Thursday, December 27, 2012

Family 2012 Summary

We pray your year was blessed!

2012 was an exciting year for us with few challenges, some changes and much joy. The third year in our new home draws to a close. New friendships were made, others strengthened and others still reestablished. We are deeply blessed by all y’all.

Our family has grown. We were able to be in Tucson for Aiden’s arrival, Andrea and Isaac’s first-born. He is a beautiful healthy boy. Shortly after we left Arizona, Benjamin’s Clarissa delivered Citlali, their second daughter and third child. A few weeks later Aren informed us that we were expecting grandchild number seven. Sarah is extremely competitive. I pray she doesn’t see these as a challenge.

Speaking of Sarah, she decided to stay home for a couple more years and get her Associate in Business Management from the Community College before moving on to a Bachelor degree. I am so very glad she decided to stay as I’ve not had the chance to teach anyone else Grandma Sacca’s pizza recipe yet.

Isaiah still blows. Another year as Nashville High School Band low-brass section leader, all-region band audition coming in January, all-region choir, all-state choir audition coming in January, Nashville High School Winter Guard, and playing Baritone with Arkansas Resistance keeps his grand-staff full. I keep him busy around here helping with farm chores too.

V.Anthony decided baseball wasn’t for him but is playing trumpet for a second year, now with the Nashville Junior High Band. His interest in culinary arts is growing, always asking to try a new recipe. Maybe I should share Grandma’s recipe with him.

Ariel continues to show interest in all things animal. We couldn’t do without her help around the farm feeding the chickens and collecting the eggs. Both her and V.Anthony are junior beekeepers. This year they keep one hive of bees jointly. Next year they’ll keep two. Ariel is a 4H Show Stopper and plans on showing Boer goats at the Howard County Fair next year.

Aurelio is doing well. He has been graduated to the first grade on paper, but still visits the kindergarten class from his self-contained homeroom. His speech is improving greatly as are his fine motor skills. He is very smart and works hard when he wants however he can be stubborn. I wish he hadn’t gotten that from his mother.

Vickie is awaiting surgery for a torn anterior labrum in her right shoulder. After recovery she’d like to work for the Howard County Adult Center as a group home supervisor. It takes a very special person to work with developmentally delayed adults, and Vickie is a very special person.

While we’ve always been politically active we are becoming more politically connected. Vickie, Sarah and I joined the Howard County Democratic Central Committee. We attended the state convention, myself as a delegate and Vickie as an alternate. I was elected Howard County Committeeman to the Arkansas Democratic Party Faith Caucus. I've been blessed to preach many times this past year with several more opportunities coming in 2013. After serving a partial term I was re-elected Secretary of the Southwest Arkansas Beekeepers EH Club. These keep us excited, busy and fulfilled.

One year ago we toyed with names like Hectáreas de Motta, and All Good Things Farm. We decided upon Suprasistence Farm. For the past years we have delved wider and deeper into subsistence farming. With the understanding that worship/ministry is a lifestyle we felt mere subsistence missed the point. While subsistence meets our needs Suprasistence goes above barely sufficient to assist others in need, the poor, the sojourner. We also designed a logo to represent the farms product and vision.

The yellow hexagon is for the bees as our main crop is honey and various beeswax products. The footprints are light green reflecting low carbon emissions; three to stand for reduce, reuse and recycle. We strive to do things as close to organic as we are able, being good stewards over what we've been entrusted. This past year at Suprasistence Farm has been busy. We have planted peach, plumb, pear, and walnut trees as well as several flowering bushes and vines for the bees, as well as various beds of flowers and other vegetation for the bees, chickens and soil. We built a new poultry house and two new pens, each 2,000 square feet. We grew chicks and harvested older chickens. Built hives and installed new bees. And still left so much to do in 2013.

We have a guest room with a queen size bed, and WiFi for you. Know that all y’all are always welcome to come visit and even lend a hand if so inclined.

We hope you had an awesome 2012 and pray the best for you in 2013.

With much love,
Albert, Vickie, and all the children

Saturday, December 15, 2012

I am PRO-Second Amendment

4 American diplomats were killed by terrorists in Benghazi, Libya and the GOP screamed bloody murder for months. Congress is still holding hearings.

One terrorist on a plane tried to set off a bomb hidden in his shoe, now everyone has to remove their shoes before boarding a plane.

Oakland, Calif.: A former student at a Christian college fatally shoots seven people and injures three in April 2012;
Aurora, Colo.: Lone gunman kills 12 and injures 58 at a July 2012 screening of “The Dark Knight;"
College Station Texas: 3 people killed 4 injured;
Oak Creek, Wis.: A white supremacist shoots six people and a responding policeman at a Sikh temple before shooting himself in the head in August 2012;
Portland, Ore.: A masked gunman opens fire in a crowded mall killing two and seriously injuring a third before turning the gun on himself. Cops say killer’s assault weapon jammed, preventing further carnage.

20 six and seven year old American schoolchildren were killed by a single gunman and the GOP silence is deafening.

Where are the hearings Mister Speaker?

Where is the legislation to prevent more unnecessary loss of life caused by guns?

I am pro-Second Amendment. I believe anyone who wants to own a musket (holding one shot and taking three minutes to reload) can have one. Everything else necessarily requires responsible legislation.

Matthew 26:52 NIV “Put your sword back in its place,” Jesus said to him, “for all who draw the sword will die by the sword."

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

For The Record

I am as disappointed by those affiliated with the petition to "Deport Everyone That Signed a Petition To Withdraw Their State From The United States" as I am embarrassed for the creators and signers of the secession petitions, even though the response may have been done humorously. If one wants to secede from the Union based on the results of a democratic election, one might misunderstand the entire concept of these United States of America. To respond to such ignorance only adds fuel by giving the attention so desperately sought.  [/end rant]

Monday, November 12, 2012

Not the Governments Job!

To those of you who believe America is a Christian nation and that our founding fathers were Christian, who say "It's not the Government's job to give a hand up to people in need," and ask "Why should I pay my hard earned money out in taxes to help people who didn't earn it?" I've a few questions: How do you understand the story in Genesis 41:25-42 where Joseph by the instruction of God told Pharaoh to gather from all the harvest and store it to be redistributed to everyone in the land when there was need? How do you understand Exodus 23:6-11 (especially v10-11) where landowners were obligated by law to feed the hungry, or Isaiah 10:1-3 and Amos 5:11-12 where governments are instructed to show justice to the poor? Not only did Isaiah and Amos bring harsh messages from God to governments about how they should treat the poor, Jeremiah brought a scorching message (see chapter 22). How does your view of government square with Jeremiah?

While the story of Joseph and Pharaoh was regarding a particular event, doesn't it make sense, good sense to follow that principle? The law of Moses according to Exodus 23 institutionalized way of providing for the poor that did not depend on the good will of the individual. Yes, individual generosity was encouraged but, as a matter of law, part of everyone's produce or income was to be set aside to aid the poor.

While what we call the Old Testament is full of stories of personal and government responsibility to the least of these, Jesus had some important things to say about the subject: Matthew 22:37-39; Matthew25:31-46 

Jesus' commands to love and care for others were given as universals, without exempting any human organizations or institutions.  All human institutions, governments and businesses included, are responsible to care for others --- especially since individual or private charity can never be or do enough.

Isn't it time we stop justifying selfishness, greed, pride and the like?

Proverbs 14:31 reads, He who oppresses the poor reproaches his maker, but he who is gracious to the needy honors Him.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

An Open Letter to Pastor Bruce Short

Nashville, Arkansas with about 6,000 residents has two hometown newspapers, The Nashville News and The Nashville Leader. In the Monday, October 8th edition of the News and the Wednesday, October 10th edition of the Leader the same letter to the editor was published. The letter was written by Bruce Short, Pastor of one of Nashville's many small congregations. I received a call from an older Christian couple who were disturbed after reading Bruce's letter. They encouraged me to write a reply.

After reading and rereading the letter I was disappointed in Bruce's word choice which basically said you can't be a Christian and be a Democrat. This is simply not true. This is not Biblical. Bruce's statements are divisive to the Christian community and are spiritually abusive. When your words or actions tear down another, attack or weaken a person's standing as a Christian to gratify yourself, your position or your beliefs that is spiritual abuse. When extra-biblical rules and standards are linked to one's salvation or standing with God, that is spiritual abuse. The widespread and generally held belief of Christianity according to the Bible is, salvation is in Christ alone. Legalism adds requirements beyond Jesus' sacrifice. Jesus stood against that very same legalism. Today I stand against that legalism.

Below is a copy of my reply sent to the editors of both local papers.

An open letter to Bruce Short,

While I join with you in asking our Christian brothers and sisters to have no affiliation with ungodliness, the understanding of the Democratic Party platform planks you mention aren’t exactly accurate.

In case you were misinformed about the Democratic Party platform,

Advocating for safe sex, is a far cry from “embracing free sex.” Studies have shown a decline in teen pregnancy, from 34.3 per 1,000 nationwide to 6.3 per 1,000 study participants* and abortions, from 19.9 per 1,000 nationwide to 4.4 per 1,000 study participants* due to the availability of birth control.

Should we trust in abstinence only education? One doesn’t have to look too far for the answer. Our neighbor Mississippi has abstinence only education and the highest teen pregnancy rate in the nation, 55 births per 1,000 teens aged 15 to 19 in 2010. Studies published this year by the Guttmacher Institute show teens who received comprehensive sex education, including instruction on birth control, waited longer to have sex and had lower rates of pregnancy. If you truly want to see less premarital relations and fewer teen pregnancies then you must support the Democratic Party platform.

Advocating for a woman’s right to choose is not “embracing murder.” Many of our brothers and sisters in Christ who are pro-choice are deeply concerned for the well being of the mother as much as an anti-abortion advocate for the unborn child. The problem with pro-life politics is the definition of life is exclusive. Pro-life politics excludes the lives of the mother, those on death row, women children and non-combatants living in countries considered our enemy as well as billions struggling to stay alive faced with disease and a scarcity of food or clean water. Pro-life politics does not consider those in this first-world nation who lack proper healthcare without which life would not be sustainable. In fact, many pro-life politicians have fought vigorously for an elimination of initiatives aimed at reducing infant mortality and early childhood problems, initiatives essential to promote health of the most vulnerable citizens. As a Christian I understand the sanctity of life extends to all life, not just the unborn. If you truly want to see fewer murders then you must support the Democratic Party platform.

My Christianity informs my politics as much as I am capable of making that true. As a Christian my preference is for policy that brings the greatest amount of good to the largest number of people. These policies are found in the Democratic Party.

Albert Motta
Howard County Committeeman, Arkansas Democratic Party Faith Caucus 
(end of letter)

At every church I was blessed to Pastor  I gifted the Elders, Deacons and anyone else in leadership with several books. The first and most important was always, "The Subtle Power of Spiritual Abuse" by David Johnson and Jeff VanVonderen ISBN13: 9780764201370

I gave a copy to Bruce back in 2007. Get yourself a copy. You will be blessed!

Saturday, September 29, 2012

An Extremely Brief Comparative of Mormonism and Christianity

It has been years since I took my last comparative religion course so I will keep this to what I remember. In other words, this will be brief.

As this is an election year much of social media is a buzz with the topic of religion, especially Mormonism. I am too young to remember the first Catholic who won a parties nomination but I have done some reading on the subject and find things today are quite similar to then. People still fear what they don't know, and they still spread that fear via misinformation. Today however, we have an advantage of setting the record straight with an ever widening audience because Al Gore created the internet. It's alright if you didn't laugh, I'm quite happy with an 'ugh'!

It is not my intent to prove one right the other wrong nor one better than the other rather to point out the similarities and differences in two schools of religious belief.

I've made it easy if you are a non-believer or a religious scholar. Just use the links provided and follow along.

On God
Mormons believe that God the Father was once a man who progressed to Godhood. The Prophet Joseph Smith taught, "God himself was once as we are now, and is an exalted man, and sits in yonder heavens! That is the great secret. We have imagined and supposed that God was God from all eternity but I am going to refute that idea." Smith also taught, "We are precisely in the same condition and under the same circumstances that God our heavenly Father was when he was passing through this, or a similar ordeal."

The History of The Church Vol. 6, Ch. 14, p. 305-6  reads, It is the first principle of the Gospel to know for a certainty the character of God, and that He was once a man like us. Yea, that God himself, Father of us all dwelt on the earth the same as Jesus Christ Himself did. You have got to learn to be gods yourselves.

"It appears ridiculous to the world, under their darkened and erroneous traditions, that God has once been a finite being." LDS Presiednt Brigham Young

According to the Mormon Articles of Faith, "As man is, God once was; as God is, man may be." (see Isaiah 43:10)

According to the Christian Bible, God has always been eternal God, (see Malachi 3:6) God was never a man, (see Numbers 23:19) God is Spirit (see John 4:24) not flesh. Nowhere in the Bible can it be found that God 'progressed' to Godhood rather just the opposite; God is God, always was God, always will be God.

On Jesus
Mormons say because they believe Jesus is divine, they are Christians. Christians respond that because Mormons don’t believe in accordance with the Nicene Creed (see below) promulgated in the fourth century that Jesus is also the Father and the Holy Spirit, the Jesus that Mormons have in mind is someone else altogether.

Mormons believe that Jesus Christ was the firstborn spirit-child of the heavenly Father and a heavenly Mother. Jesus then progressed to deity in the spirit world. He was later physically conceived in Mary’s womb, as the literal “only begotten” Son of God the Father in the flesh (though many present-day Mormons remain somewhat vague as to how this occurred).

Mormons also believe Lucifer is Jesus brother. Before you freak out about that let me explain; they are brothers in the same way all of humanity are brothers. We are all created by God the Father, and as His children, all are brothers. According to Mormon doctrine we are all created spirit beings who live in heaven with God where we develop into the person we are. When we reach the limit of our ability to progress in Heaven with God as spirit, we can choose to live away from Him on earth for a while by being born into a family. Now I've strayed ...

Biblically, the description of Jesus as the “only begotten” refers to his being the Father’s unique, one-of-a-kind Son for all eternity, with the same divine nature as the Father. Jesus is eternal (see John 1:1) deity, (see John 8:5) Jesus did not progress to deity but has always been God. (see Hebrews 13:8)

There are some similarities and stark contrasts between Mormonism and Christianity. This post only scratched the surface in two areas. I hope even in its brevity this information is helpful. If you read something here you believe posted in error, please leave a comment.

*Revision: My links work fine in draft form but for some reason are not translating to the post so I've added (see passage) after each entry.

The Nicene Creed
I believe in one God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible.
And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God, begotten of the Father before all worlds; God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God; begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father, by whom all things were made.
Who, for us men and for our salvation, came down from heaven, and was incarnate by the Holy Spirit of the virgin Mary, and was made man; and was crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate; He suffered and was buried; and the third day He rose again, according to the Scriptures; and ascended into heaven, and sits on the right hand of the Father; and He shall come again, with glory, to judge the quick and the dead; whose kingdom shall have no end.
And I believe in the Holy Ghost, the Lord and Giver of Life; who proceeds from the Father and the Son; who with the Father and the Son together is worshipped and glorified; who spoke by the prophets.
And I believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church. I acknowledge one baptism for the remission of sins; and I look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come. Amen.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Christian Choice

While there are many issues to discuss I will try to keep this post to a single topic or at least not stray too far. This year, not unlike every election year, I find myself thinking about abortion. I consider this topic not only because I am asked about it but also because like many other issues my thoughts are in process. I used to be a single-issue voter admittedly because I didn’t take the time to educate myself enough to make an informed decision nor did I take the time to deeply consider more than just my adopted view. This is no longer the case.

Single-issue politics are used to divide, making the one issue a cornerstone on which all others rely manipulating Biblical text to suit a personal agenda. The Bible is neither a conservative nor a liberal collection of literature rather a widely scoped story of hope. To take passages out of context knowingly is spiritually abusive.

I used to be bothered when people would ask why I am pro-abortion, or how could I be a Christian and vote for a pro-abortion candidate. Firstly, I don’t think I know anyone who is pro-abortion. Many of my brothers and sisters who are pro-choice are deeply concerned for the well being of the mother as much as an anti-abortion advocate for the unborn child. My problem with pro-life politics is the definition of life is exclusive. Pro-life politics excludes the lives of the mother, those on death row, women children and non-combatants living in countries considered our enemy as well as billions struggling to stay alive faced with disease and a scarcity of food or clean water. Pro-life politics does not consider those in this first-world nation who lack proper healthcare without which life would not be sustainable. In fact, many pro-life politicians have fought vigorously for an elimination of initiatives aimed at reducing infant mortality and early childhood problems, initiatives essential to promote health of the most vulnerable citizens. No, I am not pro-abortion, in fact, I am more pro-life than most.

The choice to take any life, whether by abortion, capital punishment, war, the inability to pay for healthcare, or withholding life-giving resources is always a cause for careful and prayerful consideration.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

A Few Facts

  1. There are more Private Sector jobs today than there were the day Obama was elected president. In fact, corporate profits have been at or above pre-recession levels since the beginning of 2010.
  2. Republican governors across the country have been laying off millions of our nation's most valuable human resources: teachers, firefighters, police officers, and many others. This is why, even with more Private Sector jobs today than when Obama took office, our nation's unemployment rate is at a shameful 8.2 percent.
  3. Republican governors claim they had no choice but to fire those public employees because they were trying to fix their states' budgets. What they won't mention is this fact: Accepting an infusion from the federal government to tide them over while the private sector was shedding jobs by the millions and diminishing their revenue base would have helped their budgets get under control without having to sacrifice all those jobs.
  4. While those same Republican Governors turned down federal help House Republicans fought tooth and nail to make the federal aid so small it wouldn't have had any impact at all.
  5. Democrats have successfully led this country out of a near depression in spite of Republican obstructionism at every turn. The Obama administration did that in part by saving the American Auto Industry that Mitt Romney said he would have let go bankrupt.
  6. Corporations have no patriotic incentive to use their profits to put Americans to work.They are currently sitting on over 1.9 trillion dollars instead of using it to pay their workers a living wage so they can afford to buy more things, creating more demand and by extension, creating a real need to hire more workers.
  7. The country cannot enjoy a robust economy if the predominance of the nation's wealth is being hoarded in bank accounts by the Private Sector and not put back into circulation into the economy that allowed them to make it.
  8. Public Sector hiring can return a troubled economy back to full stability, as history proves.
These facts are edited directly from Jill W. Klausen's blog and can be found in context and in original form at the link provided.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Q and A

I was posed some current event questions and chose to answer them here;

Q: Allen West (R- FL) said, “I believe there's about 78 to 81 members of the Democrat Party who are members of the Communist Party. ... It’s called the Congressional Progressive Caucus." What do you think of this?

A: We’re talking about raising some pigs this year so I went to a local hog farm to look at some. I don’t chose normal pet names for my animals. I like to choose names for my animals which make it easier at harvest time. I wanted to name a pig John Boehner but the pigs each had a spine. Look, Speaker of the House, John Boehner is silent about Allan West’s outrageous communist claims. He is the Speaker, why isn’t he speaking? That makes me wonder if his silence is due to the amount of money West brings in to the GOP partly because of his ridiculous comments. Come to think of it, where is House Majority Leader Eric Cantor on this?
… I think I found names for two of our chickens.

Q: Ted Nugent said, “I will either be dead or in jail if Obama gets re-elected” Are you still a fan?

A: I think cat scratch fever is causing him to go stormtroopin’ and his comments should be taken within the context of this illness, which clearly has a stranglehold on him. Hopefully he can borrow his buddy Mitt’s etch-a-sketch, shake himself clean and start over again. I do support his freedom to speak however ill advised his comments may be. I love the Motor City Madman’s music … not so much his politics.

Q: What are you reading right now?

A: Firstly I am always reading some biblical and extra-biblical texts. Currently I am working on a four part sermon series on Sin, Oneness, Love and Acceptance. Also, I like to read what my kids are reading so I just finished a couple books by Jordan Sonnenblick, “Drums, Girls and Dangerous Pie,” “Zen and the Art of Faking It” and am starting “The Hunger Games,” by Suzanne Collins. As far as newspapers and magazines, I subscribe to and read the local papers, and some farm related magazines such as American Bee Journal. I do some online news reading from USA Today and The Washington Post as well as numerous other sources.

Q: What’s your prediction for the Yankees this year? How about the Giants, another playoff birth, another bowl appearance, ring?

A: The YANKEES are going to have a great year and will win their division, without a doubt. I believe they will do well in the playoffs. It’s a long season; we’ll see how it goes. I’m not ready or willing to claim another World Series Championship yet although I’d love to see it happen! The New York Football GIANTS are facing a tough schedule but should fair well and make the playoffs with at least ten regular season wins this year. They’ll make the playoffs and as much as I’d love to see them get another ring much depends on how healthy they stay. They have to play their way through the same teams they beat in the playoffs last year and that will be no easy task.

 If you have any questions, feel free to shoot me an email; and maybe I’ll answer you via my blog.

Monday, April 16, 2012

A Post to Ann Romney

I am not being critical of you as a mother however, being a stay-at-home mom necessarily requires work!

If you were to live in a garage, with or without an elevator, it would not make you a car any more than staying at home made you a stay-at-home mom.

While you are clearly a mother, and stayed at home while your husband Mitt “I’ll-say-anything-to-get-elected" Romney brought home the bacon, you are by no means a stay-at-home mom. To list my wife Vickie’s responsibilities and duties as a manager, how she took care of our finances and raised our children without any volunteer or hired help while not necessarily defining motherhood does define her character as a woman, a mother and necessarily defines the work of a stay-at-home mom.

While I missed out on changing several dirty diapers, Vickie didn’t miss one. Vickie cleaned the house, cooked the meals and did the laundry. As they grew, she got the kids up for school, fed them breakfast, made their lunch and saw them to the bus. When they got home, Vickie made them a snack, helped with their homework and gave advice about relationships. She prepared and served dinner, gave them baths and saw them to bed each night. When they were sick Vickie stayed with them, took temperatures, read storybooks, made chicken soup, gave medicine and took accurate notes about temperatures, doses and times given. Were these the things you did for/with your children?

Vickie and I did most of the grocery shopping together. We did this because it was the only time we could get out of the house alone together. She called them, “grocery shopping dates.” We would hold hands as we walked down the isles and once a month take turns picking a half-gallon of Breyer’s. Did you do the shopping for your family’s meals?

This is not about your income, or our lack thereof rather on the quality and quantity of ‘work’ done as a stay-at-home mom. If you supervised the nanny(s) as they changed diapers/bathed/dressed your children; if you approved the weekly menu proposed by your chef, if you instructed the maid(s) about the acceptable amount of starch to add to your laundry while definitely work, does not quantify or qualify as the work of a stay-at-home mom.

Hillary Rosen wasn’t exactly right, I would bet however, she was most definitely not wrong.