Saturday, August 30, 2008
After about fifteen minutes of consideration, I realized what a genius choice she was. Some people have actually ridiculed John McCain for making a choice that merely meets everything he needs strategically. Think about it. Disillusioned Hillary supporters wanted to vote for a woman. Now they can. Younger voters who related to Obama have a young candidate on the other side. Pro-lifers can cling to the touching anecdote of Governor Palin's decision to give birth to her fifth child who has Down's Syndrome - for my part I think this is a horrible testimony to the perspective of Americans that we think it is exceptional when a woman chooses NOT to abort. The big-family crowd is appeased because she knows what it's like to have a big family. Those who have been skeptical about the lack of executive experience in prospective presidents are relieved to hear she's been a mayor, a governor, and a MOM. For once there is no scandal in her marriage. She's pro-gun, appealing to the constitutional conservatives that McCain sometimes forgets. Her face looks good on a campaign ad. She's graceful. And she has a record of winning elections in unconventional circumstances.
Never mind her actual qualifications for doing the actual job of a vice president. Sarah Palin is the choice McCain made to get into the White House. After that they'll manage.
And never mind the strange consistency of these conservative, pro-life, pro-family Americans that John McCain has once again proven are beyond his experience and comprehension. A less obvious mistake than Obama's "above my pay grade" answer to the beginning of life question in a Southern Baptist sanctuary, McCain failed to realize that we disgruntled conservatives prefer to vote for men. We prefer men to be willing and able to lead. And we believe strongly that women, especially those with families, need to be home with their families, coming alongside their husbands even more than their communities, country, or president.
Voddie Baucham expresses my concerns very well. In fact all this writing has just been to introduce his essay on the Republican Vice Presidential Candidate, Sarah Palin: Did McCain Make a Pro-Family Pick?. So you have to click the link and read it.
To God be all glory.
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
Rather than the most recent war in Iraq, perhaps a better illustration of the need to proceed with wisdom in Georgia would be the conflict between Afghanistan and Russia, in which the US armed the Taliban in order to defeat the Soviets. Certainly neither party needed us to be helping them. However, Georgia has been advancing toward a democratic, "westernized" government and culture, despite serious economic and military opposition from its closest most powerful neighbor. The US, because of the fundamental beliefs that make us a democracy: "endowed by our creator with certain inalienable rights", believes that these rights apply to all people, and wishes to aid the sovereign governments who share our concern to promote liberty in their own countries. It is also strategic for us to have allies like Georgia, the Ukraine, and Poland, whence we can maintain vigil over the growing threat of Russia's imperialism.
Another good example would be World War II, which could actually have been prevented as a world war if the other superpowers in the world had stood against Hitler when he took over Austria and Czechoslavakia, citing similar reasons as Putin's Russia now claims. Because Hitler was undeterred in his conquest, he gained confidence and military positional advantage by which he launched his near-complete takeover of Europe. Too much appeasement, and too many empty threats, are what allow world wars to come to fruition.
Thus, the United States was acting in this prudent manner of putting out a spark rather than a raging forest fire, when we "preemptively" struck Iraq. A little history (which it is good to know, before you judge a situation): In 1990, Iraq invaded Kuwait in order to add its natural resources to the larger, but economically depleted, Iraq. The US and a UN-supported coalition defended Kuwait. Iraq was forced to surrender, on very favorable terms considering the nature of war. They submitted at the time to the UN as enforcers of these terms. When after several years Sadaam Hussein began to put his toe across the line, and found himself unchecked, he gained confidence and gradually became more and more blatant in disregarding the terms of his surrender over a decade prior. As it became evident that he was committing atrocities and defying the UN resolutions (an act by all accounts punishable if the UN meant anything); harboring and aiding the professed terror-wielding enemies of the US and her allies; and moving towards if not already possessing the means of restarting his quest for more money and power at the cost of human lives at home and abroad, the US led the way in collecting the Coalition of the Willing and specific UN resolutions in order to redress the transgressions Sadaam Hussein's Iraq made against international post-Gulf War agreements.
The resulting war, Operation Iraqi Freedom, was so shocking and awe-ful to Sadaam that the real fighting was over in a few days. What has taken so long in Iraq was the establishment of a democracy among a people used to oppression. The South needed to be reconstructed, and the freed slaves equipped for life and industry after the Civil War in the United States. Georgia needed the support and example of democracies to build its government on the true, God-fearing principles of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. In the case of Georgia, they have met insurgent opposition to democratic government, and have endured opposition sponsored by neighbors with ulterior motives - all very reminiscent of the situation in Iraq where Iran continued to supply and train the insurgency. Interestingly, Putin and Ahmadinejad are themselves allies, who have no doubt consulted on tactics.
Georgia, a sovereign nation, has the right to use force to suppress violent uprisings in its land. That is what governments do. If the government is being oppressive and abusive, that is another story, but then one wonders why most of Georgia is NOT in revolt. (See Declaration of Independence). I find it sad that Americans seem willing to accept ethnic differences as explanations for conflict and wanting one's own country divided according to race all the while recognizing the great fact (which has been largely successful in its American implementation) that race has nothing to do with the value of a human life, with relationships, or with the principles of government by the people for the people. Being of a different ethnicity than a portion of your country is no reason either to revolt against your government or to oppress your people.
When America broke away from the Crown, it was not a matter of race or even of disapproval of the laws so much as it was outcry against the king's making rules and breaking them. The charters by which America was colonized gave specific rights and powers to the colonists, which the king then usurped. Since the Magna Carta, England had recognized that the king was not himself above the law, and Americans expected the present king to honor that. However, when he did not, they declared their independence. Unlike the implications some have made, the king did not immediately recognize his fault and repent, but invaded their land with violence. By the providence of God, America was able to defeat the armies of the tyrant king, winning independence and teaching England a lesson on human rights and the nature of government that the Crown has yet to forget. America is free not because of the benevolence of England, but because England surrendered their object in the colonies.
My letters were addressed to my congressmen because, as the Constitution of the United States presently stands, they are my representatives to the world. World leaders are not my concern beyond my own country. I am not a globalist. America is my nation, and her leaders are my focus.
My position maintains that we were not so utterly wrong in Iraq or in Afghanistan as is popularly argued. Weapons of Mass Destruction have been found, and there is some evidence that more may have been shipped to likeminded countries. Good has been accomplished in Iraq and Afghanistan. No further terrorist attacks have been perpetrated on America. Lives have been lost, tragically, but most American lives were willingly laid on the line in service of country. Alongside wars of history, the human toll has been remarkably small. Peace reigns over the Middle East more than ever. There is still violence, but there is violence in New York City, in San Francisco, and in my city, Denver. To quote Tolkien, "It takes but one foe to breed a war..."
To God be all glory.
Saturday, August 23, 2008
I am writing to urge you and your fellow senators to take strong
action against Russia for its invasion of Georgia, our United States ally.
The time is past for some extent of bargaining, for saying "retreat or
else." Russia invaded a sovereign nation unprovoked, as a calculated
political aggression in a time when their government believes the world will
be weak and distracted.
In an election year for the US, politics are important, partly because
they determine the way our country handles foreign relations and defense.
It is your job to support the President in a strong response to Russia, and I
believe it is imperative to remain focused on important international events
alongside our national campaigns and concerns. Russia's military
action has connections to the price of oil, to our national defense, and to Iran
and terrorist-harboring countries in the Middle East. This "skirmish" with
Georgia is no small event in the world. When we delay in reaction, or
moderate our reaction, we encourage Russia and other potentially aggressive
nations to take advantage of us, especially at times of Congressional
Take action, Senator.
To God be all glory.
For more information on the worldwide relevance of Russia's attack on Georgia, you can try Joel Rosenberg's blog and links.
Everything about the movie is bright and clean. Soundtrack is perfect. I could honestly pause each scene of the movie to tell you what I admire about the shot, the implication, the set, the actors/actresses, the line, the modernity, or the touching relevance to my life.
I'm not a member of the LDS church, but the primary version of the movie is not specific to the Mormon church, and contrary to what some reviewers have argued, remains quite easy to follow.
Get this movie. You'll love it. Spread it around.
Friday, August 15, 2008
Last week it hit me: The just shall live by faith.
Romans says the just shall live by FAITH. Emphasis in Paul's context is that faith is how the just live. Faith brings life. Faith moves life.
James say the just shall LIVE by faith. They shall not sit still in their corner by faith. They shall not simply have the afterlife taken care of by faith. If they are just (justified, seen as just/righteous/sinless in God's court), they will LIVE by faith. Faith will be action.
What do you think?
To God be all glory.
Sacrifices to idols and to Molech are an effort for man to please god by giving him a thing most valuable. Our most valuable offerings cannot appease God. Only a perfect sacrifice could satisfy the requirement that remission must come by the shedding of blood. Only God Himself was good enough.
God, even more than life, is the highest priority. Faith in Him is more important than anyone’s life, and disobedience is not justified even in a situation where a life is at stake.
The child sacrifices to Molech had more to do with bartering with god than with repentance for sins or faith. Abraham, in contrast, was the patriarch of faith, and the Bible implicitly says that the command to sacrifice Isaac was about Abraham’s faith (interesting since Isaac was old enough to have resisted Abraham, but he didn’t).
Abraham’s faith was tested when God asked Him to sacrifice Isaac. But what does child sacrifice really have to do with faith?
Hebrews 11 explains why he got so much credit for his faith in the story of sacrificing Isaac:
Hebrews 11:17-19, "By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac: and he that had received the promises offered up his only begotten son, Of whom it was said, That in Isaac shall thy seed be called: Accounting that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead; from whence also he received him in a figure."
Abraham believed God would make his son live, no matter what. God also knew when Jesus gave His life that there would be a resurrection. Jesus knew about it, and told His disciples to expect Him to come back on the third day.
Even if Abraham believed Isaac would not stay dead, we might think that he was self-deluded and irrationally hopeful rather than a man of great faith, unless God gave Abraham a strong reason to believe this. Did He?
Abraham had some difficulties believing God’s plan for him. Years into the covenant and promises, Abraham and Sarah still hadn’t born any children. So Abraham tried things his own way, siring Ishmael through Hagar, his wife’s slavewoman. God made it quite clear that He had promised a son through Sarah, and that Ishmael was not the heir.
Then Abraham believed God, but Sarah doubted until she conceived Isaac. God reiterated that the promise to make Abraham many nations, to bless the world through his Seed, (the Covenant) was through Isaac:
Genesis 17:15-16, 19, "And God said unto Abraham, As for Sarai thy wife, thou shalt not call her name Sarai, but Sarah shall her name be. And I will bless her, and give thee a son also of her: yea, I will bless her, and she shall be a mother of nations; kings of people shall be of her. And God said, Sarah thy wife shall bear thee a son indeed; and thou shalt call his name Isaac: and I will establish my covenant with him for an everlasting covenant, and with his seed after him."
They gave birth to a son. So Abraham had learned his lesson about doubts. He knew that either God would intervene, or God would raise Isaac back to life.
Abraham knew that God’s command (to sacrifice Isaac) could not supercede God’s promise (to make Isaac into many nations). This point is made in Galatians:
Galatians 3:17, "And this I say, that the covenant, that was confirmed before of God in Christ, the law, which was four hundred and thirty years after, cannot disannul, that it should make the promise of none effect."
The just always lived by faith.
In Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son, I see a vivid example of God’s plan for salvation depicted in the story of the Sacrifice of Isaac.
- The promise was from God, and He would keep it.
- The son was miraculously given by God.
- The command was God’s.
- The faith was in God.
- And the substitute sacrifice was God’s.
To God be all glory.
Thursday, August 14, 2008
Seconds later my mom’s phone rang, and she laughed when she answered a call from my brother at home. While she was finding out who he had tried to call first, my other brother (present) asked me where my phone was. “In my back pocket. I can feel it,” I answered with annoyance. I mean, I would know if it was my phone, because I knew where my phone was. It’s a trick I learned from helping people move. Stick your phone and your keys in the back pocket of your jeans where you won’t lose them, miss calls, or have stuff in your way carrying big boxes and such. The brother at home must have told Mom that he called me, because she said my name, and everything suddenly fit together.
I’d been chasing my own phone in my back pocket. No wonder wherever I looked the sound seemed to be behind me!
To God be all glory.
No scientists are desperately searching for a cure to their cause of death.
No autopsies were done to determine time of death. No one even writes a death certificate.
This is because the babies were never born.
But they are not in my imagination. They are not less than babies, or less than people. Death. Huge, permanent loss whose repercussions we can’t even project, yet not one is even given a funeral, but that does not mean they are not mourned.
Ten witnesses stood today.
We desperately pleaded for their innocent lives, and grieved their slaughter.
We were on our knees until end of life, with hands held out begging: we were gathered for life this morning.
This is because the babies were conceived, given by God for a purpose.
But they are not remembered. They are like so many deaths, so many days, so regular that we want to forget and so normal that we almost can. Lives. Tiny, mysterious existences we don’t even understand, whose potential we can’t even project, were cut short today.
I cannot forget.
To God be all glory.
Looking for a unique gift? Etsy is the place. It's the permanent online craft fair. But we aren't talking about the craft foam Christmas pins, or the surplus of bead-pets and keychains - these are crafts in the old fashioned sense of craftsmanship.
For example, this week I bought a leather stick barette/hair cover. Or you could buy candles, your next purse, a huge supply of independent fashions, quilts, jewelry, wallets, or those heatable/freezable bags with herbs in them that are so in vogue. Find a favorite dealer or two, and check back on their products.
Now - I'm not necessarily advocating you spend a lot of money. But if you are going to buy a nice gift, or spend money on a new outfit, do Etsy. If you're worried about sizing, learn to do measurements; it's more accurate anyway.
I intend to move into Etsy soon with some handmade items from my inventory. Stay tuned for an update!
To God be all glory.
Saturday, August 02, 2008
Last night my dad finally got home, and so today we celebrated. And we were informed by the birthday girl, with some indignation at our lack of memory, that today is the day my sister was due to be born, though she had the presumption to arrive over a week early. So instead of Happy Birthday, our greetings are: "Happy Due Date Day." Say it. The phrase is rather fun.
Since I'm all about extra reasons for celebration, I thought that I might take up the custom. There should be some special happening on one's Due Date Day, don't you think?
On a side note, my sister has the smallest room in our house. She has filled it with furniture and shoes, including a bunk bed not of twin size, but full. Imagine our bewilderment when one of her requests on her birthday wish list was a couch. Indeed. A couch. And while I was at camp, she actually got one. She removed the matress from her bottom bunk and maneuvered a couch beneath the top bunk, so she has her own little loft apartment in there, now complete with a refrigerator as well as a TV and a laptop. Her genius for maximizing space is incredible.
To God be all glory.