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Wednesday, December 23, 2009

2 quotes that sum up 2009 for me

I've learned to love my family more and how to take deep breaths on the journey of life.

"Only love has eyes. To understand the world of things, you need science and suspicion and the method of doubt; accept nothing until proved. Every idea is guilty until proved innocent. But to know people, you need the opposite method: trust, love, openness. Persons are innocent until proved guilty. You cannot bear them unless that is your attitude. Suspicion never reaches the other's heart."
~Dr. Peter Kreeft, Three Philosophies of Human Life

"There are many people who reach their conclusions about life like schoolboys: they cheat their master by copying the answer out of a book without having worked the sum out for themselves."

Monday, December 21, 2009

Using Sex or Reason: Where do you stand on health care reform?

Rock the Vote suggests young voters use flirting and sex to persuade opponents of the Obama/Reid/Pelosi health-care-reform bill to change their position.

As a young person, I find such a video degrading to suggest my political philosophy is as whimsical as sexual attraction or that sex should be used as method of political persuasion.

How Americans obtain and pay for health care is an important topic that deserves open and honest debate about the real costs of adding hundreds of pages to the law books.

It's too bad that Rock the Vote is probably encouraging young people to disengage from this important debate because it's over-the-top desperate attempt to garner support for an unpopular bill.

Dick Morris points to a study by Oliver Wyman that suggests that the proposed health care reforms will increase premiums for young people by as much as 35 percent.

He writes:
"These increases will stem from the bill's provisions that bar insurance companies from raising rates on sick people and from excluding people based on pre-existing conditions. Both of these mandates will mean higher costs for the younger and healthier population. This bill is, in effect, a tax on the young."
Instead of engaging young voters on the topic, Rock the Vote reveals how weak the Obama/Reid/Pelosi health-care-reform bill really is in terms of helping reduce the inflated costs of health and medical care in America.

I think more young people would engage in politics if they weren't treated like sheep. People respond to expectations...

We need more intelligent discussions about what can be done to help improve our current system, which happens to be better than any system in the world.

For example, why aren't we looking at how the Federal Reserve Banks' "lending" affect health care costs?

Friday, December 18, 2009

Using YouTube To Share Your Message

Ok, this is kinda like a, "duh," post, but I can't help but point out some creative examples of using YouTube to send a loud message:

Example 1:
A musician named Dave Carroll recently had difficulty with United Airlines.

United apparently damaged his treasured Taylor guitar ($3500) during a flight. Dave spent over nine months trying to get United to pay for damages caused by baggage handlers to his custom Taylor guitar. During his final exchange with the United Customer Relations Manager, he stated that he was left with no choice other than to create a music video for You Tube, exposing their lack of cooperation. The manager responded, "Good luck with that one, pal." He posted the following retaliatory video on You Tube. The video has since received over 5.5 million hits. United Airlines contacted Carroll and attempted settlement in exchange for pulling the video. Naturally, his response was, "Good luck with that one, pal."

Taylor Guitars sent Carroll two new custom guitars in appreciation for product recognition resulting from the video that has led to a sharp increase in orders.

It is now up to 6.5 million.

Example 2:

In a landmark speech, the late Governor Robert Casey, Senior said "Nothing could be more foreign to the American experience than legalized abortion. It is inconsistent with our national character, with our national purpose, with all that we've done, and with everything we hope to be."

But right now, Robert Casey, Junior is poised to vote in the Senate for a health care bill with federal funding for abortion. The bill will result in more abortions—abortions that Americans will be required to finance. Senator Casey, trading the lives of unborn children for a health care bill is inconsistent with our American character.

"The abortion debate is not about how we shall live, but who shall live. And more than that, its about who we are."

Contact Bob Casey, Junior today and tell him to vote NO on any health care bill that funds abortion.

Paid for by Susan B. Anthony List, Inc.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

'When did $98,560 household income qualify for welfare in Missouri? '

For immediate release - Time Sensitive issue

For interviews contact:
Paul Hamby 816 632 0602
Robyn Hamlin 314-438-0222

Missouri Campaign for Liberty strongly opposes the giveaway of 15 million dollars through the MHDC, Missouri Housing Development Commission.

Last month, Gov. Jay Nixon and State Treasurer Clint Zweifel proposed that MHDC would pay the property tax for anyone who buys a house in Missouri in 2010. The only limitation is income. You would need to make less than $98,560. Nixon and Zweifel announced they would bring the plan before the Missouri Housing Development Commission on Dec. 18th at the MHDC meeting in Jefferson City.

Quoting from Zweifel’s press release “The funding would come from a [$15 million] reserve fund held by Missouri Housing Development Commission (MHDC) earned through successful management of mortgage loans made to low- and medium-income individuals and families. These reserve funds are not from general revenue, nor subject to the legislature's appropriation process.” MHDC is a commission operated by the State of Missouri. It is funded by federal and state tax payer dollars. It is just plain wrong to tax low and middle income Missourians and then pay someone else’s 2010 property tax with their money. When did $98,560 household income qualify for welfare in Missouri?

The economic crisis of 2008 was created in part by a housing bubble that pushed folks into home ownership who should have never had loans, and then defaulted on their loans. Why are Governor Nixon and Treasurer Zweifel trying to re-create the housing bubble in 2010?

Missouri has a 1 billion dollar Budget Deficit. Did our Governor suddenly have a bout of amnesia regarding the 1 billion dollar income shortfall in the Missouri State Budget?

If the goal is to get more Missourians into housing, there is a simple proven formula for that: Good paying jobs for Missourians. A business climate to create more jobs is where the Governor should be focusing. That means Less Government Regulation, Less Taxes on Small Businesses and Families, and Less Federal Mandates. When government starts meddling, fairness goes out the window. Please call the MHDC board and tell them to Vote No on redistributing the 15 million slush fund. Their numbers are 816-759-6600 and 314-877-1350.


Obama says it will keep America from going Bankrupt; Howard Dean says kill it

FEE sent out a great link to an VPR interview with Howard Dean on the lack of support for the monstrous health-care-reform Senate bill means its death. Dean suggests that "the best thing to do right now is kill the Senate bill and go back to the House and start the reconciliation process, where you only need 51 votes and it would be a much simpler bill."

Ok, so Howard Dean isn't suggesting that the recent polls showing opposition to health care reform (almost 56% oppose it; only 19% strongly favor it) makes it a dead duck, but that certain characteristics of current 'reform' plans aren't really 'reform' to make it real 'reform' to get public support. Congress should just start over in the House, he suggests, and make it more simply--a.k.a. more centrists and get rid of the bribes.

Meanwhile, Obama said during an ABC interview that if we don't spend trillions of dollars on this 'reform,' the government will go bankrupt. He's built a straw-man case for passing costly reform. Is it possible that there are other ways that new government programs to "rein in" health and medical costs? Maybe the free market?

Both are half way right. Dean is picking up on the fact that Americans--right or left--don't really trust +2000 page monstrosity of health care 'reform' and Obama's picking up on the fact that our unfunded liabilities--medicare, medicate, and social security--are on the brink of bankruptcy.

Baby steps.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Missouri State Medical Association & St. Louis Metropolitan Medical Society Oppose Obamacare

I went to a press conference today in the Chesterfield Valley to find out more about an effort by at least 22 states to pass constitutional amendments to protect the medical care choices of individual Americans.

It was great to find out that the St. Louis Metropolitan medical Society and the Missouri State Medical Association oppose the bill in the US Senate, called the "Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act" (HR 3590) because it "does not adequately address some of the most important problems in the current system." These organizations "fear that the proposal would increase the cost of health care and allow unaccountable government bureaucrats to stand between patients and their physicians."


See more on Eagle Forum's blog.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

'Mmm that you only meant well?' - Why My Good Intentions Aren't Good Enough

Jason Derulo's new song "Whatcha Say" is catchy and clearly illustrates how our good intentions don't trump reality, especially in the long run.

Often times, it's not that we can't make rational decisions; it's that we often don't have all the facts or don't want to take into account all the facts, especially the long term ramifications.

We're shortsighted.

We have a self-focused, limited vision that hinders our rational abilities above and beyond the limits on our access to information. We act for ourselves first without clearly considering how it affects God or others. And of course, this is not our intention.

Jason Derulo cheats on his girlfriend, and of course his intentions were not to hurt to his girlfriend:
I was so wrong for so long
Only tryin' to please myself (myself)
Girl, I was caught up in her lust
When I don't really want no one else
In the moment, he did not fully consider that he didn't want the long-term affects of choosing the fleeting pleasures of sin.

The chorus brings reality to the forefront: it's not enough to say that "you only meant well" because that doesn't make cheating okay.
Mmmm whatcha say,
Mmm that you only meant well?
Well of course you did
Mmmm whatcha say,
Mmmm that it's all for the best?
Of course it is
This theme reminds me of Madonna's song "4 Minutes to Save the World" with the line:
The road to hell
Is paved with good intentions
Of course, we mean well.
If you feel it
It must be real

There many reasons why "good intentions" are not good enough to maintain our relationships with God or with one another. Henry Hatlitz's One Lesson in Economics applies here, as we must learn not to look at reality as we want it to be, but how it is, which includes how the consequences of our actions affect not only on ourselves, but others. Good intentions do not change outcomes.
The art of economics consists in looking not merely at the immediate but at the longer effects of any act or policy; it consists in tracing the consequences of that policy not merely for one group but for all groups. (One Lesson in Economics)
One a larger scale, intellectual honest requires following our chosen belief system--what guides our decisions--to its logical conclusions and avoid limiting our perspective to our good intentions for desired outcomes. Bojidar Marinov from American Vision wrote an article titled "But that Doesn't Mean What It Means" with the same theme:
To say it simply, if the thing looks, swims, waddles, quacks like a duck, the disclaimer “but it doesn’t mean” doesn’t make it a hawk. It only reveals the unwillingness of those who use it to face reality and become intellectually consistent with their own beliefs.

It doesn't matter if you want ducks to be hawks.

"Mmm that you only meant well?"

It doesn't matter what your intention is. "Direction, not Intention, determines your destination," counsels Andy Stanley.

"We can't travel North towards Canada and arrive in Mexico."

That's not the reality we live in.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

My first iPhone Video

Ok, so I shot this two times, and then just decided, "hey, the point isn't perfection, but learning how to get information out."

I plan to take my iPhone with me to the TEA Party on Saturday at Kiener Plaza at Noon and 3:00 p.m.

It takes a little time for YouTube to post the video after I upolad it, and I haven't quite figured out how to get the link from YouTube and then post using only my iPhone. But I'm sure I'll figure out an easy way soon. (Suggestions welcome!)

I also plan to check out video sites that might let me upload feed directly, and only have about 5 second delay, instead of 5 hour delay. But it all depends on the purpose of shooting the video, and how important it is post right away verse posting to inform the public.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

NY-23 race not over; inspectors found a problem in four districts

From my inbox:

Dear Fellow Conservative,

As evidence surfaces, we find out that reported results from election night were far from accurate. ACORN and the unions did their best to try and sway the results to Obamacare supporter Bill Owens.

I was forced to concede after receiving two pieces of grim news - - down 5,335 votes with 93 percent of the vote counted on election night - and barely won my stronghold in Oswego County.

Get every vote counted in NY-23 Election Night, the information we received was far different from what we received this week!

Rest assured, they will not succeed, and I am therefore revoking my statement of concession.

That is why I am writing you today. Recent developments leave me to wonder who is scheming behind closed doors, twisting arms and stealing elections from the voters of NY-23.

I'm sure you are as dismayed as I am to learn of the mischief that took place in Oswego and neighboring counties. We know this would not be the first time for the ACORN faithful to tamper with democracy.

Now it's time to actually count every legal ballot and I need your help to ensure the people of NY-23 get the Congressman THEY ELECTED. Please donate now to help me ensure every vote is counted!

A recanvassing in the 11-county district shows Owens' lead has narrowed to 3,026. In Oswego County, I was reported to lead by only 500 votes with 93 percent of the vote counted election night, but inspectors found I actually won by 1,748 votes

Let’s force them keep this recanvassing active! Let’s give this election a chance to end differently!

Oswego County elections officials blame the mistakes on "chaos" in their call-in center that included a phone system foul-up, and on inspectors who read numbers incorrectly when phoning in results. This sounds like a tactic right from the ACORN playbook.

The district's second biggest voter turnout was in Jefferson County, where I had also benefited from a turnaround since election night, gaining another 700 votes. Owens led by 300 votes on the final election night tally, but after recanvassing, I'm now leading by 424 votes.

Jerry Eaton, the Republican elections commissioner for Jefferson County, said inspectors found a problem in four districts where my vote total was mistakenly entered as zero.

The new vote totals mean the race will be decided by absentee ballots, of which the state Board of Elections distributed about 10,200.

The people of NY-23 deserve to have their ballots counted properly, but we can't let ACORN or the unions keep that from happening. They have more lawyers and more experience tampering with democracy.

State Board of Elections Communications Director John Conklin said the state sent a letter to the House Clerk last week explaining that no winner had been determined in the 23rd District.

Now it's time to actually count every legal ballot and I need your help to ensure the people of NY-23 get the Congressman THEY ELECTED. Please donate now to help me ensure every vote is counted!

We need to make sure that fair elections are a reality in NY-23, just like our Founding Fathers envisioned. So long as we remain the "land of the free," we MUST ensure every vote is counted.

Help us today so we may be the first of many conservative victories during the Obama Regime.

Yours in Freedom,

Doug Hoffman

P.S. I ran a different kind of campaign, one where Conservatives, Republicans, Libertarians, Tea Party and 9/12 activists rallied around. ACORN, the unions and the Democratic Party were scared, and that's why they tampered with the ballots of voters in NY-23. Will you please contribute today so we can show them that fair elections are the Will of the People? Thank you.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Comments on the Stupak Amendment

So, what's all the chatter in the "pro-life" arena about the Stupak amendment to Obama's health care transformation plan?

Basically, the Stupak amendment means that taxpayer money can't be used to pay for abortions for women who are insured through the health insurance "exchange." So, what's the problem? (besides the obvious conflict in moral values between various groups...)

Some say that the Stupak amendment gave cover to the pro-life Dems to vote for nationalized health care since the amendment made it "pro-life."

But, as a friend of mine said, the "Stupak Amendment didn’t go far enough," as it didn’t address end-of-life issues, rationing, protection of conscience and all the other life-aspects involved in the long 2,000 page transformation.

Moreover, some argue, why try to improve a bad bill? Why not just let it die?

So, I suppose the question is why was the amendment offered? Maybe in reaction to the fake "pro-life" amendment offered previously. If that amendment had passed, it probably would have given same glitzy appearance virtue of the Stupak amendment, but not as good.

As it stands, it's a question of whether pro-choice Dems will be able to strip the Stupak amendment, or vote for the health care transformation despite the amendment. Sen. Claire McCaskill doesn't seem to think the amendment is a deal breaker...or maybe she does.

As Phyllis Schlafly wrote in 1964: "The strategy of politics, like an iceberg, is eight-ninths under the surface."

And she wasn't saying how it should be...but merely how it is.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

How to Contact Sen. Claire McCaskill

Missouri Office Locations

Cape Girardeau
555 Independence Room 1600
Cape Girardeau, Missouri 63703
Phone 573-651-0964
Fax 573-334-4278

915 E. Ash St
Columbia, Mo 65201

Kansas City
4141 Pennsylvania, Ste. 101
Kansas City, MO 64111
Phone 816-421-1639
Fax 816-421-2562

324 Park Central West
Suite 101
Springfield, MO 65806
Phone 417-868-8745
Fax 417-831-1349

St. Louis
5850 A Delmar Blvd
St. Louis, MO 63112
Fax: 314-361-8649

Washington D.C.

For those visiting D.C., please stop by our office at:

Office of Senator Claire McCaskill
United States Senate
Hart Senate Office Building, SH-717
Washington, D.C. 20510
(202) 224-6154
FAX (202) 228-6326

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Stupak-Pitts Amendment Seems to be a good thing.

There is a little bit of debate as to whether the Stupak-Pitts Amendment will be strong enough to prevent the government from forcing taxpayers to pay for ending human lives.

Here's is a opinion piece by a feminist who wants taxpayers to pay for abortion. She writes about how the Stupak-Pitts amendment will ban "abortion coverage across the entire exchange, for women with both subsidized and unsubsidized coverage."

I couldn't help but click on some of the other links on the "reality check" site.


Apparently, being a champion for life means that one is taking part in a "molester-enabling, coathanger-selling, health-shattering, woman-hating, forced-pregnancy campaign."


The good news is that when activists who don't support human rights for pre-born believe legislation is bad, that's a good thing!

Moreover, it seems that prohibiting Obama's health care plan from covering abortions helped it pass in the House, and might keep it from passing in the Senate.

How ironic.

Preparation Is Key

From A.W. Tozer's Daily Devotional For Today:

To be entirely safe from the devil's snares the man of God must be
completely obedient to the Word of the Lord. The driver on the
highway is safe, not when he reads the signs but when he obeys them.

That Incredible Christian, 51.

November 10

Spiritual Warfare and Sin: Preparation Is Vital

Moreover David said, "The Lord, who delivered me from the paw of the
lion and from the paw of the bear, He will deliver me from the hand
of this Philistine."
--1 Samuel 17:37

The whole Bible and all past history unite to teach that battles are
always won before the armies take the field. The critical moment for
any army is not the day it engages the foe in actual combat; it is
the day before or the month before or the year before....

Preparation is vital. The rule is, prepare or fail. Luck and bluster
will do for a while, but the law will catch up with us sooner or
later, usually sooner....

It did not take Moses long to lead the children of Israel out
through the Red Sea to deliverance and freedom; but his fittedness
to lead them out was the result of years of hard discipline. It
took David only a few minutes to dispose of Goliath; but he had
beaten the giant long before in the person of the lion and the

Preparation is vital. Let this be noted by everyone. We can seek
God today and get prepared to meet temptation tomorrow; but if we
meet the enemy without first having met God, the outcome is not
conjectural; the issue is already decided. We can only lose. The
Next Chapter After the Last, 77-79.

"Lord, quiet my heart this morning and feed me from Your Word. I
can't enter the battle of today without this vital preparation.
Help me even in the busiest of days to maintain this discipline of
preparation. Amen."

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Playground or Battlefield?

A.W. Tozer:

Spiritual Warfare and Sin: Irreconcilable Hostility

For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against
principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the
darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the
heavenly places.
--Ephesians 6:12

In the early days, when Christianity exercised a dominant
influence over American thinking, men and women conceived the
world to be a battleground. Our fathers believed in sin and the
devil and hell as constituting one force, and they believed in
God and righteousness and heaven as the other. By their very
nature, these forces were opposed to each other forever in deep,
grave, irreconcilable hostility. Humans, our fathers held, had to
choose sides-they could not be neutral. For them it must be life
or death, heaven or hell, and if they chose to come out on God's
side they could expect open war with God's enemies. The fight
would be real and deadly and would last as long as life continued
here below. People looked forward to heaven as a return from the
wars, a laying down of the sword to enjoy in peace the home
prepared for them....

How different today. The fact remains the same, but the
interpretation has changed completely. People think of the world,
not as a battleground, but as a playground. We are not here to
fight; we are here to frolic. We are not in a foreign land; we
are at home. We are not getting ready to live, but we are already
living, and the best we can do is rid ourselves of our
inhibitions and our frustrations and live this life to the full.
This World: Playground or Battleground?, 4-5.

"Lord, we've lost too much by becoming friendly with the enemy.
Help me to be willing to take a stand for righteousness, to
choose clearly to be on Your side against the enemy, to pay any
price--and then to look forward to laying down my sword later in
heaven. Amen."

Saturday, October 31, 2009


Sometimes I wonder how it is that I can still struggle with the same sins but feel as though I have a sincere faith in Christ. Why is it that we struggle so much?

I found a great passage in Sam Storms book Signs of the Spirit that points to a great theme of Christianity: perseverance.
"There is hardly anything more explicit in the teachings of Jesus himself than the rules by which we are to judge the sincerity of someone's profession o faith. we must judge the nature of the tree by the quality of its fruit. But if the fruit of saving virtue is subject to being counterfeited, what good is this as a rule for discerning true from false? The answer is found not in the mere presence of what appears to be fruit, but in its perseverance. If the fruit shows itself not merely once, no matter how fervently and sweetly, but endures and matures over time and through trial, we can more solidly judge whether they are be truly of God (although even then our judgement is still fallible).
I quote Same Storms not because I'm particular interested in judging (or meditating) on whether others are sincere in their faith, but whether I am.

Paul writing in his 1st letter to the Corinthians:
24 Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. 25 Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. 26 So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. 27 But I discipline my body and keep it under control, [2] lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified (ch. 9).
Father, give me the strength to run the race with perseverance. Give me endurance, Father. In Jesus name, Amen.

Friday, October 30, 2009

How long can you go without praying?

Gary A. Haugen does a wonderful job of working up to the following statement and question in his book, Just Courage. Haugen explains how taking the "safe" route will not satisfy our "desire for ...significant and meaningful" experiences on this earth and now "we're created by God for adventure."
"Mother Teresa said that she couldn’t imagine doing her work for more than thirty minutes without prayer. Do you and I have work that we can’t imagine doing for thirty minutes without prayer?"
You can read the first chapter here:

This question is near the end...and it is really making me think about my priorities.

Needs and Wants

My friend Amy is serving for one year in a basic medical clinic in the Sudan and I just have to share the email she just sent out. She has been there about one month now. Here is her latest report, which gives me much to reflect upon, and to give thanks to God for!
The majority of my last two weeks have been spent learning as much Arabic as I can. I’ve spent a few hours with my wonderful Sudanese tutor Andrew, lots of time with my language books (in case you were wondering, studying grammar is NOT any more fun than you remember), and some practice time in the markets or visiting with people. It’s a great thing to be able to go out for lunch and call it educational. :)

My goal for these 2 weeks has been to acquire enough language in order to shop on my own in the market. Praise the Lord I have been able to achieve that and more! I put a lot of time into learning words for foods and how to ask for things/prices, etc. As I slowly walked home in the rain one day with 3 inches of thick mud stuck to the bottom of my flip-flops I had some time to think and realized something. When shopping I always used the word for “want” when asking for items, but rarely did I hear the Sudanese use that word. Instead nearly everyone used the word for “need”. It made me think about the people I am working with and getting to know. The average person here does not think of food in terms of calories or indulgences but rather in terms of hunger and survival. Needs. Fruit is a somewhat expensive treat because the cheaper grains and starches can feed more mouths. Life does not come easy here. It’s hard work. The idea of exercise for fun is completely foreign. Someone tried explaining the concept of a gym and exercise to my language tutor. He had quite a laugh. So as I prepare to set my goals and expectations for the rest of this year I’ve been asking myself, what are the essentials? Wants are nice, and I could really go for some thin mint ice cream right now but what is needed?

I've have enjoyed rest and a more relaxed pace of life while in Malakal which has been a great blessing as I adjusted to Sudan. In the morning, however, the time comes to say good-bye and leave for Doro. It’s about an hour ride in a small plane, and then I’ll start settling in to my home for the next year. The clinic awaits!

...not seeking my own profit but the profit of the many, so that they may be saved. 1 Cor. 10:33
Wow, that makes me think...

Heavenly Father, I ask that you open my eyes to see all the wonderful things you given me not because I "need" them, but simply "want" them. You are such a good God! Thank you. Open my eyes to see where I've been overindulgent and can better as serving you and your people more with the abundance you've given me. In Jesus name, Amen.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Expressions of Faith

My pastor Doug Hon posted a great blog entry on how easy it is to judge how others express their faith when we compare it to how we prefer to express our "religious affections," as Jonathon Edwards would say.

Doug writes:
"I have personally chosen to reject any idea that I have a corner on intimacy with Christ. I also reject the idea that I am an expert in intimacy. But what does fascinate me is what all of these expressions have in common, faith."
But even more, when we are not experiencing Christ fully, Doug suggests that
"If you feel that you are lacking in intimacy with Christ, don’t look to your church’s song leaders, Sunday school teachers, or pastors to give you the formula for intimacy. Look to Christ in the assurance of faith—there are no formulas, only faith."
Read his entire post here:

Signs of the Spirit

Why am I not stirred more to know God?

Sam Storms writes:
If the great things of religion are rightly understood, they will affect the heart....

If our thesis is correct, and true spirituality lies in the experience, enjoyment, and expression of holy affections, it is to our shame that we are no more affected with the great truths of Scripture than we are. This is especially the case when we consider how profoundly moved and affected people are by world things that have little if anything to do with God and the revelation of himself in the face of Jesus Christ.
Oh, how easily I am distracted and blind to the greatness of the gospel.

Jonathon Edwards asks:
But is there anything which Christians can find in heaven or earth, so worthy to be the objects of their admiration and love, their earnest and longing desires, their hope, and their rejoicing, and their fervent zeal, as those things that are held forth to us in the gospel of Jesus Christ?

....All the virtues of the Lamb of God, his humility, patience, meekness, submission, obedience, love and compassion, are exhibited to our view, in a manner the most tending to move our affections, of any that can be imagined; as they all had their greatest trial, and their highest exercise, and so their brightest manifestation, when he was in the most affecting circumstances; even when he was under his last sufferings, those unutterable and unparalled sufferings he endured, from his tender love and pity to us."

Quotes are from Signs of the Spirit: An Interpretation of Jonathan Edwards' Religious Affections by Sam Storms.

Monday, October 12, 2009

blind to my own blindness

John Calvin’s Institutes, begins with this sentence:
“Nearly all the wisdom we possess, that is to say, true and sound wisdom, consists of two parts: the knowledge of God and of ourselves.” What we may need reminding of in our day is not that the knowledge of God is difficult to comprehend and to embrace—that’s more or less obvious—but that the knowledge of ourselves is just as difficult to comprehend and to embrace. Indeed, it may be more difficult, first, because a true knowledge of ourselves assumes a true knowledge of God, and, second, because we tend to think we do know ourselves, when, in fact, the depths or our condition are beyond our comprehension without the help of God (emphasis mine).
Blind. I'm utterly blind without God's grace...

needing perspective

I get bogged trying to figure out life. I'm on of those types that tries to "reduce the mystery of life manageable strategies and following them." Why can't it be that easy?

But this begs the question, where is my confidence: in myself to figure everything out or trust in the God who made it all?

"For those who enjoy discovery because they know a good God is moving through the chaos towards a wonderful conclusion, mystery is no problem."

You see, I want to have the complete plan, right now. I don't like the feeling that I'm "keeping busy" until I eventually marry or die.

Yes, I fall prey to what I call "singleness syndrome" common in Evangelical Christian circles where "marriage" is deemed by women "the solution" to all of life's problems. Funny how it didn't work that way for my parents or for most married people I know.

Ok, no, I really don't think the complete plan is marriage. ; )

But I don't like the idea of just finding things to do with my time to make myself feel like I'm moving forward. I want to put my hands to do those things that have eternal value.

What is it that I'm suppose to be doing with my time? (Note to self: marriage is not eternal.)

To know what to do, I feel I need to know where I'm going. What is all of history moving towards? (This assumes history moves forward, not backwards, and not in circles...)

John Piper expanded my perspective this afternoon when on how the regeneration of our souls is our hope for things to come. John Piper suggests, "the newness we have by virtue of our regeneration now is the firstfruits of the greater newness we will have when our bodies are made new as a part of the universe being made new."
19 For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. 20 For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. 22 For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. 23 And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. 24 For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? 25 But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience. (Romans 8, ESV)
Lord, please give me a renewed perspective that isn't "me" focused. Amen.

Suffering & Perspective

God grants us perspective though suffering.

Jack Crabtree explains
Suffering is intended by God to lead to my resolving my sorrow and disappointment into wisdom and true perspective. I am not so likely to resolve sorrow and disappointment into wisdom and true perspective if and when I do not allow myself to feel it.
Lord, thank you for the ability to feel. Grant me the the strength to move from feeling to conviction through the beautiful experiences you lead me through.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

flexibility not formulas

A Spirit led life demands flexibility not formulas. By flexibility, I mean learning to be led by God and not trying to lead him using some thought process like, "if I do this, then God will do that." Or probably more like, "if I do this, God owes me that." Or even worse, "God owes me this."

A couple of days ago, woman exhorted me something to "tell God what you want so that he can give it to you, know you, his will."

I'm serious. Really, I am.

Any yet even though it sounds silly to my ears, my heart also echos silliness like:

"How do I let God lead me to what I want?"

"How to I find peace in his plan when I don't want to see my plan executed right now"

"How do I desire his will over my own seeing that I certainly know what I want."

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Would Jesus use "what about me" rhetoric?

I found this short article on called "My Personal National Healthcare Plan" by Todd Steinberg. It's good, but missing a helpful component: reaching out to those who find the "what about me" rhetoric used by conservatives and libertarians none compelling.

What many conservatives and libertarians, myself included, are not doing well is explaining why it's okay to think about "me" when were discussing coercion by the State. The phrase "coercion by the State" refers to the fact that that the State (government) is required to enforce all laws, and may use force (police, imprisonment, fines etc.) to carry out laws.

As Christians or compassionate people, I agree that we are not suppose to merely think about "me" and "my health care" and "my money," but consider the poor and less fortunate--like Jesus commands us to do. However, Jesus did not force--neither personally nor through the Roman Empire--anyone to be charitable. He did not advocate forcing people to love and care for other people.

The most devastating aspect of the gospel is you can't make yourself genuinely believe the gospel, authentically love God or thoroughly want to reflect his character. In like manner, people can't make others genuine believe or authentically love God or want to reflect his character.

Similarly, only genuine display of compassion for the poor by its nature is voluntary. If it's not voluntary, it's not compassion.

Jesus would not use rhetoric like Steinberg uses in his essay emphasizing "me first" but that doesn't mean he would support use of the State to coerce or force people not be selfish.

But this then begs the question: is doing something for a oneself wrong? Who says when an action is "selfish" and when it's not? By who's standard do we decide?

Friday, October 09, 2009

Intimacy with Christ

"I have personally chosen to reject any idea that I have a corner on intimacy with Christ. I also reject the idea that I am an expert in intimacy. But what does fascinate me is what all of these expressions have in common, faith."

Great blog post by my pastor on developing intimacy with Christ:

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

From the Inside Out

One of the most devastating but liberating discoveries, according John Piper, is that we can't make ourselves love God.

Love, by definition, is something that can't be forced. We have to want to love.

What do we do if we don't love God from the inside out, wholly and totally, with our all of our hearts and minds?

A. W. Tozer, in his book The Pursuit of God, writes that "if we cooperate with Him in loving obedience, God will manifest Himself to us, and that manifestation will be the difference between a nominal Christian life and a life radiant with the light of His face."

I wonder: Where does the "love obedience" come from?

Tozer asks: "Why do some persons 'find' God in a way that others do not?"

Tozer defines "finding God" as "becoming more closely united in mind and heart" with God. And those who exercise and not neglect the longing within to know God in the deepest ways possible this side of Heaven will develop "spiritual receptivity."

This "spiritual receptivity" is a gift from God and requires a "determined heart" and "courage to wrench ourselves loose from the grip of our times."

"Let any man turn to God in earnest, let him begin to exercise himself unto godliness, let him seek to develop his powers of spiritual receptivity by trust and obedience and humility, and the results will exceed anything he may have hoped in his leaner and weaker days," writes Tozer.

I pray Tozer's words:

O God and Father, I repent of my sinful preoccupation with visible things. The world has been too much with me. Thou hast been here and I knew it not. I have been blind to Thy presence. Open my eyes that I may behold Thee in and around me. For Christ's sake, Amen.

Hillsong's From the Inside Out:

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Ron Paul's Thoughts on the "Cash for Clunkers" Program

Ron Paul writes:

I have introduced a somewhat similar bill that would have provided a much better alternative to Cash for Clunkers because it does not rely on increased government bureaucracy or spending. My bill HR 1768 provides tax credits to people trading in used cars for new cars with better fuel economy. There is a big difference, in my mind, between letting people keep their own money versus giving them someone else’s. It is clear which one a free and fair society would choose. Not only that, but my bill would not have required working, serviceable cars to be destroyed for scrap metal. (Emphasis mine).
Read the entire commentary here: Cash for Clunkers: Artificial Boom and Environmental Disaster

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

U.S. Constitutional Convention Wasn't a Transparent Political Convention

Did you know that...
The Convention was assembled under false pretenses. (It was convened to amend the Articles of Confederation, not adopt a new document.)
All attendees took a vow of lifetime silence.
They held their meetings on the second floor: no eavesdroppers
The press was barred from attending.
The legislatures’ instructions were deliberately violated.
Imagine if such a political convention were held today?

Source: pgs. xx-xxi

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

'march into hell for a heavenly cause'

I just started reading Sen. Jim DeMint's new book Saving Freedom. In the acknowledgments, Sen. DeMint thanks his "dedicated staff that God gave me in Congressional and Senate offices. Their youthful energy and optimism inspired me to keep fighting even when I knew I was beaten. Their commitment to American and belief in freedom gave me the courage to 'march into hell for a heaven cause.'" (emphasis mine.)

Well said--our fight is for a heaven cause, our sight is set on things unseen, our journey is hard, but the reward is great.

In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this: you must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place oblige it to control itself. - James Madison, The Federalist 51

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Townhall Meeting with MO Sen. McCaskill's Aid on 7-27

Americans for Prosperity organized a townhall meeting MO Sen. McCaskill's aid yesterday night. The turnout was around 500 people! I hope that during the August recess that citizens across the country will take the time to attend townhall meetings in their area to voice their opposition to not only nationalizing American healthcare, but the thought-crimes legislation and Cap-&-Tax.

A soldier asked for an apology from the Senator for supporting nationalized healthcare, which isn't the Constitution she swore to uphold as part of her oath to office. Great comment about the general welfare clause...

Well said!

John Bubb and Steve Nowel, two Campaign for Liberty members, express their concerns about the nationalizing the distribution of health care in America in the beginning of this footage.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Not a Fan of Tiptoeing

All around you, people will be tiptoeing through life, just to arrive at death safely. But dear children, do not tiptoe. Run. Hop. Skip, Dance...just don't tiptoe. -Shane Claiborne

Moses...choosing rather to be mistreated with the people of God than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin. He considered the reproach of Christ greater wealth than the treasures of Egypt, for he was looking to the reward. Heb. 11:24-25

Where are the young men and women of this generation that will how their lives cheap? - John Piper

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Jesus: Captain of Our Salvation

As I was following footnote in my Bible this morning, I found a verse that didn't get:
10 For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain ["founder," ESV] of their salvation perfect through sufferings. (Hebrews 2, KJV)
It seems like this verse is saying that Jesus was made perfect through suffering. But this couldn't be if Jesus knew no sin (2 Cor. 5:21, Heb. 4:15) from the beginning (Jn. 1:2).

While I was reading Matthew Henry to understand this verse, I was encouraged by the KJV rendering of Greek word "Archegos" as "captain" rather than "founder" in the ESV.

Jesus leads us through the battle against temptation; he is our caption and he's got a winning a battle plan. Even more, it's through the battle against unbelief and sin that we are purified and perfected.

Matthew Henry writes:
[1.] In finding out such a person as should be the captain of our salvation; those that are saved must come to that salvation under the guidance of a captain and leader sufficient for that purpose; and they must be all enlisted under the banner of this captain; they must endure hardship as good soldiers of Christ; they must follow their captain, and those that do so shall be brought safely off, and shall inherit great glory and honour.

[2.] In making this captain of our salvation perfect through sufferings. God the Father made the Lord Jesus Christ the captain of our salvation (that is, he consecrated, he appointed him to that office, he gave him a commission for it), and he made him a perfect captain: he had perfection of wisdom, and courage, and strength, by the Spirit of the Lord, which he had without measure; he was made perfect through sufferings; that is, he perfected the work of our redemption by shedding his blood, and was thereby perfectly qualified to be a Mediator between God and man. He found his way to the crown by the cross, and so must his people too. The excellent Dr. Owen observes that the Lord Jesus Christ, being consecrated and perfected through suffering, has consecrated the way of suffering for all his followers to pass through unto glory; and hereby their sufferings are made necessary and unavoidable, they are hereby made honourable, useful, and profitable.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Mo. Sen. Purgason expected enter the GOP Primary for open U.S. Senate seat

State Sen. Chuck Purgason, who is term-limited, will join Cong. Blunt in GOP primary to replace Sen. Bond.

Both Blunt and Robin Carnahan have well over $1 million in their campaign coffers, according to the AP.

I'm not sure that Purgason can beat Carnahan in the general because of her high name recognition. (How is that we've become an aristocracy?) But then, I don't think Blunt, who voted for the first bailout, can either. While Robin Carnahan will likely vote like her brother Russ, who represents Missouri's 3rd District in Congress and has voted with Obama 100% of the time, she can portray herself "representing Missouri in Washington DC instead of representing DC in Missouri" because she's not currently in Congress. But so it goes with most campaign mumbo jumbo; it's not really about the people, it's about the Parties keeping power.

But it's nice that someone is courageous enough to stand up for taxpayers even if victory is a long shot.

Monday, July 20, 2009

"Healthcare is a good, not a right"

Ron Paul's weekly column opens with an important distinction between "goods" and rights."
Political philosopher Richard Weaver famously and correctly stated that ideas have consequences. Take for example ideas about rights versus goods. Natural law states that people have rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. A good is something you work for and earn. It might be a need, like food, but more “goods” seem to be becoming “rights” in our culture, and this has troubling consequences. It might seem harmless enough to decide that people have a right to things like education, employment, housing or healthcare. But if we look a little further into the consequences, we can see that the workings of the community and economy are thrown wildly off balance when people accept those ideas.

First of all, other people must pay for things like healthcare. Those people have bills to pay and families to support, just as you do. If there is a “right” to healthcare, you must force the providers of those goods, or others, to serve you.
What I think is the most disturbing about Obama's nationalize healthcare plan is that it is moving us towards the most inefficient possible why to distribute the "good" of healthcare.

A friend once said to me, "Healthcare shouldn't be about efficiency." I didn't know how to respond at the time. Now I'd say, "Of course it is. If it's not efficient, then less people get cared for. Isn't the whole point of the reform is that more people should have access to healthcare?"

Read Dr. Paul's entire column.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

What was your purpose in making that comment to me?

When someone makes a critical remark, what do you think is the best way to respond?

I think I'm going to start responding with a question like "What was your purpose in making that comment to me?"

What do you do when people make critical remarks to you?

Thursday, July 09, 2009

College Students Talk About Campus Activism at EFSummit09

Every year, Eagle Forum invites students to speak who have promoted a conservative message on their college campuses at the Collegian Summit.

Kevin DeAnna from American University gave a great speech about why he believes changing culture is as important as winning elections. He discussed how students must be actively promoting conservatism on campus and should not be deterred by protesters. He also encouraged conservatives not to accept the Left's narrative, their definitions. Conservatives should be on the offense rather than the defense: "campus is where you can make history." He suggested students read Saul Alinsky's Rules for Radicals.

Mary Daly from Norte Dame shared how a coalition of students worked together to oppose Obama speaking at the commencement last Spring.

Amie & Katie Kieffer shared about the difficulties they had sponsoring the conservative speaker Star Parker at U of St. Thomas. The students contacted local media to expose the administrators biased decision to block Parker from speaking.

Question from a student: why oppose keeping health records in a federal online database

Phyllis Schlafly responded to this question, but there is something I would have added if I were responding to this question.

As vaccinations for sexually transmitted diseases like HPV--which haven't been well tested--are mandated, I worry that as some students cannot attend public schools with out such vaccinations, citizens might not be able to renew driver's licenses or board planes.

This is only one example of how allowing the federal government to keep and access our health records would make it tempting to "encourage" citizens to get their vaccinations by excluding them from privileges like travel, driving, or something else.

Rep. Tom Price on Healthcare Reform

I finally connected to the internet to attempt "live blogging" from this year's Eagle Forum Collegians Summit at the Heritage Foundation in DC.

Rep. Tom Price from Georgia just finish talking about Healthcare Reform. He covered a lot but I think his best point is that there is a false dichotomy between letting insurance companies or the federal government provide our healthcare. What about putting the patient in charge!

The question

Rep. Price suggests that the federal government could provide some incentives to families and individuals through the tax code to purchase medical insurance among other comments.

He finished by saying that a fairly liberal health care reform bill will pass the U.S. House this session and it will be up to the U.S. Senate to defeat it.

Why calling a Constitutional Convention is like playing Russian Roulette with the Constitution

In-between speakers at the Collegians Summit, Phyllis Schlafly, president of Eagle Forum, took a few minutes to explain the why calling a Constitutional Convention is like playing Russian Roulette with the Constitution.

She covered a short history of previous attempts to call a Con Con to add a Balanced Budget Amendment, but the two big reasons that calling a another Constitutional Convention is a bad idea are:

1. The Likelihood of a Runaway Convention

Would the Constitutional Convention have a wide-open agenda in which any constitutional amendment could be considered, or even an entire substitute Constitution offered in place of our present one? Does Con Con provide the opportunity for those who would like to make major alterations in our government?

2. Liberal Delegates Controlling It
How would we elect the persons who would decide which amendments to consider, to propose to Congress and then the states? Nobody knows how the delegates would be selected, who would be eligible, or from what districts they would be chosen. Moreover, it's like that the Democratic majority in Congress would play a large part in that deciding that process.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Doing the Impossible: Removing the "hazards and vicissitudes" of Life

My roommate subscribes to Time magazine, and why I let that magazine distract me, I don't know.

Distraction #1 - an article on FDR:
It's old news that F.D.R.'s New Deal did not end the Depression. On that score, there was little difference between Roosevelt and Herbert Hoover.
Ok, maybe the White House needs a copy of this week's Time magazine. I don't think it's old news since nationalization of banking and the car industry, bailouts, Cap & Trade, and National Health Care will be our generation's "New Deal" and is being sold as THE solution to our problems. That's why we needed to pass these solutions right away--even before anyone reads them. (And why isn't there a name for it yet? Maybe, "Our Turn, Our Deal"...)
But unlike Hoover, F.D.R. seized the occasion to shape a legacy of durable reforms. For that accomplishment — along with winning World War II — historians routinely rank him among the greatest Presidents.
Ah ha, so today's bailouts are not about reviving our dead economy, but about "durable" reforms. They why all the hype to pass this urgent legislation?
...F.D.R.'s greatest achievements came later. Their essence can be summed up in a single word: security.
But how safe did FDR make us? Our economy tanked again--this isn't the first time--and there are still citizens are still that qualify as being in poverty. Social security is nothing more than a ponzi scheme.
All the major New Deal reforms that endured had a common purpose: not simply to end the immediate crisis of the Depression but also to make America in the future a less risky place, to temper for generations thereafter what F.D.R. called the "hazards and vicissitudes" of life.
The only value of this article is makes FDR's political philosophy crystal clear: the federal government should play all-provident God.

That is, it is impossible to remove the "hazards and vicissitudes" of life unless you're God.

In an inaugural address in Jan. 20, 1937, he said:
Such symptoms of prosperity may become portents of disaster! I see one-third of a nation ill housed, ill clad, ill nourished.
Time's interpretation:
The address in its entirety makes it clear that when he spoke of that "one-third of a nation," F.D.R. was not referring primarily to the victims of the Great Depression, which he thought was ending. He was speaking, rather, about the accumulated social and human deficits spawned by more than a century of buccaneering, laissez-faire American capitalism — deficits that he considered not yet fully redeemed in 1937.
Free markets--deciding who you want to sell to, how much you want to produce and what to charge--leads to freedom, not disaster. Disaster comes through regulated markets, which is why there are was a crash in 1929--the government mandated how much farmers could produce and how much to charges for their products, as well as enacting other types of regulation.

Why don't we hold hearings to review why the Federal government has not kept us safe from the "hazards and vicissitudes" of life? For that matter, shouldn't we be able to sue the Federal government for any and every loss? Wouldn't this be the end conclusion of FDR's line of reasoning?

But this is all old news.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

True Woman Conference 2010

I'm not sure that I'll be able to go to any of the 2010 True Woman conferences, but I find the below video deeply encouraging. To think that there is a movement of women who desire to reflect a biblical view of womanhood leaves me hopeful for the future. Strong families depend upon strong women and men who desire to see God glorified in their lives and families.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Real Women Worry Not

Candance Parker's perspective on being a successful woman basketball player reminds me of Phyllis Schlafly's attitude about how real women work hard to perfect their talents and worry not about how they measure up against men.

Excerpts from Time Magazine interview with Candance Parker, WNBA MVP:

Growing up playing basketball, did you ever have to deal with negative or sexist comments? Minnesa Khan, JAMAICA, N.Y.

I never really had to. When I would go to the park, maybe initially they would be like, She's a girl, she can't play. But then the next time, they were picking me first for their team. Let your actions speak for themselves. Don't worry about what everybody else is saying. Just concentrate on playing basketball and embrace being a woman and being in sports.

Do you think they should create coed-league sports on a professional level? Luke Denker, BELTON, MO.

I don't think it's necessary. I think it's neat that women play our game. Obviously, the strength of men--I really don't feel like we could play in a professional league with them. I think it's great that young girls have the WNBA to look up to now.

How are you doing with your new daughter? Has your coach at Tennessee, Pat Summitt, started recruiting her yet? Brenda Goodman JOHNSON CITY, TENN.

When I first told Coach Summitt that I was pregnant, she was like, Where can we send the papers? I had to remind her that my husband [Minnesota Timberwolves forward Shelden Williams] went to Duke, so he's pushing for her to go there. But I'm doing great. My baby is the joy in my life. Obviously, I'm suffering from lack of sleep, but it truly is a blessing to be a mother.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Piper: Why I Don't Have a Television and Rarely Go to Movies

The quotation below is from an article by John Piper blog on the relevance of TV and being relevant in our culture. While this is an area for each to examine for oneself, I've found that while I often can't talk to someone about the latest movie release or who's broken up with who on the Hills, I can relate as a human to other humans who live in a broken, lonely world.

Piper writes,

"I think relevance in preaching hangs very little on watching movies, and I think that much exposure to sensuality, banality, and God-absent entertainment does more to deaden our capacities for joy in Jesus than it does to make us spiritually powerful in the lives of the living dead. Sources of spiritual power—which are what we desperately need—are not in the cinema. You will not want your biographer to write: Prick him and he bleeds movies.

If you want to be relevant, say, for prostitutes, don’t watch a movie with a lot of tumbles in a brothel. Immerse yourself in the gospel, which is tailor-made for prostitutes; then watch Jesus deal with them in the Bible; then go find a prostitute and talk to her. Listen to her, not the movie. Being entertained by sin does not increase compassion for sinners.

There are, perhaps, a few extraordinary men who can watch action-packed, suspenseful, sexually explicit films and come away more godly. But there are not many. And I am certainly not one of them" (emphasis mine).

The quote is taken out of the context of another pastor suggesting that Christians should watch more movies to be relevant. I think this comes down to discernment of which movies are helpful, but the heart of the issue I think has less to do with watching more or less, but seeking those things to do that give life not death to our souls. Dead souls can't lead people to Christ.

And I am much like Piper. Maybe some can let trash in, and good comes out, but it doesn't seem to work so well for me.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Who are you connected to?

"A healthy community is built on friendship, on people who are committed to the art of caring engagement, an art that only the gospel makes possible in its riches form. It is built on shepherding, on people committed to the art of mentoring or passing along hope. Shepherds are simply older friends whose experience allows them to give hope that whatever is happening can be well survived." Larry Crabb, Connecting: A Radical New Vision

"The next best thing to being wise oneself is to live in a circle of those who are." - C.S. Lewis

There are different levels of connection. I often reflect upon how I'm engaging people in my life. I constantly sense a lot of selfishness behind why and how I connect or don't connect with people. I often find my own pursuits more exciting or interesting than pursuing relationships with others because meaningful connection and "caring engagement" takes time. It means bearing the burdens of others with grace, which means more time praying. It means being willing to be wrong even when you think your right, which means giving up of oneself.

Paul described level of connection with the Philippian church as being "poured out as a drink offering" for their sake (2:17). He did it with joy.

That's where I find the desire to connect with others: joy. Paul writes that his joy will be complete by "being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind" (2:2). How do we come to be of the same mind? In part, giving up of self and engaging one another in deeper way than merely going to the same church or rooting for the same sports teams.

I often struggle in social situations because I don't really care so much about where people work but why they want to work where to do. I want to the passions that inspire people to get up everyday. Or maybe what lack of passion that keeps them in bed. But who talks about that kinda stuff?

I have a hard time finding any satisfaction in surface level contact that avoids all points that might create disruption--like politics and theology. Or maybe I just like to argue. Maybe that's why I don't connect sometimes: I'm always right and people can't handle that. ; )

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

How Far Down the Road?

The Eagle Forum Education Center—where I work—houses tons of books. So many that we are starting to throw some away. Sure, this sounds like heresy, but there is no market for some books written about politics 30 - 40 years ago by relatively unknown authors.

Searching through some boxes before they head off to book heaven, I found a book titled How Far Down the Road? by Edward R. Sneed under the 1055-page tome Moscow Bound: Policy, Politics and the POW/MIA Dilemma by John M.G. Brown and Pat Buchanan's 1990 book, Right From the Beginning.

How Far Down the Road? was written in 1961. Yes, in 1961 some people were asking the same questions and digging in their heels to slow the move towards socialism. I frequently find books condemning out-of-control spending (spending has never been so high!) and immorality (it's never been this bad) in paper back volumes with questions for titles.

It's humbling to realize that we are fighting a battle that's been raging not since the 1960s—choosing between Goldwater and Johnson—not since the 1930s—the beginnings of federal government as a safety net—not since the American Revolution—“taxation without representation"—but since the beginning: what's the proper role of the individual, family, church, and civil government in society.

We don't need more books about this. We need the strength and conviction to live out what we want to write books about.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

"Everyone guessed wrong."

"Everyone guessed wrong." -Joe Biden, acknowledging that the Administration's $787 billion economic-stimulus plan has failed to reduce the unemployment rate

Found in Time Magazine, June 29, 2009

No. I don't believe this. The hope I have in government is for what is not seen. Even if the unemployment rate is the same, $787 billion must have done something good! Something to be hoped in, right?

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Twitter: Another Way to Glorify God

John Piper's recent blog post and how and why he is tweeting is worth reading because he get's to deeper truth about why we do anything, including "tweeting": “All things were created through Christ and for Christ” (Colossians 1:16).

Piper writes:

"I see two kinds of response to social Internet media like blogging, MySpace, Facebook, Twitter, and others.

One says: These media tend to shorten attention spans, weaken discursive reasoning, lure people away from Scripture and prayer, disembody relationships, feed the fires of narcissism, cater to the craving for attention, fill the world with drivel, shrink the soul’s capacity for greatness, and make us second-handers who comment on life when we ought to be living it. So boycott them and write books (not blogs) about the problem.

The other response says: Yes, there is truth in all of that, but instead of boycotting, try to fill these media with as much provocative, reasonable, Bible-saturated, prayerful, relational, Christ-exalting, truth-driven, serious, creative pointers to true greatness as you can."


Read the rest of his post to find out why he is "leaning" towards using twitter more, not "leaping."

He's your Lord. He's your Savior. But is He your Treasure?


4. Resolved, never to do any manner of thing, whether in soul or body, less or more, but what tends to the glory of God; nor be, nor suffer it, if I can avoid it.

The Don't Waste Your Life Tour is using this video this summer to kick off each concert.

Friday, June 12, 2009


Jonathan Edwards wrote 71 resolutions to read each week he was 19. To imagine that someone at 19 would be set such a high standard for this life humbles me.

Here are a few that challenged me. (I wanted to copy and paste whole list, but if you're truly interested in being challenged, you can click the link.)

6. Resolved, to live with all my might, while I do live.

15. Resolved, never to suffer the least motions of anger towards irrational beings.

17. Resolved, that I will live so, as I shall wish I had done when I come to die.

67. Resolved, after afflictions, to inquire, what I am the better for them, what am I the better for them, and what I might have got by them.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

What We Don't Say

Sometimes it's more important to think about what people don't say than what they do.

Newt Gingrich made the following comment during a speech at a big Republican fundraiser. CNN quotes Gingrich as saying:
"I am happy that Dick Cheney is a Republican," he said. "I am also happy that Colin Powell is a Republican. A majority Republican Party will have lots of debates within the party. That is the nature of majorities."
Why didn't Gingrich mention the moderates like Cheney and Powell but not libertarians like Ron Paul? Is the party open for debates only about why we should be more moderate but ignore the raging debate about why we should be more dedicated to capitalism? or non-interventionist foreign policy? or a conservative monetary policy?

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Quotes that Made Me Think Recently

"We know each other by our stories." - Doug Merkey, Churches for Life

Someone once said that your humility can be measured by how quickly you admit you are wrong. -Leslie Ludy, Noble Beauty

"Be effective where you are at. Endure. Persevere." ~ co-worker Deb

"You might want to leave legacy, but you got think about what God's plan is for your life, not your plan for your life." - HS

"It goes back to sin." ~ co-worker Deb

"Your friends determine the direction and quality of your life." -Andy Stanley Leadership Podcast "Effective Communication"

"If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their currency, first by inflation, then by deflation, the banks and the corporations which grow up around them will deprive the people of all property until their children wake up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered." -Thomas Jefferson

Friday, June 05, 2009

What Makes Women Happy?

I came across a post by Greg Mankiw linked to a study by Betsey Stevenson and Justin Wolfers a couple weeks back but didn't have time to post...probably sent it out as a "tweet."
The Paradox of Declining Female Happiness
By many objective measures the lives of women in the United States have improved over the past 35 years, yet we show that measures of subjective well-being indicate that women's happiness has declined both absolutely and relative to men. The paradox of women's declining relative well-being is found across various datasets, measures of subjective well-being, and is pervasive across demographic groups and industrialized countries. Relative declines in female happiness have eroded a gender gap in happiness in which women in the 1970s typically reported higher subjective well-being than did men. These declines have continued and a new gender gap is emerging -- one with higher subjective well-being for men.
To me, it doesn't seem that surprising that a study would show worldly success doesn't always bring substantive happiness along with it. Even if in life, we do along with the lie.

While this study may shows that the feminists were wrong to suggest that women could find true happiness if they achieved the same success in the workforce as men, I don't think that men achieve happiness and fulfillment through material successes any more or less than women do.


Friday, May 29, 2009

political rant about fear-driven politics

I'm tired of what I like to call "fear-driven" politics, which is simply politicians acting like it's the end of the world if we don't do something right now.

Boston Globe article (google it because I'm not linking to it) this morning:

"In a call from Air Force One as he returned from a western fund-raising swing, Obama said that if Congress doesn't pass a healthcare overhaul this year, the opportunity will be lost, perhaps forever."

Yes, if we don't pass nationalized healthcare right now the Republicans...err...anti-healthcare forces have won--forever--on this topic. If only it were that easy. Oh, if only it were that easy.

And of course I concede that, yes, Republicans use the same fear-driven antics too. But I suppose I find it ironic that Obama said that he was about hope, not fear. Why isn't he more hopeful about "healthcare overhaul"?

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Is there room on college campuses for male advocacy groups?

What started as satirical article in University of Chicago's The Chicago Maroon quickly inspired the first male-student-advocacy group in the country.

Third-year student Steven Saltarelli, author of the article and founded of the club Men in Power, noticed that there were 11 women’s advocacy groups but no men's groups on campus.

Ali Feenstra, a fourth-year student and member of the Feminist Majority club, opposes the idea that men need their own club. Students need "to think about the reason for the creation of female-only spaces, queer-only spaces, an independent reason why people might need to go there to feel safe,” she said. “It can’t just be ‘Because it exists for women, it should exist for men.’”

But why not? Don't feminists argue that because men are presidents of companies, women should be too?

Saltarelli isn't alone on his campus, as 25 other students attended the first meeting, and he's not alone in recognizing that being born male doesn't mean instant success. Studies predict that men will become more and more of minority on college campuses and statistics showing that “men have far higher instances of suicide and drug use than women” to support a group dedicated to raising awareness about men's issues.

Roy F. Baumeister, a social psychology professor at Florida State University, observes that "a few lucky men are at the top of society and enjoy the culture’s best rewards. Others, less fortunate, have their lives chewed up by it," in an article he wrote titled, "Is There Anything Good About Men?"

Men in Power was highlighted recently in a Chicago Tribune article and is on Facebook.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Are Impartial Judgments Possible?

What do you think about the following quote:

“I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn’t lived that life.”

The New York Times included the above quote from Judge Sotomayor, who's Obama's current choice from the Supreme Court vacancy in article today.

Does ethnicity or gender affect our judgments? Do our experiences trap us in a box that makes it impossible to make impartial judgments?

How to we know if our conclusions are better? Maybe our experiences give us tunnel vision and help us justify our opinions and beliefs and conclude that our decisions are better.

What about white men who've grown up in poverty. Would they have better discernment skills than those who did not?

What are the implications of this quote?

Monday, May 25, 2009

'Pray it won't fade away'

Searching fulfillment and satisfaction consumes our lives. When we find it, or think we've find it, we might pray, as Beyonce does in her song "Halo," that it would never "fade away."

She sings about a man who is her "saving grace." This man inspires sensations that make her feel like she's "been awakened" that are all consuming: "You're everything I need and more."

She views her whole world through her "angel." He lightens the dark areas of her life and she "addicted" to him.

She's got no more worries or fears.

Beyonce's song "Halo" exposes how it's all to easy to enthrone mere humans on the throne of our hearts and let them rule our emotions.

The problem with idols, especially human ones, is that they can't deliver. Relationships, especially sexual relationships, can't take the place of God in our lives because they will eventually fail us in every way. Even with the greatest of intentions, people hurt us as they pursue self-fulfillment in their lives. The temporary feelings will fade and leave us empty, possibly more empty than before meeting our false "savior."

When we feel the bitter sting of reality, we can either question whether the "fleeting pleasures of sin" are worth it or pray that our senses are dulled to allow the fleeting pleasures to satisfy us.

Beyonce's song "If I were a Boy" reveals the bitterness that results from lifting up broken people in undeserving ways.

Beyonce's songs "Halo" and "If I Were A Boy" show different sides of sensual love; both views miss the mark but highlight people cannot satisfy the deepest longings of our souls.

Let us fix our eyes on a love that's greater than sensual love. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God (Heb. 12:2).

Let him captivate you with a love that will never fail or fade.

Edited on 6/3/09

Saturday, May 23, 2009

God speaks even in the "flat" times.

God speaks to me when I ride my bike.

While riding my bike one brisk morning, God reminded me on Creve Coeur Mills Rd.--a flat road--that life has got its high, low, and flat times.* The "flat" times, our daily walk, are good for building good habits.

In the flat times, I'd say, we are neither in despair, struggling to keep up our heads, nor over joyed, full to the brim with happiness; we are putting one foot in front. I don't think this time can be categorized as the "valley" because we have our needs met; we don't have too much or too little. Boredom is the great temptation, as the grass-is-greener-on-the-other-side mirage will dazzle us if we lose our focus.

On a bike, speed and cadence generally remain stable on a flat road. It's not as hard as peddling up hill and it's not as easy as letting hills carry you, but you've got to keep peddling or you'll fall over. While in training, flat roads are great places to build endurance by holding a consistent, moderately fast (70-80%) pace. The goal of training being to ride faster for longer.

In this life, God calls his children to walk worth of the great call on their lives (Eph. 4:1), which requires learning to put off the old "self" and to put on the new "self" (Eph. 4:17-23). In other words, our focus is learning to respond to the good urges** and kill the bad ones (Crabb).

The punch line from my short conversation with God: I'm to work towards consistency in responding to the good urges, which is best cultivated in "flat" times. Even more, I need to daily set aside time for prayer, Bible reading, and meeting with others for mutual encouragement to develop habits that will help me sprint out of the valleys, coast along the hills tops and endure to end of the ride.

*Ok, so I don't know if one can really say that these are cut and dry "seasons" of our lives, or more specifically, my life. Maybe these times can someone over lap. I'm merely using these terms "high," "low," and "flat" to describe feelings that I have at different times in my life.

**The good urges come from the new heart gives to those who repent and rely on God (Acts 4:12, Acts 26:20, Ezek. 36:26-27).

Crabb, Larry. "Connection: A Radical New Vision." Crabb writes: "The center of a biblical theory of personality is the idea of two sets of urges within us, good passions and bad passions, bad passions that exist because of the fall, good ones that are reliably present under the new covenant. God deals with our bad passions and good passions in a way we are expected to imitate; connecting with another Christian involves doing for each other, as we struggle with our internal civil war, what God does" (73).

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Should Republicans Worry About Small "l" Libertarians?

There are many streams within the Republican Party and within conservatism; some good, some bad.

Reagan said, "I believe the very heart and soul of conservatism is libertarianism," during an interview with Reason magazine in July 1975.

Ron Paul represents the movement within conservationism and the Republican Party to remember government will never be the solution to our problems.

"I don’t believe in a government that protects us from ourselves," said Reagan.

Gov. Mark Sandford: "Liberty is the hallmark of the American experiment."

Sen. Lindsay Graham's "almost pejorative" comment...

I'm excited about a discussion at 2009 Eagle Forum Collegian Summit that will look at which way the Republican Party should be heading: towards government interference or less so.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Conservatives, Let's Get Creative—Online

Most people have good ideas. Few people implement.

What are some of the barriers to implementation?

And why does it seem like the government-solution oriented people are producing more creative media online than those who recognizes the inherent problems of government intervention?


Environmentalist activist Annie Leonard’s 20-minute video attacking capitalism called “Story of Stuff” is being viewed by kids in classrooms across our country and around the world in addition to getting millions of hits on YouTube despite it's misleading data and false logic. Why? Because it's wonderfully creative, funny and connects to a basic human value: we should treat others as we would want to be treated.

But Marxists don't have a monopoly on creatively, humor or understanding the power of connection.

We're the one's who believe producing, as oppose to believing wealth grows on trees, is essential to survival right?

Nice example of a creative use for media:

Maybe the title of my blog post should be, "Conservatives, Let's Implement."