Jerryaughtry’s Weblog

December 22, 2009

Prosperity Gospel

Filed under: Essay — jerryaughtry @ 11:09 am

CNN is doing a series on religion and it’s influence on American life. In typical CNN fashion or what I have observed, their series is built around sound bites, making sure all positions are covered; and, consequently, from my perspective, it is very inadequate-no Bill Moyers or Charlie Rose, I assure you.

The segment I watched focused on faith, finances, and mega churches. I wouldn’t have been watching it but flipped to CNN reporter Christine Romans interviewing Joel Osteen.

This guy is so amazing to me that I have to smile and shake my head. I will admit upfront that I could be jealous, but I don’t think so. I’m not organized enough to do what he does, even if he has lots of help.

Osteen is an industry. He runs a mega church and his books are bestsellers before they are written. His gospel is called “gospel lite” by those who take him on and he preaches that wealth and power are rewards for good Christians(prosperity gospel) .

The reporter, Romans, threw him a few softballs and he glibly handled them with the answers he obviously has used before. His general line and comments are, “God says.”  He does? According to who?

Pelting his comments in with Biblical text that he says proves his point amazes me and those throngs of disciples listening don’t even question him.

In my opinion, this is stupidity. Why? Because if Osteen’s people would question him they might realize his preaching a prosperity gospel is about as opposite as to what Jesus intended as could possibly be.

Born In a stable, throughout life, not a place to lay his head, Jesus spent his life lifting up the poor and downtrodden with no thought that he deserved to prosper.

The bullshit that guys like Osteen put out offends my sense of right and wrong.  In fairness, do these guys like Osteen or any of the mega  churches do any good?  I’m sure they do and I guess people are better off there than not going. Maybe?

Related Link:
Can Joel  Osteen Pay his Bills?



Filed under: movie review — jerryaughtry @ 5:29 am

Brothers is one of those movies that I expected to have trouble sitting through. However, it really wasn’t. I think that mainly I had read so much and talked to those who had seen it that I was not the least bit surprised. The brothers, one the epitome of the good son and the other a perpetual “F…” up. However, they loved each other. The theme of the movie had already been done in The Valley of Elah. War simply plays hell with the warriors. Tommy, the n’the well younger brother shapes himself up when his brother Sam is killed or they think he’s dead. All the while he is being tortured and eventually forced to kill one of his own. I’m not giving away too much because even this had been done before. The toll on families is a given. Natalie Portman, playing the wife is very good. Jake Guillenhaul and Toby McGuire are also very good but one of the small daughters stole the show. Her facial expressions and attendant actions overall are simply precious. A good movie which should, along with many war themed movies, have more impact but not so. In Brothers, the movie never really hit on any opposition or even asking any sort of basic question of “why are we there” The one brother did briefly. Being a good Marine was more the philosophical tone. There are so many more themes that are lightly touched which could have been but not in 2 hours I guess. For instance, Sam Shepard, playing the straight arrow retired Marine father, Vietnam vet, who tries but wrestles with his own demons and mostly fails.

A last view. Why are these movies not box office successes? My view: the 50% of the American population that “thinks” is in whoping denial that we are in two unwinnable, untenable wars which are draining us in every single way. Thirty five percent of our fellow Americans don’t think at all: they support a position such as war and having their minds made up, also prefer denial. The other fifteen or twenty percent are simply “out to lunch.” They don’t care one way or another and take little or no interest beyond their own narrow limits. And, they don’t go to movies, not war movies anyway.

December 17, 2009

Live In Afghanistan

Filed under: movie review — jerryaughtry @ 1:38 pm

What can the average Afgani farmer look forward too? He can’t feed his family unless he grows poppies as he has always done. Now the government won’t let him. Maybe they will if he pays off officials. There is aid for him possibly if he will not grow poppies. But, it is iffy as most of the government aid designed for him is siphoned off to some government official. Then there is the whole network of drug trafficers who profit big and live rich at every level.

The above is the review of the late nineties British miniseries, Traffick. It is more relevant today than when first shown. And, an absolute concrete example of why there is no “winning” in Adghanistan.

December 8, 2009


Filed under: Uncategorized — jerryaughtry @ 5:38 pm

I am absolutely agast that we are sending 30,000 more troops to Afghanistan.By any sense of reasoning, this does not make any sense.

The very idea that we could possibly draw down in Afghanistan in 18 months is absurd, given the basic problems we’re facing. Saying it is about as useful as tits on a bore hog. In fact, we have abandoned that view anyway. The SecDef and McChrystalball, along with others has said that the date is fluid and depends on the conditions on the ground. What is that? What amazes me is that every single person who is in the process speaks with one voice. Not a maverick among them.

The generals are honorable persons and McChrystal is one to admire, up every morning before dawn, running, living like a monk. In my almost 30 year military career, I have worked for a dozen generals directly and no telling how many indirectly. I understand the mentality. What the public who cares don’t understand about Gen McChrstal and the other generals above one star. They got where they are through a process that is as political as any could possibly be. It doesn’t mean they are not competent, very simply, they may be or they might not be–in my experience, the best leaders don’t usually get to be generals as they won’t be political. The one exception may be Petreous. I’ve read lots about him and he seems to be more rooted in reality, having said all along that we are not in for a short war. Unfortunately, most do “general think.” They always want more troops and have a military solution to the overall plan.

In my opnion, we have gotten to look to their views too much. We have a civilian chain of command but someone like the President doesn’t have military experience and so he relys on the generals. Their positions are not wrong bur the reality in my view is that 30,000 more troops is absurd.

The chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Adm Mike Mullen said this: “We are not winning which means we are losing and we are losing. The message traffic out there to recruits keep getting better and more keep coming. And, then he went on to tell the troops at Fort Campbell, we are going to “take losses” Dud!!

Every soldier in Afghanistan costs us a million a year. I know that it doesn’t translate like this but just think what we could do with that money in our own country.

To me, it is very discouraging to see this troop increase. It is Vietnam revisited. In Vietnam, we realized too late that the Vietnamese goverment was corrupt. Karzar said at his inaugural speech, “it will be five years before Afghants can take over and we will need financial help much longer.” The interesting thing about this guy is he doesn’t even try to disguise the corruption. Fraud, etc. Is simply a way of life and this chalatan is our partner in the war. We are a bunch of idiots. We are stupid. Makes me want to move to Ireland. I would if I could figure it out.

I’ve already given my solution. We are not going yo leave, why didn’t the President go with the Biden plan. Keep about the level of troops that we now have, begin to replace them with Special Operations troops who are older and more attuned to fight this kind of war. Rotate them often and by in large fight the Taliban to a standoff. When they realize we are not leaving, I think we might accomplish goals such as Afghants taking over. but hen again, I don’t know but it is better than 30,000 more regular soldiers.

Somehow we have bought into the idea of the “surge” as some sort of panacea. However, if examaned carefully, what we did in Iraq is separate the factions with barriors. I don’t think we cam deny that things are better in Iraq, maybe the surge. But, when we say violence is down, my retort is, says who. With bombings with regularity, one day, almost a hundred. Says who.


Filed under: Uncategorized — jerryaughtry @ 5:27 pm

Yes, Ted is back as in Ted Haggard, the former pastor of the Colorado mega church. Think, you will remember him. He was the voice of family values and the darling to right wing fundamentalists until he was caught frequenting a gay maseuse. The preacher went from a host of microphones, TV, and so many attendees on Sunday morning, they had to go in shifts to disgrace.

Haggard in his return, has closed in on a space close to his old stomping grounds. The Lord probably spoke to him to locate close to his former flock. On his first appearance, so many came that they had to move to a barn. He’s back and like Jim Bakker, probably a TV show is to follow. With Bakker, I actually watched a little of his show one night: same old stuff, selling a dream. Send in your money. And, they are. Redemption is a big issue with people of faith, along with forgiveness. But, it seems to me that the “faith” might be better served if these guys would keep a lower profile. Forget it! Once they have tasted the limelight, with egos as big as all outdoors, they can’t give it up, even with the shame. And, what about those who flock back to them–people are pretty forgiving. And, then again, in my view, let’s try stupid.

December 5, 2009


Filed under: Uncategorized — jerryaughtry @ 11:41 pm

If you are going to lie, always tell as close to the truth as you can. Advice that apparently many are taking. A really good friend of mine sent me this long article about a cabinet member frequenting gay bars. I immediately emailed him back and asked if he had checked it out. He said no . At breakfast with a friend, recently, she told about an article she had received from another friend with some wild story of men who were obviously Middle Eastern boarding a plane, being obnoxious, later on supposedly a test to see how plane crews would react. Apparently a total fabrication. My friend never bothered to check it out, merely forwarded it on. These things start somewhere and more often than not, they take on a life of their on.

I am facinated with the trouble and time it takes to put together these elaborate false articles. In both these cases with my friends, they were long articles that had to start somewhere. I am not a conspiracy theorist but I wonder: has some zeolot figured out that they can out and out make up things/lie and get them to unsuspecting people like us to help them spread their message. Maybe? I wonder? Most of us aren’t going to check things out. Here’s a suggestion, hit the delete button and not the forward.

December 2, 2009


Filed under: Essay — jerryaughtry @ 8:51 pm
Tags: ,

I get so tired of politicians think we are stupid. Change the language and you “hoodwink” Americans: well, at least those who care. 30% are simply unthinking, 25% are out to lunch, they could care less, regardless. That leaves less than fifty percent who are paying attention. If you heard the President’s speech last night, what you heard him say is how he is tying everything

November 30, 2009


Filed under: Essay — jerryaughtry @ 10:18 pm

DANCING WITH THOSE WHO BRUNG YOU is a NC staple. I don’t know who the president is dancing with in sending 30,000 more troops but it ain’t those who “brung” him. Those who brung him want us out of two unwinnable and untennable wars. What we cannot accept is that there are no answers and there aren’t short of total peace on earth. And, yet the president is almost taking a page or pages out of the George W. play book. Sending more troops is a bad move. And, what is fascinating to me is that the president and others don’t see what those of us out here in the hinderlands see. Generals always want more troops, they always think in military terms. They are using counter insurgency as an argument. We all believe that it will work in twenty years. Everybody who believes we will stay in Afghanistan twenty years, raise your hands?

Out here in the real world, we understand that Afghanistan is ripe with corruption. Ruled by War Lords, a tribal people, and living in the Middle Ages as relates to women. The list is endless and this doesn’t even include the drug culture. And, we can solve this with more troops? Scare tactics like fight theTaliban at the source and we don’t have to fight them at home. This is an argument from Don Rumfelt and George W. Not our president.

His speech and all the rhetoric since then has not turned us around. And, choosing to make the speech in friendly territory like the military academy definitely began to seem like another verse of the song we’ve heard for eight years. I’m beginning to feel like something attributed to Abe Lincoln: “I am not bound to win but I am bound to be true. I will stand with any man when he is right stand with him while he is right but will depart from him when he goes wrong.” More troops in Afghanistan is a “wrongheaded” move.

November 26, 2009

GOD BLESS “MERICA” (this is way the NASCAR guys say it)

Filed under: Uncategorized — jerryaughtry @ 7:18 pm

I don’t think it is just Republicans who are “locked in.” As a Democrat, let us be objective: everybody that I talk too of all kinds of political persuasions, appear to get it about Afghanistan, we simply can’t do anything. They are a tribal people, still live in the Middle Ages, a President who stole an election and fosters corruption. He is, by reasonable American standards, a joke. Yet, we continue to pour in millions as though we have a McChrystal ball. Nothing seems to make any real difference: we have a demo Prez, that I’ve supported bigtime, Demo congress: no difference. So, it really baffles me.

I’m sticking with my view: 30% of Americans are downright stupid. I don’t mean dumb, they just don’t think, and they appear to be mostly Republicans from where I stand but by no means, the only ones. We have 300 million plus in the country, 25% are out to lunch, they don’t participate in anything: operate on a philosophy of “Of all my fathers children, I love myself the best. If the Lord provides for me, the devil take the rest.” And, what I’m hoping is that there is at least 50% of Americans, of all persuasions, who at least possibly, maybe are still participating and want to rescue the country.
America is a great country, still experimenting, I believe. We may be ungovernable, like CA, not sure. Still, we have lots of opportunity, can criticize the government, and be about as nutso as we want to be.

November 23, 2009


Filed under: Essay — jerryaughtry @ 3:31 pm
Tags: , ,

A great article in the NY Times: Hard Choice for a Comfortable Death: Drug-Induced Sleep. If you have hung out much in nursing homes with relatives or friends waiting to die, you want to read this long and informitive piece. It talks about something we use to do all the time when I was a hospital chaplain at Letterman Army Medical Center on the Presidio when it was a full scale teaching hospital. Hospice does relatively the same, which I think is great. They simply increase the morphine and the terminally ill, who at this stage are not with us, other than still breathing, slip into the terminal sleep. According to the article, it is called terminal sedation, a treatment that is already widely used and as the article says, “vexes family and a profession whose paramount rule is to do no harm.”

What is different about this article is that for the first time, at least as I’ve seen, the medical community admits that they do this and even talk about cases and drugs they use. The two most popular drugs are ativan and roxanol.

As I read on, I almost fell over as this is the sort of thing that we need to think about, especially those of us who can see the end. We all die and so to figure out how to do it as easy as possible is no small thing.

We simply don’t do a good job of helping people die. There comes a time when someone is not going to get better, they are not going to recover so why not make the end the very best we possibly can. This is the basis of the article.

What is fascinating to me is how reticent people, even professionals, are to talk about the end of life. Why? is always an issue as we all die.

Seeing folks at the end is so sad, most in 90s and beyond. You would think that these “front burner types” who’ve lived long and rich lives would simply be “ready” to hit the trail so to speak. Not so as the denial of the process is a big factor. A doctor friend of mine told me about his mother, 92, well educated, had lived a beautiful life according to him. He was convinced that when it came “time” she would opt for the, “no extraordinary means.” Shaking his head still in disbelief, he allowed exactly the opposite, “do everything you can,” she said. “I want nothing spared to keep me alive.”

Presently, my wife and I are doing all we can to prepare a loved one to die because it is what she wants. Her once vibrant life has been reduced to being almost helpless with wearing diapers which, for her, is the height of indignities. If anything happens, “no extraordinary means to keep her alive,” are her wishes. God bless her and more power to her. I’m going to sign off with a HooAhhhh for her Mom who use to love this when I did it for her at the chapel. HooAhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

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