House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, anticipating final congressional action on energy legislation, said the bill will put America on a road to energy, independence, save people money at the gas pumps and increase the country's security.
Sounds like little Jack Horner, who stuck in his thumb and pulled out a plumb and said "What a good boy am I." But Jack and I believe millions of Americans have a slight problem.
The problem of our use of energy has been a problem for a long time. The size of the problem was demonstrated during the term in office of President Carter in the 1970s.
Prices and shortages resulted in long lines at the gas pumps. The government basically did nothing. It was the Chrysler Corp., Lee Iacocca and the "K" cars, that resolved the situation, at least temporarily. The small cars replaced the gas guzzlers and supply and demand fell more in line.
Since then, what has transpired? A weak attempt at increasing fuel efficiency is all I can remember. Gas guzzlers came back and the government stood by. The chance to address the problem was passed by and today that problem is a crisis.
Supply and demand again are the problem. We determined not to use our strategic supply and also attempts to drill for oil and build new refineries were vetoes. So, we went to the world market, heavily. As a result prices are sky high, our trade balance is way out of line and our dollar is losing value in the world market.
It's crisis time, and resolutions made under the pressure of time doesn't allow roper research. What have we been doing since the '70s? To shut down production capacity immediately without a corresponding decrease, or at least slowing down of usage is a formula for disaster.
Now, it appears we have put all our resolution eggs in a basket called ethanol. Congress has never demonstrated a will to slow down spending. So how can we expect it to succeed here?
How will ethanol prices compare to gas and oil prices? Using corn for another large product, will it not cause a shortage? Supply and demand will cause all corn prices to go up. How will Congress get the farmers to grow more corn? How much will the changeover cost the consumer?
If the supply stations change over, the consumer will eventually pay the bill. What is the changeover cost in new car prices? Existing cars; how much to change over to use ethanol? All of these are costs for the consumer.
And, by the way, you want more taxes. If you can't get the money from existing taxes, you'll find new things to tax.
And now, the big question, what if a natural disaster or something of the sort hits our corn supply? Then what?
Jack, that's not a plumb on your thumb, it is a time bomb. You're afraid to offend the environmentalists, but not the people you work for. Remember, anything you dictate flows downhill. Don't inundate the people at the bottom. This is too far a ranging problem to be solved in one fell swoop, but it's been almost 40 years since our first warning. We've got to do something, and now.
I hope my letter will trigger a lot of responses in the form of constructive concerns or better.
Pagan holiday rituals don't fit spiritual ideal
In a few days many people will be observing and celebrating the granddaddy of all Christianized pagan holidays. As a source of proof for all members of the body of Christ, the following information is taken from Eerdmans' handbook to The History of Christianity:
"The Christian church took over many pagan ideas and images. From sun worship, for example, came the celebration of Christ's birth on the 25th of December, the birthday of the Sun. Saturnalia, the Roman winter festival of 17-21 of December, provided the merriment, gift giving and candles typical of later Christmas holidays. Sun-worship hung on in Roman Christianity and Pope Leo I, in the middle of the fifth century, rebuked worshippers who turned round to bow to the sun before entering Saint Peter's basilica. Some pagan customs which were later Christianized, for example the use of candles, incense and garlands were at first avoided by the church because they symbolized paganism."
As long as the Body of Christ remains within the boundary set forth in Scripture, all is well. However, once the boundary of Scripture is breached, speculation and tradition replaces that faith one delivered to the saints.
Without doubt the Corinthians of Paul's day were facing similar problems. Else why would he emphasize as he did in chapter six of his second letter to them, "Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? And what communion hath light with darkness?"
On numerous occasions Paul warns the body of Christ not to be deceived. From all indications to allow oneself to become enthused with the so-called spirit of Christmas is not only a deception, but also a form of religious hypocrisy.
Therefore, based upon my observation of contemporary Christianity and my understanding of scripture, members of the body of Christ should avoid all the religious and secular trappings of Christmas, as they should a TV prosperity preacher.
William P. Clark