. alone, around 600,000 or more babies (estimated) were destroyed in the womb. At least that’s down from a million in 2011. Yay. Woohoo.

And what do the “Jezebel”-like folk think about all THAT waste?

They “Thank God for Abortion.” (Viewer discretion advised)

Too bad we can’t stop destroying babies and just burn more coats.

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Filed under Abortion, current events, politics

God SAVE America!

Happy 4th of July!

flagIt has been 242 years since the colonies declared their independence. It was not an easy decision to make, however, and many of the signers paid a heavy price. But John Adams, in a letter to Abigail Adams, said he was “well aware of the toil and blood and treasure that it [would] cost us to maintain this Declaration, and support and defend these States.”

So, happy birthday, America! Your birth was a hard and costly one, but well worth the pain.

God Bless America?

Now, each year about this time we sing of our love for America. Irving Berlin wrote a song with a title that is repeated every time one of our presidents closes a speech: God Bless America!

God Bless America,
Land that I love.
Stand beside her, and guide her
Thru the night with a light from above.
From the mountains, to the prairies,
To the oceans, white with foam
God bless America, My home sweet home.

However, as I said in past sermon:

“Maybe we should stop asking God to bless America. Maybe we should, on the other hand, be saying, begging, ‘God spare America…God have mercy on America!’ We have already been blessed by God more than any nation deserves, yet what are we doing with those blessings? Where is our thanks to the God who blesses? We are rapidly going down as a nation, so before God completely abandons this nation to the trash heap of fallen empires, we had better be praying God REVIVE America…God SAVE America!…God have MERCY on America!”

Franklin’s Suggestion

Benjamin_Franklin_by_Jean-Baptiste_GreuzeIn 1787, not long after the war with England, representatives sent by the people met in Philadelphia to hammer out what was to be the Constitution of the United States of America. Tensions were high, arguing was accomplishing nothing, and the whole Continental Congress was in danger of falling apart. That was when the great Benjamin Franklin offered the following words…

In this situation of this Assembly, groping as it were in the dark to find political truth, and scarce able to distinguish it when presented to us, how has it happened, Sir, that we have not hitherto once thought of humbly applying to the Father of lights to illuminate our understandings? In the beginning of the Contest with G. Britain, when we were sensible of danger we had daily prayer in this room for the divine protection.” Our prayers, Sir, were heard, and they were graciously answered. All of us who were engaged in the struggle must have observed frequent instances of a Superintending providence in our favor. To that kind providence we owe this happy opportunity of consulting in peace on the means of establishing our future national felicity. And have we now forgotten that powerful friend? I have lived, Sir, a long time, and the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth- that God governs in the affairs of men. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without his notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without his aid? We have been assured, Sir, in the sacred writings, that “except the Lord build the House they labour in vain that build it.” I firmly believe this; and I also believe that without his concurring aid we shall succeed in this political building no better than the Builders of Babel: We shall be divided by our little partial local interests; our projects will be confounded, and we ourselves shall become a reproach and bye word down to future ages. And what is worse, mankind may hereafter from this unfortunate instance, despair of establishing Governments be Human Wisdom and leave it to chance, war and conquest.

I therefore beg leave to move, that henceforth prayers imploring the assistance of Heaven, and its blessings on our deliberations, be held in this Assembly every morning before we proceed to business, and that one or more of the Clergy of the City be requested to officiate in that service. – Source

We are “groping as it were in the dark to find political truth, and scarce able to distinguish it when presented to us.”

We are “divided.”

We are “confounded.”

We are becoming a “reproach and a bye word to future ages.”

And what is worse, mankind is leaving the forming of new governments to “chance, war, and conquest.”

Oh that America would cease fighting each other and fall on humble knees before a Holy God and pray!

I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, [and] giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and [for] all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. – 1 Timothy 2:1-2

We should be “imploring the assistance of Heaven” before Heaven becomes deaf to our prayers.

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Filed under America, Countries, Culture Wars, current events, God, politics, voting

My Thoughts On the Suicide of Anthony Bourdain

I’m not going to try to be fancy with this post, so I’m not going to worry about font size, layout, pictures, links, etc. All I’m going to do is sit here at the keyboard and write.

Read it if you want to, but nobody’s forcing you. What I’m about to write may offend …no, it WILL offend some people… so consider this a warning. Go click on CNN’s coverage of all this if you want to feel all warm and fuzzy.

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Just the other day I heard of Kate Spade’s suicide by hanging. Then, a little while ago, the notification popped up on my phone telling me Anthony Bourdain had committed suicide. All I could do was shake my head.

I’m still shaking my head.

I just came from the funeral of my father-in-law. It was not the most pleasant of experiences, as most funerals are not. His death was not a result of suicide, however, and yet it was still a source of grief for his family.

But those who commit suicide seem to not care too much about what happens in the hours after the body is found. They rarely seem to care what happens to the family in the next 12 hours, 2 days, or the rest of their lives. I tend to wonder how many family funerals those who commit suicide have ever attended.

I wonder how many have heard a mother, spouse, or especially a child cry out over the casket, “Why did you leave me?” And to think, it WAS a choice.

Like was said in a post I reblogged just a few moments ago, there is nothing brave about suicide. I used to think that the only reason I could not actually find the courage to pull the trigger to blow the top of my own head off was that I was a coward, which only added to the self-pity and lies that I was worthless. But it wasn’t cowardice that kept me alive; it was the innate sense of intrinsic human value that crept up from my sub-conscience  and screamed, “I want to live!” It was also a still, small Voice that whispered into my ear, “I still love you, no matter how much you want to hate me.”

I read that suicide rates have gone up 25% in general, and 30% in some states. It’s sorta becoming the “hip” way to die. But why? What are the reasons for wanting to kill one’s self?

I’ll list for you some reasons why at one point I thought I wanted to die: anger, disappointment, revenge, weariness, hopelessness, shame, worthlessness, and a general sense of bruised pride. I wonder how many of those Anthony Bourdain felt were legitimate?

A few weeks ago I went to the house of a man who committed suicide and sat with the wife and daughter in the driveway as the police did their job securing the scene. The best I could tell, the gentleman was tired of being a burden on his family, so he shot himself in the head and left his wife to live with the burden of being a widow.

Was Anthony Bourdain tired of being a burden to someone?

I don’t know Anthony Bourdain, and I only watched a few episodes of his television program. I literally know less about him than I know how many slices of cheese are in the refrigerator. I have no idea why Anthony Bourdain committed suicide.

What I do know with certainty is that it didn’t have to happen. What I do know for certain is that it wasn’t the best option, nor was it brave, nor was it loving – not unless there were terrorists demanding he choose between his life or another.

Honestly, we’ve got to quit being so passive and coddling with the eulogies of those who off themselves. I would bet a dollar to a gold-plated donut that at Anthony Bourdain’s funeral no one will stand up and tell the A-list crowd attending, “Anthony acted like a damn fool when he did this, and now he’s added his name to the long list of cowardly fathers who abandoned their children to deal with a pain they’ll never outlive.”

No, just like so many other funerals I’ve attended, barely anything will be said to shock the crowd into cold, hard reality. All that will be said about suicide is something akin to: “What a tragedy. If you feel like you might want to hurt yourself, find someone to talk to.”

You know what needs to be done at every funeral or memorial service (especially those held on college campuses when a college student kills him/herself)? Show pictures of the crime scene! Show the horror!

Despite what some people think, there’s nothing glamorous about suicide.

Have you ever set foot in a room where someone has put a bullet through his head? I have. It’s nothing like what you see in the movies.

Have you ever heard the sound of real people screaming and crying while looking at blood-splattered walls and ceiling light fixtures broken by skull fragments? I have. Actors can’t make it sound that real. It will wound your soul.

Yet, so many will go on and kill themselves – by whatever means – thinking that it’s the best or only option. Some will do it to make a point by trying to hurt others. Some will do it in a moment of sadness and grief while thinking there’s no use in going on. And most will do it never having been exposed to or having been made to consider the true aftermath.

But before I close this long rant, I’ve got to end it with some hope.

Let me remind you of those reasons I listed earlier: anger, disappointment, revenge, weariness, hopelessness, shame, worthlessness, and a general sense of bruised pride. THIS is why I preach the Cross. THIS is why I preach Christ crucified and risen.

One of the songs played at the funeral today has a chorus that goes like this:

“And the old rugged cross made the difference/ in a life bound for heartache and defeat./ I will praise Him forever and ever,/ for the cross made the difference for me.” – Gaither Vocal Band

Angry? Go to the cross. Disappointed? Go to the cross. Weary and hopeless? Run to the cross. Full of shame and reproach? Fall at the foot of the cross! Got a problem with your pride being wounded or offended? Focus your eyes on the cross!

You want answers for how to deal with suicide? Go to the cross of Jesus Christ where the Savior of the world was slain – so you and I could have life, and have it more abundantly.

Satan is the enemy of the soul, and any thought of suicide is a suggestion straight from the pits of hell – and if you sniff you might just smell the smoke.

I don’t know why Anthony Bourdain committed suicide, but I’d have a hard time believing he did it while thinking about how valuable he was to his Creator. I’d venture to guess that traveling the world and seeing so many things did nothing but expand the void in his soul and compound the questions for which he had no answer.

Jesus asked, “For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?” ( Mark 8:36)

I thank God I’m alive. I thank God I have a Hope. I thank God for purpose. I thank God I’m loved. When He wants me to leave this world, He’ll take me. Until then I will live my life for the One who gave His life for me.

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Filed under current events, Depression, Life/Death, Struggles and Trials

June 6th… Would We Do It Again?

d day

Seventy-four years have passed since the pride of the Allies, 156,000 strong, stepped out of landing craft and jumped out of airplanes into the mouth of a monster ready to eat them alive.

Seventy-four years have passed since young men from America, England, and Canada (and we must not forget Australia, Belgium, Czechoslovakia, France, Greece, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway and Poland) landed on beaches called Utah, Omaha, Gold, Juno, and Sword.

Seventy-four years ago, long before the fancy rock-climbing walls which are so popular in today’s health clubs and gyms,  the 2nd Ranger battalion “led the way” up the 100 ft. cliffs of Pointe du Hoc.

Seventy-four years ago, on the 6th of June, 2,499 American and 1,914 from the other Allied nations, a total of 4,413, gave their lives for the sake of freedom.

Seventy-four years ago men were stepping on the backs of their comrades as they sloshed through red water, breathed in the mist of war, and wondered if they would live to see the ground only yards (meters) in front of them.

On June 6, 1944, seventy-four years ago, it was said of those who landed:

They fight not for the lust of conquest. They fight to end conquest. They fight to liberate.” — President Franklin D. Roosevelt, radio broadcast, June 6, 1944

It is the 6th of June, 2018, but are we still a people with the stomach to liberate? If we were the ones living seventy-four years ago, where would we be today?

Ask those who take a knee, or hide in a locker room when the anthem is played.

Ask those who protest the same American flag that their African-American ancestors fought and died for – the same ancestors who fought in segregated units, but were still ferociously proud to be Americans. What did the pilots of the Red Tail Squadron do when the flag was raised and the anthem was played?

For that matter, what did Tuskegee Airmen Dr. Harold Brown, a pilot with the renowned 332nd Fighter Group in World War II (an all-black squadron) say when asked the following question during a recorded conference call: “Why [when the slavery trappings, the discrimination was all there] would you raise your right hand and swear to defend this country?”

“Oh, that’s very, very simple, in my opinion. I was a citizen of the United States of America! This was my country, too! Even though it had some shortcomings, it was still the greatest country in the world. There is no other country I would ever trade for it.” (Feb. 28, 2018)

Ask those who are burning the American flag because “America was never great.”

Ask the protesters who don’t even know why they protest.

image

The reflection pool at the WW2 Memorial in Washington, D.C. Each gold star represents 100 Americans who died or remain missing during the war.

It cost a lot to buy seventy-four years of freedom. Would we do it again?

If we could get them out of the locker rooms, maybe. But first, they would have to be willing to fight to defend something, and too many no longer believe what was purchased with the blood of others is worth fighting for.

Would we be willing to do it again?

If not, God help us.

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Filed under America, Countries, Culture Wars, current events, General Observations, Life Lessons, Struggles and Trials, World View

Reviewing “Infinity War”

I finally went to see the last Avengers movie.

Here are my thoughts.

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Filed under current events, General Observations, Movie review, Theology

Truth or Bigotry?

Dear Mr. Romney,

I read what you said about Dr. Robert Jeffress and his beliefs. You tweeted some very pointed comments about his qualifications to lead prayer on behalf of our nation at the opening of the United States Embassy in Jerusalem, today.

You said…

Robert Jeffress says “you can’t be saved by being a Jew,“ and “Mormonism is a heresy from the pit of hell.” He’s said the same about Islam. Such a religious bigot should not be giving the prayer that opens the United States Embassy in Jerusalem. (source: Twitter)

Well, Mr. Romney, the apostle Paul (who penned a huge portion of the New Testament your faith gives away all the time) made it very clear in his letter to the Romans that simply being a Jew is no guarantee of salvation  On top of that, neither Mormonism, nor Islam, affirm the deity of Jesus Christ, and both are legalistic, works-based religions; therefore, they both run afoul of Romans 4:5 and Ephesians 2:8-9.

I am very glad that we are moving our embassy to Jerusalem, and I’m also pleased that Dr. Robert Jeffress (a fellow SBC pastor)  is going to be praying. He is not a bigot; he’s a man of character, for it takes character to tell the truth when the truth is unpopular.

In John 14:6 Jesus made the most radical and exclusionary statement one could make, both in His day and ours: “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” If Dr. Jeffress is a bigot, then Jesus is more so.

I guess you just confirmed you worship a different Jesus.

Respectfully Yours,

Pastor Anthony C. Baker, M.Min.

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Filed under current events

Happy Earth Day 2018

Embracing Diversity

Let’s face it, I have a wide variety of people who follow this blog. They range from the ultra-right-wing conservative branches of the political and religious spectrum to the left-wing, tree-hugging,  tofu-eating, god-hating leftist trolls who do nothing all day but listen for billy goats to cross their pitiful bridges. Obviously, I’m happy you’re here reading this, no matter who you are.

It may be strange to hear a conservative Christian say it, but I embrace this diversity! My arms are extended and waiting to offer hugs to anyone and everyone who would let me show love. I may not affirm how you choose to live, and I may disagree with what you believe, but at least I care about you.

That being said, I know someone is going to be offended by what I’m about to write. However, there’s always another day and another blog post that you can enjoy. As the climate fluctuates, so do the posts of this blog 😉

Another Earth Day

A lot of melted glacial water has floated to the ocean since the first days of Earth Day celebrations. Predictions have come and gone, and yet the world is still flowing right along. A little warmer, maybe, but still here.

Early predictions from the first Earth Day in 1970 guaranteed that we would not be around until the year 2000. Some predictions had the world ending by 1985. Yet, here we are in 2018 and nothing much has really changed.

Do I believe that the earth might be a little warmer than it was in 1970? I guess it could be. I mean, I haven’t really been checking the temperature every day since I was three years old. But what I do know, is that we still have four seasons every year. Just like it’s always been, seasons change, and so will the epochs of nature.

If global warming is truly a thing, do I believe that man is contributing to it? No, I don’t. It has been warmer, then it got colder (they called it the ice age). Then, for some reason, long before man used coal and gasoline-powered engines to industrialize the world, things got warmer! Man had nothing to do with it!

A Proper Perspective 

What I do believe is that God created the heavens and the earth (Genesis 1:1). He created both the earth and day, and night, and time, and matter, and us. This is His world, not ours; but we are to be good stewards of what He has given us to manage.

I do not believe it is the Christian thing to do to waste resources, t0 pollute the environment, to run crazy with all of our self-pleasing pursuits at the risk of damaging creation. God cares about his creation, which is why one day He will remove the curse that is upon it because of sin. However, because creation belongs to the Creator, it is not the creation that we should be worshiping; we should be celebrating the One who made it.

If kept in the proper perspective, World Earth Day could be a good thing. On the other hand, if all it is meant to be is an anti-capitalist, anti-God, celebration of a deified planet, one where humans are taught to be the scourge of the earth, rather than the epitome of creation, you can keep it!

In reality, I sort of feel like paraphrasing the apostle Paul when he was writing to the church at Corinth: “But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you” (1 Thessalonians 5:1).

Just take care of what God has given you, praise God for it, and leave the season changing to him (Daniel 2:21).

PS, here’s a great article for today by reporter John Stossel. 

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