Thursday, August 13, 2015

"Fire, Ready, Aim" and other Inappropriate Responses

In the wake of the Supreme Court Obergefell decision people have been falling all over themselves with ideas on what to do, how to do it, and whether to do whatever it is that they think should be done. Everyone seems to have an idea and the range of ideas reflects the lack of order and unity that got us here in the first place. In my office we have taken to calling it the "Fire, Ready, Aim" syndrome. Perhaps spending a little time reflecting on how and why we got here might be in order. My boss posted a commentary today on our website that may be worthy of your time. 

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Thoughts on Restoring Order to the Supreme Court

The dust has begun to settle on the recent Supreme Court Obergefell Decision that found a constitutional right to same sex marriage in the 14th Amendment. Regardless of your position on same sex marriage, any supporter of American democratic process should be concerned by the flawed and tortured constitutional logic of the Obergefell decision. As people on both the left and the right are beginning to understand this fact, they are also beginning to understand that the time may have come to exercise the provisions in our constitution that can be used to rein in a runaway judiciary. A hearing was held last week in the Senate Judiciary Committee, Subcommittee on Oversight  to explore what remedies the Congress and the people might have in dealing with errant decisions by the Court. Dr. John Eastman and Mr. Ed Whelan both provided some excellent insight into the constitutional issues as well as some potential solutions. I commend the testimony of both these men to you.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Living in the Shadow of Mordor

Over this past weekend I got a chance to indulge in my love of the Lord of the Rings series. Hobbits and the Shire and the mythos of Middle Earth have captivated me since I first read the books 46 years ago. Yesterday I watched the last movie depicting the carnage exploding in the great last battle for Middle Earth. As I did it occurred to me that there are parallels between that mythical story and our own time.

You may recall that the story begins with Bilbo Baggins the Hobbit. Hobbits are given to a “live and let live” approach to life. Bilbo was living a comfortable life in the Shire when he was approached to leave the comfort of his surroundings to go on a dangerous adventure. In the course of his journey with an assortment of wizards, dwarfs and elves, Bilbo learns that there is evil afoot and that the shadow of evil is spreading daily. After many harrowing experiences, Bilbo safely retires to his comfortable life in the Shire and puts the reality of the growing evil and danger in the rest of Middle Earth out of his mind. Fast forward 20 or 30 years and Bilbo’s nephew, Frodo, is enlisted by the forces of good who are seeking to thwart the rapidly spreading evil of the Dark Lord of Mordor. It seems that while everyone in the Shire has been living the good life, the forces of evil have grown incredibly strong and they are on the verge of completely overtaking all of Middle Earth.

In the end, the forces of good in Middle Earth finally united in their quest to defeat the evil forces of Mordor. Good prevailed in Middle Earth, but not without great cost. As a nation, we have been “living in the Shire” for decades. We have enjoyed the “good life”. We have been oblivious to the opposing forces that have been growing ever stronger and are now casting an incredibly dark shadow over our land and around the world. We may find that in our time our path will parallel that of the good creatures of Middle Earth. We may find that we prevail, but only at great cost.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Digging Up Dead Generals

The furor over the Confederate flag and now over Nathan Bedford Forest and the burial places and statues of other long dead Confederate generals saddens me deeply. Should the Star and Bars fly over a state capitalI agree it should not. Should we dig up the bodies of every Confederate general and burn them? Maybe we can do as as the British did to Oliver Cromwell’s body, dig them up, hang them in chains and behead them. Surely those actions would smooth the angry waters and bring us together as a nation.  

Everyone has symbols and other things that rub them the wrong way. I personally find it disturbing  that friends and relatives have chosen to put the gay rainbow flag over their profile pictures. In their zeal to celebrate the  gay marriage decision they have apparently overlooked the egregious over reach of the Supreme Court. Even though I passionately disagree with these people, I choose not to demean, berate or unfriend them. I am for keeping them as friends. The minute I began to view others only through the lens of what I am against, I cease to be an influence to them for what I am for.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Bishop Sandy Greene is an Anglican Bishop and a  very wise man who I am blessed to be able to call friend. Some years back I got to  spend an afternoon in a motel coffee shop chatting with him. In the course of our conversation Sandy made one of the most profound statements I have ever heard. He said, “When that which unites us is that which we are against, we are doomed to failure.”

The recent successes of LGBT proponents is an object lesson in what happens when a  group coalesces around “what they are for”. For about 40 years they have been executing a unified plan in pursuit of a well defined goal. Like them or not they are an object lesson of what happens when people have unity of purpose.

Yesterday I was a volunteer at an event with speakers that included Tim Tebow and Dinesh D’Sousa along with my boss David Fowler. In the course of the afternoon I got an opportunity to talk with a lot of folks. I was deeply  saddened that many of the people I spoke to were much more concerned and vocal about what they were against. The truth is until we can UNITE around what we are for, our effectiveness in society will be severely hampered.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Strangers in a Strange Land

Jonathan Rauch recently opined in the New York Daily News that unless Christians conform to the spirit of the times, we will find ourselves “cultural strangers in our own land,” 

Newsflash to the world, Christians are "strangers in this world". We have been “predestined to be conformed to the image of (God’s) Son,” Jesus Christ, not a world system or social trends at enmity with God (Romans 8:29, Romans 12:2, James 4:4). 

We have lived for a long while in a culture where Christian beliefs were valued. Those who held and lived by these beliefs were respected. This no longer the case. Athletes like Tim Tebow or Russell Wilson have been publicly ridiculed for their beliefs. Politicians are daily pilloried because their Biblical values place them at odds with society at large. Disdain for Christians is in vogue and nearly universal.

When we get discouraged in this world run amok it is well to remember Jesus words, 
"If the world hates you, you know that it has hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, because of this the world hates you. (John 15:18-19)".

True haters will hate. True lovers will love. As for me and my house we choose to serve the lover of our very souls and his name is Jesus.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

What's Integrity Got to Do With It

When our boys were teenagers, like all parents Carol and I would occasionally found ourselves in conflict with them. At these times, they would often ask,”Well why don’t you just give me a list of what you want me to do and I’ll do it?”  The problem was that the boys were looking for a list of “things” that constituted acceptable behavior. We were looking for them to have a “heart change” such that they would choose to make acceptable choices.

Potential presidential candidates are daily engaged in discussions of the issues facing our world and our nation. They are all trying to come up with a list of “things” that will make them acceptable choices for our next president. The truth is that for any solution they might propose to any given issue, 40% to 50% percent of the people in America will agree and roughly that same percentage will disagree. This dichotomy has led to the gridlock we have experienced I recent years. So the question arises, is there a better way to select our government officials.

There was a time in the not too distant past when integrity was considered to be a very important discriminator in voting decisions. In recent years, integrity has taken a back seat to policy positions and perceived effectiveness. What has been the result of this shift?  A variety of polls indicate that around 80% of Americans distrust our government. Another way of saying this is that 80% of Americans feel our government lacks integrity. The disgust of Americans with our current government would seem to indicate that the importance of integrity needs to be revisited. In my opinion the perceived integrity of a candidate is as important as their policy positions.

What might happen if a candidate ran on a platform of restoring integrity to government? I believe if the people actually believed him or her, that candidate would win by a landslide.