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Musings

Reality in an Unreal Election

by on Nov.05, 2016, under Faith in the Public Square, Musings

Some days reality is harder to face than others. Tuesday will be such a day. For the reality is that we must choose between two horribly-flawed candidates. Neither has demonstrated the honor or character that should be required of a President. But the reality is that one of them will be, like it or not. To vote for either should be an extremely difficult thing to do but a vote must be cast nonetheless.
Yet here is another reality – our vote will also decide who is sworn in as Vice President; who will fill the Cabinet Secretary positions; who will have a hand in deciding and implementing crucial policies throughout our government. Our vote will move the Supreme Court in one direction or another, and lower federal courts as well. That reality brings greater clarity and, for me, makes the choice easier to make.
A vote for she who pledges to continue the present course means more of what we now have. The names and personalities of Cabinet officials and their deputies may change, but the ideological bent of the newcomers will not. And I judge the ideologies of the current government to be a grave threat.
A vote for he who seems unable to get over himself at least comes with this promise: he picked a good and decent man to run with him. That gives me hope that others selected to fill important roles in the executive and judicial branches will be women and men of equal integrity and character.
So the reality is that my vote is not a choice to fill one position, but thousands. And that is why and how I will cast my ballot. And I will pray this sad chapter of American politics is not soon repeated.

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Healing Tears

by on Feb.15, 2015, under Musings

This nation needs to come together with tears. Our leaders – and we – must see our lack of answers and even our inability to ask the right questions. We are prisoners of our arrogance and if we don’t discover genuine humility, soon, we are lost. Healing will come in tears.

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Scott Walker, Democrats, Media & Evolution

by on Feb.14, 2015, under Musings

Part of this week’s “news cycle” was the “gotcha” question to Scott Walker about whether he believes in evolution. Citing the irrelevance of the question Gov. Walker passed. Here’s a suggested answer: Evolution is a belief system that seems to be more comfortable for the democrat party. It presupposes a closed system, dismisses God at the outset, ignores evidence of intelligent design, makes no room for plan or purpose, and disregards the scientific reality that things tend to get worse not better when left on their own. That pretty much forms much of their platform and explains why I’m a republican.

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A People at Risk

by on Oct.04, 2014, under Musings

There is Truth and there is Spin. The Truth is always our friend, even when it makes us uncomfortable and we don’t want to face it. Making good life decisions is not possible if they are not based on a foundation of Truth.
Spin is the fabrication of falsehoods, even when it contains tiny threads of things that may be true. Spin sets out to confuse and deceive, often for the purpose of holding on to political power. Decisions formed in the influence of Spin will not produce lasting positive results.
We are a people at risk. The Masters of Spin are working hard to disguise what is True with what they want us to believe. The question is: will we let them? Will we demand Truth or embrace Falsehoods? Our future rests on our answer.

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Profiles in Cowardice

by on Sep.07, 2014, under Musings

Remember John F. Kennedy’s book Profiles in Courage? What we are seeing out of Washington now is anything but. When politicians are afraid to go on the record in the days before an election, because they fear the consequences that will be handed down by citizens at the ballot box, it is more like profiles in cowardice. Worse, it is a deliberate attempt to subvert the proper functioning of a representative democracy. Elected officials should not be considered a ruling class; they should function as stewards acting for the will of the people. And when those stewards overrule the people they should be willing to do so on the record and accept the consequences. Delaying executive actions or votes on key legislation until there is no impact on incumbents is not what should occur in a healthy constitutional republic. It is evidence of a fundamental transformation that bodes ill for the future of America.

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Elections Matter

by on Sep.03, 2011, under Musings

America’s greatness doesn’t flow from its government; it flows from its form of government. The 2008 Election promised a fundamental transformation of America. It was one campaign promise that, sadly, has been kept. The continuing economic slide is hastened by ever-increasing, costly, and ideological regulations – and the ominous threat of legislation by Executive Order. The stage is set for a 2012 Election where the battle will be less about candidates and parties than about whether constitutional boundaries will be ignored or respected. It will be a watershed election.

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It’ll Never Happen to Me

by on Mar.21, 2009, under Musings

Until it does. The Nurse Practitioner removed part of the lesion for biopsy yesterday, and the waiting began. I’m not really worried because I’ve had other encounters with the consequences of a lifetime under the California sun. Odds are that it’s a basal cell or maybe a slightly more serious squamous. No problem, and yet ….

It’s times like this that get us thinking. Sure, we know that bad things are happening all around us. Cancer. Drunk drivers. A toddler left unwatched for just a moment. But life experience for most is surprisingly free of tragedies with permanent consequences. Our earliest encounters with pain or sickness ended well. Mommy kissed the skinned elbow and “made it all better.” The foul-tasting syrup or shot at the doctor’s office took care of the problem. Life went on. Certainly not problem or pain-free, but life goes on. Intellectually we know that something terribly bad could happen but our inner self has convinced us: it’ll never happen to me.

Then we discover a lump, a shadow appears on the x-ray, or the doctor asks to see us instead of a nurse sharing the expected news over the phone. Just like that life changes. Healing kisses don’t work and neither do all the treatments of modern medicine. Broken hearts struggle with haunting memories and what ifs. Christians unite in prayer for healing. But nothing changes.

We see others touched but not us. Why Lord? is our constant companion, and invitations for prayer and healing are seen not as times of expectancy but disappointment. It’ll never happen to me remains a part of us but takes on a whole new meaning.

What do we do then? How do we live when hope is gone?

The book of Mark tells the story of a woman who – and I absolutely love this expression – “had suffered a great deal under the care of many doctors.” (Mark 5:26) . Twelve years. She spent all she had. “Yet instead of getting better, she got worse.” How easy it would have been for her to give up. To think: it’ll never happen to me. If you identify with her situation keep following her story.

When she had nothing left, she heard about Jesus. “If I just touch his clothes I will be healed.” That’s faith. She held onto hope for healing when hope had disappointed so many times before. But this time her hope was in someone that does not disappoint. Jesus.

Years ago I heard Jack Hayford say it this way: “God always acts suddenly, no matter how long it takes.” That’s the truth. For twelve years the woman suffered, then suddenly …. 

Everything changed. God is like that.

As people of faith we must resist the temptation to live our lives in a mindset that it’ll never happen to me. Because we know the God of the Suddenly. No matter how long it takes.

I’m going to keep that in mind … as I wait for the lab results.

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War on Words

by on Mar.14, 2009, under Musings

We’ve ruined a perfectly good word: WAR. And in the process we stand to lose much more. In times past, war was used to describe major conflicts with life and death hanging in the balance. Not just for the soldiers who fought in them but for the nations and governments that dispatched them. When wars were lost societies changed. National boundaries were re-drawn. Civilizations fell.

Then things got fuzzy. We had something called a War on Poverty that wasn’t really a war. It was a policy initiative – the means by which a political party identified things it wanted to accomplish. While the goals of the War on Poverty might have been worthy, it was not the same as war. There was never a time of joy in victory or being vanquished in defeat. If Poverty would have won the war it would have imposed its conditions on all of us. Society would have changed for the worse, but we continued essentially unchanged.

The same thing for the War on Drugs. Was it really a war? Or a political slogan created to garner public support for another policy initiative? Winning these so-called wars wasn’t a matter of life and death as much as it was gaining or maintaining political power. Neither initiative was successful; we still are faced with the challenges of poverty and drug abuse. Yet we have not suffered the consequences experienced by those who lose real wars.

The whole concept of  what War is and the consequences of winning or losing a War have become confused. It seems we now see war not as a threat to our national existence that needs to be met with unity and bi-partisan resolve. It’s just another plank in the Party Platform. We form teams of cheerleaders on either side of the aisle and spend more time trying to conquer the Red or Blue States than we do the real enemy.

Then an actual war came along and we couldn’t recognize it. Worse, we recycled the old “War on …” label and the threat became political rather than existential. Faced with a real war with a real enemy and very real consequences for losing, we didn’t take it seriously. The need for bipartisanship was met with hyper-partisanship. Seemingly the only point of unity was the unwillingness of anyone in a position of authority to clearly articulate who the enemy was.

Many a preacher has shared this homespun truth: aim at nothing and you’ll surely hit it. Our unwillingness to identify the enemy is resulting in our inability to marshal the resources needed to defeat it. This must change if America is to continue. The threat is not political it is existential. This War cannot be solved at the ballot box with a shift in national priorities. This War is real. This threat is real.

Tomorrow March Madness begins and the NCAA basketball tournament brackets will be announced. In all seriousness, we need to identify with the tournament rules if we ever hope to prevail in the “War on Terror”. There’s only one thing that counts now: win and you get to keep going, lose and you go home. Except that if America loses this very real war, home won’t look the same as it used to.

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