Review: Purchasing Galaxy S9+

Earlier this year, my Lumia 950 LX began having a series of unexplained issues related to phone calls and messages. I began having to reboot my phone not because of any obvious error but because I would become aware that I was not getting text messages from my family. Upon restarting, my phone would suddenly receive three or four days’ worth of text messages in a matter of seconds. After dealing with this irritation for a while, my phone began missing calls. The phone would not ring or show a missed call. When someone dialed my number, it would ring four times and send the caller to voicemail.

Let me tell you, when mama bear calls and you don’t answer the phone then mama ain’t happy.  I tried it myself with the wife’s phone. I literally set her phone next to mine and called myself. Her phone rang four times and then went to the voicemail. No ring or missed call ever appeared on my phone. However, using my phone I could dial and get right thru to her.

I tried the wife’s old phone, Lumia 950, and experienced that same problems. I went to the cell carrier and bought a new sim card. This too failed to resolve the problem.

Neither my wife nor son had problems calling each other on their Android phones. I had my son try to call me and his call failed. I then took the wife’s phone and put my sim chip in her phone and had my son dial me. His call rang with no problem. Thus the sim chip was not the problem.

I did some Internet research and while not conclusive this is my best guess as to what was happening. The problem seemed to be relate to cell phone carrier frequency and signal changes. When I dialed the wife’s phone, my phone would hunt thru a series of available frequencies until it found one and then it would dial. However, the reason the wife couldn’t call me is because the carrier’s preferred frequency was not available in my coverage area. The cell network would try to reach me on a frequency that my phone couldn’t receive or in a way that my phone didn’t recognize and then it would time-out and send the call to voicemail. This behavior was intermittent and seemed to depend on which combination of cell towers that each of our phones was using.

Whether the phone hardware or Window Mobile Operating System is partially to blame was something that I couldn’t determine. My conclusion was that the cell provider did some change earlier this year that wasn’t compatible because they assumes nobody was still using Windows phones. Visual Voicemail was broken on Windows phones about three years ago and the carrier was moving on without supporting the feature on Microsoft’s platform.

I researched a bunch of different phones. I wanted a large screen, good camera, fast CPU, and reliable Bluetooth. Amazingly enough, per user reviews, most phones failed in one of these areas. Either the screen resolution or framerate were crappy, camera was poor, or Bluetooth connection was subject to failure or intermittent. In other words, manufactures took shortcuts in hardware or had poor designs that didn’t work in the real world.

Another feature that I wanted was the ability to store apps on the SD card. While the Android operating system supports this feature, many phone manufactures disable this feature.  For example, my son is using my old ASUS phone. ASUS treats the SD card as an external drive and will only allow photos and music to be stored on the SD card. My son’s 32 GB phone is full of apps and he has to delete existing apps to install new ones. He likes games and many are over 2 GB each. Can you say Pokémon Go? The phone will not allow him to move apps to the SD card. As a result, he has a 64 GB SD card sitting virtually empty in his phone. This is stupid.

My wife has a phone by Sony. The Sony Bluetooth is terrible. If her phone goes on internet, the Bluetooth will disconnect. If the Bluetooth connects to her car it will disconnect from her Samsung health band. The phone cannot support more than one radio connection at a time. She can only have internet or one Bluetooth device connected. The phone will not multitask or support multiple simultaneous radio connections. Her phone also will randomly uninstall apps every time she restarts the phone, which she must try to identify and reinstall. We did a factory reset of phone and found the SD card was identified as bad but the reset did nothing to resolve the Bluetooth issues. I love the traditional six inch format of her phone but the internals are crumby.

After much research I decided to get a Samsung Galaxy S8+. It checked most of the boxes that I wanted except screen size. I don’t like their “candy bar” screen format, I would like a bigger size. The phone is long but narrow. I would prefer a wider screen but they just aren’t available on high-end phones.

I went into my neighborhood Best Buy and looked at the phones. They had a Samsung Galaxy S9+ with a price tag of $719. That isn’t much different than the S8+ was on the Internet. I thought to myself, what a bargain, maybe I will get the S9+ instead. I waited in line and when my turn came, asked for the Galaxy S9+ from the lady in the phone area. She rung it up and asked for $906 and change. Then I knew I’d been played. They had purposely put the wrong price in front of the phone just to dupe folks like me. I’m holding the S9+ in my hot little hand and they are now asking for more money. I went ahead and bought it at the higher price. After the transaction, I went back to the in store display and checked. The Galaxy S9 has no price in front of it but the Galaxy S9+ had the Galaxy S9 price tag on it.

Illustration showing Galaxy S9+ shape being more like candy bar

Best Buy does have a two week return policy for the phone and I ended-up putting that to good use as I will now explain.

After I got home from buying the phone at Best Buy, I went onto Amazon to order a case for my phone. In my experience, Best Buy marks up phone accessories like crazy and I wanted to pay less, especially after breaking my budget like I did. As a Prime member, I knew I could get two day delivery on the case. I would have to survive only Sunday and one day at work in order to save some money. Well, amazingly enough, even with a tracking number, Amazon lost the order.

After five days of waiting, I went on the internet to see if Best Buy had a case similar to the one that Amazon lost. Best Buy actually had a similar case for five dollars more than the one I had previously ordered and not received. While on their website, I checked on the phone price just to see if what I paid was the correct price. Well guess what? Best Buy was selling the phone for the same price that I had paid but they were offering the phone with a wireless charger and 128 GB SD card.

The next day, Saturday, I went on Amazon and cancelled my missing order and got my money refunded. Oh, the Amazon service rep was Kuldeep. Thinking that I was probably dealing with an ESL (English as a Second Language) person, I used full sentences and was very polite in the chat session.

I then went to Best Buy with my receipt and asked for a charger and SD card. Best Buy did not have a charger or SD card in stock but they ordered them for me. The sales lady also helped me set-up and use the Samsung Pay app. I even got a $5 credit for using Samsung Pay for buying the case. The charger and SD card arrived three days later. I felt better for at least getting something extra for having paid cash for the phone a week earlier.

I love the Galaxy S9+. It is a great phone. I did have to hunt around for a few things.

On Windows Phone, my favorite app was Earthquake Watch. I was hoping that the developer had made an Android app. I tried to find out but unfortunately, all the contact info for the programmer and his website are stale. Most of the earthquake apps in the Google Play Store are crappy.  After several days of researching, the closest that I could find to Earthquake Watch in the Google Store was My Earthquake Alerts. After using the app for about a month, Google game me a credit for $2 for no apparent reason. I used it to upgrade to the Pro version which is identical except ad free.

My other issue was getting my address book to download into my car so I could make hands-free calls. I was able to connect my Google and Outlook accounts to my contacts but they would not download to my car. Connecting my Outlook account to the built-in Calendar app in the phone seemed to solve this issue.

My only remaining and unresolved issue is will Cortana read my text messages to me while I’m driving? Windows phones have had this ability in them for at least the last five years but Android…? If so, I can send text replies via voice commands. TBD.

California’s Ideological Version of the Zombie Apocalypse

Given: The following logical propositions are true:

• Actions have consequences.

• Ideas have consequences.

• Elections have consequences.

Therefore, as we approach the anointing of Gavin Newsom as the next governor of California, I promise that you will see the attacks upon thought and personal beliefs accelerate in ways never seen before in the history of our nation.

Two harbingers of this have already been seen in the legislature—and be warned—they are just the beginning.

California Senate Bill 1146 (2016)

This threatens religious institutions ability to require that students attend daily or weekly chapel services, keep bathrooms and dormitories distinct according to sex, require students to complete theology classes, teach religious ideas in regular coursework, hold corporate prayer at events such as graduation, and so on. In other words, it threatens every practice that makes religious institutions distinct from secular institutions.

“The bill effectively eliminates the religious exemption under current law that allows Christian colleges and universities to operate in accordance with their beliefs, including the freedom to hire only Christian faculty and staff. If passed without amendments, the new law would also very likely disqualify students attending California Christian colleges and universities from eligibility for Cal Grants, a key state-level student aid program.”

California Bill Would Ultimately Erase Religious Schools

Religious leaders and colleges in California claimed victory this week after deflecting a proposed California bill that would have jeopardized state funding for students at religious schools that did not conform to state policy on gay rights.

At stake were hundreds of thousands of dollars in state tuition subsidies for tens of thousands of low-income students attending private religious schools. These subsidies come in the form of Cal Grants that provide substantial subsidies for poor students at private and public colleges.

The bill would have required any school whose students receive Cal Grants to comply with state nondiscrimination law and provide housing for same-sex married couples on an equal basis with heterosexual couples and to provide bathroom access to transgender students based on their chosen gender identity.

As amended, the bill would now be limited to two types of disclosure. First, colleges would have to publicize if they have requested a religious Title IX exemption from the federal government. Second, they would have to report to the state if a student is expelled for morality code violations.

This disclosure-only shift was hailed as a victory by religious schools and their advocates, but the victory may be a fleeting one.

Kristen Soares, president of the Association of Independent California Colleges and Universities, which opposed the bill in its earlier form, said she expects the bill’s author to be back next year.

“This gives us more time to work on this issue,” Soares said. But, she says, she is under no illusion that this compromise is anything more than a pause .

California legislature balks at pulling grants from religious schools over LGBT issues

Assembly Bill 2943 (2018)

A new bill passed by the California Assembly on Thursday would classify the selling or advertising of gay conversation therapy as a fraudulent business practice.

Assemblyman Evan Low (D) said the practice of trying to change someone’s sexual orientation is ineffective…

California bill would classify gay conversion therapy as a fraudulent practice

A supporter of the concept of the bill, Conor Friedersdorf, wrote in the Los Angeles times, “…to settle what the law really is saying will require a decade of court battles .”

Conversion therapy for gays is awful, but so is California’s bill to ban it

Both the above pieces of legislation (and others I could cite) would be passed under Newsom. Governor Brown may or may not sign the one on Conversion Therapy. The thing you must remember is that all such legislation is just the next step to something else not the end in itself.

Folks, if you are a traditional, orthodox Christian whether you call yourself Roman Catholic, Orthodox, or Protestant, the State of California has placed you in their crosshairs for the purposes of extinction. You will conform or be persecuted. Sticking to your beliefs and teaching them to your children will have a cost.

They’re coming for you brethren

The logical next step after private colleges are denied access to the Cal Grant program will be this: if you graduate from an institution that is not eligible for Cal Grants then you will be denied employment in any level of government. This may happen via the backdoor and the State may word the denial in terms of accreditation of institutions or some other weasel words. Perhaps they will require an affirmation of your support for homosexuality or abortion or whatever social issues they wish to attach. It will effectively be a Test Oath to swear allegiance to the power and wisdom of the State.

Truthfully, I’m surprised that current State employees don’t have to do this in some form already. I guess the assumption is that we really believe all the B.S. that they tell us or it just never occurred to them that many of us dissent from the wisdom of the rainbow people in government.

For example, State employees are subjected to sexual harassment training on an annual basis. Employees are required to sign-in at the training but currently no document is required with a signature saying that we agree, support, or affirm all the stuff the legislature says we need to do or believe. If you tune-out about 90 seconds of the one hour presentation then you likely just skipped the token rainbow pug for the year. I foresee the day coming when sitting in the room will not be enough, we will have to sign a pledge to tow the Party Line.

Most folks don’t understand that those elected to the Legislature are not bound by their consciences or oath to support and defend the Constitution; instead, their attitude is if you don’t like what we do then take the issue to court. Otherwise, shut-up and hold on.

The tyranny of the majority is here and they’re coming for you. The ideological version of the zombie apocalypse has begun and it’s an inside job.

Future History Today

Two thousand years from now, some poor child in a history class is going to be presented the following three headlines from today and then asked to explain what caused to downfall of the United States of America.

1 NFL considers proposed 15-yard penalty for kneeling, report say

2 Parents can kick their 30-year-old son out of their home, court rules

3 Publix wouldn’t write Summa Cum Laude on graduation cake due to profanity, SC family says

Folks what more can you really say?

Let’s look at each of these just a bit more.

NFL considers proposed 15-yard penalty for kneeling
The National Football League did this to themselves by allowing politics into the game. The San Francisco Forty-Niners and then the NFL Commissioner allowed this to happen much to my amazement. I watched zero NFL games last season and will watch none until this practice is outlawed. A penalty is not enough. It is a half measure from a group of spineless owners that have been given billions of taxpayer’s money for the sole purpose of playing a stupid game.  The owners should have their government protected monopolies removed and be forced to seek only private funding in the future.

Update 05-23-2018

On Wednesday, the league announced new guidelines that require players who are on the field during the anthem to stand, but allows individuals who decide to skip the “Star-Spangled Banner” to remain in the locker room.
Liberal media outraged after ‘racist’ NFL adopts ‘un-American’ policy to combat national anthem protests

Parents can kick their 30-year-old son out of their home.
As I have written about before, “The compassion of the wicked is cruelty.”

The man in this story is selfish and by all accounts has failed to honor his parents. The Commandment doesn’t say honor your mother and father only when you agree with them or when they deserve it, it is not qualified by such weasel words.

A verse in Proverbs comes to mind but it doesn’t really mean what you think it does.

Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.
Proverbs 22:6

Accordingly, Prov. 22:6 is not so much a promise, as it is a solemn warning. Parents, if you train up your child “according to his way”—in other words, if you quit the hard work of loving discipline and just give in and let your child have his own way—you will reinforce his sinful proclivities to such a degree that, apart from supernatural intervention, “even when he is old he will not depart from it.”

Proverbs 22:6: Train Up A Child His Way or God’s Way


Dr. Crenshaw is a smart guy and the article that I quoted above is well worth the time to read it.

Publix wouldn’t write Summa Cum Laude on graduation cake due to profanity
For those of you on the Left Coast, Publix is a grocery store chain which apparently has a bakery with employees that were given average publix-school educations. Since Latin is no longer taught, I’m not that surprised. Most folks now-a-days only think in terms of bodily fluids and how to satisfy their base urges. The thought of these words being associated with academic excellence is clearly beyond their comprehension. Clearly Publix employees only use that word in another context when messaging their friends on social media.

So, student of the future, what did you conclude about the state of our Republic and its demise?

We had a saying in our era that “Hindsight is 20/20”. But sadly, the people living during this time never comprehended the peril that we were in. The Good Book warns us that “As in the days of Noah…”

The State of Our “gig” Economy

Hi, how is the local economy doing near you?  I recently toured some areas in California with the Blog Father and was stunned at what I saw.  I saw shopping malls and strip malls opening all over the Sacramento area; however, these are all low paying, barely minimum wage jobs, few of which offer any benefits!

I am old enough to remember when Ronald Reagan, whose modern-day heir is alleged by all you CRA and Tea Party folks to be Theodore Cruz, felt if the economy isn’t adding close 500k jobs a month we were going backwards, not growing!  I find it ironic that the US population is 35 percent more than 1980 and adding half that number of jobs is regarded as a thriving economy. No wonder so many college graduates are living with their parents while they pay off their crushing student loan debt.

In the Reagan era, most jobs were decent paying private sector jobs; think factories, office buildings, etc.  Now the jobs we are “gaining” are low skilled, low paying jobs, and oh by the way, the job numbers now also include a growing number government jobs, so I guess low wage and government sectors are growing nicely in this “service economy”; at least that is what I saw in sunny California. In the Blog Father’s town, several new government buildings have been added and several more are scheduled to be built. I guess if you owned the local Five Guys, BJ’s, Subway, etc. you are doing better but I argue the economy in general is doing poor and we are living in a mirage economy.

Look at how most corporations such as Intel, Apple, or even Comcast organization their employees. For example, I had Comcast install cable at my house; however, I noticed something funny when the technician showed up.  The truck and their identification badges read: O. C. C. Communications, no Comcast logo anywhere.  When I questioned this, not wanting to let strangers into my house, they said they were independent contractors used by Comcast for installs and service work. Since they were the only guys knocking on my door during the time the appointment was scheduled I let them in.

These guys do not work for Comcast; instead, they are contracted out and paid by the job, no benefits, or anything.  Intel does the same thing, I bet in the Ivory Tower in Folsom, most of those “employees” are not affiliated with Intel at all, just vendors or contractors.  The guy who delivered my FedEx package?  He works for Package Delivery LLC, not FedEx. Want to take odds he is a contractor as well?

Now there are benefits to having a mostly contracted workforce do not get me wrong. Corporate labor costs become just another fixed expense because the details are somebody else’s problem. This makes product prices lower and outsources compliance to government’s myriad of labor regulations.

Such a workforce could/should be more motivated. Labor suppliers are motivated to perform because they know that their contract could end and they all may be terminated after a set date based on performance. Such an arrangement gives the parent company limited liability exposure if the labor force does poor workmanship.

But now the downside. In such an arrangement, you have no bargaining power, and no rights. If your “contracted employer” wants you gone…adios.  You get no healthcare and pay no taxes so you’re on your own to settle up with Uncle Sam at Tax time.  You are 100% at the mercy of your contracted company. If the contract goes out for bid and your company doesn’t bid the lowest, you’re out of a job.  You are essentially a Labor Ready employee, knowing full well you are 100% disposable and completely at the mercy of your employer.

In our economy, there exists a tier below even this level. This is the “gig economy”.

In a gig economy, temporary, flexible jobs are commonplace and companies tend toward hiring independent contractors and freelancers instead of full-time employees. A gig economy undermines the traditional economy of full-time workers…

Definition: Gig Economy

Examples of the gig economy are companies like Airbnb, Uber and Lyft.  Again you are an independent contractor but you are able to work in your spare time, as much or as little as you want.

Here is the problem with this system….government regulation.  Well that fear is coming true in California, as the State Supreme Court ruled those workers need to be classified as employees not contractors. Yes folks that Uber ride you take to the airport, used to be $15, likely will be $25 soon.

This is the way it works folks, if you’re no longer a contracted worker then your employer is not going to allow you to wait around in your house for your Uber app to ding saying someone requested a ride.  So you will be burning more gasoline driving around aimlessly. Oh what’s that, you want to work the late shift?  Sorry we need you to work the morning shift! What’s that you don’t like it?  You’re fired.  Really the end game here is the State of California wants to allow these folks to unionize and pay more dues into the system to elect more socialists to give them “handouts.”  This ruling actually hurts the people who depend on it the most, I’m talking in terms of Uber, Lyft etc.  The gig economy allows younger people to work whenever they feel like it and earn a little extra money on the side, like to buy and smoke weed for example, or pay off your student loans, or something.

The gig economy has its place. It’s a nice supplemental income to support your minimum wage paycheck. Also it can be fun to have flexible hours.  Lost in all this is the idea that the minimum wage was intended as a training and entry level wage, not something to continue earning for the rest of your adult life. It is not the minimum income to support a family and be a productive member of society.

This court ruling is being aimed at cracking down on big businesses trying to skate employment law, but it’s going to hurt the ones who depend on it most.  I learned a lot about how millennial and Gen-X live these past few days.  As much as I faulted them for being “live in your parent’s basement types”, boy was I wrong.  How does one live on a paycheck of $1,750 gross a month?  Especially when an apartment costs $1,100, and you have a car payment, insurance, cell phone, cable bill etc.?  Along with $100k in student loan debt?  Yeah I would drive for Lyft or Uber too.  It’s too bad because the futures of these kids just got set back a decade, or forced them to become government slaves for life.

However if I may address the other side of this coin, the older workers on contract for a big company.  This is a horrible way to live life, no benefits, being lied to, and living on a 90-day contract cycle.  Some workers exist in a sort of limbo because the company they went to work for doesn’t want to pay medical or other benefits.  Even worse, if the company doesn’t meet earnings expectations for its shareholders, your job could well be outsourced. This was the case for Conagra Brands (Chef Boyardee, Reddi-Whip, and Hunts) as they outsourced their entire sales team (over 1,000 jobs) to a Florida outsourcing company.  The bottom line is, in today’s regulatory and Wall Street driven world economy, there are two sides to the coin.  Heads I win, Tails you lose.

Until next time,


Three Signs That Are Stranger Than Fiction

First is what I call the whisper campaign against Sheriff Scott Jones.
A series of red signs targeting the Sheriff have popped-up all over the county. Per the story linked below, 140 signs were purchased by the Latino Policy Coalition.


Posters targeting Sheriff Scott Jones inspired by ‘Three Billboards’ movie

The poster asks, “Is Sheriff Scott Jones for mass deportations? Call him & find out!” Ok, so let’s imagine that you call the Sheriff to find out.

Recording “Thank you for calling the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Office. This line is not for emergencies, if you are having one please hang up and dial 911 otherwise please stay on the line.”

After a short wait…

Deputy “This Deputy Bob, how can I help you?”

Miguel “I’m calling about deportation.”

Deputy “One moment, I’ll transfer you to the I.C.E. liaison.”

Lt. Smith “This is Lt. Smith. Can I please have your name and address?”

Miguel “I’m Miguel in Oak Park.”

Lt. Smith “Miguel, how can I help you?”

Miguel “Does Sheriff Jones really enforce the law, including the Federal ones; like deportation?”

Lt. Smith “Miguel, stay where you are, we’ll be there in five minutes and you can see for yourself.”

As of today, the Latino Policy Coalition has zero articles or information posted for 2018. Their website is completely silent on their campaign against Sheriff Jones. Much of their website has not been updated since 2014. This lack of care and the financial data below leads me to believe this is just another shell organization that Liberals can pull out of their toolbox when they need it otherwise it lays dormant.

Latino Policy Coalition

More proof of their sketchy past is found looking at their financial statements.

Non Profit Facts—LPC

Muslim Now Recruiting
Sorry I don’t have a photo but I’m giving you directions so explicit that even Mr. X could find this spot in his airport rental car.

The second sign is actually two signs along the road as you are entering West Sacramento from downtown. If you drive west on the elevated freeway called the W-X Freeway which technically is Highway 50 and cross over the Sacramento River, just past the Jefferson exit which takes you to Raley Field, on the left side is a billboard sign with the word “MUSLIM” in very large letters and a bunch of tiny words that I can’t read passing it at 70 miles per hour and directly across from this sign on the right-hand side is another billboard that has the large words “Now Recruiting” and a bunch more tiny words that I can’t read travelling 70 miles per hour. Thus reading the legible portions of these road signs, the message is Muslim Now Recruiting.

Lastly, is a message that continues the theme of Mr. X’s blog from yesterday concerning Jennifer Aniston.

In Elk Grove, at the northwest corner of Big Horn and Elk Grove Blvd is a strip mall.




In this strip mall are two businesses side-by-side. The double glass doors where you enter these adjacent businesses lead you to very different places. The right-hand door is Express Fitness for Women and on the left, a veterinarian.

At a glance, I could easily envision people getting confused and entering the wrong establishment. Maybe it’s my military background, but I thought that it would be helpful to have supplemental signs on the door that direct customers to the proper business. To this end I suggest the wording “Hot Chicks” and “All Others.”

CRA Week at UC Berkeley and the #METOO Thing

Editor Note: This dispatch from X was sent yesterday but my family activities resulted in a delay.

Greetings on a rare Tuesday blog from your humble correspondent! I just wanted to check-in with some thoughts regarding recent goings on in Soviet California.  First, I want to thank the CRA Board and current President Thomas Hudson for renting the “stress” llamas for the use of their membership.  These llamas were at UC Berkeley last week for students to hug, cuddle, etc. to relieve stress from final exams.  Yeah I guess that’s a thing now……

Llamas in Berkeley are so cute they could melt the heart of a snowflake

Here’s something stressful, being a CRA member and knowing full well that Donald J Trump is literally kicking butt and winning at everything important; yet somehow you still despise the man!  Seriously, the whole Board, including President Hudson, hates this man so much that I heard they even offered to write the articles of impeachment of our president!  Problem is they approached their great white God, Theodore Cruz (who I think most believe was the victim of a rigged primary), to be installed as President following the impeachment of Donald Trump, however true to form, Theodore voted no, saying we need to have a President with a conscious.

So, to the CRA, President Hudson and the entire Board…… you made a great investment with those llamas.  They should go on tour to all CRA meetings, everyone should get to hug those llamas and relieve the stress of Donald Trump as President!  You might even make them available to former members as well because I remember so fondly that endorsement convention where, with the nomination already wrapped up, Trump was not endorsed by the CRA, instead it was Theodore Cruz (Loser-TX).  I rest my case, please hug a llama, relieve your stress lest you be tempted to harm yourself or others.

Oh, and if your life is stressful now, just wait until the votes are counted in June. By then, the llamas will be gone but take comfort in the fact that Governor Garvin has promised to fight against Trump with all his being. Both Bush I & II taught us that “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” so naturally I expect for CRA to endorse Newsom in November.

I need to say my piece on this #Metoo thing. I never could grasp this phenomenon. I don’t have a tweeter or whatever it’s called.  I used to think the hashtag was a pound sign, so I would read that as POUND ME TOO. So just like any other red-blooded American man would do, I was waiting for Jennifer Aniston to have her turn holding said sign.  Sadly, I found out what it really meant and naturally…well embarrassment set in.  Like I said, thank god there’s no tweeter for me.

Jennifer at last year’s Oscar Awards

By the way, as for the two paranoid CRA members in Sacramento County who keep trying to track down my identity; rest assured, I am a former board member living in exile.  You both knew me very well.  I am so glad that I’m gone from the CRA and that the Blog Father departed as well.  By the way William, I heard the statute of limitations is up for my “shenanigans at the salsa bar” at our favorite Mexican place, shall we go when I’m out your way in a couple months?


Editor’s note: Hey X, the statute may be up but I’m confident that she stills remembers you.

Church Discipline: Good in Theory But…

Disclaimer #1 Generally speaking, this blog is about what I think and feel. It allows me to work out issues in my life and vent to the ether about things that I see going on around me. I do think that from time-to-time, other folks will agree with me.

Disclaimer #2 The topic that I’m addressing today is one of the minefields that Protestants tend to inflict on each other much more often than they should; I never hear of these conflicts in Roman Catholic or Orthodox circles. On balance, it seems that Protestants do this way too much and the other two branches of the Church not often enough.

This topic came up at the monthly men’s meeting at my church yesterday. The topic was a most unsatisfying discussion on church membership. As one of my MBA professors used to say, “Quit circling the airport and land the plane.” The discussion was meandering all over without much point.

The conversation tried first to talk about becoming a member of a church. The kneejerk reaction was baptism makes you a member. Then I threw the bomb on the table and said, “What about a person that was already baptized ‘in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost’ and then is told that they must be baptized again because the other baptism is not valid”?

Then one guy piped up, “As an adult”?

I replied, “Why does it matter? The Bible only knows one baptism. There is no biblical warrant for rebaptism.”

Without dealing honestly with my question which is very much something that my wife and I are actively dealing with (see my previous blog on When Baptism Doesn’t Count/ ) the pastor just shut the discussion down and went to another subject.

Soon the discussion was about Church Discipline. Again, the kneejerk reaction was that we should recognize the discipline of other churches. The default position was that someone disciplined by another body would not be welcomed to membership in our church or allowed to Communion. (More on this in a minute.)

The next question that was raised was does another body in another church or denomination have the right to discipline someone in our church? Again, the kneejerk reaction was “NO”.

I then cited one of the most well-known examples in Church history. St. Patrick once had to deal with this very issue. A man that the English Church refused to discipline was sailing to Ireland, murdering men, and kidnapping women and children and selling them into slavery.  Oh these men, women, and children were Patrick’s Christian converts. Since the English Church refused to act, Patrick wrote a letter of excommunication for someone that was technically outside of his jurisdiction and not part of his flock. This letter survives to this day. It is the Epistola.

Per Cahill and “How the Irish Saved Civilization” , Patrick’s goal was to isolate Coroticus, hopefully having his Bishop even excommunicate him, until his captives were free. Serving an excommunicated leader would cause his soldiers to fear serving him as they would believe they too would be damned.

Download: Coroticus

I was promptly cut-off with a derogatory comment about Catholics. However, I did retort that the Church in this part of the world was not controlled by the Roman Church until much later. Casting pearls gets me nowhere with this group.

I tried to point to an historical incident because first it is true and second it should not have the emotional response that may be attached to a contemporary example.

It was at this point that everyone started piling on about the problem with the church being that we don’t recognize each other’s discipline and a member can simply move to the church down the street without fear of repercussions. I understand their initial response but if these guys would do an honest examination of how churches use discipline then they might be more charitable.

I can say straight-out that half of the excommunications that I have been in, under, and around were completely unbiblical. Let me cite a few instances.

Disclaimer #3 If you are offended with me mentioning real situations then please stop reading now. Any names mentioned are fictitious, but the events are true.

#1 Gentleman and Lady
Jay was attending a conservative Protestant church. He was a college student (or had just recently graduated). He met a young lady at school and fell in love. He was serious about this girl. She was a Christian but went to the wrong church. Upon finding out that Jay was in a serious relationship with this girl, apparently, he was ordered by the pastor to breakoff the relationship. Jay refused and was excommunicated. Later, Jay and the young lady were wed.

#2 Rogue and Wench
Chris was the pastor of a local church. It was his first assignment out of seminary. One day, as part of the service he pronounced the excommunication of a young girl that to my knowledge had never once attended a service at our church. I know that she certainly was never a member of our congregation. Apparently, she had gone to him for counseling and not heeded his advice. She wanted to keep cohabitating with her boyfriend even after being told that it was sinful.

#3 Damned if you do
Pastor Bob had a small mission church. Over time, Pastor Bob’s study of the Scriptures began to lead him toward different doctrinal positions than his current denomination. Bob was an honest and forthright guy. He went to his church’s leadership and told them that his views on some things were changing and asked to leave the denomination. In response the current church excommunicated him. As a result, the church that he was wanting to associate with refused to take him since he was under discipline in his current denomination.

#4 Damned if you don’t

As a seminary student, Nate was an all-star. His church’s leadership really liked the guy. They told him that in time he would be a great leader in the church. The first church assignment that he had was going very well. The Mission plant was up to about 80 members. Nate had been there for about seven years and was in his early thirties. Nate became the West Coast representative for his denomination. But he had grown restless.

He began associating with clergy from another group. Nate’s doctrine and what he taught in his sermons began changing. As word reached his superiors, they decided to investigate. Nate was removed from the pulpit by his boss—under the bylaws this was allowed because it was a still a mission.

Ten days later, Nate sent a letter to all members of his local church stating that he was now a clergy member in good standing with another church and that we should join him. He took half the local church and three or four other churches on the West Coast with him.

As always, I could list a few more but I think the above covers enough ground for me to make my point.

The Bible knows that humans by nature are all the same, but it also allows for the possibility of change. Unfortunately, we humans like our rote categories so we don’t have to use real discernment as we go through life. We tend to be just like the Pharisees, make a checklist and then follow that. It is much easier than judging righteously.

Everybody says they follow the biblical model of Matthew but do they really?

Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother.

But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.

And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican.

Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.

Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven.

For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.

Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times?

Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven.

Matthew 18: 15 – 22

Let’s breakdown a few parts of this passage.

Greek word translated “trespass” or “sin” Strong’s #264

The “trespass” or “sin” is a moral violation or breaking of God’s Law.

Greek word translated “tell him” Strong’s #1651

Tell him in the sense of reprove, rebuke, or convince

The person that was sinned against is to go to the offender and point it out in hopes of reconciliation.

To escalate the matter further requires two or three witnesses. This is directly from Old Testament Law.

The next level requires bringing the matter before the church. What this looks like is not defined in this passage.

When all else fails treat the person as a heathen.

This sounds simple enough but is it really?

The next stop on the excommunication train then travels to Paul’s letters to the Corinthians. In I Corinthians, we meet a man that is sleeping with his father’s wife. Paul tells them to eject the guy and turn him over to Satan.

It is reported commonly that there is fornication among you, and such fornication as is not so much as named among the Gentiles, that one should have his father’s wife.

And ye are puffed up, and have not rather mourned, that he that hath done this deed might be taken away from among you.

For I verily, as absent in body, but present in spirit, have judged already, as though I were present, concerning him that hath so done this deed,

In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when ye are gathered together, and my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ,

To deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.

I Corinthians 5: 1-5

The above passage is supposed to be the end result of the excommunication train. My only problem with this is that the process outlined in Matthew was not followed. It is assumed that either the Matthew passage was followed or that Paul pulled rank or some combination of both. Unfortunately, there is no proof of this contention.

The second part of the problem of applying the passage in Matthew is what happens next.

But if any have caused grief, he hath not grieved me, but in part: that I may not overcharge you all.

Sufficient to such a man is this punishment, which was inflicted of many.

So that contrariwise ye ought rather to forgive him, and comfort him, lest perhaps such a one should be swallowed up with overmuch sorrow.

Wherefore I beseech you that ye would confirm your love toward him.

For to this end also did I write, that I might know the proof of you, whether ye be obedient in all things.

To whom ye forgive any thing, I forgive also: for if I forgave any thing, to whom I forgave it, for your sakes forgave I it in the person of Christ;

2 Corinthians 2:5-10

Paul tells the Corinthian church to let the guy back in. While the last part of this passage seems to echo Matthew, I don’t see in Matthew anything about reversing the decision. In fact, the next part of Matthew is about forgiving your brother. Then there is the whole issue of turning the other cheek. This isn’t as neat and tidy as some people want us to believe.

In the New Testament, I think you could count everyone kicked out of the Church on one hand and still have a finger or two left. It was rare.

I think it reasonable to narrow the scope of what is an offense worthy of excommunication. The Church has recognized two authorities that have direct bearing on this issue; God’s Law as found in the Ten Commandments and the Historic Creeds. Sorry but breaking the rules of a denomination is an intramural struggle that does not rise to that level. It should be possible to leave a denomination for another without being proclaimed outside of the Catholic Church.

The Creeds are the fence that defines the pastures of God’s People, as long as we stay within their boundaries we can wander into various aspects of Christendom.

God’s Law is the moral and ethical framework in which we live. Excommunication is the most extreme of all possible outcomes, but many lesser remedies are available as well. A careful reading of Old Testament Laws illustrates this principle, but it complicates the Pharisee’s checklist mentality so other remedies are typically ignored.

In example #1, the college student and his girlfriend were behaving in harmony with the Scriptures. Premarital sexual relations were never alleged much less proven. Both belong to churches that say they affirm the Historic Creeds. Thus, excommunication was wrong in this case.

In example #2, the woman being counseled by the Pastor was not a member of his flock, so even though she persisted in living in a sinful arrangement, excommunication was wrong. Why a young, single man is meeting with a sexually active woman for counseling is an issue no one raised at the time.

In example #3, the young Pastor was trying to be honest and open with his denominational leaders and he was blackballed for being truthful. He never went outside the limits set by the Creeds, he was just moving to a different part of God’s pasture.

In example #4, the Pastor never stuck around to see if he would be charged, counselled, or whatever; he just bolted. Even if he had been disciplined, the new church didn’t recognize the validity of the old so, no harm no foul was his viewpoint. It is not that he tried to go to a different denomination that was his problem but how he went about doing it. He snuck around and tried to do it without the notice of his elders. His intention was to take as many of his flock as he could to the new group. Subterfuge and deception are not the hallmarks of a man that deserves to be in the pulpit.

Denominations should not just rubberstamp the results of excommunication by other groups. They should deal with them on a case by case basis. I think until resolved, it is prudent to have a person voluntarily refrain from Communion until his case has been examined or a person has gone through some type of doctrinal instruction or whatever. If the guy in 2 Corinthians can be allowed back in the church as a member in good standing then excommunication should not be viewed as a one-way ticket or an immutable declaration.

When Internet Ads Attack

Cookies are after you. They follow you everywhere. They try to entice you to buy or click on all sorts of things. Once you do a search for something they keep nagging you to buy it, at least until you do a search for something else that they can offer you. Sometimes the results are embarrassing and sometimes they are just stupid. Below is my exhibit as proof of the limitations of tracking cookies.

OK, who thinks this is really a charger for my Surface Pro tablet?

Anyway, have a great weekend.

Judgement: Law v Spirit

Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.


In our daily lives we use judgement all the time; in fact we couldn’t function at all without the ability. We would be immobile rocks without it. Sometimes we view it in terms of choices or preference or discrimination or options. Vanilla or chocolate, black or white, left or right, start or yield, etc. However, most of the time we use other words for the judgements that we make in everyday life and reserve the word “judgement” for the “big things” often associated with law of one kind or another. In our society, we have two broad categories criminal and civil and possibly a third for moral.

The Bible does not know or recognize these categories. It has Ten Laws and the about 613 explanations of what these laws look like when applied to daily life. They give us principles that have broad application not a check list of narrow statutory rules.

There is a level of societal compliance to the external demands of the law. This is summed up in the story of the rich young ruler.

As He was setting out on a journey, a man ran up to Him and knelt before Him, and asked Him, “Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good except God alone. You know the commandments, ‘Do not murder, Do not commit adultery, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Do not defraud, Honor your father and mother.’” And he said to Him, “Teacher, I have kept all these things from my youth up.

Mark 10: 17-20

External compliance is our definition of a “good citizen”. Any of us can judge people at this level. We know about stealing, killing, adultery, etc.

However, the story does not end there. God looks at the heart not just at external things.

Looking at him, Jesus felt a love for him and said to him, “One thing you lack: go and sell all you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me. ” But at these words he was saddened, and he went away grieving, for he was one who owned much property.

Mark 10: 21-22

Jesus then speaks to his disciples.

And Jesus, looking around, said to His disciples, “How hard it will be for those who are wealthy to enter the kingdom of God!” The disciples were amazed at His words. But Jesus answered again and said to them, “Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” They were even more astonished and said to Him, “Then who can be saved?” Looking at them, Jesus said, “With people it is impossible, but not with God; for all things are possible with God.”

Mark 10: 23-27

Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount contains a multitude of examples showing that external compliance is not enough. God cares about the attitude and condition of men’s hearts. Below are selections from
Matthew chapter 5. (Quotes used from New American Standard Version of the Bible)

“You have heard that the ancients were told, ‘You shall not commit murder’ and ‘Whoever commits murder shall be liable to the court.’ But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother shall be guilty before the court; and whoever says to his brother, ‘You good-for-nothing,’ shall be guilty before the supreme court; and whoever says, ‘You fool,’ shall be guilty enough to go into the fiery hell.

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery’; but I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.

“It was said, ‘Whoever sends his wife away, let him give her a certificate of divorce’; but I say to you that everyone who divorces his wife, except for the reason of unchastity, makes her commit adultery; and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? If you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same?

Radio listeners were once asked, “Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men? The Shadow knows!”

In real life, God knows and he left us instructions so that we might be able to discern to some degree the condition of men’s hearts. Basically, the New Testament asks us to compare a man’s walk with his talk. Back in the day, my Baptist friends used to comment about fruit inspections and that is certainly one analogy used in the Bible.

If you claim to be a Christian and habitually break the Commandments then we have reason to doubt the sincerity of your profession.

Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.

Matthew 7:15-17

If you claim to be a believer but never have consequences for your disobedience then we have reason to doubt the sincerity of your profession.

For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons.

Hebrews 12:6-8

In some things we are told to walk apart from others

Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?

2 Corinthians 6:14-15

Jesus said, “Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.” Matthew 10:16

Clearly we are commanded by Jesus to judge and use discernment in this world, not with arrogance and pride but gentleness and love. God’s Word is the Standard of judgement. The law serves not just the purpose of keeping civil order but also shows us our inadequacy and need of God.

But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe. But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed. Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster [to bring us] unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.

Galatians 3:22 – 3:25

On the topic of judgement, please don’t forget that not all justice is meted out in this life.

For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.

2 Corinthians 5:10

Sometimes we are to leave room for God to act on behalf of His people.

Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.

Romans 12:19

We are expected by God to judge based on His Law as revealed in His Word not to condemn the world but to walk in it with wisdom. Further we are to proclaim His Word to those around us as we go. Our prayer should always be that our walk is in harmony with our talk and that it is seasoned with salt.

How Dare You Judge Me

In response to my recent post on youth fleeing the church Universal Trouble in American Churches I was contacted by someone that took offense at the examples that I used to illustrate youth not continuing with church attendance once they reach adulthood.

Part of the response read, “How dare you sit on your high horse and write about me…or those others that you know who aren’t living the way you think they should. Look in the mirror before you judge others.”

My response to this individual was:

My point is how does someone transmit their faith to the next generation? My other point is nobody in our culture seems very successful at it. No matter their denomination. Sorry you took offense….It grieves me that so many are forsaking the Lord for whatever reason. …I’m concerned about many people. I named no one in my examples but remember them in my prayers. I hope that people will return to their faith in later life but the statistics aren’t supporting that idea. God’s Law is the standard not me on a high horse and by that measure, we all fall short.

When my wife got home from work last night, I asked her to read the post on Universal Trouble and then showed her the response that I had received. She couldn’t see the connection to anything I had written and the person’s reaction. I told her which example in the article was related to the response and the wife’s reaction was one of surprise. We agreed that I should do an edit (which I did) and fix some grammatical errors while I was at it.

I used four examples in my blog post and previously wrote about a two others about a year ago. Of these six examples of youth that left the church, I have been in contact with four after their departure. On the subject of leaving the faith, to a man, every one played the “don’t you dare judge me” card.

This is my dilemma; do you tell folks heading off the proverbial cliff to have a nice trip or do you try to warn them that going the way they are will end in disaster? I’m not advocating being a “busybody” but as I live my life I occasionally have a chance to nudge someone in what I hope will be a better direction. Truthfully I expect more of people that have believed the gospel and then fall short of the light they have been given.

This is the nature of my disagreement with George and Aaron Park, Sue Blake, and a host of others in the political world. They claim to be good, church going folks but their faith does not make a difference in how they treat others. Their friends are treated one way and all others like something they accidentally stepped on in the doggie park. Power politics is their focus instead of Christ.

Those that have left the church are legion and it breaks my heart to witness this phenomenon. I know that it is the result of divine judgement that men’s hearts are hardened. Conversely I know it is divine grace when men are given a heart of flesh. God grieves over those that have forsaken Him and so do I.

This brings us back to Keith Green’s comments:

You see, God is the most hurt and dishonored being in the universe. He could stop all this mess, all the perversion and crime and corruption any time He wishes, but He doesn’t! Why? Because He waits for the souls of men and women. “Regard the patience of our Lord to be salvation,” Peter said. (II Peter 3:15) But the Church, which doesn’t have one millionth of the compassion that God has, has turned around and created a god in its own image and likeness. A carefree, cheerful, above-it-all God. And then the Church has conveniently removed from the “gospel” it presents all reference to the pain and sorrow in God’s heart. The Church doesn’t want a God who’s grieved with sin, because then this God would be grieved with them… (and He is!)

What’s Wrong With the Gospel? Section 1: “The Missing Parts”

To the person who complained about my pervious post, what I stated is true. You left the faith and it has always bothered me. If my wife doesn’t even know who I was referring to then why be angry? I never used your name or anyone else’s. If your conscience is bothering you then your problem is really not with me, it’s with God. Please go to Him, he’s a better friend to you than I’ll ever be.