The Biblical Father-of-TheYear

This past Sunday was Father's Day, and as I often do, I found myself reflecting on the fathers of the Bible. The Earthly ones, I mean, not God the Father.

There are some notably good fathers in the Bible like Abraham, David, Job, Asa King of Judah (who has the distinction of being the only faithful King in Israel or Judah who both served the Lord and also raised a son who also served the Lord) to name a few.

There is one who stands out to me above the fold...and he is a father who isn't given a lot of credit in sermons and Biblical examples. His name is Joseph. His wife is better known, and his adopted son is the center of our faith.

Of course, I mean Joseph of Nazareth, husband of Mary and adopted father of Jesus Christ.

Consider Joseph for a moment. You have a man who has found the woman he wants to marry. He does everything right. He doesn't have sex with her until they are married. He is betrothed to her (that's engaged, for those of you from Palm Beach County, FL) and was presumably in the process of preparing a home for the two of them as Jewish tradition dictated at the time.

Then he finds out that Mary, who again, HE HASN'T HAD SEX WITH, is pregnant.* It's clearly not his child. Joseph has two obvious choices in the eyes of the people around him: divorce Mary quietly (likely by sending her away to a distant relative to live out her days in disgrace) or have her stoned to death. Joseph was a kind man who apparently loved Mary and did not want to disgrace her -- much less kill her -- and planned to use the former option.

Then Joseph was informed, by an angel, that Mary's child was the Son of God and that he was conceived by the Holy Spirit.  He still could have chosen to send Mary away, but instead chose to marry her as planned and raise Jesus as his own child. After the birth of Jesus, Mary and Joseph had four sons (James, Joses, Judas and Simon) and an indeterminate number of daughters.

Before Jesus was even born, Joseph made some sacrifices. He married Mary and likely subjected himself to significant ridicule by his peers. He also refrained from exercising his marital rights with Mary until after Jesus was born (that's "have sex with Mary" for those of you from Palm Beach County, FL). **

After Jesus was born, Joseph had to protect his adopted son from an evil King before he could settle down to life. Joseph was then charged to teach Jesus, along with his four natural sons, his trade of carpentry. I'm sure it wasn't easy to raise the Son of God. Yes, he was without sin and therefore would have been perfectly obedient to Joseph -- but his other four boys were not perfect and subject to the usual issues of childhood. I'm sure there was some rivalry against Jesus from the other brothers ("Sure, Dad, we're not perfect like Jesus...the best son ever!")

Joseph, knowing that Jesus wasn't his natural son, took on the difficult and trying task of raising Jesus as his own. He is perhaps the best known adopted father in history. I know (second hand) what it takes to be an adopted father of a child in general. I have an adopted sister and my fiancee has an adopted brother -- so I have witnessed my dad with my sister and have heard stories from my future father-in-law about his experiences.

Yet Joseph did what God asked him to do. He raised Jesus. He taught him to build tables and chairs, boats, carts, whatever. He handled Jesus' problems with His brothers. He cared for Jesus as his own, while knowing all along that this child was in fact HIS God.

So, this week after Father's Day, I'd like to salute Joseph of Nazareth. I look forward to meeting him someday in Heaven. Mary gets all the credit and PR -- and well she should -- but Joseph deserves a nod as well. He raised our Lord as his own child. As human Biblical fathers go, I'd say Joseph gets the top spot.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

* If the child was indeed his, given his betrothal to Mary and according common practice in Joseph's time, it would not have been considered sin. Many historians report that a betrothed couple in Israel were considered married and allowed to have sex, although they did not live together.

** Despite what the Catholic Church teaches, the Bible says Joseph "did not know (Mary) till she had brought forth her firstborn Son." Translation: He did not know (have sex with) Mary UNTIL JESUS WAS BORN. It did not say he never had sex with her.

Bloomberg Announces Water Gun Restrictions

DISCLAIMER: This post is entirely fictitious.

It was a normal summer day in suburban Queens.  Neighbors Timmy Thompson and Georgie Green decided to engage in that great American pastime, the water gun fight. Timmy came armed with a standard air-pressure based water gun, but Georgie came with a NERF Super-Soaker equipped with a Hydro-Pack.  Georgie's equipment gave him a full 100 ounces of water with which to drench Timmy, while poor Timmy had a miserable 5 ounces that required refilling regularly.

During one of these refilling stops, Georgie accidentally hit Timmy in the eye, causing some irritation. Although Timmy insisted he was just fine, his mom made him go to the doctor, where he was required to put Visine Eye Drops in his eye twice a day for a week.

It could have ended there, except for Timmy's mother works in the office of Mayor Michael Bloomberg and the story of Timmy and Georgie's water gun fight. In his ongoing effort to help protect the health of New Yorkers through government, the Mayor proposed new regulations.

"There is no reason that someone would need a water gun that holds 100 ounces of water or even 30 ounces of water! Therefore, my office is presenting a bill to the City Council limiting the capacity of water weapons to 7 ounces and making the sale of high capacity water projectile weapons illegal."

When asked to comment, Roger Simpson of the National Water Gun Association (NWGA) stated,

"The Second Amendment to the United States Constitution specifically protects our Right to Bear Arms. It doesn't specify firearms, melee weapons, hand weapons including blade weapons, or even water weapons. All are protected. Americans of all ages have the right to protect themselves against a water attack with whatever size water container they desire from a 2 ounce water pistol to a garden hose and everything in between."

While neither gave an official comment, both President Obama and New York Governor Andrew Cuomo are said to support Bloomberg's bill.

Georgie was quoted as saying, "Seriously dude, it was a water gun fight. Timmy's fine."

Timmy, in response stated, "Georgie's right. I'm fine. My mom totes overreacted. Also, tell Georgie I demand a rematch."


No water guns were harmed in the writing of this post.

Reflections on the Restoration of Jesus Christ

Usually on Biblical Conservatism I stay away from my private life...save for talking about my work experience to support my expertise. However today, as I embark toward the happiest day of my life, I am going to reflect upon how the Lord has restored to me joy and companionship.

Let me explain.

Four years ago I went through the difficulty and heartbreak of divorce.While I wanted to give God the chance to restore the marriage and to honor the promise we made to God. She refused. If one won't, two can't. She ran away. I was devastated.

God, my family, and some terrific friends including my church family got me through it.  God fully healed me and about two years I began to date again. I had a couple of relationships that didn't last long because we weren't the right fit for each other.

Then, seven months ago, I met Kristin, and she is amazing. From day one, everything fit wonderfully. She was strong enough to put up with me while being kind and sweet to truly make me feel loved. Even her family is amazing. Oh, and she has a dog, and I always wanted a dog. It didn't take me long to realize that I had met THE ONE.

Saturday, I asked Kristin to marry me and she said yes!

Today I stand recognizing that God is the wonderful God of restoration.  I went from heartbreak at the end of an unhappy marriage and divorce to the joy that only God can grant. Not only did he restore the joy to my heart, He brought a woman into my life who is an infinitely better match for me and who shares my love of the Lord, my commitment to marriage. I went from in-laws who, at best, I had nothing in common with to of in-laws whose company I truly enjoy and who I truly connect with. I went from heartbreak to the joy of the Lord.

So here I am, realizing that finally, after thirty years of life and a heartbreaking divorce, I've met the mother of my future children. I find myself realizing that our God is not only the God of second chances but the God of even better. It's not enough to give me a second chance at marriage and happiness, He chose to give me better on all levels.  Today, I am truly happy, and I thank the Lord for bringing Kristin into my life.

I close with this: God is good!

Liberal Rhetoric 101: Protesting (for things unsolvable by protests)

I was in New York City a few weeks ago and I saw a ridiculous sight: two individuals, one with a guitar the other with a sign proclaiming that they were "Occupying for a Job."

I desperately wanted to say something. I didn't for two reasons. One, my hosts (relatives) on the trip were with us on this day and they are liberals who actually identified with the protesters. Two, my girlfriend probably would have been very annoyed at me if I had gotten into a political debate with two hippies outside the Federal building when we had only one day for sightseeing.


The sheer ridiculousness of this "protest for a job" continues to make my head hurt today -- weeks after it happened. You see, I am thirty years old. I've been gamefully employed for sixteen of those years. From 14-19 I held three jobs for differing lengths of time in places like restaurants and retail stores. When in college I held a job at a local restaurant near college and a total of three separate summer jobs over the years while home from school. In the eight years since graduating college I've held different professional jobs, including working for my current job for going on four years.

The thing is I did not obtain any of the aforementioned jobs by protesting. I applied and interviewed for those jobs, convincing those prospective employers that I was the right person to hire. BECAUSE THAT'S HOW YOU GET A JOB! You don't stand outside a landmark and sing Vietnam War era folk tunes.

A better known example of this was the Occupy Wall Street movement. These individuals spent weeks protesting the fact that "evil individuals" dared to keep the money that said "evil individuals" actually earned and owned. (For those of you from Palm Beach County, FL, it didn't work...BECAUSE IT DOESN'T BELONG TO THEM and PROTESTING DOESN'T CHANGE IT!)

Yet liberals seem to want to protest...apparently for the heck of it...basically because they believe protesting somehow solves everything. It's ridiculous, I realize at least most of you do (Palm Beach County residents aside), because money is not gained by protesting and neither is a job.

This isn't to say there is no reason to hold a protest. There is a history of legitimate protests in our nation that actually served a purpose. The Boston Tea Party was a protest, and I think you might say it served a big purpose. College students in the 1960s lead a protest movement which ultimately changed the tied of American opinion and ended the Vietnam War. Dr. Martin Luther King (a Republican for those who don't know history) lead a series of protests that helped lead to the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

The difference between these protests and "Occupying for a Job" were directed towards actions of government, rather than the perfectly legal actions of private citizens in not giving those individuals a job or keeping their own fiscal property. (That's "money" for those of you from Palm Beach County, FL.)  Government doesn't actually have the RIGHT to confiscate the fiscal property (again, "money," for Palm Beach) nor can it force an employer to give someone a job.

Protesting for the sake of protesting serves no purpose. It's efforting after something at best, trying to be the center of attention at worst. Liberals love to protest to say they are "doing something about" whatever.  It's about making a useless effort that shows they care. Ridiculous? Of course. Then again, they ARE liberals, aren't they? Caring without actually do anything is the name of the game.

Yankee Fan Rhetoric 101

Once in a while, here at Biblical Conservatism, we like to take a break from politics and have a bit of fun. Today, we're going to do just that.

If you've read Biblical Conservatism over the past two plus years, you know that in addition to fighting for Conservative values and loving the Lord Jesus Christ, I'm also a die-hard New York Mets fan. Because of that, I often have to deal with Yankee fans and their obnoxiousness.  This is especially true this past week, since my Mets swept the Yankees in a 4 game series (BOOYA) and my subsequent interactions with Yankee fans came back to the below routine.

 My best friend is a Yankee fan (albeit not an obnoxious one -- dude this post isn't directed at you). Several other friends are Yankee fans. I've had to hear their usual responses whenever the Yankees are criticized:



Oh, and don't forget my favorite Yankee line:



Which leads me to ask, along with Mr. Condescending Willy Wonka:



Yankee fans love to discuss those 27 Rings. They also like to mention how the next closest team (the St. Louis Cardinals) has a mere 11 Championships.

They don't particularly like to mention that 4 of those rings where when Babe Ruth played, 6 were when Lou Gehrig played, 9 where when Joe DiMaggio played and 7 while Mickey Mantle played (there is some crossover). That means 20 of the 27 titles were won BEFORE 1962. (For those of you from Palm Beach County, FL, that means 20 of those titles are over 50 years old.)

Speaking of 50 years old, when 20 of those 27 titles were won, Major League Baseball only consisted of 16 teams. Now, Major League Baseball has 32 teams.

Now to the last 50 years and the 7 championships the Yankees have won since Expansion. Seven is fairly impressive for 50 years, but it's not as impressive as that 27 they love to talk about. It is the most in the last 50 years, but not by a whole lot. The St. Louis Cardinals have won five rings in the last 50 years.  The Oakland Athletics and Los Angeles Dodgers have won four each and the Cincinnati Reds have won three.

What about the last ten years? Considering that's the time frame when a lot of the active players were playing? Well, in the last ten years, the mighty Yankees have won only one championship. In that same decade, the San Francisco Giants, St. Louis Cardinals and Boston Red Sox have each won two.Why does this matter? Well, just in case you were confused, neither Babe Ruth, nor Lou Gehrig, nor Joe DiMaggio, nor Mickey Mantle, nor Yogi Berra, nor Reggie Jackson are currently on the team's roster, so their accomplishments mean precisely squat here in 2013, thus those "27 Rings" mean precisely squat.

What about the (correct) accusation that the Yankees buy championships? Many a Yankee fan has told me that "you can't discount the Yankees championships before free agency...they didn't buy THOSE players!"

For one, the Yankees bought LOTS of players before Free Agency entered in 1976. They just didn't buy those players from other teams:

Famously, the Yankees bought Babe Ruth from the Boston Red Sox for $100,000 (adjusted for inflation that's over $1.3 Million). They bought Joe DiMaggio from the minor league San Francisco Seals (over $400,000 adjusted for inflation). They bought Roger Maris from the Kansas City Athletics.  These are just a few examples.

Let's also not confuse the ability to retain talent as free agents with "not buying players." Just because you are a player's original team, it doesn't mean that signing them for a ten year, $189 Million contract isn't buying a team. (If you don't think so, ask Billy Beane, who would have found his team in better shape if he could have afforded to resign Johnny Damon and Jason Giambi?) Ultimately, spending money on the best players (whether they are currently on your roster or not), to win is buying a ballclub.

A friend of mine likes to argue that the Yankees HAVE the money, therefore he has no problem with them USING the money. While that may be a fair enough assessment (ignoring of course the reality that a good deal of that money comes from selling different color Yankee hats to gang members as symbols of allegiance -- not to mention people who buy a Yankee hat because P. Diddy wears one and they don't give a rip about baseball), it misses the fact that baseball is hurt in the competitive market of Entertainment.

Baseball competition in a financial sense is not just the Yankees vs. the Red Sox and the Reds vs. the Marlins. It's Major League Baseball (MLB) competing for the entertainment dollar of Americans. They compete at different times with the National Basketball Association (NBA), the National Football League (NFL), the National Hockey League (NHL) and other less popular (in America) professional sports like soccer and lacrosse. MLB also is in competition with movies, live theater, Six Flags and Disney World and other amusement parks, Chuck E. Cheese, concerts, and so many other choices that Americans make on where to spend their entertainment dollars.

I think part of the reason the NFL is so popular (among other reasons) is the fact that no matter how poorly your team played last year, the parity due to the salary cap means that same team could win the Super Bowl this year. In MLB it takes a long time for a team to build up a solid enough team to compete with the financial powerhouses...and it lasts for one or two years before those developed players are lost to free agency since teams like the Tampa Rays can't afford to spend to keep their players like the Yankees can.  The lack of parity means that fans in Tampa often will choose to spend their money on tickets to see the Buccaneers in stead of the Rays because the Bucs could become a winning team THIS YEAR.  The Yankees overspending hurts the rest of baseball.

Which brings us to the final line that Yankee Fans will bring up once confronted with the above statements: "You're just jealous!" Actually, no. No I am not jealous.  It turns out that expecting a championship every year and not getting it and thus being disappointed at not winning is in fact NOT as enjoyable as winning one every couple of decades or so, because the specialness is ruined.

Let me give you an example. My grandmother makes, by far, the World's most delicious lasagna. I have tried many other people's attempts at that dish and Gram's is THE BEST. She has offered to give me the recipe. I've declined. Why, you may ask? Because I want enjoying her lasagna to be a special experience.

I feel the same way about my teams winning championships. In 2003 the Syracuse Orangemen won the NCAA Basketball National Championship. It was one of the top ten best days of my life. I spent fourteen years of my life loving that team and following it passionately. Those fourteen years, including one heartbreaking NCAA Finals loss in 1996, all lead up to winning that title in 2003. Since then, I've seen the Orange succeed to various degrees including winning the Big East Conference twice and going to the Final Four this past season. Every year, the farther we get the greater my hope arises, but no win. They are an elite team, and it is likely they will win the title again...and that day it will again be very, very special. To date, I've waited ten years to see a second title.

Championships are meant to be special and certainly not annually expected.  Not only does the specialness of winning become depleted by constantly winning, it makes the fans of said team huge jerks about it.

With your average Yankee fan, your best bet is to either a) walk away or b) distract them somehow. Throwing a tennis ball often works, as the Yankee fan will immediately go to retrieve it...jogging back sputtering about 27 Championships. Also showing them some sort of a shiny object helps. Ultimately, if you choose to have Yankee fans in your life, I suppose it's your own fault that you have to deal with them.

This post is designed to be humorous and not to be taken seriously AT ALL. If you are a Yankee fan, I sincerely hope you recognize the fun meant in this post. If you do not, you may want to reconsider how seriously you take your sports fandom. No Yankee fans or Yankee players were harmed in the writing of this post.