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A long time fantasy coming true!

October 21, 2008
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OK, I’ve never seen this before.  But it is something I’ve always talked about: what if a ref decides to tackle a player?

Conservative Politics

October 9, 2008
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I was raised a conservative.  My parents have been that way since I was a young kid and they started actually caring about politics, and the Republican Revolution of ’94 was one of the things I cut my teeth on.  Back then, the Democrats were on the run, Republicans were on the rise, and conservative political ideas were ascendant.  It was a great time to start following politics.

Now, however, things have changed.  We’re on the other end of this cycle, where the Democrats are killing.  They’ll get the presidency, and may well get the Senate supermajority.  First of all, let me make the most important point there is to be made about politics: God is in control.  He knows what he’s doing in this election.  In addition, the Republicans are right on issues that are extremely important to me: marriage and abortion.  I could take or leave the economic stuff, but those two issues are issues I cannot cave on.

All this to say that the Republican party really needs to retool their message.  They have become the angry, misdirected party in American politics, rather than the party of ideas.  The Democrats are now the party with the ideas – mainly “bail out normal Americans”, and “get us out of Iraq”.  The Democrats have a narrative, and the Republicans do not.  In my admittedly inexpert opinion, Republicans must change their message to make sense to Americans.

First off, Republicans need to stop deceiving themselves.  They are not entitled to the normal, salt of the earth people vote.  This support is taken for granted, and while I don’t think the rural vote will completely leave, it will be diminished, and if they give no reason for people to vote for them, people will leave.

Secondly, the party needs to develop a narrative.  Republicans need to say why being pro family is best for America.  Republicans need to put together a program that shows things they can do that will benefit people.  I think the party needs to promote family welfare above all else.  (I get most of this reading Ross Douthat’s blog.)  

One of the most important things the Republican needs to stop doing immediately is vicious smears of their opponents.  Voters don’t care about that, and it only makes the Republicans look bad.  Most people don’t care about Obama meeting Bill Ayers, or his association with Reverend Jeremiah Wright.  We need to debate on ideas, not on marginal associations that no one cares about now.  Now, I’m not opposed to looking at a candidate’s life and assessing his character.  However, nitpicking somebody’s character by trying desperately to associate him with people he knew in the past, when his current life shows no signs of being influenced by them at all is a completely different matter.  This does not work in the long run – it just places your die hard supporters out of touch with mainstream America.  The Democrats did this with Bush for a while, and now the Republicans are responding with Obama.  It wasn’t pretty with Bush, and it isn’t pretty with Obama, and we really need to focus on more important issues then Obama’s marginal association with a 60s radical that most people have never heard of.

Abstinence Only?

September 16, 2008
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In recent weeks in the Presidential election, one of our favorite issues has come up again.  Abstinence only sex education has come up, with the common rhetoric on both sides – cultural liberals pushing for comprehensive sex ed, and cultural conservatives talking about how we should be teaching abstinence until marriage.

Now, this is an important question.  I personally believe that the emphasis is in the wrong place in these debates.  I think that this debate is necessitated because of a cultural failure in America – one that is much deeper then how we talk about this in public school.  The fact that families are not considered up to this task of talking about sex is one of the main reasons we struggle with this issue.  I believe that a much more important fight should be taking place here: we should be emphasizing each parent’s responsibility in addressing how their kids learn about sex.

I am suspicious of the involvement of the schools.  Look at the studies: abstinence only sex ed produces the same results as comprehensive sex ed – they both result in teenagers having sex outside of marriage.  In my experience (admittedly, very small), children taught about sex in the home are MUCH better off then those who hear about it from the public schools.  After all, where do children get their cues on sexuality?  From their parents.  They see how their parents conduct their sex lives, and they also shape their vision for sex through the lenses created by their parents.  This aspect is much more important then if sex is simply something learned through school.

This is dismaying for cultural conservatives like myself, because while I think it is better to advocate for abstinence until marriage, I also don’t see that taking root in our current cultural environment.  We can fight all we want for abstinence only sex education, but that is not going to have a noticeable impact until this culture starts becoming more wary of extra-martial sex.  This is why we should fight for a God-glorifying vision of sex in our own homes, and promote this vision in the culture – not only when sex education comes up, but whenever the topic of sex is broached.  We need to cultivate strong marriages that treat sex in a respectful way that is not evident in the culture.  People need to see the true beauty of marriages which honor God, and where the spouses honor the marriage bond.  Otherwise, nobody is going to see the point of abstaining, especially in a society where the negative consequences of sex outside of marriage have largely been removed.  I pray for a day when this society will see that marriage isn’t only a contract, but a true UNION, where the mystery of Christ and the Church is played out.

May He Fulfill Your Heart’s Desire

September 11, 2008
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May he grant you your heart’s desire
and fulfill all your plans! (Psalm 20:4)

This really hit me yesterday.  God is being asked to fulfill our heart’s desires.  The fact that this can even be asked is amazing mercy!  

This doesn’t guarantee that God fulfills our heart’s desires, but it does imply that it is right to ask – that we shouldn’t shy away from asking God for the desires of our heart.  Do you want to buy a house?  Ask God!  Do you want to be married?  Bring that up to God in prayer.  Do you desire for your children to grow up to be godly men and women?  Seek the Lord.  I believe that we too often assume “well, I don’t have this thing, but it would be wrong to ask God.”  No!  It is never wrong to ask God for something you desire, provided that it is not a sinful desire.  Sometimes, if it is wrong, or something God does not want for you, asking him is the means by which you come to terms with that reality.  So ask God for what your heart desires, all while praying that your desires would be more conformed with his.

Perhaps the Coolest Internet Thing In A While

September 10, 2008
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ANOTHER video?  I know, but I haven’t really had time to put together a coherent post.  This is why I couldn’t be a professional blogger.

How soon until you guess the song, the artist, and where it is being played?

You’ll be struck by awesome when you figure it out.

Read more…

A Sermon Illustration

August 28, 2008
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Apropos of nothing, except I found this on the Interwebs, a commercial that Mark Altrogge used in a sermon illustration.

I can’t remember what the point was, but I remember the commercial being described well.  The point was probably something about how easy it is to tug at our feelings or something.

Thankful My City Won’t Be Sacked

August 12, 2008
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I’ve been listening to Hardcore History lately, a very interesting podcast about history – basically, Dan Carlin, an insightful amateur, comments on historical events.  He looks at different events, and thinks about their impact, and talks about how they would look today.

In the latest episode about the Punic Wars, he talks about the ancient practice of sacking a city.  He takes Tacitus’ account of the Roman army sacking a particular city, and basically talks about how the army spent days in there looting, murdering, and raping the city’s inhabitants – and that this had been standard procedure in the ancient world – for thousands of years, this is something that our ancestors would have lived in fear of.  Tacitus describes this going on for four days.  The description is horrific, but it is something that should be thought of – we in the modern world have no concept of what the phrase “and the city was sacked” really means.  That word brings a meaning with it that has been largely forgotten in this world.

I thank God that I live in the modern world, and that among the bad things that could occur, the sacking of my city is not among them.  While horrible things still happen in war, it is currently unthinkable that a city in the world would be sacked like this.

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