05/25/16
Big Fish

Thinking of my father

By: T F Stern | T F Stern’s Rantings

Big FishThe movie, Big Fish, caught my attention while flipping channels.  The story had progressed nearly to the end, the part where the son arrived at the hospital, finding out his father was near death, having suffered a serious stroke.  The young man volunteers to sit by his bed all night and gives his mother a chance to go home.

If you’re familiar with the movie; his father wakes up momentarily and sits up wild eyed saying something that sounds like, “the river”,   His son reaches over as if to hit the Call Nurse button but instead waits to find out his father’s request.

“Tell me how it ends”, the young man wasn’t prepared with a response.  The father had never told his son what he’d seen in the old witch’s eye so many years earlier, a prophecy of how he was going to die.

The son being familiar with the many fantastic yarns his father had shared begins to carefully create the vision his father never told him about, pausing as details sprang to mind in such a way as to fit with other stories his father conjured up throughout his life; all having to do with the river.

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05/24/16
erasing

Erasing Christianity a piece at a time

By: T F Stern | T F Stern’s Rantings

erasingIn case you’ve just awakened, as did Rip Van Winkle, from a hundred year nap, sitting under a huge tree that had been a sapling when you first closed your eyes; a few things have changed.  The sun still rises in the East, grass is green and thunder follows lightning; but the foundations upon which our society sprang have been under attack for quite some time.

Let me bring you up to speed…

Printed books have for the most part been replaced with digital versions which can be accessed with the touch of a finger anywhere in the world.  Books can be accessed and purchased at a reasonable price, downloaded and saved for when you have time to read.  There’s no reason to take up space on a bookshelf with a hardcover copy of Moby Dick or any other classic now that they’re all digital.

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05/7/16
Mothers Day

Mother’s Day Thoughts

By: T F Stern | T F Stern’s Rantings

Mothers DaySunday is Mother’s Day, a chance to consider the many blessings we should be grateful for.  Years ago my friend Tim Andersen would be asked to give the Mother’s Day talk at church, something of a tradition that we looked forward to.  He was the youngest son in a large family and his older siblings were much older so his parents had one more child in order to give him a playmate more his age; which is why Dean Andersen came to be.

I saw Dean at the Houston Temple going through the men’s dressing area this past Thursday.  Knowing a little about his family and his brother Tim’s brave fight with Leukemia, a fight that Tim eventually lost; made for a quiet moment as I considered the eternities and how Tim must be carrying out ‘the good fight’ on the other side of the veil.  We quietly acknowledged with a nod and a smile how much we missed Tim without saying a word, interesting how that works.

I used to catch a plane and visit my grandmother, Granny as she was known to everyone, each May, it being her birthday and Mother’s Day, take her out to dinner and let her know what a special lady she was in my life.  As she got towards the end of her life she didn’t want to go out to restaurants, preferring instead a quiet dinner at home.

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05/5/16
Licensing

Justifying the Locksmith Licensing Scam

By: T F Stern | T F Stern’s Rantings

LicensingI’ve been involved in the locksmith industry right at forty years.  As far back as the 70s those who taught me the ‘tricks of the trade’ could see the handwriting on the wall; eventually licenses would be required.  A couple of respected locksmiths vouched for my abilities and had me join the Associated Locksmiths of American (ALOA) with the understanding that having membership would be the key, no pun intended, the key to being ‘grandfathered’ by the State; they were correct.

Licensing came about in spite of many individuals pointing out it was a mistake; but as it was explained in no uncertain terms by our local ALOA representatives, it was either become licensed or find some other line of work.

I wrote some of my thoughts when it all came about, Business Licenses – Jump for Joy.  From that article:

I will start off with the stated mission of the Agency which is the “protection of the public through fair and impartial regulation of the Private Investigations and Private Security Industry”. It goes further and states its job as Agency in the State of Texas for “ensuring citizens and consumers of investigations and security services, that these industries provide reliable services, employ qualified and trustworthy personnel, and are free from misrepresentation and fraud”. With a mission statement as broad as all that; (*) who could complain that they don’t have everyone’s interests at heart?  (*sarcasm button engaged)

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04/28/16
Prayer

The Prayer of Enos for Our Time

By: T F Stern | T F Stern’s Rantings
Prayer

Our studies in Sunday School took us through the Book of Enos this past week.  It’s only a page long; but holds a wealth of information, information which applies to our day, perhaps more so than when it was written.

Enos prayed unto the Lord for a remission of his sins and during the conversation, prayer being more than a casual acknowledgment of the Lord’s hand in our lives; during that conversation Enos poured out his concerns regarding his people as well as those who stood in direct opposition to them.  After carefully reading the text it becomes evident that the people Enos pleads for at first are his own; but that they have become complacent and headed down a troublesome road.

In verse 10 we get a better idea of the dilemma Enos faced as he pleaded for his people to be worthy of blessings while at the same time well aware that those who understand their responsibilities, having decided not to follow the Lord’s way, those people must face the consequences of their actions.

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04/26/16
War

Support, Patriotism and Reality

By: T F Stern | T F Stern’s Rantings
War

Since the end of WWII America has been on many battlefields; but, regrettably have not made a serious attempt to force our opponents into unconditional surrender.  Instead we’ve learned how to retreat in such a way as to appear more or less victorious; not the same as having beaten your enemies into submission, …now is it?

“My country right or wrong.”   Whoa, can you imagine anyone from Generation X agreeing to that?

Some of my Facebook friends were circulating a picture of some Vietnam soldiers.  I was unable to force myself to hit the ‘Like’ button, something which caused me to consider ‘why’; …not because I didn’t support what these brave young men had done in the service of their country or that they hadn’t been valiant and done their jobs.   Something else was gnawing at me; but what?

“Sadly, fewer than 2% of you will like and share this picture of brave Vietnam soldiers. So let’s see how many likes and shares they can get.”

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03/28/16
Condescension

Considering the Condescension of God?

By: T F Stern | T F Stern’s Rantings

Easter morning I found myself considering the word Condescension as it applies to mortal men trying to figure out our purpose and relationship with God and His Only Beloved Son, Jesus Christ.

I’d purchased chocolate bunnies to go along with the Easter Eggs that my grandchildren colored in the front yard; but that has little if anything to do with the spiritual importance of Easter.

Merriam Webster’s dictionary defines Condescension:
1. voluntary descent from one’s rank or dignity in relations with an inferior
2. patronizing attitude or behavior

Most often when you hear the word Condescension it holds a negative meaning. Someone feels they are above your station in life talks to you in a way intended to remind you that they are above you in stature. Immediately the hair on your back bristles; you recognize the offensive attitude being presented, similar to how We The People react to those we’ve elected as they develop their self appointed elitist state of mind, a station above the lowly peasants.

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03/14/16
Callings

Growing into our Callings

By: T.F. Stern | The Moral Liberal

Elder_Dallin_H._Oaks

This morning we were treated to a special Stake Conference presided over by Elder Dallin H. Oaks, Quorum of the Twelve, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.  I should point out that the meeting was held at the Hafer Road building which can accommodate about 900 people, give or take.  A friend of ours got a call letting him know the building was completely full at 8:00 am for a meeting scheduled for 10:00 am.

The local church leadership had planned for a large turnout by having a secondary location, the Louetta Chapel as an overflow facility where the conference was to receive live broadcast via an internet connection.   Lucy and I are only a few minutes away from the Louetta building and were more than happy to comfortably enjoy the proceedings sitting on the soft cushioned pews instead of the folding metal chairs had we attended at the Hafer building.

We got there early and I was able to help with some of the set up for the broadcast.  The IT specialist showed a couple of us how to assemble a large folding projection screen and position it behind the podium.

My hearing isn’t all that great so I struggled as the messages were delivered; but I wasn’t alone, for some reason they couldn’t get the volume levels very high…, oh well.   Our Stake Presidency gave talks on basic gospel principles; sure wish they could have made it a little louder…

Elder Oaks didn’t have a prepared message; instead remarking on what each previous speaker had offered and adding his own thoughts along the way; having a General Authority’s insight applied to gospel principles is always gratifying.

At one point he asked how many in attendance had recently been given a new calling; about one fourth present raised their hands.  He then pointed to a young man, perhaps 8 – 10 years old sitting in the third row and had him come to the podium to help with a visual lesson.   Can you imagine how it must have felt to be singled out in front of everyone; but he was up to the task and awkwardly made his way forward.

Upon shaking hands Elder Oaks escorted the young man off to one side of the podium where he could be seen easily by everyone.  Elder Oaks then took off his jacket and placed it on the young man, the size difference was considerable to say the least as the edge of the jacket nearly touched the ground.

Elder Oaks then explained how many folks feel intimidated or overwhelmed by the challenges of a new church calling; but by applying our efforts along with giving ourselves enough time we’re able to grow into the calling.

As he spoke I felt tears welling up in the corners of my eyes; Elder Oaks had awakened an old memory, one from when I’d been a new member of the Church.  It was Déjà vu all over again; isn’t that the way Yogi Berra said it?

It was to have been my first opportunity to speak; what used to be referred to as a “Two and a Half Minute Talk”.   I can’t recall what my assigned topic was; only that I felt less than adequate, my being asked to address folks who’d been attending church for many years.  What could I tell them that they hadn’t heard before?

Bonnie in Police Shirt. 02aI remember reading scriptures and taking notes all week prior to the assignment; never feeling comfortable with what I’d written down in my notes.   Sunday morning I was up early putting together my thoughts when my two years old daughter came shuffling into the den area of the house wearing one of my police uniform shirts.

The shirt dragged along the floor covering her feet as a huge smile beamed from her innocent face.  Wearing her Dad’s police shirt with the PD’s and badge in place made her happy; didn’t do me any harm either.   Instantly I tossed all the notes taken during the week as inspiration, guided by the Spirit, showed me what I was to talk about later that day.

I knew I had a lot of growing to do as a new member of the Church, much as my daughter wearing that police shirt, there was plenty of room and it wasn’t going to happen over night.

T.F. SternThe Moral Lib­eral’s Senior Edi­tor, T.F. Stern, is a retired City of Hous­ton police offi­cer, self-employed lock­smith, and gifted polit­i­cal and social com­men­ta­tor. His pop­u­lar and insight­ful blog, T.F. Sterns Rant­i­ngs, has been up and at it since Jan­u­ary of 2005.


02/29/16
Media1

Liberal Media picks GOP candidate, again

By: T F Stern

Media1You’d think by now Republicans would get tired of letting the liberal media pick their presidential candidate; but they haven’t learned a thing as we go into Super Tuesday.  Old guard Republicans wanted Jeb Bush to continue their spiral towards socialism and what they perceive as a necessary means of getting along with folks on the other side of the aisle, shaking hands with the Devil might be more appropriate.  That’s not going to happen; Jeb’s campaign already tanked and he’s left the scene leaving Trump, Cruz and Rubio to duke it out.

Media2This year the leftist media apparently has gotten behind Donald Trump, at least temporarily, providing him with millions upon millions of dollars in free air time. According to some analysts, “46 percent of the media coverage over the last month about the GOP candidates was about Trump, as measured by articles that appeared in Google News.”   I say the media has temporarily gotten behind Trump because once the real race for the presidency begins that very same media will throw every thing, including the kitchen sink at Trump as they prepare the way for yet another Democrat candidate to occupy the White House.

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02/17/16
America

Two Americas – which will win?

By: T F Stern | The Moral Liberal

2008_Election_Map

Several years ago presidential hopeful John Edwards used the phrase Two Americas, something he claimed existed due to the ‘haves and have nots’; typical class warfare rhetoric intended to cause envy while at the same time stirring up votes from the ‘oppressed’.  It was a catchy phrase, enough for historians to latch onto it; but in a sense there really are two Americas, just not the way John Edwards portrayed them.

Here’s a glimpse at one of the Americas, and it’s not a pretty sight…

Not long after the body of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia reached room temperature, according to Tom Knighton of TPNN dot com,  Georgetown law professor Rosa Brooks penned a vile op-ed piece which appeared at Foreign Policy Magazine (by subscription only).

Brooks didn’t hide her contempt for Justice Scalia, which in turn reflects her contempt for anyone who supports our constitutional republican form of government.

“The global legal and judicial communities, however, will mostly be indulging in joyful private choruses of ‘Ding, Dong, the Witch is Dead.’ Or maybe not so private.”

{…}

The Georgetown law professor wrote, “Scalia was famously dismissive of foreign and international law, which he considered good enough for, well, foreigners — but not for the great United States. ‘I doubt whether anybody [in the United States] would say, ‘Yes, we want to be governed by the views of foreigners,’’ he scoffed in 2005.”

While reading this it becomes painfully clear that two Americas are battling for supremacy; not the haves and have nots as John Edwards portrayed the division; but instead there are those who would prefer a transformation towards a European socialistic state which values the collective over individual rights.   These are the same folks who would prefer the United Nations dictate policy rather than continue as a sovereign self governing constitutional republic.

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