ornament 19 August 2004 ornament

How Would Jesus Vote?

If Jesus were voting in November, for whom would he punch his chad? John Kerry—whose faith has “given him values to live by,” or George Bush—of whom Jesus is his favorite philosopher? A recent conference held by the Texas Faith Network attempted to answer this question. As you can imagine, the results were mixed.

In part, the question is as ludicrous as any other “WWJD” question. No human can put himself in the place of God and presume to make his decisions. The best we can do is to observe Jesus’ patterns of behavior in the Bible and put forth an educated guess.

In part, I agree with dogman’s assessment over at The Rough Woodsman blog:

It’s safe to conclude that Jesus wouldn’t be stumping for Bush or Kerry. However, he’d speak out on issues. If He – like Mother Teresa in 1984 – were asked to speak at the national prayer breakfast, He would surely state that, “My Father is the Creator of life, please stop destroying His creation. Also, could I please get a little more of that Italian roast, it’s pretty tasty.”

If Jesus is, after all, the King of Kings, why would he vote for anyone lesser?

Such answers may suffice, but let me offer a different take: Jesus would vote for the winner. Let’s just look at the Sovereign Lord’s track record in the past seven elections:

1976 Jimmy Carter, (W)
1980 Ronald Reagan, (W)
1984 Ronald Reagan, (W)
1988 George H. W. Bush, (W)
1992 William J. Clinton, (W)
1996 William J. Clinton, (W)
2000 George W. Bush, (W)

In the last seven elections, Christ has chosen the winner to be America’s leader. Does this mean that my 1996 vote for Dole was wrong? No. It just means that however this thing turns out, we can be thankful that there’s someone much more adept at the helm than anyone the Democrats or even the Republicans can offer.

What this doesn’t mean, however, is that we can simply shirk responsibility for how we vote.

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ornament 18 August 2004 ornament

Strength Behind the Scenes

Ben Stein writes a “letter to a soldier’s wife” in today’s WSJ:

And [military wives] keep up the fight to keep the family whole even when they feel a lump of dread every time they turn on the news, every time they switch on the computer, every time the phone rings and every time — worst of all — the doorbell rings. Every one of those events — which might mean a baseball score or a weather forecast or a FedEx man to me and my wife — might mean the news that the man they love, the man they have married for better or worse, for richer and for poorer, in sickness and in health, is now parted from them forever.

These women will never be on the cover of People. They will never be on the tabloid shows on TV about movie stars. But they are the power and the strength that keep America going. Without them, we are nothing at all. With them, we can do everything.

They are the glue that holds the nation together, stronger than politicians, stronger than talking heads, stronger than al Qaeda.

They deserve all the honor and love a nation can give. They have my prayers, and my wife’s, every morning and every night.

I couldn’t agree more.

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ornament 17 August 2004 ornament

A Wealth of Wisdom

Touchstone magazine, “A Journal of Mere Christianity,” has now put its achives online! So much for cutting back on my online reading—there is enough thoughtful material in Touchstone’s achives to last a while.

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John Kerry: Accept no Hermaphrodites

Sen. Kerry’s recent GQ interview included describing the qualities a man should look for in a woman. Among the traits that Kerry looks for is that she must be a full woman:

Sense of womanhood. Full woman. Confident. It’s a woman who loves being a woman. Who wears her womanhood.

Generally, this is good advice. But where does this leave the trans-gendered movement in regard to Kerry’s campaign?

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Why All the Fuss?

The inner struggles of a person, with all their intricacies, tend to be handled in one of two ways by today’s theraputic culture. Either a person divulges without exception everything that is going on inside in an attempt to purge the demons that haunt them (demons usually from their childhood—not hell), or they simply leave the problems of the inner life behind and “move on” with life.

In a recent article on Hawthorne, professor Wilfred M. McClay finds that his students don’t quite get what the big deal is with all the inner stuggles that occur in a book like The Scarlet Letter:

BUT WHAT THEY CAN’T COMPREHEND is what all the fuss is about–why Dimmesdale felt so guilty, why he couldn’t confess, why what he and Hester did was in fact a grievous sin, why our sins and the sins of our forebears are inseparable from who we are, why those sins must be paid for, why it is almost impossible to pay for them fully, and yet why sins that remain unacknowledged and unconfessed and unpaid will surely destroy our souls. The central premise in Hawthorne’s imaginative world–his insistence that the weight of the sinful human past, in one’s own life, in the life of one’s family, and in the life of one’s city and country, can never be denied or wished away–is completely lost on a generation raised on smug therapeutic platitudes.

Part of out society’s numbness to God and his dominion is that we as a people have become numb to almost anything that goes on in our inner lives. We’re so lazy when it comes to contemplative thought that we push it off to tackle at a later time. We often “move on” and “get over” things too quickly, leaving us free to deal with our many distractions.

Perhaps he would all be wise to heed Qohelet, and remember our Creator in the days of our youth. If we do not, we will distract ourselves into forgetting who we ever really were.

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ornament 16 August 2004 ornament

Nosing Around in the Backyard

Some presidents of the United States will always be remembered by history. Whether remembered favorably or unfavorably, certain presidents’ mere names are landmarks in our country’s history. Zachary Taylor is not one of these presidents.

Grave of President Zachary Taylor

A hero of the War of 1812 and several subsequent skirmishes, President Zachary Taylor held office only a year and two months—he died in office of acute indigestion. While he’ll never have the name recognition of Lincoln, Washington, Roosevelt (take your pick), Adams, or Jefferson, he does have the dubious honor of being buried just a couple of miles from where I live.

I took my wife to the Zachary Taylor National Cemetery last weekend to pay homage to “Old Rough and Ready,” as he was called (as you can see, I’m quite the romantic…). You never know what’s in your backyard until you go snooping around. What national treasures are in your backyard?

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ornament 14 August 2004 ornament

But The Wings Are So Good…

Did you ever meet somebody who read Playboy magazine “for the articles?” Sure you have—it’s a pretty standard line that’s used by anyone who wants to maintain a semblance of purity while shirking its substance. Likewise, the standard excuse for going to a Hooters restaurant is “their wings are so good.” It’s interesting that I’ve never found a female who liked Hooters’ wings…

Now men in Atlanta have a new excuse to go to Hooters: Bible study. No, I’m not kidding. A Christian group called Single Focus Atlanta now has regular Bible study meeting at Hooters:

Voices hush around the patio table as Rick Lamborn poses his first discussion question during a Christian youth group meeting at a popular restaurant.

Rick Lamborn, center, director of Single Focus Atlanta, with Hooters servers Heather Madison, left, and Erika Goepfert during a Bible study session that met at the restaurant in Kennesaw, Ga., in July.
The topic this night is consistent relationships, and Lamborn begins by asking the college-age group, “How does inconsistency negatively affect your relationships with others?”

As responses sprinkle in, a blonde in a tight white tank top and orange hot pants quietly scoots up to the table. She joins the discussion for a few minutes then has to scurry back to her boisterous customers inside.

From the photo in the article, it’s hard to tell just which passage of Scripture Rick Lamborn’s eyes are focused on—perhaps Song of Solomon 4:5:

Your two breasts are like two fawns,
twins of a gazelle,
that graze among the lilies.

That’s gotta be it. It’s hard to believe that this is real, and not satire. The whole concept is so patently absurd that I’m at loss for words to comment on it. Sometimes it’s best to let absurdity speak for itself, so read the whole thing.

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ornament 13 August 2004 ornament

Good Stuff

If one reads enough blogs and editorials, one might come away with the impression that there is nothing good at all going on in the world. In some respects it is true, as sin has affected every part of the world in which we live. But is it all bad? After all, God created his world good—so there must be something good going on, right?

Gideon Strauss, editor of the online journal Comment, has written a piece called “Ten Good Things,” in which he delineates ten good things that he sees going on in our culture. Strauss, who runs an excellent blog himself, sees among the good elements such things as blogging, the present generation of teens, and new traditional music. The article is well worth a look—it’s good to be reminded that God is at work in the world in spite of us. As Strauss says,

The goodness of the world is something that Christians and Jews have always confessed. The great story that shapes our understanding of the world begins with God creating all things, and declaring each kind of creature – day and night, earth and sea, plants and animals, and human beings – to be good, even very good. While this original goodness has been substantially spoiled, much that is good remains because of God’s sustaining common grace, in the natural world but very much also in human culture.


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ornament 12 August 2004 ornament

Gov. James McGreevey: The Gay American

Politicians who fail morally should give up the “fall on the sword” speech. I’ve yet to see one truly repent of their moral failings without trying to make a hero out of themselves. New Jersey Governor James McGreevey’s speech today was no exception. The only sword he fell on was a rubber one that bent under the weight of his great unveiling. McGreevey’s revelations? He’s a gay American, and—by the way—he also had an extra-marital affair with a man.

After giving the stock “coming out” speech (where the person acknowledges that “there was always something different about me…”), McGreevey launched into a bizzare apologetic for his behavior:

Which master was I trying to serve?

I do not believe that God tortures any person simply for its own sake. I believe that God enables all things to work for the greater good. And this, the 47th year of my life, is arguably too late to have this discussion. But it is here, and it is now.

At a point in every person’s life, one has to look deeply into the mirror of one’s soul and decide one’s unique truth in the world, not as we may want to see it or hope to see it, but as it is.

And so my truth is that I am a gay American.

Cloaked in biblical language, Mc Greevey—who paraded his wife to the lectern with him—attempts to align his struggle with truth. The problem, however, is revealed in his speech. Notice how he says that he must look into his soul and decide his own unique truth. In McGreevey’s mind, truth is whatever one decides it to be.

The irony which is so tragic for the governor is that truth is far above and independent of a person and his decisions. McGreevey, like so many other politicians with moral failings, knows all too well which master he is serving—himself.

McGreevey will undoubtedly be lauded as a hero by the homosexualist left for this bold step he has taken. And why not? This is the way McGreeley has positioned himself with this speech of contrition that was so strikingly devoid of the contrite. I imagine we’ll be seeing McGreeley again—because like the rubber sword he fell on today, he’ll be sure to bounce back.

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ornament 10 August 2004 ornament

Monitor Lizards

While I agree with others in the blogosphere in being outraged that OSCE inspectors monitors will be present for the November elections (at the invitation of Colin Powell), I think we should keep things in perspective. After all, what will the OSCE do if they find anything amiss? What can they do?

A European alliance has no sovereignty over the Constitution, at least not according to the Constitution—with federal judges citing international law these days, who knows if the Constitution will even be evoked in federal law these days?

What is likely to happen if the inspectors (oops, I did it again!) monitors find something is that they will do…nothing. Super-satirist Scrappleface has the best take:

Hans Blix, the former chief weapons inspector for the United Nations, has agreed to serve as chief monitor of U.S. elections on behalf of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), however Mr. Blix said he needs more time to do the job right.

“November is just around the corner,” said Mr. Blix, , “My European team will need much more time than that to be ready. We’ll need six-to-nine months just to discover if there are, in fact, elections in the United States.”

Yep, the full strength and resolve of a European coalition will be upon us if there is left so much as a hanging chad. I can already see Jacques Chirac inspecting ballots. Democrats and Republicans alike should be concerned at this—we didn’t spill blood for our freedom only to give it away.

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