Saturday, April 15, 2006

Solumn Vigil of Easter

Rejoice, heavenly powers! Sing choirs of angels!
Exult, all creation around God's throne!
Jesus Christ, our King is risen!
Sound the trumpet of salvation!

Rejoice, O earth, in shining splendor,
radiant in the brightness of your King!
Christ has conquered! Glory fills you!
Darkness vanishes for ever!

Rejoice, O Mother Church! Exult in glory!
The risen Savior shines upon you!
Let this place resound with joy,
echoing the mighty song of all God's people!

My dearest friends,
standing with me in this holy light,
join me in asking God for mercy,
that he may give his unworthy minister
grace to sing his Easter praises.

The Lord be with you
And also with you.

Lift up your hearts.

We lift them up to the Lord.

Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.

It is right to give him thanks and praise.

It is truly right that with full hearts and minds and voices
we should praise the unseen God, the all-powerful Father,
and his only Son, our Lord Jesus Christ.

For Christ has ransomed us with his blood,
and paid for us the price of Adam's sin to our eternal Father!

This is our passover feast,
When Christ, the true Lamb, is slain,
whose blood consecrates the homes of all believers.

This is the night,
when first you saved our fathers:
you freed the people of Israel from their slav'ry,
and led them dry-shod through the sea.

This is the night,
when the pillar of fire destroyed the darkness of sin.

This is night,
when Christians ev'rywhere,
washed clean of sin and freed from all defilement,
are restored to grace and grow together in holiness.

This is the night,
when Jesus broke the chains of death
and rose triumphant from the grave.

What good would life have been to us,
had Christ not come as our Redeemer?

Father, how wonderful your care for us!
How boundless your merciful love!
To ransom a slave you gave away your Son.

O happy fault, O necessary sin of Adam,
which gained for us so great a Redeemer!

Most blessed of all nights,
chosen by God to see Christ rising from the dead!

Of this night scripture says:
"The night will be as clear as day:
it will become my light, my joy."

The power of this holy night dispels all evil,
washes guilt away, restores lost innocence,
brings mourners joy;
it casts out hatred, brings us peace,
and humbles earthly pride.

Night truly blessed,
when heaven is wedded to earth
and we are reconciled to God!

Therefore, heavenly Father, in the joy of this night,
receive our evening sacrifice of praise,
your Church's solemn offering.

Accept this Easter candle,
a flame divided but undimmed,
a pillar of fire that glows to the honor of God.

Let it mingle with the lights of heaven
and continue bravely burning
to dispel the darkness of this night!

May the Morning Star which never sets
find this flame still burning:
Christ, that Morning Star,
who came back from the dead,
and shed his peaceful light on all mankind,
your Son, who lives and reigns for ever and ever. Amen.


Tonight is the Vigil of the Resurrection. It is tonight when the Church begins to celebrate the rising of Jesus Christ from the dead and declares eternal victory over the Grave-it is the Passover of the Lord, a passing over from death to life.

I always think at this time of the new Christians who will be baptized this evening. I always pray that they will remain true to the faith that they have been taught, that they will do as St. Jude said and "earnestly contend for the faith once delivered unto the saints." There will be many who do not do this, who will be half-hearted or lukewarm. If only one person of the bunch remains true, that is one more who will stand with the great Remnant for all that is right in the Last Days.

In ages past, some people died to do what the newly-baptized will do tonight, have they counted the cost of their redemption. I earnestly hope and pray that someone frequently reminds them.

The two Americas

Regardless of the outcome in this November's election or in 2008, the elections of 2000, 2002, and 2004 proved that we are no longer one America, we are two nations within one international border.

One nation, occupying primarily the Northeastern Atlantic seabord and the Western coastal states, with the occasional large Northern city thrown in the middle country for good measure, is a nation where anything is tolerated culturally, "diversity" reigns supreme, there is no defining culture, nor is there any focus on a collective heritage which made that nation a great nation. This nation is a secular nation, and its leaders place a high premium on upholding that secularity. It is not a truly diverse nation, because deviation from a thought pattern deemed to be diverse is deemed "intolerant," and such thought can never be oratized by a public official. Guns are evil and are the cause of all crime, the redefinition of the family and lack of responsibility has nothing to do with the crime problem in the cities of this America. This America blames the other America for its problems.

The other nation, occupying the vastness between the sections of the first nation, is made up of small business people, farmers, and regular sorts who the people of the first America sometimes refer to as "rich." The people of this America tend to have a pretty strong sense of right and wrong, and they tend to believe rather strongly in God, and though some don't always live
up to that belief, this more religious atmoshpere is very apparent in this America. Many of the people of this nation are called "crazies," "fundies," or "religious fanatics" by people in the other America, who have no clue why the people of this America can think the way they do. There are clear moral standards in this America, and people in this America have been known to pray in public, especially at football games, in open defiance of the ACLU. Many of the people in this America believe the other America is responsible for dragging them down the path to social and moral decline. This America has one critical thing in common with the other: It also blames the other side for many of its problems.

If there is another election in 2008 as there was in 2000 and 2004, what will happen? Can we permanently endure as a half-and-half nation, with both sides contending ruthlessly for power, believing that if the other side should win, it will be the end of the country as we know it? Is there a solution to the divided Union in which we presently find ourselves?

Friday, April 14, 2006

A humble offer of assistance

I want to take an opportunity to offer help to the folks who had offered me help before I dropped out of the County Commission race Wednesday, because each of them deserves it.

Firstly, I want
Stacey Campfield to know how I appreciate his personal support. I also want him to know that before I went public with my decision Wednesday, I attempted to call him at his War Memorial office. A young fellow answered the phone and said that the House was in session, and I left the message that I had called. I don’t know if Stacey got the message or not, but I did not hear from him that evening. I know he is in a tough Primary fight, and I want to offer him whatever meager help that I can to see to it that he is victorious in August. If there is anything I can do for you, Stacey, please let me know.

Also, in addition to giving my vote to David Lee, I’d like to offer him any assistance that I can for his campaign to be our next Fourth Circuit Judge.

I will have a full slate of election endorsements in the days ahead-the one upside of not being a candidate is that I am free to endorse candidates in this Primary in other races-I intend to do so, for what it is worth.

Good Friday of the Lord's Passion

And bearing his own cross, he went forth to that place which is called Calvary, but in Hebrew Golgotha. Where they crucified him, and with him two others, one on each side, and Jesus in the midst. And Pilate wrote a title also, and he put it upon the cross. And the writing was: JESUS OF NAZARETH, THE KING OF THE JEWS. This title therefore many of the Jews did read: because the place where Jesus was crucified was nigh to the city: and it was written in Hebrew, in Greek, and in Latin.

Then the chief priests of the Jews said to Pilate: Write not, The King of the Jews; but that he said, I am the King of the Jews. Pilate answered: What I have written, I have written. The soldiers therefore, when they had crucified him, took his garments, (and they made four parts, to every soldier a part,) and also his coat. Now the coat was without seam, woven from the top throughout. They said then one to another: Let us not cut it, but let us cast lots for it, whose it shall be; that the scripture might be fulfilled, saying: They have parted my garments among them, and upon my vesture they have cast lot. And the soldiers indeed did these things. Now there stood by the cross of Jesus, his mother, and his mother's sister, Mary of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalen.

When Jesus therefore had seen his mother and the disciple standing whom he loved, he saith to his mother: Woman, behold thy son. After that, he saith to the disciple: Behold thy mother. And from that hour, the disciple took her to his own. Afterwards, Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the scripture might be fulfilled, said: I thirst. Now there was a vessel set there full of vinegar. And they, putting a sponge full of vinegar and hyssop, put it to his mouth. Jesus therefore, when he had taken the vinegar, said: It is finished. And bowing his head, he gave up the ghost. –John 19:17-30

For a very long time, I often wondered why today was called “Good Friday,” because the events described in St. John’s account can hardly be called good. Today, however, really celebrates our own redemption, and it was good for us, for because of the events we commemorate today, we can, if we follow God’s laws and His ways, be given eternal life.

Those on public life would do well to remember that Jesus was a public figure in his own day. He was crucified because he stood up for what was right, and gave no thought to the cost for doing so. Not only was it His mission to die in his divine nature that we might be saved, in His humanity, he knew that the cost of saying and doing what was right would be his own demise.

Those in public life would do well to follow the example of Christ.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Holy Thursday

And whilst they were at supper, Jesus took bread and blessed and broke and gave to his disciples and said: Take ye and eat. This is my body. And taking the chalice, he gave thanks and gave to them, saying: Drink ye all of this, For this is my blood of the new testament, which shall be shed for many unto remission of sins.
Matthew 26:26-28

Christ sat at table that first Holy Thursday knowing that every apostle but one, John, would abandon him. He forgave all of them, and probably would have forgiven Judas also had Judas not hung himself.

The human side of Christ was obviously not overly excited about what was about to happen, but he also understood that he was giving up his life for the salvation of humanity. He was called to do what was right, not merely what he wanted to do..."Father, if this cup may pass from me..."

Yesterday, I was asked to sacrifice something that I wanted for the greater good. My sacrifice was far less tumultuous than Christ.

Christ rose from the dead. I will "rise" to another political opportunity. I pray that my friends do not abandon me, but continue to believe in me and the cause we share together.

No, I am not comparing myself to Christ-just saying it is Holy Thursday and sacrifices abound.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

With many regrets

After some very careful consideration, and a long discussion with Nicole, I have made the terribly difficult decision to request to the election commission that my name be withdrawn as a write-in candidate for the District 2A County Commission seat in the May 2nd Primary. Nicole will be the first to tell you that when I made this decision I had a good cry over it. I am not by inclination a quitter, but I decided to end my participation in this election because I believe very strongly that a good County Commissioner, indeed a good public servant, must be willing to give all of himself to the interests of his constituents during his time in office.

After discussing at length our present family situation with my wife it has occurred to me that between the two of us, at least one of our hearts will be elsewhere in the next four years. In addition to this, I have serious reservations about continuing to run for office at this time, when I do not yet own any property. I’m known to be pretty old fashioned and I happen to believe that property owners should hold the biggest stake in our political system because they have more at stake. I have always believed this. My wife and I agree that sometime in the next four years, which would be my term in office, we’d like to buy a home and use that home as a place from which to begin our own business operation. I do not believe we can do this comfortably within the confines of the 2nd district. That’s not to say that I would not have been willing to serve a full four-year term on the Knox County Commission representing the interests of my constituents in the 2nd district. I do not believe that I could do it effectively when the interests of my family may lie elsewhere. This would be a disservice to the people of the 2nd district and to the people of Knox County who only deserve the very best representatives that they can possibly have.

I am not exiting the race because I lack the will or ability to campaign. On the contrary, my belly is full of fire and my spirit is very willing. However, I believe very strongly that it would be selfish of me to continue to campaign for this seat, knowing that someone else may better be able to put their whole heart into serving the people of this district at this time. I am not leaving the race because of lack of money. Campaigning over the last week has shown me that I had a legitimate chance to win the primary. I believe that had I continued to campaign at my current pace, that I would have done so.I believe however, that the best interests of Knox County and our great party are best served by defeating Mark Harmon in August in a massive landslide. I want our district Republican convention to nominate a good conservative man or woman who can accomplish this great task. I will stand firmly behind that person.

One of the reasons my heart aches at having made this decision is the overwhelming show of support I have received from certain public officials, other candidates, and members of the community. I was gratified in my heart that so many people were so supportive of our efforts to be elected to the County Commission. I sincerely pray that these persons aren’t too angry over my sudden decision to withdraw. They can take confidence that this decision was not made lightly and was not my first choice, but was the best one. I especially want to thank State Representative Stacey Campfield for his overwhelming expression of love and support for me personally and for my candidacy. I also want to thank David Lee for his generous offer of assistance as well as Jim Cortese for his personal and professional support. I owe a debt of gratitude to every one of these men and many more who have expressed their support for what we believe and are trying to accomplish in the Republican Party.

Finally, I want to say thank you to the people of the 2nd district. I have met many of you over the last week. You’ve been exceedingly kind to me. I believe you deserve the very best representative that can be elected for you and that is why I believe that now is not the time for me to continue in the race. I can promise everyone this: this will not be the last you hear from me, nor will it be my only attempt at public office. I will run for office again, that much I can promise you. I owe it to the people however, to do that in the right place and at the right time. Thank you all so much for your support. You are in my personal prayers. God bless Knox County, God bless the State of Tennessee, and God bless America.

Announcement coming

There will likely be an important announcement about the campaign coming later today. This announcement will be one of importance to our friends and supporters. I will post it as soon as we are ready.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Tuesday of Holy Week

The doctor says that nothing is broken, thank God, but advised that I take it easy for a few days, because my head looked pretty beat up. (I had a CaT scan performed at St. Mary's Hospital.) He put me on an anti-inflammatory that causes quite a bit of drowsiness, so I may be making a few phone calls, but no appearances until the swelling and inflamation subsides.

Thanks for everyone's prayers, support, and patience.

Addressing the concerns of a delegate

A 2nd District Republican Delegate posted some concerns yesterday, and I wanted to take the time to address those questions:

"How well would you work with Mayor Ragsdale? You appear to be associating yourself with his opponent's supporters. He is probably going to win reelection, and it is important to work productively with the county mayor's office to get things done."

I’ll be the first to agree that a good Commissioner has to work productively with the County Mayor. I believe very strongly that the vast majority of the time, Mayor Ragsdale and I would be able to work together on issues of concern to the 2nd District and to the entire county. The truth of the matter is that if I am elected, it will be my first term in public office. I can guarantee you that I will look to Mayor Ragsdale and others who’ve been around awhile for advice and guidance. That’s also one of the reasons I’ve been doing my best to hear what people around the district are saying about issues of concern to them, and talk to Republican delegates and others who are active in our party. I am under no illusions that I can do this alone.

"If you're going to be another Stacey Campfield, then you're going to be spinning your wheels trying to pass ordinances."

I consider Stacey a friend, and I have to be blunt about the fact that I wish that our party were filled with men and women like Stacey. I think he is a man of principle and he is not afraid to stand up for what he thinks is right. To Stacey, right is more important than winning, and I share that mentality. Like Stacey, I too have a set of principles that cannot be shaken.

However, I think Stacey Campfield himself might be the first to tell you that he and I do not see eye to eye on all things. For example, he is a big proponent of term limits, while I am passionately opposed to them. Indeed, were it up to me, it would not yet have been my time to run-I’d be voting to re-elect David Collins. The first reason I am running is so that people can vote for a Republican candidate May 2 and not waste their vote. I’m also running because I really do believe that we need bona fide conservatives at all levels of government, because that is how we are going to change our State and our Nation-it starts at the bottom. Finally, I am running out of a sincere desire to serve. As much as I enjoy the “political” element of a campaign, this isn’t all fun and games, especially this year. I wouldn’t dream of campaigning for office if I did not sincerely want to give of myself in service. I was never physically able to serve in the Army as my Dad and his Dad did-so this is a way for me to serve my community and my country.

"What is your view for Knox County's future? How would you address funding for education?"

I think we can all agree that funding our schools is probably the most important spending question the County regularly faces. Right now we’re paying a wheel tax to support our schools. At this point, I don’t know that we are in a position to change that, but there are many ways to pay for schools aside from the wheel tax, not just property taxes. If you can name a product or service, the County could have taxed that product or service as a means of funding.

That’s not to say I want to create a bunch of new taxes-on the contrary, I am loathe to support any sort of tax increase. I think, though, that when faced with something as important as the schools that the children of our community are educated in, we have to look at every option that is constitutionally available to us.

"Parks & Recreation? Services for senior citizens?"

You might be interested to know that I do not claim to have all of the answers to how we can better fund our parks or programs for Seasoned Citizens. But that’s exactly why I want to hear from people-As I begin to study our budget, I’d like to know if there is anything that can be done differently than is being done now-and if so, should we do that?

Quite a politically bold answer that basically says “I’m not sure,” so why would I say such a politically unadvisable thing? I don’t believe in giving constituents a line of BS-I’ll just tell the truth. If I don’t have an appropriate answer, I will not pretend as though I do. I want to have the answers, though, and I want people to share their ideas with me.

"Sorry to lay a lot of questions on you"

No apology is necessary. You are doing exactly what you ought to be doing. You would not be a good delegate if you failed to ask these kinds of questions.

"Simply being a conservative, pro-life republican isn't enough to get things done on a local level."

True enough-but I’d venture to say that having a liberal, so-called “pro-choice” Democrat like Mark Harmon is enough to get the wrong things done on a local level.

As for me associating with supporters of Mayor Ragsdale’s opponents-last time I checked, this was still a Republican Primary. I realize that Primary winner will likely face no opposition in August, but these are both our men. That’s exactly why I have made no public endorsement in the County Mayor’s race-each Republican is free to support his or her candidate of choice in a Primary, but when it is over, I believe we must come together and support the Republican nominee, whoever that person may be.

I am glad you posted. Please feel free to e-mail me privately, I’d be glad to talk.

Campaign appearances cancelled today-injury

I must inform regular readers and campaign supporters that I am in the regretful position of having to cancel my scheduled appearances today. The reason is that I may have a serious injury, though we are not yet sure.

On Sunday evening I took a fall, and bumped the side of my head very hard against a table in our home. The spot where I hit my head swelled up pretty badly, but I put some ice on it for about two hours and the swelling seemed to go down quite a bit. I awoke the next morning with a puffy spot on the side of my head and a couple of pretty pronounced red marks, but I thought that was going to be the end of it. I carried on a regular schedule, made phone calls, and put in a listening appearance at Adair Park.

This morning I woke up and the side of my head was (and still is) hurting when I squint to smile or laugh-but not only that, I woke up with a giant black eye, even though I did not hit my eye-it is swollen and it is rapidly getting blacker. At the very least, I may have a concussion, and I am not sure how serious it is. I'll be seeing the doctor today-I will let you know what he says. I know this could negatively affect the campaign, especially since we have no volunteers to canvas the district for us-but I must look to my health first and I am unsure what the problem is.

I am asking all readers who believe in prayer to please pray for me.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Monday of Holy Week

Nicole and I have just returned from attending the Sacred Office of Tenebrae at Holy Ghost, a traditional Holy Week devotion dating back to the 7th Century, in which the Lamentations of Jeremiah are sung, hearkening Jerusalem back to the Lord.

Prior to that, we were at Adair Park where we listened to the concerns of some potential constituents. I talked to one fellow for nearly an hour, and I was heartened by the shows of curiosity and the "you go get 'em" attitude of the folks.

I'd like to take a moment to thank my friend, fellow Republican, and Brother Knight of Columbus Jim Cortese for his generous expression of support to our campaign. Jim's support and encouragement truly leaves me speechless.

Heads up: I will be calling you, GOP

Just a note to give a heads-up to Republican Delegates in District 2: As of this morning, I am the only Republican running for the the 2-A seat on the Knox County Commission that can actually be elected. I will be calling many of you this week to ask for your support on May 2nd and subsequently, and to answer any questions you may have.

I noticed that I got my first mention in the News-Sentinel today along with George Steffaniak. What they did not mention was that I am a Republican, running in the GOP Primary, however
Mr. Steffaniak is running in the Democratic Primary. What is prompting these phone calls is the fact that I can clearly see that I am going to have to make it known which Party I am running with.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Share your concerns at Adair Park

Nicole, myself, and our dog Daisy will be at Adair Park tomorrow-I'll be in the shelter area from 4-6pm. The purpose of this stop will be to have a chance to greet people and inform them about the election, as well as to listen to their concerns. I should point out that the ending time is flexible. If there is a good turnout, I plan to stay until the last person leaves.

I'd love to hear about issues that potential constituents might like to hear me address. (Yes, I'll be taking notes.)

The timing of this listening appearance is, of course, weather permitting.

Palm Sunday of the Lord's Passion

And when they were drawing near to Jerusalem and to Bethania at the mount of Olives, he sendeth two of his disciples, and saith to them: Go into the village that is over against you, and immediately at your coming in thither, you shall find a colt tied, upon which no man yet hath sat: loose him, and bring him.

And if any man shall say to you, What are you doing? say ye that the Lord hath need of him: and immediately he will let him come hither. And going their way, they found the colt tied before the gate without, in the meeting of two ways: and they loose him. And some of them that stood there, said to them: What do you loosing the colt?

Who said to them as Jesus had commanded them; and they let him go with them. And they brought the colt to Jesus; and they lay their garments on him, and he sat upon him.

And many spread their garments in the way: and others cut down boughs from the trees, and strewed them in the way. And they that went before and they that followed, cried, saying: Hosanna, blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord. Blessed be the kingdom of our father David that cometh: Hosanna in the highest. -Mark 11:1-10

It bears noting that many of the same crowd that were shouting "Hosanna in the highest" as Our Lord rode into Jerusalem that day were shouting "crucify Him" by Friday morning.

This is not the first time I have been a part of a political campaign when Holy Week fell. It is the very first time that I have been the candidate whose campaign I was focused on. It gives me a new perspective and appreciation for what Christ went through, as many candidates go through the same thing, either during the campaign or upon being elected: A crowd or group of people hailing you as victor and triumphant, expecting that you will be the one to make everything better-when things don't turn out as they had hoped, or when the true meaning of your message becomes apparent, they are ready to "crucify" you in a different sort of way.

In Jesus' case, people expected that he was going to restore the Kingdom of Israel to its former glory in their lifetime. They did not see or understand that he was calling them to a different sort of glory, a spiritual glory that they could live out in their lives on earth, and carry with them to the world to come. Our Lord was probably the best campaigner that ever lived (nothing like a miracle or two to get the attention of a crowd), but because people failed to understand the message itself, they expected something totally different than what Christ actually brought them.

I am not under the illusion that if I am elected to the County Commission, that the nature of how things function downtown is going to change overnight-frankly, I do not expect that to happen. However, no change is possible at any level of government unless the process begins with one person who cares enough to make a difference-and then it can be done one person at a time, one voice at a time. To conservatives: I am one of you, I believe in the things you believe in, and I promote the same ideas you do-I am passionate about them. Remember that I can't do it all by myself. To liberals: Surprisingly enough, it may shock you to learn that I do want to listen to you even when I passionately disagree with what you are saying. What I owe to all the people of this district and to all of the people of Knox County during this campaign is my best judgement, according to my conscience-and at all times that is what I will promise to the people.

Tomorrow I'll be out handing out cards and talking to people around the district. If you see me around, remember that I'd like to hear your concerns about what you would like to see County Government address.

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