Friday, November 30, 2012

Never Waste a Good Crisis!

Most of us have heard the old adage, "The thing we learn from history is that we never learn from history." Well, I am a student of history and I do try to learn. What I have found, however, is that those of us who are students of history and give warnings are often in the same boat as the mythological Cassandra. We are seldom heeded until it's too late.

We're hearing a lot about the so-called "fiscal cliff." If Congress and Barack Obama don't come to some sort of agreement before the end of the year, automatic spending cuts kick in and the nation heads over the cliff into an economic Armageddon.

Folks will call me nuts for this, or a conspiracy theorist. I really don't care. I do know my history, and I do know the mindset of this group of clowns we have in power at the moment. Out of their own mouths, they have said "Never waste a good crisis." This attitude has permeated the Obama Administration from Day One.

In my opinion, Obama and his acolytes WANT an economic collapse. Why do I make such a charge? Let's go back in history to the period after the 1929 stock market crash and the onset of the Great Depression. Republican President Herbert Hoover took it on the chin for the Depression, although his term had barely begun. He believed (and I think rightly) that you let the market work itself out and economic recovery will eventually happen due to market forces. It is not my purpose with this post to argue over how much government intervention there needs to be in an economic collapse. My mother lived through the Depression in the South, and it was no picnic. The photo above shows jobless men and women waiting for a meal of coffee and donuts. The Depression was horrible.

There were no doubt things Hoover could have done to lessen the impact on the neediest folks. But my underlying point is what Franklin Delano Roosevelt did. He took full advantage of the situation, blaming Hoover for it all. Then, once elected to office, the economic chaos and the demands of people for help based on their own understandable self-interest gave him exactly what he wanted—the grounds to greatly expand federal power at the expense of states and local governments. He used compassion as a cynical means to an end. His ultimate goal was expanded federal power. If that meant self-reliance and individual freedom took a back seat, so be it. And he largely got his way. But Roosevelt did not end the Depression. World War II ended the Depression.

Fast forward to today. The United States is again teetering over the edge with economic malaise and trillions of dollars of debt. The balloon will burst. Republicans see the danger of the exploding debt, while also understanding that taxing job creators will do nothing to help economic growth. But President Obama and the big government Goodie Bag are tempting Sirens. If there is an economic collapse, the Republicans will again get the blame. And Obama will seize the opportunity to greatly expand federal power way beyond what even FDR dreamed was possible. Count on it.

And sadly, most people cannot or will not see it. People like me are nutcases.

We'll see.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Kindly Caution to Young Christian Celebrities

The post I am about to make was sparked by tabloid headlines today involving teen singing idol Justin Bieber. According to this Examiner article (publicized by Fox News Channel) and some other tabloids, Justin has been allegedly boozing it up to his mother's concern, and it's led to fighting between the two. Add to this the very public breakup and courtship between Justin and Selena Gomez, this hasn't been a very good publicity season for Mr. B. But before I say my piece, a couple of parantheticals:

I am not one to pay a whole lot of attention to tabloid stuff. When I was in full time broadcasting—with much of it in hard news and talk shows—I didn't do this kind of garbage. Although I did the occasional celebrity interview, I chose to talk about what they wanted to talk about—and coinidentally what interested ME, which was their work i.e. their current music release, current movie/stage play etc. I avoided the personal/gossip stuff, and I think they appreciated it. When and if they did mention something personal, they were the ones who chose to do it unprompted by me, and I did my best to treat it respectfully.

Secondly, part of my delicacy in this area no doubt is due to recognition that those of us on air are celebrities of a sort, although our faces are not seen. I've been broadcast both via local stations and via networks, so someone might well recognize my voice if I speak. I've had my own share of 2 a.m. phone calls from listeners wanting to yak, counseling for their personal issues etc..and finally got smart enough to get a non-published phone number. Those days are past now, but I remember them and they have helped frame my thinking.

Now, what about Justin. Actually, it's not just about Justin. It's also about Miley Cyrus, Hanson, Britney Spears, the late Brad Renfro, and other young celebrities who early on were quite vocal in interviews about being Christians and loving the Lord Jesus. Well, we've all seen the aftermath. The Christian in these young people soon gets lost in the purple haze of fame, booze, drugs, sexual misbehavior, which leads those of us who are fellow believers to wonder if their faith is/was genuine, or if it was just some publicity stunt. It could well be they did have a good early grounding, then got caught up in destructive behavior. Some end up dead. And it really does break my heart when so much talent and promise gets squandered. The "candle in the wind" gets blown out way too prematurely.

Some of them have trouble coping with growing up and getting into adulthood. For some, the once cute aren't quite so cute anymore, and the vulture-like entertainment industry chews them up and spits them out like yesterday's garbage. It's cruel to use young people like that. Beyond cruel. They need a strong support system, and so many don't have it. If it's not the greed and avarice of "stage parents," it's the greed, avarice and even sexual lust of their managers. And the young star gets his/her guts ripped out. I hate it.

But here's my concern and advice for what it's worth. I make no demands or expectations on unbelievers of any stripe—young, old, well-known or not well-known. I interact with a few to this day. They know how I stand on things, and most are mature enough to allow me my views, and I allow the same for them. I do not expect anyone who has not made a profession of Christian faith, or who does not believe, to act, think and live like a believer. Sometimes, my fellow Christians make that mistake of being outraged when someone acts in a way that a Christian would normally not act. Well, duh!! They aren't Christians! Don't expect it out of them.

HOWEVER!!! - and it's a big "however." When you proclaim yourself publicly as a Christian, and are given an enormous public platform, all eyes are on you whether you like it or not. Of course, none of us are perfect as Christians, just forgiven. But if we are truly Christian, there is supposed to be a change in our lives and we are no longer the same. Our goals and designs for life are not the same, because His take over.

Above all, as Christians—no matter what our age—we are ambassadors of Jesus. That's the purpose of the picture of Queen Elizabeth receiving ambassadorial credentials. I'm illustrating a point. Here's how God's Word puts it:

Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us, we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God (2 Corinthians 5:20).

When an ambassador goes to a host country, they are to be on their best behavior, remembering that they are the visible representative of their people in the host country. As ambassadors of Christ to the world, we are the visible representative of Jesus in the circles where He has planted us. And honestly, we often represent Him very, very poorly, bringing shame and reproach on Him and His people—the church. We need to remember that we've been bought with a very precious price. We are no longer our own. We are His, and we exist to serve Him—sharing His great love with everyone we can.

There's another Scripture to remember. Luke 12:48—"To whom much is given, much will be required." If we've been blessed with a large platform, we will be held accountable by God for what we do with it.

When I hear reports of young, heretofore vocally Christian celebrities out pole dancing, being sexually involved outside of marriage, boozing and drugging it up, it is grieving. What message does that send to the rest of the world watching us? It makes the faith we profess a joke. We grieve the Holy Spirit who indwells us, and bring shame on the One who died for us.

We are ambassadors. Pray that the Lord doesn't have to call us home prematurely because we've been declared persona non grata. We won't be popular regardless. If we stay true to Christ, the world will hate us because it first hated Him. If we stumble and fall, the world will mock our faith as worthless, and us as hypocrites. But I'd rather suffer for being right than suffer for being wrong.

Think it over, my young brothers and sisters. And put on the brakes while you still can.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The Ducking Stool

If we think we have it tough now, just imagine life during Colonial times in North America (and before that, in Merrie Old England).

To the right, you'll see depicted a little device known as the "ducking stool." Who was usually punished in the ducking stool? Usually women who were known as "scolds." One statute defines a scold as:

"A troublesome and angry woman who by brawling and wrangling amongst her neighbours breaks the public peace, increases discord and becomes a public nuisance to the neighbourhood".

In our current acid political climate, I can imagine some of my conservative colleagues wanting to inflict a brief, embarrassing ducking on Nancy Pelosi or Harry Reid. But no, let's not. And why am I using the ducking stool as an analogy for a larger point? Glad you asked.

Right now, some circles of the conservative/libertarian fold are cheering Glenn Beck for putting a small statue of President Obama in urine—reminiscent of Andres Serrano's infamous "P**s Christ" display, where a crucifix with Jesus on it was placed in a jar of Serrano's urine as some kind of "artistic" endeavor. No doubt, what sparked some of this recent awfulness was when black celebrity Jamie Foxx called Obama his "Lord and Savior," and another "artist" did a picture of Obama with a crown of thorns in a crucified pose before the presidential seal and podium.

I don't like blasphemy. I am a believing Christian, after all. But I also don't like the growing coarseness of our society and culture, and seeing such gleeful abandon in demeaning, mean-spirited insults. Before I point fingers at anyone else, I have to remind myself of my own admonition quite often. It's all too easy to let it fly when irritated or outraged about something. But at least from a Christ-follower, Scripture makes it plain that our Lord expects better of us.

Believe me, truth by itself can be just as devastating as the most vile insult. It's all the more devastating because truth is true, while insults often are either complete lies or significant distortions of truth. But truth and sunlight are the best disinfectants, and both can be applied without wallowing in the manure pit. Think about it.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Blind Justice?

This morning, a brief comment on "justice," or the lack thereof.

If you follow the news, you no doubt have heard of the litigation involving Hobby Lobby and the Obama Administration over what Obamacare will force Hobby Lobby to do, i.e. to offer health insurance coverage for birth control and other things that the Christian founders of the company find morally objectionable.

My comment today isn't so much about this case, although I think my readers know where I'd line up in my view of it. Instead, it got me thinking about the judicial system overall, and what it's become.

Under the American constitutional system, there are three branches of government—the executive, legislative and judicial. Separate but equal is the usual dictum or idea. The three branches are to work as checks and balances to the other branches as intended by our founders, because FREEDOM was to be the operative philosophy in this nation. Limited government, self-determination etc.

The judicial branch is important, because a judge or justice's role on the bench (constitutionally) is to INTERPRET THE LAW impartially—the laws passed by the legislative branch and enforced by the executive branch. Judges are not to make law from the bench. They may—as established by Marbury vs. Madison—rule on whether a law is constitutional. At the time this case was decided in the early days of the Republic, there were those who were concerned about the precedent of this case, especially in the hands of an activist court whose "interpretations" of the law or Constitution were more according to their own desires and objectives rather than the plain meaning of the text and intent of those who wrote the law/Constitution.

History has borne out that concern. You can pretty much tell how a judge or justice will rule depending on what political party of which they were part before ascending to the bench. Ideally, that political/philosophical ideology is supposed to be put aside and judgment is supposed to be impartial. Largely, it is no longer. The battle for the Supreme Court is a battle because parties want to appoint justices who will rule according to their ideology.

This would make the Founders very upset. And—in my humble opinion—it's why they gave Congress the option of creating or abolishing courts, and placing restrictions on their jurisdiction. It passes my understanding why the legislative branch of government has been so hesitant to pull this trigger in light of the modern activist court—kicked off first by the late President Roosevelt, who tried to "pack the court" with justices who would vote to okay his unconstitutional moves during the Great Depression. Then came the late Chief Justice Earl Warren, whom President Eisenhower called "the biggest mistake I ever made" as president.*

Courts are especially dangerous in this age of postmodern thought. If there is no objective standard of truth, no objective, foundational epistemology, then man "does what is right in his own eyes, " (Deuteronomy 12 and Judges 17) For that matter, postmodern Congresses and presidencies are also dangerous when held by postmodern men and women. No objective standard of right and wrong. That is a recipe for ultimate disaster to any society. Time has borne that out over and over again to any student of history that is interested in how civilizations rise and fall.

No doubt, someone will argue the point with me. Another favorite pastime of the postmodern—endless quibbling and arguing over anything that resembles a principle. They love to argue, until reality sets in and the consequences of their free-form brains bite them in the derriere.

*One addendum thought, made necessary by anticipating some negative comments. I don't mind the intended RESULT of some of the actions taken by the Warren Court, especially in stopping racial discrimination. But I have enormous problems with "the end justifies the means" mindset given fallen humanity. Things are much better solved legislatively as intended, not by the courts. And some things are matters of the heart, which no court ruling can affect or change. That is a spiritual matter, and this society has done its best to kill any effort by the church to reach the human heart. Sometimes the church is its own worst enemy when it abandons biblical truth and "goes with the flow." If the church had remained true to Scripture, true to the Christian mission of the Gospel, and true to the heart of Christ, racism and many other social ills would have been greatly lessened without the upheaval of the Civil War and aftermath.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Bigotry? Really?

Before I launch into the subject matter for this post, have a quick gander to the right at the beautiful waters of the Buffalo River in Arkansas. This is a great little swimming hole near Tyler Bend. Crystal clear water.

Ah. Okay, down to business. I am getting weary with watching talking head shows at night involving subjects that are controversial. Everyone's talking (or yelling) and name-calling, but no one is listening. It especially gets irritating when the subject is a moral or spiritual issue that has become political, and they have two or three guests on to purportedly discuss or debate the issue. But it isn't really an honest discussion. The main point of these shows seems to be to work people up into a lather and get them yelling, with the host/moderator throwing his or her own nonsense into the mix, and almost without fail, the traditional/conservative/Christian position on the issue gets the short end of the stick.

The flavor of the day seems to be homosexuality, but really, we could be talking about almost any issue where "sin" is involved. Abortion, sexual immorality, economic immorality—pick your poison. With homosexuality, as soon as a Christian gets invited onto a talk show to discuss, right away the "bigotry" charge gets thrown and the well of discussion is poisoned right at the outset. No one is willing to give the issue a real hearing and discover that there just might be a non-bigoted reason why Christians believe the way they do on this subject, or any other.

Now, let me insert a parenthetical before I make my main point. The "Christian/Traditional" side of the argument certainly has people that are not its best ambassadors. There are some (such as the ridiculous Fred Phelps bunch at the Westboro "Baptist" Church) who I don't believe really are true Christians. They are haters with spiritual clothes on who take biblical commands and positions on sexual morality and leave all redemption, grace and mercy out of the equation. And the media LOVES to get people like them on the air and claim that they represent most Christians with their attitude and distortion of biblical positions. They do not. Not even close. But the other side also has its yellers and screamers. It's not just the conservative side. But at least I'm willing to acknowledge the creeps on my side. The hard left doesn't seem to think they have any creeps on their side. But they do, and it's self-evident when you hear the vile that comes out of their mouths.

Let's Make Some Assumptions for the Sake of Discussion

Having said all of this, I would like to ask the far-left and pro-homosexuality side of this issue to honestly consider the possibility of something that maybe they might not have considered. (And again, it's not just homosexuality). Let's imagine for a moment that what Christians have believed for the past 2,000 years is true. Let's assume that man is fallen, and that everyone will stand before God and account to Him for their behavior. Let's assume that the Bible is true, its commandments and statutes are in force, and its warnings about coming judgment are true.

Let's assume for a moment that the Creator Himself, the Second Person of the Triune God—Jesus Christ—indeed willingly did come to earth, take on the form of a Man, and out of His great love paid the price for the sins of His people on the cross. And now that He has done so, He has given only a short amount of time (from an eternal perspective) for people to respond to His free offer of mercy. He is now calling for all to repent of their sin and rebellion, and trust in Him for salvation, thereby receiving His full and free forgiveness of all their sin.

What next for those of us who have become Christians? I'll tell you. We have a Master, and we've been given some marching orders. Now that we have received Him and have been forgiven, He has told us that "if you love Me, keep My commandments." Jesus further said that the greatest commandment was to love God with all our hearts, souls, minds etc..and the second greatest commandment was like it—to love our neighbor as we love ourselves. He also has commanded those of us to follow Him to share the Good News with others—that their sins can be forgiven and cleansed, and that they can live new lives of freedom and have ultimate hope of eternity with Him. But there is also a warning attached with that Good News. For those who do not respond in repentance, that means that Judgment Day is eventually coming, and that to refuse means eternal separation from God. And yes, that means Hell. Assume all of this is true.

Now, you tell me. IF all of this is true, certain things follow forth logically. The unbelieving world wants true Christians—who are MOTIVATED BY LOVE AND COMPASSION—to go away and shut up. And we could. We could just keep our mouths shut and not say a word. We could let people just la la la their lives away, and never offer the Gospel, never warn of the ultimate consequences of sin and rebellion, never talk about how people can be free of sin, evil and guilt. We could just let people do as they will, live, rebel, do evil and die—and face a Christless eternity in a very horrible place. Yes, we could.

Where's the Love?

Think about it from our perspective. If we know all this is true and coming, would it be loving to keep silent? Wouldn't we be guilty of an unspeakable crime against humanity? That we knew the truth of what was coming, and knew the only way of escape, yet remained silent? Would that be loving? I think not. It would be monstrous and cruel.

This never gets said on the talking head shows. And more than likely, it wouldn't be heard even if it was said. But that is really the state of affairs with most Christians who do their best to love God, love their fellow man and be faithful ambassadors of God in a fallen world. That's why we do what we do and say what we say. It isn't hate. It isn't bigotry. No matter how much the clever opponents and propagandists of libertine behavior and yes, SIN, try to paint us with that brush.

One more thought. Those who hate Christians for their message seem to forget that outside of Christ, we're in the same boat too. From our perspective, we have been granted rich grace, mercy and forgiveness that we don't deserve. We're beggars, and we earnestly want to share with others where we found the nourishing bread. Yet, that's not considered or heard. To the unbelieving world, we're just a bunch of self-righteous, moralistic busybodies who want to take everyone's fun away. They don't consider all the good that has come from people of faith. Schools, hospitals, rescue missions, food pantries, clinics for the poor, universities, etc. They've forgotten that part of it all.

And in all truth, it's just like Jesus Himself said. God is really the ultimate target. They hate Him, and because they hate Him, they hate us. They can't get at God, so they do all they can to get at us. To them, we're all fools. And that's okay. To quote the old song, "I'll be a fool for Jesus." And as long as I have life and breath, I'll do all I can to love my fellow man with both deed and truth. I'll help feed the hungry, clothe the naked, comfort the broken-hearted, and all the actions of love and mercy within my power.

But I'll also continue to speak truth to the issues of the day, regardless of whether or not it makes me liked or popular. Highly unlikely. But please, let's just stop the slanderous hate and bigotry charges. They're false, and the people who make them know they're false. Disagree freely with me all you like as to the issue, but don't attribute to me motivations that I don't have. You can at least have that much intellectual honesty.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Where Cigarettes Came From

If you've never heard of James Buchanan Duke (pictured right), you're about to.

Duke is considered the father of the cigarette, and some consider him ultimately responsible for the millions of deaths since then from lung cancer, emphysema and other smoking-related illnesses.

The BBC has published this little history piece on Duke and the development of the cigarette. I found it very interesting.

I am not a fan of smoking, although I am a rarity among conservative Christians in that I don't think it to be inherently a sin. My dislike of it centers on the fact that most of the men on my father's side of the family (including my father and grandfather) died of emphysema. Two aunts on Dad's side died of lung and/or breast cancer. They all smoked like chimneys, except for Grampaw, who gave up smoking in middle-age, but kept up with chewing tobacco. Yuck.

And it stinks for the most part. The one thing that might be easy for me to do is smoke a pipe, because I do like the smell of some pipe tobaccos. However, with my family history, it would be stupid.

Back to the sin issue for a moment. It could be argued (and many do) that a Christian's body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, and you shouldn't do things that will potentially harm your body. Both are true, but if we're going to be legalistic, one shouldn't eat like a glutton either. One shouldn't participate in daredevil sports where you risk getting killed. It could be argued that God didn't give you your life to throw away. Smoking is not addressed directly in the Bible unlike drinking alcohol, and in the case of alcohol, drunkenness is what is condemned as sin, not the alcoholic beverage itself. And this subject has been debated ad infinitum ad nauseum in Christian circles, and I have no desire to argue it here. I don't want to go beyond Scripture, and Scripture does condemn drunkenness. So don't get drunk.

I would also recommend—for health's sake and the comfort of others—that you shouldn't smoke. I've watched the slow death of loved ones personally, and have been there for their final moments. It isn't pretty. It's awful. You never get the mental image out of your head. Why go there if you don't have to go there. Stay away from the darned things.

You'll breathe better and you'll smell better.

Monday, November 12, 2012

T.S. Eliot and C.S. Lewis

Recently, I have been re-reading Griffin's excellent biography of C.S. Lewis called "Clive Staples Lewis: A Dramatic Life." The book is unique in that it is largely assembled out of Lewis' letters and journal entries throughout much of his adult academic life. The pace of the book is almost like watching filmed vignettes that really serve well in helping to get a good glimpse of the man himself.

One thing that interested me in the bio was its description of how Lewis and noted poet T.S. Eliot "held each other at arms' length for years," only to be drawn together as good friends and Christian brethren in the last 10 years of their lives. Today, I discovered this essay in the Clarion Journal about the rivalry turned friendship between the two scholars. It's fascinating, and if you'd like something to do this evening over a cup of tea and before a roaring fire, take a peek. I enjoyed the read.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Petraeus: How the Mighty Fall

My comment on this sad, sordid matter is going to be limited to the spiritual. Enough news articles and political flak are out there to be had for the getting.

The resignation and affair of General David Petraeus as CIA Director over an extra-marital affair is a tragedy for the general as well as for his wife, and also for writer Paula Broadwell—the woman with whom Petraeus apparently was involved—the writer of his biography. Scripture says "be sure your sin will find you out," and it does. Always. We all ought to shudder.

The observation I have is that no matter how high a man (or woman) is in society, authority or popularity, he is still fallen and in need of the Savior. We all have clay feet. No exceptions.

King David found that out after he had a fling with Bathsheba, the wife of Uriah (whom the king had killed by putting him in a vulnerable, unprotected position in battle). David didn't get by with it. The Lord sent Nathan the Prophet to pay the king a visit.

Unlike many today, King David was sorrowful and broken over his sin. And in repentance, he penned Psalm 51. Ponder it and prayerfully read it. It needs to be the attitude we all carry. All the time:

Be gracious to me, O God, according to Your lovingkindness; According to the greatness of Your compassion blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity And cleanse me from my sin. For I know my transgressions, And my sin is ever before me.

Against You, You only, I have sinned And done what is evil in Your sight, So that You are justified when You speak And blameless when You judge. Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, And in sin my mother conceived me. Behold, You desire truth in the innermost being, And in the hidden part You will make me know wisdom.

Purify me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. Make me to hear joy and gladness, Let the bones which You have broken rejoice. Hide Your face from my sins And blot out all my iniquities. Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me away from Your presence And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of Your salvation And sustain me with a willing spirit.

Then I will teach transgressors Your ways, And sinners will be converted to You. Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God, the God of my salvation; Then my tongue will joyfully sing of Your righteousness. O Lord, open my lips, That my mouth may declare Your praise. For You do not delight in sacrifice, otherwise I would give it; You are not pleased with burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; A broken and a contrite heart, O God, You will not despise. 

By Your favor do good to Zion; Build the walls of Jerusalem. Then You will delight in righteous sacrifices, In burnt offering and whole burnt offering; Then young bulls will be offered on Your altar.

Thursday, November 08, 2012

Tom Chantry's Election Postmortem

This is the second time I've linked to Pastor Tom Chantry's blog, and I'm sure it won't be the last. It is a pretty straight-forward biblical analysis of the election, and what it means for Bible-believing Christians and this nation. Read well and ponder.

The Abortion "Gotcha" Question

I promised to address this question, and today I will. That's progress, because over the history of The Seventh Sola, I have frequently intended to write posts on certain subjects—even promised to get to it—then got overwhelmed by stuff and never got around to it.

Not this time.

As followers of the 2012 election here in the US know, there were a couple of male Republican Senate candidates who had the unmitigated gall to comment on abortion in the case of rape. (I say "unmitigated gall" a bit sarcastically) They articulated their position very clumsily, and of course, the liberal media and the left (synonymous) pilloried both men. I thought the remarks of Missouri candidate Todd Akin were stupid and ill-informed in terms of him saying a woman's body "has a way of shutting things down" in case of rape and pregnancy. That deserved a whack. But I think his use of the term "legitimate rape" was grossly and unfairly distorted to mean what he did NOT mean. He meant "forcible," not that any rape was "legitimate." He was still medically wrong, but it's not fair to insinuate he meant something he clearly did not mean.

In the case of the other candidate from Indiana, Richard Mourdock, he was asked the "gotcha" question by the media—"What about cases of rape and incest? Will you allow abortion then?" Mourdock gave an answer that was correct in a theological sense, but very badly articulated and the media (and the Democrats) of course ran with it. You never try to explain or argue theology in a secular media interview. Most of them won't get it anyway.

Republican candidates (and pro-life Democrats for that matter) should know better. Especially with a hostile media. These kinds of questions will come. Expect them. And more than that, know how to give a better answer that they'll have a tougher time twisting and distorting. Allow me to offer a suggestion:

"Let's be crystal clear on this subject. First, let's deal with the criminal. Rape is a violent, evil act. It's horrific, and in most cases traumatizes a woman for years, if not a lifetime. At one time in the history of the United States, rape used to be a capital offense, punishable by the death penalty. It's time to restore that to law. You forcibly rape a woman, and you will be executed. In the electric chair. Swiftly. 

Next, let's consider the first victim. The woman. Any woman who is subjected to the terrible ordeal and crime of a rape must be treated with the tenderest compassion possible. She needs to be surrounded by family, friends, and faith. People need to come alongside her, support her, and help her through the difficult days ahead. She is a victim of a violent crime, and deserves the swiftest justice against the perpetrator of the crime against her. 

Finally, let's deal with the forgotten, third victim. And this is what makes this a gut-wrenching subject for anyone who has to deal with it. The woman undergoes a horrific ordeal, but there is a third person involved. A baby. A human being. A human being who has come into existence through no fault of his/her own. The baby is not responsible for how he/she was conceived. I cannot in good conscience say that it is okay to kill a child because of the circumstances surrounding conception—even circumstances as horrific as rape is. Rape is a horrible crime against humanity, and a sovereign God. So is the killing of an unborn child. So let's stop using this subject as a political "gotcha," and begin recognizing that there are serious issues at stake here way beyond the shrieking of activists. As a potential lawmaker, I am compelled to do the right thing as far as my spiritual values and conscience dictate. You will have to make your determination to vote for me or against me, knowing my stance on this issue. But this IS my stance, and it is a stance that has been carefully thought out in the light of much prayer and reflection."

There you have it. That's what I'd say. Of course, to the wild-eyed pro-abortion activist to whom the right to kill the unborn is like a sacrament, what I just said is anathema. But it will be difficult for the media to twist and distort. And that's the whole point.

One more thing. Contrary to the opinion of some, men are not insensitive to the subject of rape, nor does their maleness make them incapable of understanding it. Men can and have been raped themselves. Anyone remember a convict by the name of Jerry Sandusky? How about 33 young men and boys raped and killed by executed John Wayne Gacy? How about Jeffrey Dahmer's victims?

While men can't become pregnant, the damage to their psyche can just as bad. It might even be worse. Think about it from a man's perspective—a man is usually stronger and is expected to be able to defend himself. Some aren't strong, and some can't defend themselves well. Prison rape happens all the time, and the humiliation to a raped man is horrendous. Rape is rape, no matter to whom it happens. It's heinous, and deserves the severest punishment.

Let's just not punish a child as we seek retributive justice.

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Bryan Duncan's New "Conversations"

I wish I had jumped on this sooner, but I'd like to do my part in helping Christian singer Bryan Duncan promote his new solo album "Conversations.

If you're familiar with Bryan's music through the years, you'll know he was originally with the pioneering Sweet Comfort Band along with Randy Thomas, Kevin and Rick Thomson. One of the most soulful voices there is in Christian music.

This album was funded through Kickstarter by Bryan's many fans and supporters. He has also recorded some new Christmas music, which should be released soon.

If you haven't already, get a copy. You'll be glad you did.

Rush's Take: Can't Beat Santa

The 2012 election is over, and Barack Obama has managed to finagle himself into another term. I'll have more to say on the subject later, but for now, I'd like to offer you Rush Limbaugh's take on the election aftermath. Bill O'Reilly said much the same thing last night in predicting Obama would carry the night. Interesting, and likely true. But there is more to this than simply a nation of children wanting their "gimme gimme gimme."

I think there is a deep, serious spiritual component of this, and the abortion issue touches on it. We saw it in the way some conservative candidates very badly articulated their viewpoints on the subject, and were skewered in the liberal media. There is a way to answer that question, and I will be posting on that next time. Mind, it won't satisfy those to whom abortion is a sacrament, but at the very least, they won't be able to say it's heartless and cold.

And there will be more. We need to re-assess how America has changed, and what has happened to the American soul. And that's much more serious than we realize. Abortion and the politics of sex are only the veneer of the poison that's rotting the country from the inside. But that's for another day. In the meantime, read what Rush had to say and think about it.

Sunday, November 04, 2012

Hurricane Sandy Disaster Relief

Since Hurricane Sandy and the subsequent superstorm smashed into the New Jersey and New York coastlines this past week, the images and news coming out of the region are truly heartbreaking. It's just like Hurricane Katrina, only this time in the heavily populated northeast.

I urge anyone with some extra resources to give toward helping the thousands if not millions of victims of this storm. I recommend The Salvation Army or the the Red Cross for disaster relief. Obviously, if your local church or denomination has a humanitarian aid capability or fund, by all means give to and support that.

But I do want to add a word of caution. As usual when things like this happen, the dregs of human society also come out from under their slimy rocks with the intention of ripping off the noble, generous-minded. Beware of scams. Beware of phone calls from telemarketers raising money for this humanitarian relief effort. Only give to organizations with a proven track record of trust, which is why I recommend the Salvation Army or Red Cross. Allow me to add one more—Rev. Franklin Graham's Samaritan's Purse organization. He has done stellar work with humanitarian aid and disaster relief around the world.

Situations like this are great times for the body of Christ—the church and Christians as individual believers—to demonstrate the love of our Savior in action. Pray for those who have lost all they have. I've been there, and it's heartbreaking. I am thankful for those who helped my family when my home burned in 2003. I think disasters will always touch my heart deeply for as long as I live.

I'm Just a Throwback

You guys all know I'm a Genesis fan. Today I'm sharing this little heard gem from keyboardist Tony Banks' solo album "Bankstatement."

It's called "Throwback." Lyric line: "I guess I don't fit the times. I'm just a throwback." I can identify. Completely, LOL.