Spring Has Sprung



Photo by Valeria Boltneva from Pexels

Ready or not, here it is. Today, being the spring equinox in which days and nights are the same length, marks the official beginning of spring.

Here in California we have had the last hurrah of winter rain. I know other parts of the US are dealing with horrific flood conditions. Still other places may be recovering from a late winter blizzard. But spring, it is.

Weather doesn’t seem to pay attention to the calendar.

The most notable evidence of spring here in SoCal is the incredible “super bloom” in the local deserts, particularly noticeable because of the fields of poppies.

When I was a kid, my dad, who loved all things outdoor, took us to see a “super bloom” before anyone was calling it that. In addition he took picture after picture, none of which we have. At the time I was initially wowed and then quickly bored. I mean, all it was, was acres of flowers. Brilliant orange flowers, mostly. I didn’t understand that this abundance was not typical.

Interestingly, this year’s super bloom is the second we’ve had in the last three years. I don’t remember as much attention focused on it in 2017, but that might be because I was busy having a stroke that year. At any rate, this year we have had so many people “sightseeing” in the desert that there have been traffic jams.

Not only the ground has been thirsty during the drought. We who love the outdoors have been starved for the beauty of nature.


Abundance is the key word here. One wild flower by itself is not all that impressive. Not like a rose or an orchid or even a tulip in its simplicity. But when a hillside is covered with these blossoms . . . There’s really nothing left to say. It is breathtaking.

What strikes me spiritually in all this super bloom, is that God promises a life of super bloom—an abundant life. Not at some future time. Jesus said, “I have come that they may have life, and they may have it more abundantly” (John 10:10). In other words, for believers, the abundant life is already underway.

Jesus went on in the John passage to describe what He would do for the sheep in His care. The most notable action was to lay down His life.

Sort of like all those flowers that were dead, that had no life in themselves until the rains came. The desert went from barren to blooming not on it’s own. It could not, by itself, produce the abundance we see and enjoy today, no more than a sinner who does not receive the Savior can experience the abundant life.

Contrary to what some may think, the abundance Christ was talking about was not long life or fame or riches. It was really beauty—that which comes from reflecting Christ Himself.

The more we hang around someone, the more we become like Him. So too, for the Christian who spends time with God, who abides in Christ, who does not quench the Holy Spirit living inside. How can we not experience abundance if we are the mirror image of our Savior?

Advertisements
Published in: on March 20, 2019 at 5:38 pm  Comments (3)  
Tags: , , ,

California’s Latest Can Of Worms


Here in California the state assembly has recently passed AB2943, a bill that, should it pass the senate and be signed into law, will likely spark any number of law suits, which could end up in the Supreme Court.

Maybe that’s the best we California citizens can hope for.

The bill is designed to label as fraud, “conversion therapy” techniques, but the language is broad, meaning that it would not apply simply to licensed therapists: “This bill intends to make clear that sexual orientation change efforts are an unlawful practice under California’s Consumer Legal Remedies Act.” (as quoted by The Federalist)

Because this bill is couched in terms regarding fraud, the key issue is the exchange of money:

These “sexual orientation change efforts” must occur in the context of a “transaction intended to result, or which results, in the sale or lease of goods or services to any consumer.” (Ibid.)

Books are “goods” and pastors make money. So do Christian schools and universities. Bibles are books as well. But there’s more:

According to the bill, it includes also “efforts to change behaviors or gender expressions.” Thus, any sale of a book that makes statements that homosexual practice or transgender identification are immoral actions that people ought not to commit falls easily under the purview of AB 2943. (Ibid.)

And the bill goes further. It declares illegal the advertise of these “fraudulent” activities:

Also prohibited by this bill is “advertising, offering for sale, or selling a financial product that is illegal.” Merely advertising (e.g., on one’s Facebook page or some other Internet site) or offering for sale (e.g., on a table at a conference, regardless of whether copies are sold) “a financial product” that advocates a change of attractions, behavior, or gender expression (Ibid.)

With such broad language, I don’t see how someone isn’t going to sue someone or accuse someone of breaking this law (should the senate pass it and the governor sign it). But undoubtedly any attempt to do so will be challenged as unconstitutional because of the First Amendment protections of both free speech and freedom of religion.

I really never thought I would see these freedoms come under fire in such a blatant way in America. I suppose the Senate might still reject the bill, but in our liberal dominated state, the assembly passed it by a vote of 50-18.

Of course the early cry for the bill supporters is that opponents are exaggerating the effects the bill would have, should it become law. Factcheck has declared that the Bible is not in danger of being banned, should the bill pass. But a publication such as the National Review concludes otherwise: “Yes, California Is on the Verge of Banning Some Christian Books, Here’s How.”

Because of this bill one group from Colorado that apparently holds annual conventions in California, has canceled those events. The idea is that they have speakers who believe in marriage between one man and one woman, and they don’t want to come to California and get sued.

“Our speakers are leading Christian experts who base their presentations on theology, as well as sociology, psychology and science,” Summit President Jeff Myers said in a statement. “But the wording of AB 2943 is a dog whistle to the left that intelligent Christians holding traditional views are fair game for discrimination, smears and frivolous lawsuits.” (as quoted by the Denver Post, “Conservative Colorado ministry cancels California conventions over state bill that would ban gay conversion therapy“)

The sad thing is that in the midst of the wrangling that is sure to take place, should the bill pass, people are forgotten. And that means primarily people in the LGBT community, people who are struggling with their sexual identity and want help, and parents with confused children who don’t know who to go to with their questions.

Maybe the most powerful statements in opposition to this bill came from the two individuals in this video, who once were gay, but became Christians and Christ gave them new life. I recommend watching the first 7:30, because in truth, this is an American issue, not a California alone issue. I just listened to one pastor from Canada that says they have laws similar to the one proposed here, and he is ready to face the persecution because he plans to continue to proclaim the truth: he agrees with the Bible that homosexuality is sin, and in so doing he is not entering into any kind of hate speech. The reality, as the video below makes clear, is that declaring the truth is a way to show love. I’d only add that truth and love must be intricately woven together.

Published in: on May 2, 2018 at 6:00 pm  Comments (8)  
Tags: , , ,

Mid-Term Elections


VotingTomorrow we vote, and to be honest, this is a sad day for me. You see, the numbers of people who actually go to the polls is dismal. On top of that, here in California, most of the “races,” aren’t! So we have a candidate who has been indicted for corruption, another from a notoriously corrupt family, and another who is from a “famous” political family. Those will all probably win, even though they don’t deserve it and/or are up against someone far more qualified.

Add to that the fact that we vote for a number of propositions—something that has felt very democratic in the past. Until the courts overturn the stuff we vote for that the politicians don’t want.

In this upcoming election we are voting for a couple propositions that have obviously been written by top notch political schemers. One has three parts to it: test doctors for drugs, check a national database when there’s a prescription for a regulated substance, and change the dollar figure allowable in malpractice suits.

So all the commercials telling people to vote yes are about doctors who are staggering drunk into the operating room. But of course it’s trial lawyers who are funding those commercials because they can see dollar signs ahead of them if they get to sue for more and more money.

Then there’s the proposition that the health insurance companies are paying big bucks to stop. This one is couched as a “political power grab.” A caring doctor comes on in one commercial saying how awful the proposition is because it would allow a politician to determine not only the amount of money you’d be covered for but the kind of treatment the doctor can give. And after all, such things should be between a doctor and her patient only.

Sounds good, but what the proposition is saying is that the insurance commissioner will review the insurance companies’ proposed changes to coverage and that they’ll have to demonstrate that such changes are necessary. In other words, this proposition is protection from insurance company price gouging. Now that we HAVE to buy health insurance, if someone doesn’t regulate them, the industry can curb coverage or raise rates at will. Sure, it might be better if it wasn’t one insurance commissioner who has this regulatory power, but I want someone overseeing the health insurance companies.

But I suspect the ads have done their work and that proposition will go down in defeat.

There are a couple catch phrases that have worked in the past, and it’s interesting to see them get recycled. One is “power grab” as I mentioned above. Another is “protect the children.” The Republican running against Jerry Brown has used that one, which I think is a real stretch. I don’t see how Governor Brown’s policies have put children at risk. I don’t think it will win his opponent any votes, but we’ll see.

Obviously Governor Brown isn’t worried. I have yet to see an ad for his re-election. Yes, he’s been in a couple supporting two propositions he wants us to pass, and a friend told me he’s endorsed another politician for a different office. But he feels quite secure about his re-election, it’s apparent.

The other “protect the children” ads are for Superintendent of Schools, and that’s understandable. But of course both candidates can pull out that line. It’s what they should be doing.

The part of the election I hate the most is for the judges. I have no idea who these people are, but they have such an impact on society! I don’t have enough information about them to make an educated decision. There are a couple other offices I don’t really know about either—water board, board of equalization, controller, and county assessor. What do those officials do and what would make someone qualified to hold the office? I try to figure it out every election cycle, but then it blurs in my mind again.

The other thing we have to deal with here in California is term limits. I voted for term limits, but there are two problems. First, some people who are good at their job are getting termed out. I’m thinking of one of our county commissioners who used to represent my area until lines were redrawn. She’s more liberal than I’d like (but that’s true of all of the commissioners by virtue of the make up of our county), but she had the interest of the district at heart and went to battle for the things she felt were right.

So she’s out of a job, which brings up the other problem with term limits. Career politicians, who have name recognition even if they can’t be re-elected to their old job, just look for another one to run for. So we aren’t getting rid of these CPs—just recycling them.

OK, let the fun begin. I wonder if anything or anyone I vote for tomorrow will win. 😉

Published in: on November 3, 2014 at 6:04 pm  Comments (1)  
Tags: , , , , , ,

Lies And Corruption



It’s not a happy fact that people lie and even less so that those who purport to be leaders do so. In SoCal we are suffering through yet one more scandal involving government officials. This one concerns someone in the L.A. County assessor’s office who took bribes to lower the value of high-end property, costing the government more than a million dollars in lost property tax revenue.

Various cities have indicted their manager or mayor or council members recently because a close look at the financials shows shady doings. Even the Mayor of Los Angeles was caught taking perks such as tickets to high-profile events which he supposedly was attending in an official capacity. As I recall, he ended up paying for the tickets, and all charges were dropped. This is the mayor who had an affair with a news anchor that cost him his marriage.

Ah, yes, lies and corruption.

But here’s the thing. On our ballot are two propositions to raise our taxes. Governor Jerry Brown has said that if we don’t raise taxes–Prop 30 which he favors would raise state income tax for those making more than $250,000 AND sales tax for all of us–then there will be big cuts in education. No cuts, apparently, to the boondoggle bullet train that is supposed to run from LA to San Francisco and is already over budget.

The thing is, we’ve been down this road before. Years ago, the ballot initiative passed ushering in a state lottery which would solve all the funding problems for our public schools. We’ve passed school bond measures and increased our gas tax so that our schools will be guaranteed the money they need. And yet, somehow, we still are spending less per child than most of the 50 states, and our governor is threatening education cuts unless we agree to tax ourselves. Again.

Where will it end, I wonder. Government that proves to be top heavy, tangled in red tap, ineffective, and at a growing rate, corrupt, wants more of its citizens’ money to keep doing what it’s doing–or it will make the children pay.

Sadly we can’t say we’re being taxed without representation. After all, this is our choice. But we’re being talked into buying swamp land by politicians who want to keep their pensions, keep their high pay checks, and keep their positions of influence.

Did I mention that the tax assessor who is in jail is still collecting his salary, and will continue to do so even if he is found guilty–unless he resigns or is recalled. Well, at least that law will change at the end of this year. But we have a ways to go to get rid of the lies and corruption that seem on the rise in our various governments.

I’m hoping California starts by voting No to these tax increase propositions.

Published in: on October 19, 2012 at 5:46 pm  Comments (1)  
Tags: , , , ,
%d bloggers like this: