Saturday, July 05, 2003
Afternoon Musings-I'm blogging without any power in my grandma-in-laws house. We're one of the 60,000 around here still without power from a nasty thunderstorm that blew through Rockford at 4:30 this morning. I had to drive to a library this morning to get some work done on my class and rechage my laptop's batteries. Since the phone still works, I can get on-line from my laptop. It's still early, but it could get interesting in Iowa, where Gephardt, Kerry and Dean are in a three-way dead heat. You're not supposed to take boom boxes to rock concerts. No one knows who set off the bomb, but Chechen are always the usual suspects. Just a bit down the road from us in metro Chicago, El Tigre has risen from a rather shallow career grave to lead the Western Open. More goodies when we get power back; I'm having to ration my computer use to cover my on-line class.
Recalls and Republican Government- This Jonah Goldberg piece (thanks to Josh for the link) has one redeeming feature-the appropriate use of "atomic wedgie" in political discourse. However, this praise doesn't extend to the following logic.
Punishing voters for their poor decisions is vital because that's the only thing that imbues voting with any significance. Politicians, particularly liberal ones like Howard Dean, like to shout about how voters "have the power" to change things and how people have to take their obligation to vote seriously. Well, that's really only true if their votes have lasting effects. If voters think they'll get a "do-over" if it turns out they made a mistake, voting really won't matter that much. Any teacher will tell you that students don't show their best effort if they know the test or the term paper won't be graded. Any teacher will tell you that students - of any age - won't hand in their reports if there isn't a serious deadline and serious consequences for those who miss the deadline. The same thing holds true for elections. The date itself is insignificant, but it's vital that a firm date is set. And, if you vote wrong or miss the vote entirely, you can't have a do-over or the whole thing becomes meaningless.I don't want to plug for parliamentary government, but you can function fairly nicely with flexible election dates. In countries like Britain and Canada, governments have five-year terms, but can call elections earlier than five years. Often, a popular government will call an early election at the three or four year mark in order to take advantage of good poll numbers to lock-in another five-year term; wouldn't Dubya like that option right now? Alternatively, early elections can result when a coalition government falls apart. The Iron Lady managed to run Britain with flexible election dates. Blair and Chretien may not be poster boys for fully functioning governments, but things don't fall apart when you don't have elections every four years on the dot. I'm going to part company with Josh and Jonah and tell California to give the Gray Gentleman his Atomic Wedgie. Five years is enough.
Edifier du Jour-Jeremiah 7:3-7(NASB)
3 Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, "Amend your ways and your deeds, and I will let you dwell in this place. 4 "Do not trust in deceptive words, saying, 'This is the temple of the LORD, the temple of the LORD, the temple of the LORD.' 5 "For if you truly amend your ways and your deeds, if you truly practice justice between a man and his neighbor, 6 if you do not oppress the alien, the orphan, or the widow, and do not shed innocent blood in this place, nor walk after other gods to your own ruin, 7 then I will let you dwell in this place, in the land that I gave to your fathers forever and ever.Just because a group claims to be a church doesn't make them part of the Church. Plenty of modern churches will camapign in favor of shedding innocent blood, especially that of the unborn and infirm. Many others will saunter off after other gods, or argue that other gods are just God in disguise. Others will look to oppress aliens, such as some Identity outfits. All of those groups above will claim to be Chrisian, yet not be. We have to look at the acts and deeds and beliefs of a church before we can be confident of their standing. Some churches may have the right creeds written up in their founding documents, but they don't follow them anymore. Other churches may ooze with compassion, but one that is directed to a false god. This paragraph from Rev. Mike a few days ago hits home here-
...[C]onsider how most secular management and leadership paradigms focus on what one does, not who one is or is becoming. Without a firm grounding in being, in relationship with the source of our being who is Being himself, then one cannot "become" well or "do" well. "Right doing" (ortho-praxis) has its foundation in "right becoming" (ortho-doxy), which in turn has its foundation in "right being" (ortho-ontology).You can have orthopraxy to the wrong faith or an orthodoxy that doesn't inform your day-to-day life. A right relationship with God will help the Holy Spirit to give us a sound theology and a sound walk with the Lord.
Friday, July 04, 2003
Evening Musings-I'm sucessfully gotten us into Rockford and Eileen's grandma's house; Eileen and her mom are out grocery shopping, while Grandma's reading the paper. Here's some light reading for the day; Josh has posted the Declaration of Independence. Well, it looks like Ah-nold will have Total Recall 2 along side T3. The recall effort has more signatures than they need already, but are looking for a 25% cushion to protect against petition-challenge issues. Thanks to Ben for the link. Barry White died. Well, I guess I'll have to cite James Earl Jones when bronchitis gives me a basso profundo voice. Vancouver gets the 2010 Winter Games. I've not been there, but Vancouver has the reputation as one of the prettier cities around; San Francisco without the baggage. For the sake of the residents of BC, let's hope that the organizers bring it in on budget; Montreal is still paying for the cost overruns from '76.
The Spirit of '76-"Bring 'em On!"-I haven't been doing too much blogging this week, but I've seen a bit of fallout from Bush's comments on Iraqi opposition fighters, with "cowboy" being a common line from the usual suspects on the left and overseas. However, this being the Fourth of July, I felt that that "Bring 'em On!" spirit was indicative of the American spirit. As a country, we're not bashful about taking on a big project and not bashful about declaring our confidence in our abilities to pull the big projects off. The French made a stab at a Panama Canal, the Americans did it. I recall Kennedy's speech pushing for a moon landing
We choose to go to the moon. We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win, and the others, too.We're willing to do the tough projects; I remember an old Marine(?) motto-"The difficult we do right away; the impossible just takes a little longer." We've got both ability and confidence that the rest of the world sees as cockiness. It ain't cocky if you can back it up. One of the great expressions of cockiness was from John Hancock 227 years ago today; if I remember the story correctly, his big signature was designed so that King George could read it without his glasses. From Day One, we've had the spirit of "Bring 'em on."
Edifier du Jour-1 Timothy 6:17-19(NASB)
17 Instruct those who are rich in this present world not to be conceited or to fix their hope on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly supplies us with all things to enjoy. 18 Instruct them to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, 19 storing up for themselves the treasure of a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is life indeed.The past was on my mind this week as Eillen and I have been visiting my parents. We saw the past splinter in the year I was away. Both of the Bible studies we were in broke up in the last year and I noted the difficulty I had being a householder in someone else's house. My days here in Midland are past. Our focus shouldn't be in the past, for you can only drive so well looking in the rearview mirror. Unless you're backing up, the view in the rest of the windshield's more important. Make that good foundation for the future, for that's where you'll be living. [Update 7pm-For Bene's viewer's, scroll up one for some real 7-4 comments]
Thursday, July 03, 2003
Edifier du Jour-Jude 20-23(NASB)
20 But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, 21 keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting anxiously for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to eternal life. 22 And have mercy on some, who are doubting; 23 save others, snatching them out of the fire; and on some have mercy with fear, hating even the garment polluted by the flesh.This verse has some good lessons for modern discipleship. Verse 22 reminds us to be gentle with people who are developing their faith and may have moments of doubt. That doubt may take the form of straight-out doubt in God or some heretical thought that veers away from orthodoxy. Speaking the truth in love to a doubting believer or seeker is tricky; my mind went back to a Edifier from last May when I repented of ripping into Mr. Bauer over some universalist prose. You correct and encourage people in their faith not to score bonus points in Heaven but to bring them closer to God. The other area that comes home is the part in verse 23 talking about having "mercy with fear." In witnessing, you're often taking the risk of having the sinner drag you down to their level rather than bringing the sinner up. We need to have mercy on people who are fighting their way out of various vices, but we need to be on solid spiritual and emotional ground so as to avoid being dragged into the mire with them.
Wednesday, July 02, 2003
Conservative Communists?-That's what Mr. Preston is wondering, as the NYT casts pro-democracy forces in China as "left-leaning." This puts us in the awkward spot of classifing anti-reform Communists as "conservatives." The reformers are liberal in the 18th century sense. Classic liberalism was taking power away from the aristocracy and giving it to the people, and that's what the reformers in China (and 1990s Russia) were doing. The thing that makes this confusing is that the modern aristocracy is a leftist one. In both China and Russia, things largely went from a monarchy to a communist dictatorship, although China had a nominal democracy in the early 20th century. That puts them two centuries behind the western curve; the reforms are classic liberal, not modern liberal.
Edifier du Jour-Jeremiah 4:3-4(NASB)
3 For thus says the LORD to the men of Judah and to Jerusalem, "Break up your fallow ground, And do not sow among thorns. 4 "Circumcise yourselves to the LORD And remove the foreskins of your heart, Men of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem, Or else My wrath will go forth like fire And burn with none to quench it, Because of the evil of your deeds."I think the key part here is the second line of verse four-getting rid of the foreskins of our hearts. The foreskin is what's removed in circumcision. What are we removing when we circumcise our heart? Our sin nature. Not that we don't sin, but a circumcised heart is one that has been dedicated to the Lord. I've gotten people hot and bothered in the past (I still owe Mr. Thienes a reply from two weeks ago) over downplaying church ritual over personal repentance. However, it is still our hearts that need to be overhauled first and foremost, and that is what Jeremiah is getting at.
Tuesday, July 01, 2003
Risk-shifting as Economic Stimulus-This is a question I've posed to my on-line Money and Banking class for discussion tomorrow.
One of the metatrends of the last quarter-century has been the increased shifting of risk from businesses and financial institutions to consumers. Here are three examples that come quickly to mind:I'd say yes on both counts. ARMs have allowed people to afford houses they couldn't have afforded with a fixed-rate loan, and since rates have gone down in general since ARMs were popularized two decades ago, the consumer has benefited. Defined benefit plans have given people more power over their retirement. Without having to worry about vesting, they are free to move to better jobs without having to worry about vesting their retirement plan; they can also rest easy in that the company won't let them go just before they're about to vest in order to save putting money into the pension plan. I don't have data to back this up, but 401(K) money seems to be more aggressively invested then pension funds, giving more equity for companies to invest and less debt, thus allowing more risky projects to be done. The shift away from ask-no-questions fee-for-service insurance coverage seems to have reigned in health care costs. It means a bit more paperwork and a little more hassle that the old days, but it seems to have made health care more affordable than it would have been under the old system. Risk is good if it means that people have more flexability and access to higher returns (or lower interest costs in the case of an ARM), which is good both for the economy and for Joe Sixpack. The economy would be growing as a significnantly slower rate without that consumer risk-sharing. That's one of the reasons the US economy is outperforming the rest of the developed world in the long haul.
--Adjustable rate mortgages shifting interest rate risk to the consumer
--Defined contribution retirement plans, such as 401(K)s, replacing classic defined-benefit pension plans, shifting market risk to the consumer.
--Added copayments and deductibles on health insurance shifting the risks partly to the employee.
Is this trend good for the economy? Is it good for Joe Sixpack?
Eulogy for a Christian Libertarian-Mackinac Center VP Joe Overton died yesterday in a plane crash. Some of you conservatives might have seen the work of the Midland-based Mackinac Center , a free-market think tank that promoted school choice and freedom from union strong-arming. Mackinac Center president Larry Reed has been a guest-writer for NRO from time to time. I hadn't seen Joe since the late 80s, but I was impressed with his knowledge of political theory. He was part of a singles Sunday School class at Calvary Baptist with back then; his background was in engineering, yet he had a better handle of the great political thinkers than this PoliSci grad. Back then, he was tilting at windmills as state Libertarian Party chairman. A Christian libertarian seems almost to be an oxymoron, but he was a Christian gentleman, moving on to the Evangelical Free church in town. He'll be missed.
Morning Musings-A happy Canada Day for my friends north of the border. The Loonie's doing well against the US dollar, despite the current administration in Ottawa. You may have trouble defining what a Canadian is without calling yourselves the kinder, gentler US, but you're good folks and good neighbors. Enjoy your national day.
"Do they have the Fourth of July in Canada?" "No." "Do they go straight from the third to the fifth?"Both Miami and Virginia Tech signed off on ACC expansion; Ben has the lowdown, positing Louisville as a possible twelfth team. I'm not sure of the merits of this, wanting to move the Homeland Security secretary to #5 on the cabinet presidential succession list rather than last. Traditionally, the department go by seniority; the oldest department (State) is behind the Speaker of the House and President Pro Tem of the Senate, while the newest department is last. What's wrong with President Norton? I don't like this for two reasons. First, it monkeys with tradition; I'm not sure if we want to start a tradition of tweaking the lists to put a favored guy or gal higher on the list. Second, this will give Ridge too much props, helping people who want to take his near-RINO persona and pump him up as a 2008 candidate. A week ago, I saw this WaPo piece on Volkswagen closing the Mexican plant that was the last producer of the Beetle/Bug. I chuckled at the time at this phrase
The 1969 goofball classic movie, "The Love Bug," about a Beetle named Herbie, spawned fan clubs and books and gave the world a reason to ponder Buddy Hackett.Well, Buddy assumed ambient temperature yesterday. Sorta a 60s version of John Candy, he got into a lot of good comedies-It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World would be one that would be worth grabbing from the oldies bin of the video store.
Edifier du Jour-Jeremiah 2:11-13(NASB)
11 "Has a nation changed gods When they were not gods? But My people have changed their glory For that which does not profit. 12 "Be appalled, O heavens, at this, And shudder, be very desolate," declares the LORD. 13 "For My people have committed two evils: They have forsaken Me, The fountain of living waters, To hew for themselves cisterns, Broken cisterns That can hold no water.This reminds my of a recent thread on "Bright" secularists that went through Joel Fuhrman and Rev. Mike among others. In the time of Jeremiah, the broken water jugs were false gods. Today, the most common faulty jugs are that of a naturalistic secularism that denies God and the supernatural. They see a jug of a self-contained physical universe, assuming that it is all there is. One of the things such people forget is that our scientific history stemmed from a faith in a knowable God that created a knowable universe. Modern "Brights" skip a step and head straight for the universe. Without that personal God, you will take the universe out of context. Instead of seeing ourselves as highly-evolved chimps, we need to see ourselves as reflections of God Himself. To see ourselves as merely naked apes, we're lowering ourselves to animal level. At that point, all the bad behavior of the world seems natural. To escape viewing ourselves as animals and the dystopic effects thereof, a theistic view allows us to see ourselves as special creations with a example of goodness to strive for.
Monday, June 30, 2003
An Answer to a Bleg-Lee Ann Millinger points to the Michigander's blog (the state uses Michiganian as the official adjective, but as a native of the state, I like Michigander. I'm partial to the old cartoon goose bumper sticker-"I'm a Michi-gander"), who has this bleg
How do I get stuff to indent? I'd like to set off my poems and writings I am commenting on, but I'd like to save italics and bold for emphasizing and clarifying my own words. Also, where exactly do I insert comments into the blogcode? Help help.You get that neat effect with "blockquote." Just put <blockquote> in front of your text and </blockquote> behind it. You can nest them, too, being able to double-indent the stuff your sourse quote blockquoted. Another good trick to have in your bag of tricks is a link to an HTML character set like this one; that will give you codes for characters that aren't on your keyboard, or ones you want the computer to take literally as opposed to being part of the HTML directions. For instance, I had to use character 60 (less than) and character 62 (greater than) in the last paragraph to get it to print <blockquote> without it taking it as a command. As far as comments are concerned, there are a number of free commenting services that are at least worth the price. YACCS is a popular one that I use. It does tend to go AWOL from time to time, as it did earlier this afternoon. Moveable Type, for the more adventurous among us, comes with fairly robust comments built in. By the way, Tim, if you included an E-mail address, you might get more responces to blegs. I didn't see one there.
Thanks For Your Support-Lilek's wife lost her lawyer job, but a Instalanche of donations "paid the mortgage on Jasperwood for the rest of the summer." He got so much money, Amazon shut down his account for the rest of the month. Send some of that excess over to King's Kid, who's looking for work. He has a Paypal account.
Continental Political Drift-Could we be seeing the French Pym Fortuyn in young Ms. Sabine Herold? Not in a sexual sense (I'm assuming she likes guys) but as a charismatic libertarian who might give the political system a swift kick in the derrière. Both MCJ and Instapundit have blogged on this Telegraph piece on her trip to London. In a post-Christian Europe, the political divide will likely shift to socialist-libertarian in the years to come, something that status-quoian conservative parties don't quite know how to handle. The status-quoian parties, often running on a "Christian Democrat" label, seem to be losing ground to both libertarian-leaning outfits like List Pym Fortuyn in the Netherlands or nativist paleoconservatives like the Flemish Bloc in Belgium or the Freedom Party in Austria. To be fair, LPF had an anti-immigrant agenda, but was otherwise best described as libertarian. Without the leavening of religious groups, one of the two blocs on the right will likely be the challengers to the socialists/social democrats. When European conservatives have all the appeal to the young of Bob Dole, they will likely have either to adapt or die. With a growing Islamic community in many European countries, the temptation will be to move to a Pat Buchanan-style culture war, but warring for secular liberalism rather than a Christian heritage. That prospect seems to fast forward two decades into street brawls between skinheads and "rag-heads" and a very dystopic Europe. The less dystopic European future has the political fight coming between socialists and libertarians. Hard-working immigrants might take a light to a free-market party and natives sick of a meddling government could be brought over to their camp as well. The resulting government may be just as sexually decadent as those of the left, but at least their economies will function and Islamic immigrants will have something to look forward to other than a stagnant economies that will breed continental madrassas. Short of a Great Awakening in Europe, the prospect of a French President Herold sounds a lot better that some National Front leader or the Socialists getting in charge.
The Mean, Green, Dean Machine-Things are looking good for Howard Dean's candidacy. He raised $6 million in the second quarter and won the Move On primary, but with only a 44% plurality, denying him cash from the organization that would have come from a majority vote. The voters don't seem to be too representative of the Democratic electorate, for Dennis the Menace got runner-up honors with 24%. Dean’s starting to look like the real deal on the left, getting more and more support from liberal activists. Six months ago, many of us snickered at his chances, comparing the former Vermont governor with the fictional ex-governor of New Hampshire, President Bartlet. However, with the rest of the field more driven by ambition than concern for the country, Dean seems to stand out as a no-nonsense leftist. As screwy as it sounds, he may have a better chance that Kerry or Edwards or Gephardt of getting the nomination. Dean's hard-core secular stand, including presiding over the implementation of same-sex civil unions in Vermont, will hurt him in the general election, but unless someone calls him on it, it won't harm him in the primary. If all of the candidates are kissing the rings of the gay-rights and abortion-rights crowd, Dean will get a free shot up to the general election. In a crowded field where 25-30% will win primaries, would there be a Democratic candidate bold enough to distance himself from the libertine wing of the party? I don't know if Lieberman has the courage to run such a strategy, but if he makes a concentrated effort to come across as a moderate on moral issues, he could pick up a lot of blue-collar voters who are old-school on morality but liberal on other issues. Kucinich could have filled that niche before he flip-flopped on abortion. Gephardt has a moderate history that he has left behind as he's become a national figure. It's a dicey strategy, for it is guaranteed to P.O. the liberal activists. However, if the liberals are split five ways, the moderate wing of the party might rally around someone who presents something other than NARAL and Human Rights Campaign press releases and get their guy in on a plurality. Instead of sucking up to the liberal wing of the party, as he did as the VP nominee, Lieberman stands his best chance of winning by differentiating himself from the pack of hard-core liberals running. It will be an interesting half-year leading up to next year's primaries.
Giving the Democrats a Wedgie-Here's a good election-year GOP wedge issue; a Defense of Marriage constitutional amendment that Sen. Frist seems to be backing. That would force Democrats (and a few RINOs) to say whether they support same-sex marriage in an election year. It would be a win-win for Republicans. If they get support, fine, if not, they get great attack-ad fodder. This would likely get two-thirds of both houses of Congress; if not, the Democrats can be pointed to as the party of immorality for blocking passage in Congress. Once passed, it is likely to be approved in all but a handful of states. It'll be hard to pin the charge of fundamentalist whack-job on the supporters of the amendment, while it will be easy to pin charges of being hostile to traditional morality on the foes. If properly done, it will both keep Gerald Fitzpatrick and Patrick Fitzgerald from getting hitched and pick off a few liberal Democrats in the process.
Supreme Court Fallout-Some interesting commentary on the right side of the Blogosphere on the Texas sodomy decision. Ben Domenech points out Thomas' succinct concurrent dissent coming close to my opinion; it might be wrong, but it's not unconsititional. The decision's got Christ Burgwald sufficiently steamed that it will raise the temperature in the upper Midwest a few degrees. Meanwhile, Bryan Preston lays out some nightmare scenerios about the criminalization of heterosexism, or at least making it an actionable civil claim. I've got a longer post in me on this, but I don't think we will have the United States as we know it if conservative churches are required to hire homosexual staff and hold same-sex services; civil war would be a real possibility. First, I don't think Kennedy and O'Connor are going to sign off on such a law, despite the recent cases. Those two, especially O'Connor, are set upon "doing the right thing," and such rulings would rupture American culture. Also, there is a difference between the state making sexual acts criminal and making theological opinions criminal; the free-exercise clause of the First Ammendment has more persuasive power. The Boy Scout decision leads me to think that churches are safe for the foreseable future.
Edifier du Jour-Jeremiah 1:4-9
4 Now the word of the LORD came to me saying, 5 "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, And before you were born I consecrated you; I have appointed you a prophet to the nations." 6 Then I said, "Alas, Lord GOD! Behold, I do not know how to speak, Because I am a youth." 7 But the LORD said to me, "Do not say, 'I am a youth,' Because everywhere I send you, you shall go, And all that I command you, you shall speak. 8 "Do not be afraid of them, For I am with you to deliver you," declares the LORD. 9 Then the LORD stretched out His hand and touched my mouth, and the LORD said to me, "Behold, I have put My words in your mouth.God didn't choose a bunch of Jesse Jacksons to deliver his word, people who had eloquent delivery and a commanding presence. Both Moses and Jeremiah here had to be talked into being God's spokesman. I'm not sure the proper response to being tapped by God to be His messenger isn't "You talkin' to me?" People who are too eager to be God's PR guy are either very sold out for God or (more likely) very power-hungry and/or egotistical. However, the humble person is a good messenger, for God's going to supply the words. The Holy Spirit will deliver the goods when eloquence is needed. God knows us from day one (note the Isaiahesque knowing-us-in-the-womb phrase; good pro-life fodder) and won't give us more that we can handle.
Sunday, June 29, 2003
Stochastic Thoughts From a Trip North-South Carolina has a lot of dedicated interchanges. Not highways, interchanges. Is that an offshoot of the Southern ethic of honor? That gives them more stuff to name and more people to give props to. In North Carolina, there was a Bill Lee highway. I didn't think they cared about the Spaceman in the Carolinas. Turns out this Bill Lee was a Duke Power bigwig active in civic affairs. Going through West Virginia, I spotted a lot of "Certified Business Location" signs. This seems to be the state web site for setting those up; sounds like a lot of pork and full-employment policy for consultants. Speaking of pork, I got a good laugh at the Robert Byrd Drive in Bluefield; Porkasaurus Rex gets at least a street named after him. An odd conversation started as we drove through Charleston, WV yesterday; a conversation on Charleston Chews. I recalled having them as a kid circa 1970 (best served frozen) and wondered if they still made them. Eileen spotted one in the candy rack of the hardware store this afternoon (getting a three prong-to-two-prong converter for my laptop, old wiring at my parent's house); it is in the freezer at present for the proper presentation for a Charleston Chew.
Midland Musings-Been busy today back in Midland; we had lunch with friends and dinner with family and spend a good chunk of the afternoon getting the webboard for my online Money and Banking class that starts tomorrow up and running. The good news (for my readers) is that checking on the webboard will give me excuses to blogs while I'm on vacation. I hope and pray that he won't [hit Houston], but today he is still just a Bill. At least he's far from Florida.
Edifier du Jour-Luke 7:31-35 (NASB)
31: "To what then shall I compare the men of this generation, and what are they like? 32: "They are like children who sit in the market place and call to one another, and they say, 'We played the flute for you, and you did not dance; we sang a dirge, and you did not weep.' 33: "For John the Baptist has come eating no bread and drinking no wine, and you say, 'He has a demon!' 34: "The Son of Man has come eating and drinking, and you say, 'Behold, a gluttonous man and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!' 35: "Yet wisdom is vindicated by all her children."The world's going to look for things wrong with the church. If we have a more austeer look to our actions and facilities, people will think the church isn't being blessed because of its poverty. If you have a big and pretty church, people will complain that you're waisting money that could be used on the poor. We're saved if we do and saved if we don't. The world's going to find something to she-dog about the church. Just do what God's directing you to do and let the chips fall where they may.