Category Archives: America

Still Undecided? Maybe This Will Help.

For those who still haven’t decided for whom they will vote, take a look at this video clip.

Please pray before you vote.

Intriguing

   Does Joe the Senator know something we don’t? According to this report from ABC news, the Democratic VP hopeful seems to be either a prophet, or have inside information.

   File this one under, “Things That Make You Go, ‘Hmmmmm'”.

HT: Russ Childs

Is This Happening Too Fast?

   I don’t claim to be an expert in economics. Wall Street has always been a somewhat fuzzy image for me. I tend to think of it as I would, say…Camelot or Atlantis. You know, places that sound really cool and magnificent, yet are somehow not on the route of my destiny.

   All the same, I tried to pay attention in school during economics and civics class. One thing I learned is that a free-market economy is the best system for growing and managing the wealth of nations. Free enterprise stimulates growth, allows someone with little or nothing to work hard and prosper and it also provides a money machine that is self-correcting.

   I also paid attention in history class. I learned that once government gets involved in something, it seldom, if ever gets uninvolved. Occasionally this is a good thing, but more often than not it leads to unnecessary restrictions, and somehow, less money in the pockets of taxpayers.

   This leads me to my title question, is this happening too fast? You’ve probably figured out that I’m talking about the proposed financial bailout. I’ve heard many pundits say with sad resignation, “Something must be done.” All eyes seem to turn to Washington where opinions are like armpits–everybody has two and under close scrutiny both of them smell funny.

   Honestly, I’m still playing catch-up on this issue, but I get the idea that perhaps Congress is as well. As I peruse this situation, however, there are some thoughts that keep emerging from the fog.

   First, this situation can be traced to one problem: greed. It is nothing but greed that caused some to abuse the opportunities of the free-market system. As my brother recently said in a conversation we were having about this topic, no system will be better than the people who are in it. What we are seeing is not a failure of the system, it is a failure of human character.

   Second, I hate to see the government get involved. While it has been somewhat refreshing to see the bi-partisan effort at helping Americans out of this mess, we are looking at scenario where the government is about to buy a $700,000,000,000 slice of the American economic pie. Anybody who pays that much for something is going to feel obligated to keep it. I can’t help but feel that this is going to bring us much closer to the brink of socialism.

   Is the banking business the only one to be this close to imploding? What about health care? What about energy? What about insurance? The problems of the banking sector will doubtless cause ripples that touch these other industries. If they begin to cave, will the government attempt to nationalize them as well? I can’t help but feel that this bailout may be establishing a dangerous precedent.

   Again, I’m no expert. These are just questions that I have about this situation. Maybe I’m wrong–I certainly hope I am.

   I do know one thing, I’m glad I know the God who owns the cattle on a thousand hills. He owns the hills, also. As a country boy, I can’t help but think that He owns the ‘taters in the hill, too.

Foundational Criteria

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

The very birth of our country was spawned by this belief. This conviction led our founding fathers to risk their life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness in order to form a Union that would provide these rights for successive generations.

Our nation is also based upon the principles of democracy. While our government is a form of republic, it operates under the premise that the voice of every citizen carries weight.

This places upon the shoulders of government the immense and priceless burden of protecting these rights for every citizen. A government that fails to pursue the protection of these rights with the same zeal for all citizens is lacking in meeting the criteria of a true democracy.

This also provides to the citizen a yardstick by which each candidate for public office may be measured. As we evaluate the two tickets that are legitimate candidates for the presidency we should apply this yardstick to each.

Sen. McCain and Gov. Palin have both stated unequivocally that they believe that life begins at conception. Sen. McCain has a consistent record in Congress of voting pro-life and has stated his intention of appointing judges who share his view. Sarah Palin’s views on the matter are well-documented as well. Both have shouldered the responsibility of protecting the right to life of even the youngest of citizens, even those who are deemed to have special needs.

Sen. Obama has publicly confessed his ignorance on exactly when life begins. This raises questions about his ability or inclination to protect the right to life of all Americans. Sen. Biden has stated that he believes that life begins at conception but does not feel obligated to protect that life. Both of these men have a congressional record that indicates their deficient value of the life of the unborn.

Additionally, Obama’s website states his position that the most fundamental right is the right to vote. While voting is undeniably an important privilege, it is not to be mistaken as being as weighty as the right to life. Again, confusion and ignorance seems to characterize Obama’s position on the matter.

For those who read this, I would pose this question, “If we cannot trust the Democratic ticket to protect the first and most basic of all rights for our weakest citizens, how can we trust them to protect any of our rights?”

If the right to life is denied, the other rights are meaningless.

The value of life is determined by the fact that man was created in the image of God as a living soul. It is not based upon the circumstances of their conception, the abilities of their parent(s) to provide for them, the environment of their birth or their mental and physical abilities.

When presidents, judges and lawmakers start determining whose life is valuable enough to protect, we are treading on a slope that is nothing more than oil-coated glass. When we surrender the right to life to the judgment of others, we place them in the role of God and we risk forfeiting our own right at some point.

Let us elect leaders who recognize the sanctity of life so that the blessings of liberty and the pursuit of happiness may continue.

General Observations on the Election

I can say, without a doubt, that this has been the most interesting presidential campaign that I can recall. The almost unlimited stream of data on the candidates that is available has certainly made it possible for voters to make informed decisions. The minute details of the candidates lives are exposed for all the world to see. It would not surprise me in the least to see Wolf Blitzer report that John McCain fell asleep with his dentures still in, or for Sean Hannity to bring breaking news that Barack Obama switched brands of deodorant.

Another thing that has made this an enjoyable campaign is blogging. I had not yet discovered the world of online, self-published punditry in the previous presidential race, so it has been provocative, to say the least, to read the thoughts of so many others and interact with them in the discussion.

In many of the discussions in which I have participated, invariably theological questions and concerns are raised. This is probably due to the fact that most of the blogs that I frequent are operated by Christians and we understand the dynamic of our faith touching every part of our lives. I have seen many of these conversations escalate to the point of name-calling, questioning ones salvation, slurs, twisting of words, etc. Come to think of it, it really hasn’t been all that different from a lot of theological conversations after all. 😉

I wanted to share just a few thoughts that I am using to help keep my perspective on track (I think).

1.  We are electing a president, not a pastor.

There is a difference between leading the country and leading a church. To confuse the two may be an indication that either ones church is over-politicized (gasp, that could never happen), or that we are assuming that God’s kingdom may somehow be hamstrung if we don’t elect the right candidate.

I find it ironic that many of the extreme right consider themselves to be adherents of Ronald Reagan and yet turn up their nose at John McCain. Now, I am not dissing the Gipper, I admired the man greatly (I came within a whisker of naming my oldest son after him), but many of the same theological objections I have heard some raise about McCain would also apply to Reagan. Ronny was known to imbibe, he was divorced from his first wife and while he professed to be a Christian, his church affiliation could hardly be called evangelical.

In our nation’s history, we have never had a president who would make a good pastor. Why is this election suddenly different?

The Bible gives a list of requirements for the office of bishop/elder/pastor, it does not do so for the leader of a country. It does tell us about the consequences of having ungodly leaders, but if there is an inventory of qualifications I have not seen it.

2.  Change does not begin at the White House.

I know I am leading with the trump card of both candidates, here. I honestly believe both men are sincere in wanting to bring change to this country. However, if we as voters are naiive enough to believe that even the Apostle Paul could change the course of this country we are dreaming.

No, change begins at my house and your house. In four years, we will be doing this whole process again (won’t THAT be fun?) and it is highly unlikely that the political landscape will be changed significantly by that time. What brings lasting change is what happens in the homes of the American people. We each have the opportunity to bring change.

Someone wisely stated it this way, “If the Ten Commandments were on the walls of more homes, it wouldn’t be as big an issue about putting them on the walls of the courthouses.”

3.  We will always be voting for the lesser of two evils.

By its very definition, an election means that I am choosing a candidate that I believe is better suited for the job at hand than is his/her opponent. For me to think otherwise is to distort the intent of the process. There has never been a perfect candidate and there never will be. Mankind is inherently sinful and everyone who has their hat in the ring is in that category.

I do not intend for this to be offensive, although some may find it to be so. Those who abstain from voting, simply because they cannot find a candidate who agrees with them on everything deserve to live in a dictatorship.

I owe it to our forefathers, our veterans, our troops, my family, myself, you and the generations that will follow to vote.

4.  The sun will come out tomorrow.

‘Nuff said.

An Opportunity for Excellence

It is my humble opinion that both political parties have an opportunity to excel over the next few days.

As Hurricane Gustav bears down on the beleaguered Gulf Coast, it seems that both sides are falling over themselves in an attempt to focus on those in the path of the storm.

I only pray that this will continue through the storm and the aftermath. The highest ideal in this situation would be for both sides to forget the colors of red and blue and remember that we are all Americans. I say shame on either party who attempts to use this potentially tragic situation to gain political capital.

It is the time for the country to unite in prayer and compassion for our fellow citizens. Both candidates claim to be Christians (and I am not questioning the validity of those claims here), may their actions stem from the fruit of the Spirit and not a desire for self-glorification.

I can hope, can’t I?

Negotiating With Wolves

Once upon a time, in a beautiful green meadow, there lived a flock of sheep. It was a beautiful meadow that offered many wonderful opportunities for happiness and comfort to the sheep who lived there. The flock had grazed and watered in this meadow for many years, growing from just a hardy handful to a swelling population that reflected much diversity.

Due to the bountiful opportunities for betterment that presented themselves in the meadow, this particular flock became the envy of all of the other flocks and herds around the region. Each generation of sheep had the chance to learn more, grow more and have more than the generation before it. The flock grew so great that many of the other flocks benefitted from its greatness as well.

While the meadow was not perfect, it was still an amazing place in which to live, and more importantly, raise little lambs who would one day make the flock even larger and greater.

After a period of time, a problem arose. In one particular corner of the meadow, a pack of wolves began to lurk. They began to devour some of the youngest lambs. They did not hurt the adult sheep, just a few of the little ones.

Alarmed by these events, the sheep held a conference. They began to discuss whether or not the wolves had any right to eat the lambs. Although most were against the idea, there were a few who actually sided with the wolves. When they appealed to some of the leaders of the flock for wisdom, the leaders said, “Well, after all, a wolf is a wolf and will do what a wolf does. I suppose the only solution is to chase the wolves away, but is it really worthwhile to do so? After all, we risk getting hurt or killed ourselves if we try to fight the wolves, and besides, we might hurt the feelings of those sheep who like the wolves. Why don’t we just live and let live?”

Time went by and things got worse. The lambs began disappearing in increasing numbers. The wolves got more and more brazen with their killings until they were seen to openly flaunt their kills. Amazingly there were some of the sheep who actually cheered them and allowed their lambs to wander into the areas where the wolves were known to kill. They justified it by saying, “Well, that lamb was deformed.” Or, “I really don’t have the time or the grass to raise a lamb right now.” Or, “That lamb was sired by the wrong ram.” The future of the flock was actually being affected because of the number of lambs being killed.

There was one particular wolf who was very eloquent and charming, but had eaten his fair share of lambs. This wolf actually had a desire to become the leader of the flock of sheep.

Many of the sheep protested, “We don’t want you to lead our flock. You have killed too many of our little ones. Why should we think things will be better if you become our leader?”

The wolf replied, “I am not going to change my appetite. I am still going to continue to devour your lambs. I only eat the lambs of those sheep that I trust. I believe those ewes who send their lambs to my corner have given it a lot of thought and have discussed it with those they trust. It is their choice and their right to do what they will with the lives of their little lambs. But, perhaps we can move beyond the question of my appetite and maybe we can discuss how we can keep so many lambs from coming near me.”

As you can see, the sheep are faced with a big decision. The future well-being of their flock will be greatly affected by their choice.

What should they do?