Common Merganser

Common Merganser

This is a common merganser. Mergansers are a type of diving duck. They are perhaps the most skilled fish catchers in the duck world. They are born with this skill and will do all their own hunting, from the point the chicks hatch through adulthood. When they are very young they will be catching aquatic insects and minnows. As adults they will move up to exclusively dining on small fish.

In order to be this skilled at fishing they have to have some specialized abilities and tools. Among them is being very strong swimmers underwater. But they also are specially equipped to hang on to the fish after they catch it. In this picture you cannot tell, but mergansers have sharp serrated edges to their bills. The bill looks a little bit like little saw blades, but each of those points are able to dig into the fish and keep it steady. This allows them to grip the slippery fish without any possibility of losing them.

Sometimes having a good solid grip is critical for people too. For Christians it is essential to have a grip on sound doctrine. A surprising number of people will spend their whole life drifting left and right in what they believe based upon who last influenced them. Of course, the goal should be to learn and accept the truth of Christ, not to adapt to the beliefs of those around you. Yet we such social creatures we are always likely to be influenced by others.

The solution the merganser uses might be useful here too. I believe people need anchor points. Certain key beliefs should be settled in their hearts and minds. These fundamental issues will serve as anchors to their belief system. The believer will recognize falsehood when it disagrees with one of these anchor points. Some of my anchor points include the inspiration of Scripture, the virgin birth, Jesus is eternally deity, Jesus took on humanity, the crucifixion and more. There are a lot of others. The more anchor points you have the steadier your faith will be.

2 Timothy 1:12 (HCSB) says But I am not ashamed, because I know the One I have believed in and am persuaded that He is able to guard what has been entrusted to me until that day.


Clemency for Crack

President Obama is working with Eric Holder to grant clemency to a number of individuals convicted of drug offenses, that they feel were unfair and racially biased. In some cases they report the penalty for crack cocaine was many times that of regular cocaine and the people sentenced were predominantly black.

The plan is to give a blanket presidential pardon to those individuals who they believe were over-sentenced. The idea has not been implemented, since the details are being hashed out. The suggestion is to extend the pardon to those who have served at least ten years of their sentence and who have had no gang connections. No one is certain how many people will be released if it is enacted.

I have a couple problems with this plan. It is racially motivated micromanagement. These two government officials have scanned American history and policy for racial inequalities. The problem with reverse engineering this way is it overlooks the historic reasons for the legislation. Lawmakers and society as a whole were desperate to stem the tide on crack and the outrageous amount of violence that came with it. This was the reason the penalties were significantly more severe than for regular cocaine.

This is the activity we ask governments to undertake. We ask them to make a positive difference in the face overwhelming evil. We need them to take on monsters through the corporate strength of society which individuals are too weak to oppose. Overlooking this history, and in fact, the whole movement towards legalizing drugs, is the result of failing to learn the lessons of the past and setting ourselves up to relive them.


I believe the family is a structure designed by God. Within the family, God intended one man and one women to make a lifetime commitment to one another. These two may become parents and then have the sacred responsibility of raising their children.

Now that I have made the basic statement let me elaborate on it a bit at a time.

God designed the family just as He designed everything else which exists. He has intentions on how the family is supposed to work, and for humans to give the definition of family a makeover is sin. He has the right to be Lord over the family as He has the right to be Lord over all of Creation. This includes bringing judgment at His discretion.

Marriage, the relationship which begins a new family is designed by God and His intentions for it are for one man to be married to one woman. I fully understand the Scriptures include many cases of polygamy. (They also have cases of murder, rape, incest and other deplorable actions we would not endorse.) I believe the nature of people indicates we are intended to have one other marital partner of the opposite gender. We are designed in such a way to desire such an exclusive relationship.

Parenthood is a part of most families and should be taken on as a responsibility to God, society and the children themselves. The possibility of creating children in situations which are not conducive to the child’s welfare, is one of the main reasons sexual relationships outside of marriage are sin. Children exposed to the wrong things too early, especially sexuality, will be adversely affected by that loss of innocence, and parents should take protecting their children from this loss of innocence as a personal responsibility. Children who are not disciplined in regard to their behavior will also face challenges which may well limit their potential for the rest of their lives. These kids often become adults who harm society and cannot understand the need to be in submission to any authority, earthly or eternal.

Female Yellow-headed Blackbird

Yellow Head Female

This is a female, yellow-headed blackbird. They are seen considerably less often than male birds because their habits are almost opposite. The male will sit on top of the cattails and call out. They puff themselves up to show off their colors. And will vigorously defend their territory against intruders.

But the female will stay hidden down lower in the vegetation. They are pretty much only seen when dashing out to grab some slime or floating plant from the surface of the water. This is taken back inside the reeds where she will build it into a nest, built around several strong shafts, and suspended above the water.

The male makes sure everyone sees him while doing basically nothing, but the female prefers seclusion and carries on the tasks of nest building. Given the two different personalities, which are you and which should you be. For the blackbirds both are necessary. The male creates the nesting territory, the female builds the nest, raising and hiding the young. Within humanity the role of defending a territory from others is not needed, but the quiet, industrious, and humble work of the female fits what both men and women need to be in the kingdom of God.

When I use the word humble, I am referring to the way the female blackbird makes its entire life about others. She does not puff herself up. She does not seek to be the center of attention. Instead of spending her energy on herself, everything she does is for others.

This behavior is not only beneficial to humanity, it is Christ-like. Perhaps it is the greatest development of character a Christian should strive for as they mature. In Philippians 2:3 (HCSB) “Do nothing out of rivalry or conceit, but in humility consider others as more important than yourselves.

The Sands of Benghazi

Recently we have learned a little bit more about the inane story that the Benghazi riots were spontaneous, based upon a movie produced in California. An email has been finally disclosed which instructed Susan Rice to point to the movie instead of failings in the administration.

For many people this is direct evidence of what they wanted democrats and the United States as a whole to finally admit and accept. There was an intentional spin put on the story in the first few days to avoid having it impact the elections. This spin was in the form of the preposterous lie, that the protests occurring on the anniversary of 9/11 were not planned, premeditated terrorist attacks.

For me the Benghazi debacle is disturbing for this reason, but it is much more disturbing that the false story then caused a number of other riots at different embassies around the Muslim world. This is a fact which seems to be forgotten. It is also very disturbing that we allowed the embassy to be so vulnerable. But what really gets my blood boiling is that the chief official in charge of these matters would testify emotionally, “What difference does it make?” without all of America standing up to remind her, it was on her watch.

Despite how aggravated these items make me feel, I have serious doubts whether another investigation into the events should take place. I am sure this conclusion surprises some of you. But my reasoning is simple. Since most of the citizens have stuck their head in the sand and pretended this was not a failure of the administration and ignored the blatant attempt to cover up the failure, why do we expect them to behave any differently now?