Taking the Epistle

A biblical journey through the epistles

Tag Archives: USA

When football clubs become voices of political ideals and religion


When football clubs become voices of political ideals and religion

For my US readers I am talking about (Soccer) football…

This blog is a strange one coming from me as I do not usually go into current affairs (with the exception of a few posts about Scottish Independence) and I am even curious whether this post will even reach the blogosphere after I type it. The reason for this is because simply that this is not the reason why God pressed on my heart to use my writing and it is not the reason for this website. The reason for this website is to do bible studies and get some doctrine out there that will help people find their messiah Jesus Christ, not to discuss something that will probably blow over in five minutes.

That being said, I am a product of the West Central Scotland where the names “Rangers” and “Celtic” are much more than football clubs. There is a traditional mentality (right or wrong) that the two sets of customers for supporting of these Scottish Football institutions should be separated by denomination. That the Rangers are only for the Protestants (or Proddies in West Scotland slang) and Celtic was “the Catholic club”. (Which I find ironic as “Catholic in its truest sense means universal”)

Why did I write this?

Celtic are coming in for criticism for their display against the Israeli team Haepol Beer Sheva where many of their most vociferous fans held up Palestinian flags and have since fell foul of the UEFA rule that states the following…

“The European governing body’s rules prohibit the use of “any message that is not fit for a sports event, particularly messages that are of a political, ideological, religious, offensive or provocative nature”.”

And to use a phrase of my new homeland the USA “This is not their first rodeo” because they have been looked at EIGHT times and found to be wanting based on UEFA’s guidelines for supporter conduct.

I know the folks that want to diss Celtic at any costs will bring up past behaviors’ such as flying the flag of the Irish Republic, other dubious flags, singing songs of Irish history that would be classified as “rebel” or “dubious” really won’t help in this discussion and I know that people will want to draw a IRA-PLO link that may or may not be there but the nuts and bolts of it is Celtic are a business, a business that has had a drop in attendance due to Rangers being liquidated and starting again in the 4th tier.

They have had 5 years of the league not having much of a challenge and the company side of Celtic could really do with not alienating potential clients and there are many who do not have the stomach to hear terrorist songs or political displays. I know the guys in the Green Brigade could not care less about the plc’s bottom line but they would do well to remember the pre Fergus McCann days where the team was almost wound up with a crumbling stadium and mounting debts, Celtic were technically insolvent.

Fast forward to present and they now have 60,000 seats in a decent stadium that 95% of the seats offer a decent view. If they ever brought up the main stand to the same level as the rest of the stadium they would have around 80,000 (potentially more with the introduction of safe standing) and all the seats would then have an excellent view due to the offending support pillars no longer being needed. However that is unlikely to happen if the team continues in a league with no discernable title challenger. As stated previously they are not filling their current stadium so why spend millions building more seats.

It’s just banter!

Some will dismiss this as banter, such as “Argentina” chants when a Scottish team plays England but this really is not actually banter as there is a real conflict between the people who are loyal to the flag that they are taunting the Israelis with and the state of Israel. It is anti-Semitism at its core and if it was meant to be humorous then it missed the mark worse than an Anton Rogan clearance.

The “Celtic song” has the following lyrics…

“It’s a grand old team to play for, it’s a grand old team to sing, if you know your history”…

Let’s look at the history then, it is interesting they used the term “FREE PALESTINE” as this is blatantly incorrect because the state they wish to be recognized as a nation turned down the last opportunity to become a nation when it was offered by the UN in 1948. (The same time Israel became one) and the state of British Palestine actually was a flag which was sky blue and white halves with a gold Star of David. (I did not see any of them in the Green Brigade section?) Perhaps they do not “know their history?”

Celtic’s history – the poor man’s club

Celtic are known for championing causes and they have done many benevolent acts such as turning over their stadium for charity events and they were founded as a club to help those poor families in the East End of Glasgow, many of whom happened to be Irish and much like clubs in Dundee and Edinburgh, they became the club championed by the Catholic supporters and in some cases the Irish immigrants in those relevant cities. Unlike Rangers who would not proactively sign a Roman Catholic (and the first high profile signing was in 1989 when ex Celtic player Mo Johnston signed for Graeme Souness) conversely when Celtic had their greatest achievement in 1967 they had a few non-Catholics playing for them.

I really do not get the fascination with the Palestinian cause, I get that most of the Celtic fans are “cultural-Catholics” and couldn’t tell you the name of their local priest but even with the most basic of biblical knowledge they will know that God still has a special place for Israel so why are they actively choosing to go against the God that is a major part of the faith that they champion being such a big part of their identity?

Celtic or Rangers – Which one are you?

Actually neither! I come at it from a slightly unique point of view as I used to be employed by Celtic in the retail division and as hard as it may be to believe for the most ardent “Old Firm” fan but there was once upon a time someone who was known to be a “Proddy” and who used his “Sunday name” William and he answered the phone in most of Glasgow’s branches of the Celtic Shop and also the Mail Order line at some point in his Celtic career, and guess what – Celtic Park did not crumble! John Barnes was the manager around the time so the fans were preoccupied with what was unfolding (or not) on the green stuff in the middle of the stadium rather on me in the retail section.

Actually I only had an issue once and that was from two wee guys with Northern Irish accents and they were having issues spending a “Northern Bank” 20 pound note and it was a new girl on the cash desk who I had to approve this as Northern Irish money is legal tender in parts of the UK. (The girl had never seen one before so she called me over to make sure it was legit) and during the transaction they inquired why a Catholic would be called “William” to which I replied “Actually I am a Presbyterian” as I handed the kids their change, the look they gave me was priceless and symbolizes what happens if you project your prejudices on your kids.

To call myself a Protestant in those days of my life would be a slap in the face to those who set the reformation in progress, stalwarts like Knox, Wishart, Luther would not have recognized my life as “Christ like” and it was simply a cultural attachment more than an active church going/relationship with Jesus type of thing.

So how come you do a Christian blog now?

That has all changed and I am the worst type or “Proddy” as I am one of those annoying ones that is a “true believer” one that couldn’t really care what tribe you belong to on a Sunday as long as you truly worship the messiah you claim to represent. Really that is all that matters! There would be nothing to divide over if it wasn’t for that fundamental faith, if you are clinging onto that and not even attending the church you represent then you are not what you claim to be. Confusing stuff huh?

I moved passed the buildings of worship and found the reason behind it all and that was Jesus Christ, I worship at a new cathedral and that is the throne of grace. I don’t attend Scottish football anymore but that is because I live in the USA and my closest MLS franchise is some 200 miles away in Los Angeles.

You are a Zionist

Not as far as I know, I love the State of Israel because I believe that God is not finished with them yet, however many within that state have still to come to a knowledge of their Messiah. Do I think that Israel does everything right? Absolutely not as it is governed by men who make mistakes, there are faults on both sides in the Middle East conflict. I am not anti-Palestine, anti-Arab or anti-Islam because I believe that all have sinned and fallen short of God’s glory (Romans 3:23) but that can be resolved by finding Jesus as your Messiah.

Something to say?

I welcome debate but comments like “IRA loving” Terrorist supporting” PLO loving” or other fun stuff like that really won’t add to debate and often times I won’t even let them through! Feel free to comment otherwise though!

Please make your own application as needed.

God bless and I pray this was a blessing and please feel free to like, share or comment on here or whatever social media platforms you use as the Lord leads you to, as always I love questions about this or any other article so please feel free to fill in the form below, all comments are moderated to avoid profanity.
TTE
TGBTG
SDG

Trump vs Clinton/Sanders America gets the choice that it has chosen

American flag background - shot and lit in studio

Trump vs Clinton/Sanders America gets the choice that it has chosen

This is an unusual blog for me to talk about such a non-Christian issue as the upcoming election. I try not to get involved in side issues like this because they usually only cause division but I feel that as a first generation immigrant from Scotland who really has no say in the ballot box, this is really the only outlet for me to have my voice so please bear with me.

First – a piece of humor!

Politics is a combination of the following

“Poly” – Many
“Tics” – Blood sucking creatures

Makes sense now huh?

What is my bias?

I am a Brit abroad, deep in California and commenting on a legal immigrant basis who if you knew my history of my paternal grandfather voting all of his days for the Socialist Labour Party and my maternal grandfather being an active campaigner for the Labour party and a member of the NUR (National Union of Railwaymen) my father was also a union representative in the steelworks where he worked, I too had a union card in places where I have worked in Scotland so your first inclination is that I would favor the DNC nomination. If that is the case then read on…

I am not in fact in favor of the DNC nomination as I am actually more Conservative in my political views in the US. In Scotland I campaigned for the Scottish National Party in an effort to secure Scottish Independence and in the US if I was polled based on the beliefs of what would work best for America as a country I would state that I was Republican in nature.

Let me say at this point that neither party is exclusively the party of God (Again I could be funny and quote Psalm 12 – “the wicked walk on every side”) nor does either party represent uniquely “Godly politics” or I understand why people dependent on conscience would favor either party and I am more commonly seeing politicians no longer catering to my demographic, as the world has got more worldly we see the parties following what the popular tide is. It is no longer stating what you believe would be best for the country; it is more about what sells at the box office and will get your elected. The bill of sale for the souls of those involved has long since been redeemed.

Why do I care in the first place?

Because this is my home, the home country of my wife and the love of my life and also the home country of my daughter. Whilst I cannot truthfully be called an “American” as I was born in Britain I regard myself as a “New American” because I pay taxes here, contribute here and I have a heart for seeing America become great again.

What do I mean by American becoming great again?

I am not criticizing I truly am not, however if we look introspectively we know that things could be better and speaking uniquely from a Christian point of view I doubt very much whether Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders will make all that much of a difference in our country because we as a nation need a revival where our hearts are turned to Jesus and I hold neither of these “political saviors” up as someone who will suddenly make America the greatest nation to live in again. There is a quote from the musical Evita that says “eventually we get the Government we deserve!” and you can make your own application from that!

I don’t want Trump and I don’t want Hillary!

As a Brit I really should start a “revokation of independence” petition due to your choice of nominees to be your leaders! (That was humor) However…

I am sorry Bernie but it is not likely you will get the DNC nod!

For me it is a two horse (or donkey) race for the White House and unless Donald Trump does something crazy like appoint Ted Cruz as his VP then I doubt the GOP will be united against him but let us look at the candidates one by one.

TRUMP – Not at all popular among many grass roots long term supporters of the GOP, this may be to his advantage or it may work against him, conversely some long term Republicans that I never in a million years would have thought were going to support him have thrown their weight behind Trump.

His supporters are caricatured as unknowledgeable, fed directly from Fox news and RINO’s (Republicans in Name Only) and has polarized a group called “NeverTrump” supporters. Folks who would normally have voted for a lamppost if it was up for nomination for the GOP ticket and should he win he would need to do so and convince those NeverTrump folks as well as a percentage of swing voters that he was the lesser of two evils between him and Clinton.

One thing is for sure, if you would rather “anyone but Clinton” then whilst he may not be your first choice, a vote for any other than Trump is most likely to result in a Clinton victory. She may very well win anyway but if the Republican base as a whole will not vote for the guy the party aligned themselves to then it will hand victory to the opponents because there is no organized replacement and if there remains none then it will split a vote and default victory will be a Democrat one.

CLINTON- Everyone knows the former First Lady and wife of the 42nd President William (Bill) Clinton and everyone knows her experience in a political setting in both State and National politics. She is not without controversy and she is a long standing “anti-Republican” and in my view would be the Republicans worst nightmare on Election Day should she be elected.

She knows the system, is very much part of Washington and also knows that as long as she debates above mediocre against Trump then the raging dumpster fire that is the split in the GOP vote will lead her to victory all the way to Pennsylvania Avenue.

Ironically if she does get convicted (highly unlikely I know) of wrongdoing through the email scandal before the elections would Bernie get a consolation prize of being allowed to run or would the nomination fall to Hillary’s VP nomination?

The problem as I see it

Is that I can no longer tell the difference between the Democrat and Republican parties! The Republicans are no longer the party that elected Abraham Lincoln and Ronald Regan (in beliefs or the fruit of those beliefs) has certainly not been great with their choice of nomination. I said in my last blog on this subject that if the GOP did not thin out the herd from the five candidates that were running at that point that a Trump victory was assured. Below is a quote from that article…

“Perhaps the Republican establishment are hoping for a solution to what I said in the second part of this article and a solution to the fact that there are just too many candidates and Trump is capitalizing on the fact that people who are similar in campaign stances (such as Carson and Cruz) have not banded together to get their people voting for the one ticket in order to try to win more delegates. In this scenario I would see the following pairings

Cruz/Carson and Rubio/Kasich

Then and only then would someone come close to matching the Trump bandwagon. In my view this should have been done at least a week before Super Tuesday to maximize the opportunity for the one who is progressing to send his voters over to his preferred candidate. I am being blunt because before Super Tuesday only Cruz or Rubio could catch him based on donations and impact in various states.”

They have elected candidates that are more similar than they are different and I have not seen anything like this since 1997 in the British Elections for the Westminster Parliament where Tony Blair swept to victory as the UK fell for “New Labour” when they decided to abandon their formally socialist principles and out Conservative the Conservatives. It certainly worked as they were seen as the most viable alternative but since then they have been more alike to the Conservatives than they have been separate. Perhaps it is not just an American phenomenon maybe it is worldwide?

I chose to abstain or “no” vote

That is your democratic right as an American (or qualified citizen) and I would not condemn you for doing so because it is your right to use your vote in whatever fashion you wish. I do say though that in such a tight race this may be the few times where your vote may actually count. I would say this would be the same as when you change to Libertarian or Green from GOP or DNC as neither of those two parties really have a shot of getting the top job so you may be letting a candidate that you disagree more with getting in.

The choice as I see it

Is either Trump or Clinton, it is down to which one you despise least and honestly I see the dilemma because they are certainly not my choices and the DNC will favor Clinton because for the last 8 years we knew this was coming however the GOP have done this to themselves and due to that it may find itself unelectable in this election and America needs a balance. It needs a strong Republican Party (or at least a Conservative party) that will stand up for America. I hope this is not the beginning of the end for the GOP.

The only way to “make America great” again

Is TRUE REVIVAL, America needs to do what it says in 2nd Chronicles 7:14 and “humble themselves and pray, then God will see from heaven, forgive our sins and heal our land” We need redemption in this land, a true turning from our sins and accepting of the free gift that is our salvation through Jesus Christ and a true repentance from the wrongs we have done. We need to pray individually, as families, as communities and as cities from the lowest paid man in the city to the most affluent business man. From the homeless man who has nothing to the President who has everything, we need to all get right with the Lord and then we will become the greatest nation in the world again. The verse quoted is below…

2nd Chronicles 7:14 (ESV) if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.

For me…that is waaaaay more important than who America elects to be the 45th President.

In closing

I am truly grateful I am not allowed to vote, I pray for you America because I know this is temporary and regardless of who is in the Oval Office I know that my King is Jesus.

God bless you all
TTE
TGBTG
SDG

Super Tuesday – a foreigner’s view on the US Elections

SuperTuesdayblogheader

Well it’s here, a Super Tuesday with all the whizz, bang, razzle dazzle and pomp and circumstance you would expect from a day that could either make or break a campaign. I am a foreigner and cannot vote, I was born in Scotland and I take a keen interest in the UK political scene and I thought I would try my hand across the water in the race to see who will be President #45 of these great United States of America.

I love the circus of it all and how the politicians get out there a lot more than the leaders in the UK. (Possibly with the exception of Nicola Sturgeon of the Scottish National Party) But the confusing part for a non-American is the color coding of the parties. America must be the only country in the world where the socialists are blue and the conservatives are red?

Obviously, unlike my other blogs there will be very few scriptures involved and this is mainly my opinion and I do encourage lively debate so if you think I am wrong then please call me on it and we will chat, if you belong to a group that thinks I am wrong then please share the link and whine about this article and what a mess I made of it and by the same token if you think I am right then please feel free to promote these fine words.

What is Super Tuesday?

Super Tuesday is a day that many delegates are up for grabs; in the 2016 race we have delegates up for grabs in the following states…

Alabama, Alaska, (Rep only) American Samoa, (Dem only) Arkansas, Colorado, Georgia, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, Wyoming (Rep only)

So you can see why it is a big deal huh? As far as the Republican election candidate goes it is a huge deal as 1237 delegates are up for grabs and if one candidate gets the lion share of these delegates then he will be on his way to the election ballot. As for the Democrats they have 880 up for grabs and with their race almost neck and neck then this could be a really important day for a choice to become clearer.

The Republican issue – too many candidates

Here is the issue if you are of the red persuasion, you have five candidates going into Super Tuesday and a candidate that many “traditional Republicans” would rather not have leading the pack, I am of course talking about Donald Trump.

In case you have been sleeping or not paying attention then here is the candidate list in alphabetical order so I cannot be accused of bias.

• Ben Carson
• Ted Cruz
• John Kasich
• Marco Rubio
• Donald Trump

In this pack we have three career politicians and two folks with no political experience with a successful businessman and a neurosurgeon being the non-politico candidates. At the moment it looks very much like a three horse race between Cruz, Rubio and Trump.

Trump is very much ahead at present and if you were a gambling man then you would be putting money on Trump being the nomination for President. If this is not what you want then the next section may be for you.

How do you solve a problem like Trump?

Trump is an interesting one, when I saw that he was running for President I assumed and quite wrongly that it was a PR stunt and that it would fizzle out in five minutes and we would get a more appropriate list of candidates soon. It wasn’t a PR stunt and he is playing the field rather well. The bluster that is Trump and the desire to talk a lot and not say very much may actually be his undoing if he is up against a competent Democrat candidate should he get the nomination.

So far he has captured the imagination not just of Republicans but if you believe the spin that is coming from the Trump camp then he has captures the votes of “ex-Obama Democrats” and “Reagan Democrats” and if that is the case then based on that information alone he would have the White House sown up. For me this could be a blessing or a curse as far as the Republican establishment is concerned.

Yes they want to win the White House, they have been 8 years in opposition and for the first time since George W Bush they have a candidate that appeals to the non-traditional or non-Republican voter. The worrying point as far as the Republicans are concerned is “How do you control Trump if he gets to be the party’s nomination and do the party line rather than the Trump line?

Lastly, his campaign has been a lot of bluster and he has stolen more column inches than any other candidate (even in this column) and he rarely answers a question in a concise and relevant fashion rather than how he currently answers by speaking until even he is sick of his own voice. I would love it if the answers were on point as to what was asked and answered based on honesty and how the problems can be resolved. All the candidates have been guilty of wanting to “blame the other guy” rather than take the lead and take charge of the question.

Coalition could be the Republican answer

Perhaps the Republican establishment are hoping for a solution to what I said in the second part of this article and a solution to the fact that there are just too many candidates and Trump is capitalizing on the fact that people who are similar in campaign stances (such as Carson and Cruz) have not banded together to get their people voting for the one ticket in order to try to win more delegates. In this scenario I would see the following pairings

Cruz/Carson and Rubio/Kasich

Then and only then would someone come close to matching the Trump bandwagon. In my view this should have been done at least a week before Super Tuesday to maximize the opportunity for the one who is progressing to send his voters over to his preferred candidate. I am being blunt because before Super Tuesday only Cruz or Rubio could catch him based on donations and impact in various states.

Has Trump damaged the Republican line?

There are hardline Republicans out there who are asking voters to vote anyone but Trump and I know at least one lady who is a prominent Republican who has stated that she would write in a candidate as opposed to voting for Trump if he would become the Republican nominee. That is her democratic right to do so and I do wonder if there are others out there who feel the same. This is why I ask if Trump has done more harm than good? Is a Trump presidency too high a price to pay to get your party in the White House?

The Democrats are a simpler race

The Democrats in this case have it right in that they have a two horse (or donkey as their logo suggests) race with the establishment candidate Hillary Clinton up against Bernie Sanders. Of course the former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair has endorsed his old friend Hillary and I believe that regardless of the will of the people I believe that there will be only one nominee.

At the moment Clinton and Sanders are neck and neck in the polls and will be very hard to split even after Super Tuesday, unless Bernie has a collapse at the polls then the will of the people will be somewhat evenly split towards the candidates. Where Clinton has the upper hand is in what the Democrats call “Super Delegates” and these delegates are separate from the ballot box and carry some weight and could tip the scales in favor of the Clinton camp.

The only way I see Clinton not getting the nomination is if criminal proceedings are started on here prior to the culmination of the nomination process or if Clinton takes a hammering at the ballot box and Bernie is the “people’s choice”, then it would be foolish to go against the wishes of the very people you will be shortly asking to vote him into office.

What are my predictions for Super Tuesday and beyond?

Super Tuesday certainly will go a long way to securing the nomination on both sides of the electoral landscape, however I believe that for the aforementioned reasons above I think that the big winners on Super Tuesday will be Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump and that will lead to a Trump vs Clinton battle in November.

Who will win? Who knows! I think that Trump could shade a Trump vs Clinton battle and would certainly have the upper hand if Sanders had the nomination, Clinton certainly fears Trump most as he is such a wild card. Whether that is what is best for the country, then who knows! That being said both Cruz and Rubio are capable candidates and speaking from a Christian point of view neither Democrat has lit my fire as an evangelical and of the front runners only Rubio and Cruz seem concerned with courting the evangelical vote on the Republican Party.

Please note that God is not the God or the Republican or Democrat Party and despite seeing things banded around recently questioning the faith of an individual if they vote for a certain candidate and that is ridiculous. I serve a God who is big enough to allow bad people to do good things. I don’t see that voting for a particular political party or candidate makes you any more or less Christian. (Unless of course if you are proposing a candidate that is staunchly anti-Christian)

It sure is a tough choice and I pray for you America, I love this country as my new home and I do want to see it do well. The things I look for in a candidate may not be what you look for and that is okay, the country was founded on liberty, truth and justice for all and it is your democratic right to cast your vote the way you see fit! I just plead with you as one without a voice; choose well for the rest of us!

In closing, a Scottish newspaper run an example of their thoughts on a Trump Presidency, feel free to check it out!

God bless and I pray this was a blessing and please feel free to like, share or comment on here or whatever social media platforms you use as the Lord leads you to, as always I love questions about this or any other article so please feel free to fill in the form below, all comments are moderated to avoid profanity.
TTE
TGBTG
SDG

Thank a Veteran today

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Thank a Veteran today…

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My dual contemplation part 1…the US

Today is a day of dual contemplation for me, now that I live in the US I contemplate Veterans Day and I think of those who have served in the Armed Forces of the United States of America and who have sacrificed and given of themselves to defend something that is much greater than you or I. They defended the freedom of this great nation that is the USA. I say this as an immigrant to this great land from the UK and sometimes it takes an outsider to remind you that you have a great country that by God’s grace I am fortunate to live in. 

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My dual contemplation part 2…the UK

The second part of my contemplation goes a little further as back home in the UK it is Armistice Day, the day marked to remember the fallen of all wars from the British Armed Forces. It is no co-incidence that both fall on November 11th as it was the end of World War 1. This is the reason for the graphic symbolizing the poppy and a solemn remembrance of the ones who literally “gave all” for a cause they saw as greater than even their own lives. That to me is the ultimate definition of sacrifice, certainly some were “called up” but there are countless stories of those who volunteered to go long before they would have ever have been “drafted”.

Memorial Day versus Veterans Day

In the US we have a separate day to memorialize the fallen called Memorial Day and often times my well-meaning friends on Facebook don’t get the days correct, I don’t get bent out of shape about it as it is a genuine error rather than a malicious misrepresentation. I say this because people genuinely do get annoyed about it and on Veterans Day some folks may be taking their cues from British based social media who are honoring their fallen and dead on the same day.

Love your Veteran

A veteran is someone who took the bible verse in John 15:13 literally when Jesus advised that there was no greater love than a man who was willing to lay down his life. Whilst some Veterans are still alive, they will have been changed by their service. I do not write that lightly and we are still finding out about the horrors of such things as PTSD, Shell shock and other forms of trauma that are associated with battle type scenarios. Whilst your veteran may be holding it together on the outside that is not to say he has not been affected on a much deeper level internally.

I am not saying that all veterans are basket cases; please do not think that I am. I am just stating that you should please be aware that because someone’s body appears whole, that they may need you but have not reached out. Whilst they are hero’s they are still people and still have the same emotional needs that others have.

Honor your Veteran

I honor, revere and respect all those who have served, whether voluntarily or whether they have been compelled to by the ruling authorities these people do deserve to be honored, loved and respected while they are still with us and mourned when they have passed. I love reading about restaurants that will allow veterans to eat for free on this day and they should certainly be publicized.

I would also go further and say we must do more for our veterans who have fallen on hard times and may not have somewhere to live, may not be paying all their bills, may even not be getting enough to eat and I believe that we should be doing more to help those who have risked their lives in defense of our country. It always saddens me when I hear of stories of folks who are in this situation. 

But I am a pacifist…

(I am not) But some Christians will get their panties in a wad over a Veterans Day post here because they are anti-war or anti-Army. You don’t have to be as extreme as the Westboro Baptist Church to hold anti-Soldier sentiments and I know people who feel that way. That is your choice and you have your right to free speech. (On this article it is at the bottom of the page it is the comments section) 

I am not anti-war by any means, I am also not against your right to protest because free speech is a wonderful thing and many veterans would agree with me as they fought for your freedoms and one of those freedoms is your right to disagree with those actions. We are called in Romans 13 to be in subjection to the ruling authorities that God has placed over us whether that be the current president or the captains he has deputized to defend us and regardless of whether you agree or disagree with the actions, it is your right to freely express your opinion, which of course was fought for by those you disagree with.  

God bless America

Whilst I honor our Veterans I also pray for them and their personal salvation unto Jesus Christ, they are warriors and have fought the hardest battles in life and now I fervently pray that they come to faith (if they have not done so already) in Jesus. I pray for this whole great country we call the USA one soul at a time and my prayer is not for an end to war or violence as some request, but I desire a revival of souls and a nation that will do as requested in Isaiah 40 and be that “nation who bears his name” and that they will “humble themselves and pray” that way our land will be healed.

I pray this is not just another day off for you and I pray that you were blessed, encouraged or maybe challenged by this Veterans Day/Armistice Day blog article, please share, like or comment on social media as the LORD leads.
TTE
TGBTG
SDG

Praying for Scotland on “Independence Day”

Praying for Scotland on “Independence Day”

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The timing of this article is deliberate as to publish as the polls open on “Independence Day”. Please feel free to comment below this article regardless of your political leanings.

This is a hard article for me to write and remain somewhat impartial so unlike the British mainstream media I am going to declare my allegiances up front and will advise that had I been in Scotland and registered to vote I would have been voting for the partition of the United Kingdom. Those of you who know me know that I am in favour of the pro-Independence stance of the Scottish National Party and have also campaigned for this party in elections past when I lived in Scotland.

The reason it is hard is to remainobjective whilst giving a commentary and an appeal to the people of Scotland. My appeal is not, as one would expect for you all to vote “yes” but simply to vote. The bible states that your yes should be yes and your no should be no and I tend to agree.

Whether you choose to stay with the Union or whether you choose that Scotland would be better as an independent nation is truly a decision for you, your conscience and the arguments that have been presented to you, in many cases in a biased format by those we expected better of. Should the Yes side prevail it would be in the face of the most blatant propaganda machine that has ever been Government endorsed since the days of Goering and German National Socialism. The people of Scotland have been denied the facts, had unbalanced coverage, had programs edited to remove keynote Yes speakers, had applause muted by yes supporters in debates and manipulated coverage of the referendum to tell a story that was not balanced.

If you were to look at the evidence at the author of this article I am a prime candidate to vote no. I am a former serviceman of the Royal Engineers; my maternal grandfather figure was a staunch Labour supporter, Union spokesperson for the National Union of Railwaymen and political activist in the days of Neil Kinnock. My own father was a Union rep and I lived in a staunch Labour area for most of my life. So why am I supporting Yes?

I began to look into Scottish independence after helping Labour (I know, I know) get elected in 1997, under the Tony Blair “things can only get better campaign” as I was attracted by the promise of Scottish Devolution and the possibility of a Parliament in Edinburgh for the first time since 1707. Soon I realized how “London-centric” New Labour were and I decided not to renew my party membership in 1999.

I still classified myself as a “Labour voter” even although I was not pounding the streets in support of the campaign. It was not until 2002 that I properly looked into the SNP and their policies. I found their policies regarding Scottish self-determination were in line with where I wanted to see my country headed and I joined the SNP. I canvassed/leafleted and campaigned for the Lloyd Quinlan campaign in Motherwell when he stood against Lord Jack McConnell for the MSP seat.

I fell out of love with politics and held no party affiliation and I didn’t actually vote again until 2007 when I lived in the Glasgow Hillhead constituency. I did not campaign but voted SNP. Beyond my wildest dreams the SNP won power in the Hollyrood parliament.

Follow this up with an overall majority in 2011 and we were firmly on the journey we are on now, with probably the most astute First Minister that Scotland has ever seen, holding court against the most inept leader of Scottish Labour I have ever seen and an astute smart Tory leader with no back up in Scotland due to the way her party is remembered in the eighties and current policies by David Cameron leaves her and the Liberal Democrats with very little friends up here. He (Salmond) really has very little opposition.

Now I am a Yes voter as a guy who supported devolution, supported the new parliament, supported the Scottish Government in both Red and yellow formats and know that the Scots ARE genetically programmed to make political decisions. (Unlike what Mrs. Lamont says)

Personally and from my point of view, independence makes sense, both financially and from a decision making standpoint. I believe that decisions made in Edinburgh will have a greater opportunity to directly benefit Scottish voters than a remote parliament who is only concerned with the South West of England.

I also believe that it would help the “No true Scotsman” image that my countrymen have, where Scotland invented all the finer things in life and England is blamed for all of Scotland’s ills. The “Anti-English” chip on the shoulder that is perceived to be the case would slowly but surely cease to exist as Scotland would come of age in its own right. (For a fuller explanation of what I am meaning please see my blog “The Jacobite experiment“)

Should separation happen, I have no problem in wishing our neighbours to the south a “fare ye well” and a “fond farewell” as a joint entity. I have many cross border friends that would suddenly be in a “different country” but I doubt that it would change as far as citizenship goes. I have no “Anti-English chip on the shoulder” I just believe that we as a country can run our own affairs more beneficial to the people within our borders.

Should separation not happen, my countrymen would have the distinction of being the first country to turn down independence when it was able to be selected of one’s free will. (With no shots fired) Imagine if our cousins in Ireland in 1922 and America in 1776 could say likewise? Look at how these two countries have grown since separation from the UK. In the words of the Bard “Rabbie” Burns in the case of a No vote going through “Forward tho I canna see, I guess and fear”.

I am also praying for a resurgence in Christianity in Scotland regardless of the vote. My country has a fine tradition of following Christ and I pray for fervent revival in my land and have my land healed of its troubles. As much as I would love an independent Scotland free to run its own affairs, I would love it more to have a Scotland that was on fire for Jesus Christ living in a society where the love of Christ came down, where we love and serve one another, preferring the other before ourselves. Imagine that land? Rich in oil and God’s blessings.

God bless and I pray this was a blessing, as usual please share, comment or like below
TGBTG
TTE

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Happy Labor Day (no I didn’t mis-spell it)

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Just a quick blog to wish you one and all a “Happy Labor Day”  As a foreigner to the US it has always been a source of mirth to me that on “labor day” many people do not actually work. (At least on the careers that provide income)

I added that last part in because I saw it as a day to get some stuff done around the house and spend it with some extended family.

Whatever you do and however you spend it, please praise the LORD and do all things unto the LORD (Colossians 3:23)

God bless you one and all, and I pray that you have a blessed day. Please consider liking, sharing or commenting on the article.
TGBTG
TTE

The Jacobite experiment

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DISCLAIMER:- the views expressed are the views of the author alone, TTE does not normally comment on political issues but this is an important issue for the author. We will return to Bible studies in the next article.

The Jacobite experiment

John 1:45 (ESV) Philip found Nathanael and said to him, “We have found him of whom Moses in the Law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.” 46 Nathanael said to him, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” Philip said to him, “Come and see.”

As most of you who know me personally will know, I am a strong advocate politically of Scottish independence and the upcoming vote in September on whether Scotland should be an independent nation and secede from the Act of Union of 1707.

That being said, should a yes vote actually happen, in my view as Scots we have to lose the “English chip on the shoulder” as a good relationship with our neighbours to the south has to happen.

Just to see how plausible that was, I did a little experiment on my Facebook wall last night. I am a passionate fan of football (soccer for the US readership) and I love seeing my club team (Dundee United) and my national team (Scotland) win every game they play.

As most of you will be aware, the World Cup is happening in Brazil at present and Scotland have been unable to qualify. Our neighbours to the south England have, but in many cases the Scots will usually cheer on ABE (Anyone but England)

So last night I did what I call “The Jacobite experiment” over the piece I have stated that as I live in the US now I would like to see them do well and that is true. I hope the USMNT get as far as they can in the tournament, however everyone assumes that I as a Scottish nationalist, will actively be cheering against England.

I actually don’t see that viewpoint, I don’t hate our neighbours in the south, we share many traits and joint history since this “marriage of convenience” began. We have fought under the same Union flag and share broadcast, newsprint, currency and telephone exchanges with them. I just believe that rather than being a 9% minority where the vote does not count and having policies foisted upon us that hinder the growth of my country, it is time to go our separate ways. Nothing personal, it is just for the good of the country.

Back to the experiment, I placed a flag of Saint George (the traditional flag of England) on my Instagram wishing England well and a Facebook post urging England to beat the Italians.

Unsurprisingly I got a few queries, but the sad part of the experiment was not on my posts, but on the posts of others gloating over a 2-1 victory for the Italians.

My hope for my nation is that we can be grown up enough to want to see our neighbours do well, that way we can get past the “No true Scot” mentality that some of us have where we blame everything on the English. We may have to actually man up and look at some of “plooks we see in the mirror”.

I am not against “banter” but these posts have a more sinister feel, the actually could be described as hatred.

This article will not be popular and I am not all that fussed if it is or isn’t! We have to get past the idea that a vote for Yes is some “get it up the English” this is a one way street with no U turns.

Think of the nations who have declared independence from the UK, the Republic of Ireland, Canada, Australia, India, New Zealand, think if all the countries that at one time had a Union flag in the top left hand corner of their flag, Britannia no longer “rules the waves” and the Empire is over! Of these countries NONE are begging to be ruled again from London.

Why did I choose the verse above? Well replace the word Nazareth with “England”, “London”, “Liverpool”, “Manchester”, “Birmingham”, “Newcastle”, wherever and you may see what I am driving at.

Like I say, I am not anti-English or even anti-European, but what I do want is for the buck to stop in Edinburgh rather than London for the constitutional decisions that affect the people of Scotland.

The Yes campaign have had it hard, they have the mainstream media being their press campaigners, the message in many cases are not going through and quite a few headlines are twisted to a pro-Union viewpoint, in some cases, headlines are created to give a view that is not present in the article.

I love my country, there are times where the Union served Scotland well in the beginning, but in more recent times it has not been beneficial to Scotland. It is time for a change, that can be achieved in a vote in September for the Yes campaign.

I don’t get involved with US politics mainly because I can’t vote for a president!

God bless and I hope this was a good read for you and please comment below should you wish too
TGBTG
TTE

Do we treat the Bible as the precious document it is?

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Do we treat the Bible as the precious document it is?

We in the western world are very blessed. We have a Bible in almost every room in our house. I certainly have at least 5-6 Bibles in my house that are either on my bookshelf or have barely been read. If we were to look into impoverished nations, such as those in Asia and Africa where they have only ever owned a few pages at a time in their native language, and see what they look like if they were to get a whole book of the Bible, like a Gospel of John or a New Testament, never mind a whole Bible, will make you think about your faith, your relationship with your Bible and hopefully inspire you to change. Here are a few scriptures I have chosen to ask the question above.

We need reminding to study and why

2 Tim 2:14 (NKJV) Remind them of these things, charging them before the Lord not to strive about words to no profit, to the ruin of the hearers. 15 Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. 16 But shun profane and idle babblings, for they will increase to more ungodliness.

It is a sad indication that we don’t treat our Bibles the way we should. If we did, my new country (USA) would be in a state of revival that would make the Azusa Street Revival seem like a conservative “run of the mill” Sunday.

The graphic is of course amusing but it is meant to cause a point. I borrowed the graphic from a local pastor who I know quite well (Pastor Bob Grenier – Calvary Chapel Visalia) off his Facebook, sorry Bob!

The graphic however got me thinking and made me wonder about my own life, do I “study to show myself approved” as much as I should? I read the Bible sure, but how am I in the areas that really matter. How am I in personal readings? Do I study enough? Do I study with my wife as a couple? Do I lead by example when it comes to Bible reading? How do I engage my child and raise up the next generation of Christians? What example am I to the folks that God has allowed me to be head of that home?

Challenging stuff huh? I am not as bad as the graphic but I am certainly a long way from where I believe God would like me to be. It is not easy to publicly say that and it truly chafes at my inner being to admit. I like to be like everyone else and claim that I have it all down, but I am a fallen man, who fails his wife consistently (let’s be real here) but has been forgiven by God and also by his wife!

Continuing in the Scriptures

2 Tim 3:14 (NKJV) But you must continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them, 15 and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.

Starting a Bible plan is only the start; I have started, re-started and turned over enough leaves to fill an autumn. My wife calls me the “startup guy” because i am great at getting things moving, ministries started (I launched the church I attended since 2007’s Facebook & Twitter in 2009 before passing it on earlier this year) and then pass on the baton to someone else. Of course she is right, but I wish I had more staying power at times.

It is imperative that we teach the precious children the precious scriptures. These are not just words on a page, this book is the most maligned, most attacked, most martyred book ever, it contains the Word of God. The words that should guide your life as a Christian, as the verse says it “is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness”

The world is going to teach them anything but the Bible, such as programs to ban school bible classes. We have had no official representation in schools for the Bible since 1962. If the kids are not getting the Bible in their homes (whether that home is Christian or Non-Christian) then they most certainly are not getting it at school.

I am a little bit of an enigma in that respect, until recently my dad did not care for the word. I was sent to a Brethren Gospel hall for Sunday School and I learned a basic foundational knowledge from there, I did not get beyond a basic knowledge as I did not follow up in the word (always have had a Bible) and didn’t read it because my parents didn’t. God rescued me from myself by sending a wonderful woman (see my Testimony page)

How deep is the Word?

Deut 11:18 (NKJV) “Therefore you shall lay up these words of mine in your heart and in your soul, and bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. 19 You shall teach them to your children, speaking of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. 20 And you shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates, 21 that your days and the days of your children may be multiplied in the land of which the LORD swore to your fathers to give them, like the days of the heavens above the earth. 22 “For if you carefully keep all these commandments which I command you to do—to love the LORD your God, to walk in all His ways, and to hold fast to Him—23 then the LORD will drive out all these nations from before you, and you will dispossess greater and mightier nations than yourselves.

This is critical, we have to memorize the word, write it on our hearts, we have to bind them as a fabric of our every being. (I don’t know about you dear reader, but I am being flogged by the words today and realizing my shortcomings) God promises blessings if we abide in his word.

I like the idea of writing them on your “doorposts and gates” having reminders all around your home who you serve and the standards that you must keep. In my house when you walk through the door I see the words “FAITH HOPE LOVE” which of course refers to our family verse 1 Corinthians 13:13, all around my house are different scriptures to help remind our family that when the trials come, and they will, the God is in control and all this other stuff is temporary (see my blog on trials)

The promise to drive out our enemies is one I like, what we have to realize though is that is in God’s time. Often times he will “purify us in the fire” longer than we would like. When I get trials I usually sink to my knees and pray for deliverance. What I should be praying for is open eyes to see what lesson I am being taught here.

Destroyed for rejecting knowledge

Hosea 4:6 (NKJV) My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. Because you have rejected knowledge, I also will reject you from being priest for me; because you have forgotten the law of your God, I also will forget your children.

God has written down his plan for your life (mine too) and we have the same choice as Adam and Eve. We can choose to reject God’s plan, discard the knowledge that is in the Word of God, reject God’s plan for your life and forget God’s law. There are two things I would like to say here, if you are giving up on God completely and going away from the faith, then that is tragic.

Secondly I see people who are in ministry, try to take on more than they were ever equipped to take on, the counsellor is soon in need of being counselled, the preacher should really sit down and learn for a season. The prayer has a dry prayer life and is pumping a dry well publically. The minister is living life based on what he knows of the words of God as opposed to the Word of God and he is falling into a hole that very soon will either lead to apostasy or leaving the faith.

I pray for those folks. I see so many folks sitting with their little “cyber guns” waiting to shoot at a minister, a pastor or someone in ministry that either has gone off the rails or is about to. Instead of getting down, getting humble and praying for those folks, honestly wishing their brother does not fall. They sit with a “Grinch-like smile” and take great glee at uncovering their sin in the same manner as Noah’s son Ham, where he could not wait to tell his brothers of his father’s shame. (Gen 9:20-23) Are you like Ham? Or are you like Shem and Japheth? (There are whole ministries dedicated to being Shem or Japheth’s)

What is the Word of God?

Hebrew 4:12 (NKJV) For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

I pray that as you read this, it is not my words which impact you but the Bible verses. That is the point of this whole blog/website. The word of God is center stage. I have no “show to steal” as i am just a lay person (a nobody) giving what God has put on his heart. I have no official ordination or tie in or promotion to any church/assembly or group. I write just as me.

That being said, in studying for articles like this one, my heart does get pierced. It speaks to me in a way that no other man made document has. It is a refiner, a mirror to show your imperfections and what you need to do to fix it. I am a knucklehead so I need to be told everything many times over to allow it to resonate. This is why I believe that God wrote it down for us. So that we can’t say, well if only God would tell me what he wants for me to do with my life. In the words of Answers in Genesis founder Ken Ham “Well there is this book…”

How to receive the word

Acts 17:11 (NKJV) These were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so.

Now we understand the importance of the word, how do we receive it? We have two options

1) Receive it in a passive way, possibly like you are doing now
2) Receive it in a fashion like the Bereans (v10 states who they were)

The Bereans were studiers of the word, they pulled apart the scriptures and were what we would call these days and Inductive Bible student, they found out what it meant, they liked for ways to apply it to their lives, they examined the evidence and found the truths, they looked for each spiritual nugget and how it meant to their lives.

My prayer is that God make me like a Berean!

Some comfort in the Psalms

Psalm 119:105 (NKJV) Your word is a lamp to my feet And a light to my path

Psalm 119:11 (NKJV) Your word I have hidden in my heart, That I might not sin against You.

Some comfort to end on a light note, the Word of God is there to help us be “lights in the darkness” and our Bibles are what keeps the light shining bright, we need to treasure these scriptures as they have been diligently been prepared (by hand until the later part of the 16th century)

We need to have the word engrained in our hearts; it allows us to claim victory over our struggles.

God bless and I pray this was an exhortation and a blessing to you all
TTE

Remember D-Day from a former Royal Engineer

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Remember D-Day from a former Royal Engineer

It is with great reverence and respect that I look back on the events on seventy years ago, when brave men from the joint allied forces stormed the beaches of Northern France to get a foothold in Northern mainland Europe against the occupying forces of Nazi Germany who were threatening to invade the UK.

Without a doubt, had the D-Day landings failed the Second World War could have gone much differently. I watched a movie a few years ago called “Fatherland” which used the hypothesis that Hitler had successfully repelled the D-Day landings, had successfully invaded the UK and Ireland, called a truce with the US and Russia and the movie fast forwarded to what would have been his 75th birthday and a “diplomatic meeting” between him and JFK. Chilling stuff.

The war was won because despite people being mowed down with machine gunfire all around them, brave soldiers kept getting off those rafts, kept pressing on, kept pressing forward, despite the dis-advantage of coming in from the sea and being at a worse vantage point. They soldiered on and got slowly onto the shore, from then they slowly took ground and sent the Germans into a retreat that would end up in Berlin a year later.

I have always been fascinated with the second world war, how a dictator could slowly dupe a nation and marginalize one sector of a community at a time, removing the people that could be problematic, could be a barrier to the parties plans or simply because of their political affiliation, faith they believed, their physical attraction or whatever other reason they had to get rid of you.

I admire the “never say die” spirit of the “British Tommy” and his American counterpart, for the willingness to keep pressing forward, regardless of the opposition. Many of the survivors came broken, physically, mentally and spiritually. If you know someone who went through WW2, please thank them for their service today. For these guys, and it hurts me to say this but time is not on their side so please thank them when you can.

In the past when I have attended services of remembrance, I always seek out those guys, usually dressed in British Legion blazers or civilian attire and showing their medals, that gives a sliver of a window into the debt that we owe them one and all.

It may surprise you my friends to see a Union flag at half-staff in remembrance as I have been recorded online as a fervent Scottish Nationalist in favor of Scottish Independence away from the UK. However this war was fought by my brothers from all over the UK under this flag, the soldiers did not fight for Labour, Liberals or Tories, they fought for their country and gave more than could ever be requested by any Government. Some were called, but many volunteered.

You may also be a Christian and wonder how you should feel about wars, well that is one for you personally to resolve in your own heart. I know many fine Christians who have served in the military, some who support our troops and some who are very “anti-war”. For me it is not a salvation issue so I do not see any fruit in dividing over this.

My prayer is that the soldiers from both sides, also their descendants have found peace through the prince of peace. My prayer is healing in the land that can only come through Jesus. We are promised the following in the bible:

“…if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land…” 2 Chronicles 7:14 (ESV)

Please spare some thoughts and prayers of our heroes of D-Day, their families and descendants
God bless you one and all
TTE

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Please remember Memorial Day

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Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.
John 15:13 (KJV)

Of all the American holidays I have the hardest time with Memorial Day for the following reasons:

• I am not American
• I have never served in the US Armed forces
• I have not perished in battle

Although having been military trained I do understand the comradeship and desire to remember those who have fallen in battle, those who were MIA and KIA and those whom who have never returned for various reasons.

When you sign a military contract you sign up for something greater than you think. I will give an example below.

When the solders signed up for the Second World War was it because they agreed with Franklin Roosevelt (or later Harry Truman) or the Korean War, did they do so because they agreed with Harry Truman? Or the Vietnam war did they agree with Eisenhower, JFK, LBJ or Nixon?

You see, when you agree to write that cheque for the balance up to and including your life, made payable on your death should your country regrettably cash it, you do so with a willing heart, and open mind and you do it for something bigger than you, you do it for your country.

That is why I salute those who have been able to give all for their country, I pray that the veterans families that are missing someone, whether that happened today or 50 years ago, that we as Christians remember them, honour their sacrifice and most importantly comfort or tell them that their sacrifice made a difference.

I live in a country that had it not been for some brave men in the later part of the 18th century deciding to potentially sacrifice their own personal freedoms and liberty by willfully circulating and putting their signature on a treasonous document (to the King who had declared rule over them) on a proud old document that is now revered by many Americans (called the Declaration of Independence) then America would most certainly not be the place that I now call home today.

People who we honour today, put their own personal freedoms on the line for the greater good, as you tuck into your BBQ today, please ponder a second what they have done for all of us, the born Americans and the immigrants like me.

God bless and TGBTG
TTE