Thursday, February 28, 2013

Defining True Hate and Dealing With It

I promised yesterday I would address this timely subject. I have before, but it needs saying again, and perhaps with a little helpful illustration to aid in comprehension. This is a longer read from me than normal, but I humbly ask you to stay with me to the end and read every word. And make no judgments until you read every word. Even re-read it. And think about it.

What Got Me Thinking About "Hate?"

As someone who spent most of my adult life either in full time broadcasting (1978-1993) doing a weekly talk show as a sideline from my subsequent full time work (1989-2011) and still dealing with media overseeing communications for a Christian mission (1993 to the present), I became quite the geopolitical junkie. In recent years, I've gotten pretty tired of national American politics because of the way discourse has degenerated. I'm all the more bothered because because the church has gotten sucked into politics—or more accurately, issues which once were the territory of the church to address have become political issues with all that entails.

Please don't take that to mean that I think Christians should not be politically active and express their viewpoints. We should. We are citizens and we have the same rights as everyone else to speak. But when politics begins to subsume the Gospel in the work of the church and of us as individual believers, things have gone too far. The Gospel and being the ambassadors of Christ to a fallen world is our most important task, and when we jump into the political pool too deeply, politics ends up being the end all and be all, and the Gospel gets short shrift or forgotten altogether.

Having said all this as an intro, I'll come to the point about what really bugs me about political debate today. It's the way that the word "hate" gets thrown at people, especially those of conservative, traditional, orthodox, Bible-believing Christian faith. Most often, this centers around the subject of homosexuality, which according to Scripture is sin. Today, sexual behavior has taken on the entity of an ethnicity, and those who express concern or disapproval of homosexual behavior are instantly labeled as "hateful," "haters," "bigots," etc. Being called a "hater" is intended as a bludgeon word to intimidate and bully people into silence on this subject. It's a false charge  and demonstrably so. But try getting a reasonable explanation of the orthodox, biblical Christian position of this subject out on a modern talk show, and you'll find yourself shouted down and cut off in short order. The biblical Christian position on this subject has absolutely NOTHING to do with hate, and EVERYTHING to do with LOVE. Seriously. Hear me out, please, and read to the end. I have a parenthetical remark to make before I tie the package in a bow.

Pseudo-"Christian" Hate Groups Who Get Media Attention

To be sure, there ARE true haters out there who self-identify as Christians. The Fred Phelps bunch from the so-called "Westboro Baptist Church" is a great example. This "church" is largely made up of the Phelps family, some of whom are very clever attorneys and anti-gay activists. They are not under the accountability of any mainstream Baptist fellowship that I know of—and Baptists typically believe in congregational autonomy. But there are fellowships around mutually shared beliefs and values such as the Southern Baptist Convention and General Baptist Conference. In my view and in the view of many other true Christians, the Phelps bunch is a hate group masquerading as a church. They distort the biblical message and distort the Gospel beyond recognition. And what makes it doubly tragic is that the media and gay activists—never friends of biblical Christianity anyway—latch on to the Phelps bunch and try to make them representative of Christianity as a whole, especially conservative, Bible-believing Christianity. No one wants to listen beyond surface things that might sound similar, but are understood entirely differently when taken in context of the whole counsel of God. These people have managed through their true hateful behavior to turn off significant numbers of people to the life-changing Gospel of Jesus Christ, and the love of Christ. They will be held accountable by the Lord for their behavior. I disavow them completely.

NOW—and again, having said all that, there are some central truths to this issue according to Scripture. Homosexual behavior IS sin according to God's Word. God Himself declares it to be an abomination. The New Testament declares that those who practice it—and a host of other sinful behaviors—will not inherit the kingdom of God. That is biblical truth. Period.

HOWEVER!!!!!

But here is what gets lost in all the foaming, frothing and mouthing. Homosexuality is just one of many sins, and sin is a condition that every single human being that is born on this planet inherits. We all have sin—it just manifests itself in different people in different ways. My sin doesn't have to be your sin, or someone else's sin. But the sins I have are enough to keep me out of God's presence for eternity, deserving of His righteous wrath and judgment. But that, folks, is where the GOOD NEWS of the Gospel comes in, and where all the glory to God goes for finding a way to redeem a people for Himself.

The Lord Himself took on the form of a man, came to earth, lived the sinless life that none of us could live, and willingly paid the price for our sins with His shed blood on the cross—our substitutionary atonement. He did it out of love for His people. And all—no matter WHAT you've done—can find full and free forgiveness of your sins through saving faith in Jesus Christ, and what He did for you on that cross. We must believe in Him, repent of our sins (change of mind and change of direction), and trust in His sacrifice on our behalf. When we do that, the Holy Spirit indwells us and enables us to live the righteous life before God that we cannot live on our own. In fact, this is really cool:

Believers who repent and trust in Christ have their sins washed away, and are then clothed in the righteousness of Christ Himself. When the Father looks at us, he sees His Son because we are clothed in his righteousness. We have no righteousness of our own, and what we do have is like "filthy rags." Jesus did it all. He paid the price. He did the heavy lifting. He bought and paid for us with a price. And through Him, we can have newness of life.

Now, what about hate? Where is it? Those who share the message I just shared above falsely get called "haters" because we dare call sin sin. But is that really hateful? No. And I'll tell you why.

According to Jesus, the greatest commandment is loving God. The second greatest commandment is to love our neighbor as we love ourselves. Jesus additionally said all the Law of God hangs on those two commandments. This is much, much deeper than we realize. Think with me. Romans 13:10 says "love does no wrong to a neighbor." Love does NO WRONG. If I love God, I won't want to wrong him. If I love you, I won't want to wrong you.

Go with me somewhere in imagination for a moment so you really get what I'm trying to say. Suppose you were standing on a railroad track, but for some reason, didn't hear or notice an oncoming train. Suppose I was nearby and could do something about it. What would be more loving? For me to intervene and pull you out of the way, or at least to get your attention and warn you? Or would it be more loving for me to allow the train to strike and kill you? I think the answer is pretty obvious.

The Prophet Ezekiel records a pretty sober warning from God to His people. I'll quote it:

When I say to the wicked, "You will surely die," and you do not warn him or speak out to warn the wicked man from his wicked way that he may live, that wicked man will die in his iniquity, but his blood I will require at your hand (Ezekiel 3:18).

We as Christians who have found salvation in Christ have a serious, sober, and yes, LOVING responsibility if we are going to be obedient to the two greatest commandments from God. If we love God, we will obey Him. Jesus said "If you love Me, keep my commandments." If I love others, I love them in deed, word and truth, and that goes beyond being nice, meeting physical needs, feeding the poor, clothing the naked, and all other good things possible to minister to someone. I must also speak truth about the most important thing—their eternal destiny. Even if the truth is painful and hard to hear, I must still speak it, and warn the unbelieving sinner about the error of their way and its consequences. And I must speak, no matter what the cost to myself. Even if it makes me the most unpopular person in the room or in the town, I have to be faithful to God and what He requires. I am not responsible to anyone else but Him.

The hostile world wants us to shut up about homosexuality being a sin. In fact, the world wants Christians to shut up about sin in general. It really doesn't matter WHAT the sin is. If we speak out and warn, we are called "haters." But in reality, we are—IF we are motivated by the right heart and right spirit—acting and speaking in love. We don't want people to face the certain wrath of God for unrepentant sin and rejection of His only provision for sin—His Son.

Every sin can be forgiven. Every sin can be overcome with God's power. That doesn't mean it's easy. As long as we live in these fleshly bodies, we will have the struggle with the old nature. But the new nature God gives us at salvation loves Him, loves His Word, and loves other people. The new nature in us wants others to know the wonderful freedom and forgiveness of our sins that we've received. We're beggars, but we know where the bread is and we want to share it so others may feast and be set free. That's not hate in my book, folks. Not by a long shot.

Who Are the Real Haters?

So who are the real haters? We really need to know. Again, we find the answer in the pages of Scripture.

The real haters out there are what the Bible calls "false brothers" and "false teachers." The real haters are those who claim to know God and represent Him, but find every method possible to undermine His truth and cause people to disbelieve His Word. There are pastors out there and so-called Bible teachers who wear clerical collars and crosses, but they reject every core truth of the Christian faith as it's been held for 2,000 years since the days of Jesus and the Apostles. They are the haters. They hate God even though they claim to love Him. They hate His people even while they claim to lead them as shepherds. And ultimately, they hate others in action because they lull them into a false sense of security about their sin. And they will be held accountable by God Himself. It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God (Hebrews 10:31).

A Final Point

Genesis 3 contains the classic pattern as it's been since the Fall of Man. Go read it and ponder it. Most of us know the story of Adam, Eve, the serpent (Satan) and the "forbidden fruit." The sin was not eating a piece of fruit. The sin was much deeper, much more serious and much more deadly. The sin was in disbelieving God, questioning His Word, calling Him a liar in essence, and disobeying His Word. The first thing that happened is that Eve encountered Satan. Satan asked her the question, "Has God said...?" There's the initial plant of doubt. Did God REALLY say this? Eve reiterated that yes, God did say it. Then Satan followed up. "You will not surely die." A direct, flat contradiction of what God had said. Satan in essence said God was lying. And then Satan went on to charge God with evil, jealous motivations. "For God knows that in the day that you eat of it your eyes will be opened and you will be like God, knowing good and evil." Sound familiar? "You will be like God." That was Satan's downfall—pride and wanting to usurp God's righteous place. And Eve fell for it.

She and Adam both knew God intimately. He loved them, gave them a place to live that was beyond beautiful, He met their every need and walked with them every day. They KNEW God. Yet they chose to believe the lie of a stranger with a slick tongue. And even that wasn't enough. Eve blamed Satan. Adam blamed Eve, and then ultimately, God Himself. "God, it was this woman YOU gave me." Oh. So it's God's fault now. Yeah, right.

Things have not changed in thousands of years of human history. Hate and pride started the whole Fall. Hate and pride still cause people to fall. Hate and pride feed unbelief and rebellion.

So folks, come now. Who are the real haters out there? Where is the origin of hate? And what is the real love? Who is the origin of real love? Above all, who has the absolute right to determine what hate and love is, and what evil and sin are? God Himself and God alone. He has done so. He has also given us the way to deal with our sin, hate, pride and rebellion, and to be restored into a right relationship with Himself.

And the way is open to whosoever will. That's love. Real, abiding, eternal love.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Hate? What's Hate?

This is just a brief "coming attractions" post. I've seen some things here and there, in print, on television, on radio etc. where the word "hate" gets thrown around as a pejorative. I think the term is way, way over-used and misapplied. In fact, it gets used as a political bludgeon to silence traditional conservative viewpoints on many issues, and yes—even in Christian circles. 

My next post is going to deal with this subject. I want to look at what "hate" really is, and how it should properly be viewed and applied. The intent is to help stop it from being used as a censorship weapon, and to stop people from falsely being accused of hatred when that's the farthest thing from their minds.

More later.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Grace: The Other Side of the Coin

Monday, I posted on God's absolute sovereignty. Very hard for fallen man to deal with since fallen man is full of pride.

But there's another facet to God's character we need to remember—and as His children, emulate. It's summed up in these verses. Ezekiel 33 says "As I live, declares the Lord God, I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that the wicked turn from his way and live." Or we have Proverbs 24:17: "Do not rejoice when your enemy falls, and do not let your heart be glad when he stumbles." Teaching and preaching about sin, the need for repentance, and God's certain, coming judgment has its place. We don't hear enough of it these days. 

But believers also need to remember the depths of sin from which the Lord Jesus saved us by His grace and through His sacrifice on the cross. We dare not get a prideful, boastful, self-righteous attitude. Especially when we see someone particularly wicked "get theirs." The human side of us loves it when that happens, but we see from God Himself that this does not reflect His character. He takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked, and neither should we. He wants their repentance and restoration. So should we. And I love the Apostle Paul's warning . . . "Let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall." Let's not get cocky. Stand for truth and righteousness, but let love be the motivator and let love shine out of us even as we confront the sin of our culture. 

Monday, February 25, 2013

God's "Unforgivable" Sovereignty

Excuse the photoshopped pix to the right. But it illustrates the main point of my comments today

If you are in Christian circles very long—or even among the hateful atheist crowds who lust for challenges against God's existence—the issue of good vs. evil, right vs. wrong, and God's ultimate rule come into play.

I'll state my viewpoint on this very quickly, more than anything else because I am battling a respiratory infection and don't feel like a long post. All I ask is that you just stretch your brain a bit.

This admittedly is simplistic for such a large subject, but it is illustrative of my main point. Imagine for a moment that you come up with a movie, story, play, script, drama, comedy, game, you name it. You are the creator, author, etc. You know better than anyone else what you had in mind, what your purpose is etc. On the game level, the creator of the game has the absolute right to make the rules. It's his/her game after all. Let's say you're the author of a novel. You know what you intend for each character, the timeline, plot devices, history, etc. You're the master. You make the rules, you set the stage, you have the absolute right to do so.

Let's then stretch that out to creation. God is the Creator. He is Sovereign. He has the absolute right as Creator, King, Master, Author, Savior, Lord and God—to make the rules for His creation. He is the definer of right and wrong. No one . . . and I mean NO ONE . . . has the right to challenge Him.

This is the one thing that mankind finds unforgivable in mankind's arrogance. Mankind LOVES to sit in judgment on God. The very fact that a human being could possibly do something worthy of spending eternity in Hell separated from the Creator is abhorrent at a gut level. But that in and of itself is demonstrative of man's fallenness. Scripture explains and foretells it. Even in the end, right before the return of Jesus Christ as Judge, evil man shakes his/her fist at the Almighty rather than repent and admit that they have sinned and fallen short of God's requirements. And the hardest thing for mankind to fathom is that the Creator Himself willingly paid the price for human sin on the cross, and through trust in Him and what He did on that cross, mankind can be completely forgiven, restored, regenerated, and have a wonderful future in fellowship with the Creator.

But the vast majority of mankind can't stand it. They won't be ruled by anybody. Even if the whole planet is wiped out as the domino effects of man's arrogance topple, the fist will still be shaken.

I call that supreme stupidity.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Legendary Actresses in a Forgotten Film

I have long wanted to see the film "The Whales of August," released in 1987. That might raise a few eyebrows among my friends and regular readers of mine, as my dislike of newer films, coupled with love of Hollywood's Golden Age, film noir, and black and white photography is well known. But since the film stars two screen legends—Lillian Gish and Bette Davis— (and this turned out to be Lillian's final film at age 93; she lived to be just short of 100), I really wanted to see it.

Here is the Internet Movie Data Base page on it. Wikipedia also has a more detailed account of the film. My sister pleasantly surprised me with a video of the film this weekend, and we just sat down to watch it.

It did not disappoint. Even at their age and Bette's obvious infirmity from having suffered a stroke, both screen legends turned in yet another legendary performance. The film was deeply touching, as they portrayed elderly sisters having what might be their last summer together at the family home on the Maine seacoast. Old memories—painful and pleasant—intrude, old hurts and disappointments between the sisters arise, but it all gets warmly worked out at the end. And the end of the film leaves you with quite a lump in your throat.

I do have one issue. It frankly infuriates me that the Academy never recognized either Lillian or Bette for this film. They should have gotten Oscars, if for anything their decades upon decades in the motion picture industry. In fact, one story from the movie's filming had someone mention to Lillian that she had done a great closeup. Bette quipped, "She should. She invented them!" But the Academy ignored the film, and I'd say most people today don't know anything about it. Sad.

If you have not seen "The Whales of August," I recommend it highly, and that is significant praise for a late 1980s film. I normally won't watch anything made past 1955. But the main actors—also including Vincent Price and Ann Sothern—come from my favorite era of moviemaking, so that made up for the color film and the dating. The performances didn't disappoint. And while I in general tend to dislike "message" films, this one sent a good one to provoke some thought—the issues of aging and the things the elderly in our society face as they get older. Even the internal reflections, including wistfulness, missing ones who have passed on, keeping old traditions, holding on to independence, worry over loved ones who are more infirm than you. Wow. It is an incredible film, and well worth the 90 minutes to watch it.

Friday, February 22, 2013

The Noir Scene That Never Was

Today's post is a bit grim, because my subject is film noir—perhaps my favorite film genre. And mind you, not modern noirs. I mean the classic black and white ones from the 1930s-1950s.

Most noir lovers will know of 1944's "Double Indemnity" starring Barbara Stanwyck, Fred MacMurray and Edward G. Robinson. What most probably don't know is that the scene pictured to the right was cut out of the film. It shows Fred MacMurray's character getting ready to be executed in the California gas chamber for killing the Stanwyck character's husband. Director Billy Wilder thought it wasn't necessary and cut it.

There will be varying opinions on this, and the ending as is sort of left it up in the air and a bit sentimental. You weren't sure if MacMurray would survive to be convicted, or what the final outcome would be. While I like the way it showed the friendship between Robinson and MacMurray's characters even at such a grisly end, the gas chamber scene would have sealed the "crime does not pay" grim ending well.

Interestingly, if you remember "Angels With Dirty Faces" with Jimmy Cagney, they only showed the shadow of the electric chair when Cagney's character was being fried, with the obligatory dimming lights. That was 1938, I think. And here they are only a few years later showing the actual gas chamber with people in it. Fast forward a few years to Susan Hayward and "I Want To Live," they show Susan strapped in the chamber with the pellets dropping and the gas fumes rising, and Susan coughing in the fumes.

Don't get me wrong. I don't think death scenes need to be played out with ever more gory graphicness. But at least the shadow of it underlines the finality of evil, and the fact that it will end with certain justice . . . in the long run. If not here, in eternity.

But film noirs weren't known for too many Hell scenes.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Rush Lets it Fly

I have listened to Rush Limbaugh for years, although my chances to do so regularly have been limited in recent times because of my work schedule. I don't always agree with his take on things, but quite often do. I have interviewed his brother David when I was still doing radio, and David is not only a delightful guest and author—he is also a firm evangelical believer with a great testimony.

All that as intro to this clip from Rush's radio program. Rush is usually a pretty upbeat fellow, but he really gets the paddle out for the country in this transcripted monologue. And I think he's spot on for the most part. Read and ponder.

Monday, February 18, 2013

White River, AR Fishing

I haven't been able to go fishing in Arkansas since 2007. Long ago in my youth (don't ask how long), I enjoyed fishing Spring River and the Myatt Creek near Mammoth Spring. In more recent years, it's been crappie fishing on Lake Charles near Powhatan.

One of these days, I'd love to try the White River out (pictured right). Take a peek at this report from Jim Porter, who loves fishing the White. His description is quite accurate. It begins up in the Ozarks as a clear mountain stream with aqua water in deep places. But after it leaves the Ozarks into the flat ground of eastern Arkansas, it turns murky and even muddy in places.

The interesting thing in Jim's report is that usually, one wants to stay OFF a stream when its flooding. But he says that seems to be a good time to catch bass. Interesting, but somehow I don't think I'll try it. I prefer calmer water.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Happy Valentine's Day?!?

I guess it was only a matter of time. Sigh.

In normal circumstances, Valentine's Day would be the last subject on which I'd make a blog post—confirmed, determined bachelor and decidedly unromantic as I am. However, in the past few days I've seen three commercials that I can't let pass by without comment. Because I find them flatly odious.

The first thumbs down goes to the Vermont Teddy Bear Company. If you watch their commercials, either for the small Teddies, the big Teddie, or their pajamas/HoodieFooties, the message is the same although not worded as baldly as I'll put it. Get your sweetheart one of these teddy bears or comfy PJ items for Valentine's Day, and it will pay off for you in the sack. One of the men in the commercial even looks at the camera and gives a knowing wink.

That's the motivation for remembering your loved one on Valentine's Day? Give a gift to get laid? Whatever happened to just giving something nice for the sake of loving your wife? (Or girlfriend, but The Seventh Sola adheres to the Christian biblical principle of no sex outside of marriage.) Maybe they intend it to be cute, but if I was a woman, I'd be pretty offended.

The next commercial comes to us courtesy of K-Y Jelly. "Want to give him something for Valentine's Day? Why not give him yourself (with help from our specially packaged lubricants)? Until this year, I have never seen a television commercial like this. The never-stopping commercials for Viagra, Cialis and other sexual pills are bad enough. I've had to stop myself from praying for severe side effects on the takers that will impact that particular portion of the body. Given, some men do have medical issues that they need addressed. But do the rest of us have to hear about it? Talk to your doctor, get your pills and shut up.

Finally—and this one takes the cake—a website "dating service" called "What's Your Price?" Excuse me?!? I don't think I have to spell out what that sounds like. If you even have a modicum of astuteness, I don't need to go any further. What's next? The House of the Rising Sun begins building chains and franchises across the U.S.???

Okay, rant over. But folks, this is really getting on my nerves to a revolting level. I'm surprised I hear little other comment on this stuff. Are we that jaded and desensitized? We must be. And God help us.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

One More Thought on Dr. Carson and Obama

While the Dr. Benjamin Carson vs. President Barack Obama story may not have legs too much longer, I feel the need to make one more comment.

To listen to Bob Beckel and the majority on the left—and allegedly by conservatives such as Cal Thomas—Dr. Carson was unforgivably rude to take on Obama and his policies face to face at the National Prayer Breakfast.

I have to disagree. Power needs to hear truth, especially when a sycophantic media refuses to do its job and confront power with the hypocrisy, contradictions and other problems with its policies.

In Scripture, King David did wrong. Admittedly, his sin with Bathsheba and Uriah the Hittite wasn't an exact parallel, but the idea that people who are in the position of governing and cannot be reproached for wrong policies—even evil or sinful policies—because it's "rude" is patently ridiculous.

The danger for someone speaking truth to power was much more dangerous in the days of absolute monarchy, when the king or queen could send you to the dungeon or chop off your head with only a word. But in America, where we the people are the ultimate authority, we have the RIGHT and DUTY to challenge those whom we elect and put in power. If Barack Obama, or a Senator, a Representative, state legislator, governor, mayor, county board chairman—you name it—steps out of bounds, we have the right to call them on the carpet, even if it bruises their precious little egos.

In the case of Barack Obama, he has plenty of ego and narcissism to spare. I have seen enough of old footage of him taking a stand on an issue prior to his election to the presidency, only to flat out lie when he takes the exact opposite position and insist that his current stance has always BEEN his position. He needs to be verbally slapped down and hard.

And if this Benghazi situation continues to develop as it has been, I can see impeachment and removal from office as a very real option. That, of course, assumes that Democrats will do what Republicans did during the Nixon Administration. We did the right thing and joined with Democrats to remove from office a president who very clearly did the wrong thing. We did it despite party. Will the Democrats do the same to one of their own? I kind of doubt it, given the nature of most Democrats. But I hope they prove me wrong.

Friday, February 08, 2013

Dr. Ben Carson: Speaking Truth to Power

You never know for sure what's going to happen at the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington D.C. these days. By most accounts, the one this past week was a barnburner thanks to a renowned neurosurgeon.

First, read this Washington Times account of the event, where Dr. Carson shared the platform with President Obama. Dr. Carson's message was a direct rebuttal of many Obama Administration policies—especially on health care and dealing with poverty—and judging from the body language from the president, Obama was seething.

And not only the president is seething. Dr. Carson's solid 2X4 to the hornets' nest brought all the lefty hornets out in attack mode. Most are going after Dr. Carson for being "rude" or some such tommyrot. Some are trying to register disagreement with Dr. Carson's policy prescriptions, based both on his medical experience and Scripture. (Yes, Virginia, it WAS a prayer breakfast).

My thoughts? This probably rankles the left because Dr. Carson is African-American, and does not fall in lockstep with them and their media acolytes in swallowing whatever comes out of the Administration's mouth. I thought it was delicious. Dr. Carson was speaking truth to power.

That's what the media is supposed to do as the "Fourth Estate." But the media as watchdogs on power are moribund. They need resurrection. Actually, that's not quite accurate. They can be watchdogs, that is, on conservative Republican Administrations and lawmakers. But put a liberal in office, and the media by and large serve as attack dogs for anyone who disagrees.

I love it when a spokesman shows up who is articulate, knowledgable, biblically grounded, and can throw a hard right jab right back in their jaws.

Tuesday, February 05, 2013

Taking Disraeli's Advice?

After a few days away from too much focus on the news, I logged back in today to find infighting on the increase in the Republican Party. Kind of depressing, but not unexpected after an election loss. What is needed right now is unity, and not bloodletting. However, I think the long knives are going to be out for a while.

Enter this interesting article from The Week. The premise is "What could today's Republican Party learn from the legendary British Conservative leader Benjamin Disraeli?"

It's an interesting question. The Conservative/Tory party is similar in some ways to the American Republicans, but it's not a carbon copy (for example, the support many Conservatives have for the National Health Service etc). During the mid to late 1800s, Disraeli and Labour (liberal) William Gladstone battled back and forth, and traded the prime minister's job. The Week's article examines how Disraeli took the Conservative Party and turned it into a dominant force in British politics.

Would such a thing work here? Good question. It's long been my view that principles are timeless. One thing that gives people contempt for politicians is the everlasting image of them holding their finger in the wind and blowing wherever the wind blows. It is true that there has to be some adaptability to meet current challenges, but timeless principles should not have to be compromised.

As with any idea, chew the meat and spit the bones. But it is an interesting question to ponder.