29 March 2015

Jesus Didn't Drive A Cadillac #PalmSunday

Followers of Christ should not forget who they're following and how He rolled
Note; artist rendering used for illustrative purposes only, NOT AN ACTUAL PAINTING OF YESHUA
"And calling the crowd to him with his disciples, he said to them, 'If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.'"

-- Yeshua (The Christ) as recorded in Mark 8:34

As Christians around the world celebrate "Palm Sunday," I hope that among the ceremonies and festivities, the powerful, profound simplicity represented by Yeshua (The Christ) is not lost.

When Yeshua walked the earth, he actively denounced the established organized religion of the day and the way in which it was practiced. The hypocrisy of the holier-than-thou hyper-religionists was a regular topic of his ire.

Benny Hinn's Malibu mansion. I wonder how many times extra rooms have been opened up to the homeless?
"Therefore, whatever you want people to do for you, do the same for them, because this summarizes the Law and the Prophets."

-- Yeshua (The Christ) as recorded in Mathew 7:12 (ISV)

Joel Osteen's Texas estate.

He had no huge castle, palatial temple built with the building fund, elaborate attire, or other fancy trappings often associated with modern ministers and the church today.

Despite certain interpretations, an understanding of the era shows travelling by donkey as being the modern day equivalent to a Honda Civic. Basic, reliable transportation.

Pastor Creflo Dollar. A fitting name no?

Far from ostentatious or making a statement of status, like say a Bentley or Gulfstream jet, the donkey simply got you where you needed to go. Slowly.

Like everything else about the life of Yeshua, selection of this mode of transportation, on this particular day (walking was the usual way), was more than just coincidence or happenstance. It was an example. An example for the people then, but especially for us now.

Truth is, royalty rode mighty stallions. Camels were common. For the ultra fancy, a chauffeur driven chariot might be had.

But no other animal placed it's rider as low to the ground, and on the same level, accessible to the masses, as did the donkey. A man riding a donkey literally has his feet close to the ground. Other animals have the rider up high, looking down on the people. The donkey places you among the people.

Ministry is about serving. Serving those in need, not serving ourselves. Not lifting us up above others. But about sometimes even getting down on our knees if need be (see foot washing and communion the way it's described in the bible), in order to perform our duty to our fellow man.

Oh that pastors and parishioners would take this object lesson to heart.

Make no mistake, in the time of Christ there were rides available far exceeding the luxury of a donkey. None were chosen.

Whether you like it or not, it's true; Jesus didn't drive a Cadillac. I'm just saying.

27 March 2015

Destiny Is By Design #MacArthursMusings

 "Destiny is not a matter of chance. It is a matter of choice. It is not a thing to be waited for. It is a thing to be achieved."

-- William Jennings Bryant

Look deep within your heart. Figure out who it is you were meant to be. Then go for it with all your might. 

Don't care what people say. Follow your own way. Live YOUR life. Whether others choose to live it with you or not.
BELIEVE in destiny.
There will be plenty of setbacks and setups. Many will secretly desire to see you fail.
Friends and lovers will come and go. You will be used. Even abused.
In the great journey of life, sometimes we walk the road together, sometimes we must go it alone.
It's important to know, no matter what happens, stay focused. Eyes straight ahead. Keep moving.
Something great awaits you. It's yours if you want it. Now go get it!

23 March 2015

Season Milestone Achieved! -- Exceeded 10,000 Meters Rowed In One Day

Today was particularly exciting for me as we began the second week of the month long World Erg Challenge indoor rowing tournament. For the first time in over a year, I exceeded 10,000 meters in a day.

Actually completed 12,000 meters today. That's about 7.5 miles!

That moved me up to position 8 out of 34 members on the team. The ones ahead of me should serve as inspiration to anyone. 

Of the seven, one is age 76, another is 61, there's also a 59 year old. These guys are beating me! Simply amazing!

Really excited to be back in the challenge this year. My body has adjusted well after the first week. Although the sessions are still grueling, I'm handling it relatively well. Although I did have a mild calf cramp today though. Nothing a little bit of foam rolling didn't help.

Current standings: 

Team Navy -- 22 out of 163 teams (a few new entrants have come along)

Personal position: #8, with 47,353 M total so far.

22 March 2015

Ready All Row! -- WEC 2015 Week One Totals

A Look At Numbers After The First Week Of Rowing On The Erg
As of Saturday, 22 March, my current distance total stood at 24,853 M.

This contributed to Team Navy landing in 21st place out 150 teams from around the world.

Within the team, as of that date, my personal standing is at 14th place out of 34 members

None of this has come without very hard work.

Very proud of the effort and accomplishments of my team mates.

21 March 2015

Just Shut Up And Row! -- World Erg Challenge 2015

Participants Seek To Accumulate Maximum Distance From 15 March To 15 April

Just why would anyone want to sit down on a device -- seen by many as an instrument of torture -- and go through a repetitive series of often agonizing, sometimes painful (it's a "good" pain though), grunt inducing, heavy-breathing-causing motions for 30 days?

"Greetings shipmates,
It is time for the World Erg Challenge.  Join us again for the chance to win prizes and represent the Navy."

It's official. Not only was it time once again to test my physical and mental endurance, will power, and quite honestly, the durability of my behind (hours and hours sitting on your butt!), but I was being officially invited/reminded by the team captain. And for this there's only one way to respond.


Until I saw that simple message from team captain Clay Christensen, I'd totally forgotten all about this yearly event. What has become a spring time rite of passage for me.

For hyper competitive former athletes like myself, even simple things like a two sentence email are hard to ignore.

As the first week of the challenge nears completion, my body is adjusting to the rigors of rowing. Especially rowing on an ergometer.

More importantly, my scheduling and time management ability is adjusting as well, as fitting in the time to do this is a immense challenge unto itself. Giving new meaning to the "challenge" part of the event's title.

This is my first blog of the event, I'll save the more nitty gritty details of what it's like to do this, and the physiology and mental state involved for future posts.

Despite entering the challenge nearly two weeks late in 2014, I'd like to think I still kicked butt!

We Take This Seriously

Of the teams all around the world participating, all have slightly different approach to the World Erg Challenge. Some are more hardcore while others see it as a purely fun and social thing.  For Team Navy, we're somewhere in the middle, leaning more towards hardcore.

Last year out of over 220 teams from around the world, we placed 22nd with a total of 5,415,474 meters! Salute to Peter who topped our team at 500,504 meters. Insane!

17 March 2015

It's Kiss MacArthur Day!

Ladies, now's your chance. It's a little known fact, but if you do it today you won't be in trouble with your man...

I suppose tis the season when EVERYONE and I mean EVERYONE in America is suddenly Irish. I'm not, but this is interesting.

The ancestors of the MacArthur family come from the ancient Scottish kingdom of Dalriada. The family name comes from the Celtic personal name Arthur. It denotes the 'son of arthur', which means noble one.

The roots of MacArthur definitely has some Irish origins, but make no mistake MacArthur is as Scottish as it gets. I suppose like Idi Amin, I could be the Last King Of Scotland. It's ok, I've settled for Chief!

So what are you waiting for? Come on, KISS ME!

Freedom's Worth Fighting For -- Things Are Starting To Move A Bit Around Here...

"Whatever you do, do with all your might."
-- Cicero

For the most part, besides occasional updates here and there, this blog has been more or less abandoned by me as duties maintaining and updating numerous other websites, Facebook and Twitter pages have pretty well taken up most of  my time.

Reaching 2.2 million people is no small feat. The potential power to rapidly disseminate information is frightful to those that want to control conversations and public thought.

While most people use social media as a great past time or hobby, for some of us this is actually a part of our job.  A big part. In my case full time and then some.

After seeing over 2 million people view my posts on Facebook last week (our most viewed platform), I was truly overwhelmed and elated that my work had landed before such a large audience.

Unfortunately my celebration was only short lived.

"...in order for democracy to survive, strong alternative, opposing voices of dissenting opinion are imperative."

Facebook failed to say when the 24 hours began.
On Monday morning Facebook police and their Brown-Shirt censors decided an editorial post I made was too much, and without discussion or any appeal process, I was promptly banned from posting, liking or pretty much doing anything on Facebook for 24 hours. A caveat was also added that if I continued my "offensive or abusive" (in a pop-up not shown here) behavior I could be permanently deleted.

The implications here are pretty strong. Free speech may be guaranteed by the government, but the private mediums which make it not only possible, but effective, are under no obligation to comply.

It is critically important to understand that in order for democracy to survive, strong alternative, opposing voices of dissenting opinion are imperative. This is the necessary balance needed for things to stay aright.

As soon as a voice not in sync with the mainstream begins be silenced, it's at that very moment your democracy begins to slowly die. And you won't even notice at first.

Even this very blog, were the folks at Google (it's hosted on their servers) to decide it didn't fit inline with their standards, this too could literally vanish in an instant, never to be seen again.

But just what are these so called "standards?" Who sets them? How to do we know when they've been changed or updated?

Other social media accounts can be eliminated on similar grounds using similar rational.

In the end all the would be left is me and my voice. With phones readily disabled, disconnected, signals blocked, jammed or scrambled, even they're not as reliable as you think.

I don't often agree with Bill Maher, but on this he's spot on!
Free speech could literally be reduced to having to go stand on a corner and shout. And even then, the police could readily arrest you for disturbing the peace. Don't laugh. It's happened to me before. More than once.

I'll never forget the Baltimore Police officer who approached me threatening arrest while I was leading a massive protest, involving several thousand cab drivers rallying for better work conditions and fair pay.

Officer Shut-Your-Mouth asked me if I had a permit for my megaphone. I looked at him and laughed. Asked him if he was serious. He informed me that in Baltimore you need a permit to use a bull horn in public.

Without going into a point by point detailed rendition of our back and forth -- including language not likely family friendly --  I'll surmise it by sharing this much:

With his handcuffs pulled out ready to arrest me, I looked him dead in the eye and stated thus; a permit implies the need for permission. As if I needed the government's permission to speak in public. I DON'T THINK SO. Not in THIS country. Not here. Not now. NOT EVER! And as such, in my eyes, I couldn't care less what the ordinance said, the concept of needing to apply for any permit of any sort to speak in public is absurd in every way.

Disgraced former State's Attorney Gregg Bernstein may have not been indicted, but we helped him lose his reelection.

Surrounded by several dozen angry cab drivers -- upset by his presence and his threats to disrupt the protest by taking me down -- the officer eventually relented from his position. It didn't hurt that we'd reached a police commander by phone.

My comrade Larry "Celebrity Cab Driver" Wallace stood next to me, relaying to Officer Shut-Your-Mouth every thing the Colonel was saying. Initially the officer didn't believe him. He asked to speak to the Colonel himself. Let me just say, identifying himself as a numskull directly to the Colonel on the phone didn't work out to well for him.

Freedom Must Be Fought For

"The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants."
-- Thomas Jefferson

Free speech is only as valuable as our willingness to stand up and fight for it. None of us deserve any rights we're not willing to do battle for. Sometimes this means suffering. Temporary discomfort or even the ultimate sacrifice is the price many have paid in the past for freedoms we now enjoy. And should we wish to continue to have said freedoms, the price must be paid on an ongoing basis from time to time.
"As long as I continue to breathe, as long as there's injustice in this world, I will use the voice that God has given me to speak against it."

-- James MacArthur