Grace and Peace

Some folks want to know why I signed off “grace and peace.”  Some of y’all who’ve read my stuff before know that I often sign off with “peace.”  I added the “grace” after reading a piece in the last issue of Christianity Today .  The author, Al Hsu, was discussing autographs he’d collected, and how he was struck by one that was signed “grace and peace.”  That is the greeting that the Apostle Paul uses at the beginning of most of his letters.  “Grace and peace” sounds plenty spiritual and Christian, but there’s a lot more to that greeting than meets the modern eye.

 “Grace” was a typical Greek greeting in those days, whereas “Peace” (“Shalom,” in Hebrew) was, and still is, the typical traditional greeting among Jews.  Paul’s audience would’ve included both Jews and Gentiles, so he chose to greet them with “Grace and Peace” to pick up the traditional cultural greetings used by both.  The author says the modern equivalent might be writing to a group of folks and beginning the letter with “Howdy y’all and Hey you guys”, to make sure you connected with the Southerners and Northerners (yeah, its a cheesy analogy, but I’m sure y’all get the point).

 Now the cool thing is that “grace” and “peace” are both words loaded with meaning to believers today, and together pretty much capture the essence of our faith.  “Peace” alone, which I still find to be a good way to close a message, has kind of a hippie feel about it (not that there’s anything wrong with that).  “Grace” is a fine way to close a message, but its so unusual that it just doesn’t feel right in modern culture.  But “Grace and Peace” seems to me to be perfect. 

Perfect or not, I like it.  Until I come up with something better…

 Grace and Peace

Bill

 

A better name and the “Farm Bill”

 

Welcome to Bill’s Blog – my platform to pontificate on virtually anything.
 
Let us begin with the obvious observation that “Bill’s Blog” is an unsatisfactory name for what will undoubtedly become one of the most popular sites on the worldwide web.  Well, actually, it is an unsatisfactory name even in the more likely circumstance that very few people actually ever see it.  I will search around in the crevices of my feeble mind for some more appropriate name.  But in the meantime, I would welcome any suggestions for a name suitable for this waste of bandwidth.
 
Choosing from the many available targets of opportunity available today, I have elected to have my initial rant be about the so-called Farm Bill recently passed by Congress over President Bush’s veto.  
 
This $300 billion monstrosity is a pork-laden outrage, consisting principally of taxpayer-funded handouts that benefit agribusinesses, multinational corporations and the fast-food industry.  It is the offspring of emergency legislation enacted during the Great Depression to shore up agricultural product prices during the most severe agricultural economic crisis in our history.  Of course, once Washington enacts a program, it never goes away.  Thus, over 60 years after the end of the Great Depression, the taxpayers continue to be fleeced and bureaucrats continue to manipulate free markets.  The negative repercussions of this Bill could fill a book and there is no point trying to recite them all here.  One significant result will be continued artificially low prices on things like soft drinks sweetened by high fructose corn syrup, and obesity-inducing fast-food that is destroying the health of our nation.
 
Kudos to our Congressman, Virgil Goode, who voted against this Bill.  Representative Goode joined 90 other House Republicans in opposing it.  Their efforts were not enough, however, to overcome the 100 Republicans who voted for it and joined in overriding the President’s veto. 
 
One final observation about the “Farm Bill”:  We do not have the $300 billion it will take to fund it.  Our government is currently operating at deficits exceeding a half trillion dollars a year, so the full cost of this will be placed on the national credit card and added to the $9 trillion we already owe.  Coming, as it did, on the heels of a $300 billion subprime mortgage bailout, and with a half trillion dollar “war” in Iraq that continues to be funded completely by borrowing, our decline into inevitable national bankruptcy continues. 
 
Grace and peace,
 
Bill