Weekly Update from Mark Armstrong -4 October 2013

October 4, 2013

Greetings from Tyler,

It is just a week since many of you returned from the Feast of Tabernacles, and we’re all trying to get back into the usual swing of things.  Our staff returned home to some big projects, namely, mailing out the new 21st Century WATCH, and separately, the monthly letter which we are doing  in-house now to save time and money.  The magazine, in its final printed format surpassed all our expectations, and we hope it will yours as well.

And by the way, if you missed being able to attend one of our Feast sites this year, we can only extend our condolences.  The Feast in Panama City Beach, where I was able to attend this year ran like a clock, with tremendously enthusiastic participation.  The younger generation set a fine example and really helped make this Feast delightful.

On a sorrowful note, Mr. Tom Haltom (Minister from Chicago) died suddenly and unexpectedly on the last day of the Feast in Branson, MO.  Our prayers and best wishes are with his lovely wife, Mrs. Theomia Haltom.  Her address is 163 Asbury Ave., Evanston, IL 60202 for any who would like to send cards or letters of condolence.

We saw this thing building while we were away at the Feast, and now it has developed into one of the most divisive battles in American political history.  You know the broad outlines, as the ongoing news of the government “shutdown” is virtually inescapable.  There is no need for us, organizationally, to get involved in the details of all the various postures and arguments over the current “crisis.”  Not that it is not a huge deal as we look ahead to what manner of future awaits the United States of America.  It is a huge deal from the standpoint of personal liberty, and from the standpoint of economic trouble that will stem from the incalculable costs related to government managed healthcare.

There is no shortage in the list of sad instances where people are being harmed or inconvenienced while the current deadlock between the branches of government persists.  But there is something undeniable going on that is unique.  The Federal Government is actually trying to make the “partial shutdown” unnecessarily burdensome, barring entry to open-air spaces that require no admittance or supervision.  The most visible instance has been that of the World War II memorial, where veterans initially breached barricades to hold ceremonies.  The barricades have subsequently been reinforced.

In addition to all the national parks, there are stories of lakes and campgrounds (one of which is not far from here in East Texas) being evacuated by officers and Rangers, because there is some element of Federal jurisdiction to justify the action.  Even Mount Vernon, the historical estate of George Washington which is privately owned and maintained has been put off limits due to some measure of Federal jurisdiction over the parking lot.  They didn’t publish his name for obvious reasons, but there is a quote in a commentary by Wes Pruden (Editor in Chief) in today’s edition of the Washington Times that says, “We’ve been told to make life as difficult for people as we can.  It’s disgusting.”

And yes, it is disgusting, and it is not limited to the situation in the parking lot at Mount Vernon by any means.  It seems to stem from the deceitful rules of radicalism that say every crisis must be milked dry for the sake of appearances.  Those without the time or inclination to become informed will react to the horrors and bleak predictions associated with this outrageous pause in national funding and burn with fury at those responsible.

In the past the technique has been described as “never let a crisis go to waste.”  In this instance it seems that the administration is dedicated to “making the worst of a bad situation,” intentionally! 

This certainly will not be the last crisis we will face under the current administration.  There is a lot of worry being expressed about the approaching “debt ceiling” debacle.  The administration is already warning that the entire world economic system might come under threat if the U.S. should default on its obligations.  Default shouldn’t even be up for discussion.  It has been pointed out repeatedly that the Federal Government continues to take in revenue adequate to avoid any such disaster, even during the “partial shutdown.”  However, the record of actions taken in recent days, the actions we will call “making the worst of it” are not very reassuring as we look forward to bigger troubles than these.

Our prayers may well have been answered on the Syrian situation.  At least the United States is not presently involved in a convoluted and dangerous Middle East military engagement with unlimited liabilities.  Iran and its nuclear program remains a flashpoint, as Benjamin Netanyahu’s recent visit to Washington underscored.  The heat is not off, but nobody has touched off World War III just yet.

I’m sure all of us are relieved that another Sabbath has arrived, and that we can still observe it and make it possible for others to worship God as He intended.

Until next time,

Mark Armstrong