Saturday, November 3, 2012

Litmus Leadership

Got the following from a friend of a friend via FB ...

It led me to this ...

Wow ... I had feared that we Christians had abandoned the donkey division (in favor of the elephant in the living room, to cast aspersions equally).  How refreshing to find genuine Believers staunchly in the blue camp.  Both sides of the US political turf desperately need salt and light.

From all I can tell, Graves and Mills are "real" Christians.  It appears that they recognize their need for a Savior, and Jesus is IT and they believe it.  That's the definition of "real Christian".  Since publishing their surprising essay, they have been taking a beating from the rest of us.

Republican != Christian

I will vote mostly Republican.  I categorically refuse to vote straight ticket.

Mrs. Dollar hears the claim that "real Christians vote Republican" and challenges it.  Good for her!  It boggles the mind how someone claiming to be a Christian can turn a blind eye to the social agenda driven via the Democrats.  But the Republicans have faults too.  Mills and Graves are no less Christian because they're voting for Obama.

Real Christians vote Republican
horse feces!

Real Christians believe in Jesus.
Real Christians presumably then follow Jesus, which means taking up your cross daily. And in this country, real Christians are obligated to vote because it is a civic responsibility.

Mitt Romney is not a Christian.  He's a Mormon; Mormonism is not Christianity; ergo ... Romney is not a Christian.  Mr. Romney publicly recognized that his faith is different from mine.

Red or Blue

The venerable indicator, litmus, turns red for the acidic test and turns blue under caustic conditions.  How fitting to this discussion ... red and blue.

As humans, we need indicators.  In democratic nations, we vote.  Which way should we cast that valuable token?  So we look for cues.  Some issues are clear.

As a Christian, I know that what really matters are the matters of the heart.  "For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, slanders." (Matt 15:19)  I want to support (and vote for) leaders who oppose evil, stand against murder, oppose fornication and adultery, and fight against theft and lies.

  • Candidates who indicate blue might stand against theft of big companies from the little guy.
  • Candidates who indicate red might stand against theft of big government from the tax payer.

In 2012, my indicators tell me we have a bigger problem with government overspending and taxing than with business overspending and overcharging.  Big business overspends!  Big companies overcharge!  Just not as much.  Just not today.  I see red.

  • Candidates who indicate blue might oppose killing by their stated opposition to war.
  • Candidates who indicate red might oppose killing of unborn children.

War is hell.  (quoth Sherman, a soldier)  I won't argue that our wars are allways "just".  That's a whole nutha discussion.  I do wish that back home we could agree to support life, the life of the innocent.  A child is not a soldier.  A child is not a criminal.  A child is not a choice.  If the unborn were unhuman, I would not hold this position.  But all indications are that they are human, they are individual, they are ... alive!  I see red, like blood spilled over the past 39 years.

  • Candidates who indicate blue might protect us from government intrusion into lifestyle choices.
  • Candidates who indicate red might protect us from government sanctioned immorality.

From the indicators, I'm seeing red.

It would perhaps be better if government and/or the health industry left marriage undefined.  But there are a ship load of other issues than medical coverage.  Marriage is more than cohabitation.  Relationships are more than what consenting adults carry on.  Family is for fostering young and old alike.  Kids don't simply need stability, they need models.  This in no way slams single parents.  Nor does it say that children of immoral parents are bad apples.  Nor does it demean the infertile.  We simply must try for the best: husband and wife, mother and father, family for life.

No Easy Choice

It is getting more and more difficult to read the cues.  The indicators are sometimes painted.  (You might get blue when you thought you picked red, or vice versa.)  Just today, I got a "he's a liar" comment about one of the candidates, without citation or substantiation.  When I asked for pointers, that guy responded that I could/should go find the details on my own.  Not a way to strengthen his argument.

I would have voted Republican this time for POTUS because of the other issues.  (I listed three.  There are more.  And I disagree with the GOP on many things.)  But Mormonism is a real problem.  I have been struggling.  Not the same struggle as Dollar, Graves, and Mills, but personal and painful.

Some Christians have articulated ... choosing a non-Christian is frequently a reasonable thing.  In my case, there are plenty of times and places where I would explicitly choose a non-Christian.  Even where the choice is between a Christian and the non-Christian, sometimes I would go with the latter.  (Family is good; nepotism not so much.)

If I had cancer, I would seek the best physician I could find, regardless his religion.  When I need the car fixed, I want it done right, no matter if the guy doing it knows the Lord yet.  (As it happens, my mechanic is a Christian.  And he does excellent work; he's not cheap.)  In my job, whether I'm looking for help or looking to hire, some of the candidates are atheists, homosexuals, even Mormons.  I consider these people friends.  (They do excellent work; they're not cheap.)

At this moment, there is one specific Mormon I would very much like to hire.  (Not meaning Mitt.  Different situation than the election.)

When choosing leadership, voting for president or representative or judge, the heart of the matter begins to matter all the more.  I have to give an account before God.  How will I justify my vote?

I will probably vote for Mitt Romney.  He aligns well on a number of indicators.  But I am having a very difficult time with the decision.  Ironically, some Mormons don't like him either.  Maybe they're Democrats.

Real Christians Vote How?

What issues should "real Christians" care about?
When I class Mills and Graves and Dollar as Brethren, what should I expect them to do and say in this treasured American process?
Which way should I cast my own vote?

In the booth, it's up/down for the candiate.  But arriving at that binary selection we have to digest a dozen other pro/con indicators.  The reduction is increasingly difficult, but come Tuesday we must have boiled it down.

Honor God:  The rejection of God by one of the two major parties pushes me hard toward the other.  God is not on the ballot, but the "why" behind the actions of the candidates is motivated by their attitude toward Him, and they are on the ballot.

Choose Life:  God created us in His image.  We value all of God's creation.  How much more should we then value the part which is "in His image"?  Both of the headliners support abortion, one more strongly.  Abortion is not on the ballot, but the office with veto power is.

Support Marriage:  Without slamming friends and family who make wrong choices, you should still defend right choices.  This is not hate.

Financial Accountability:  Budgets and money are not immediately spiritual concerns, and they don't carry the weight of Eternity.  (You can't take it with you.)  So this is fourth on my list.  But I am compelled to include it since it represents an impending storm.  And Christians can have opposing views about how to act responsibly, as we see from our Democrat Christian friends.

Shawn, David, Ellen, please get your party to return to a Godly position regarding life and living.

-- R; <><

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Losing Face(book) over Time(line)

... or "to leave or not to leave". 

I got the following notice late Tuesday (August 9): 

Welcome to Your Timeline — Preview

Timeline is your collection of the photos, posts and experiences that help tell your story.
People won't start seeing your timeline until August 14. This gives you a chance to:
1. Review what's on your timeline now.
2. Add or hide whatever you want.

I immediately posted a knee jerk scream, which drew some follow-up from "friends".  One said get over it. (Gee, thanks for the support, bro.) Another spoke up that she likes the new format.  (Credit to her for that because I accuse the majority of silent acceptance.) A third thought he had angered me with his jab: why should a free service support two interfaces? But I was not angry (at him). I said that I should follow my plan and leave. Both he and a fourth asked me to stay.

Guessing it is obvious ... I really don't like Timeline.

So ... to stay or not to stay?
I have less than five days to decide.
If I do leave, I have less than five days to complete the other arrangements.
(Which have been in development for years anyway.)

And what is the problem?
I have always found the new format more difficult to follow (as others have switched).  While I like the idea of "telling my story", I feel even more exposed because I distrust Facebook's handling of "my story", and this is a further step in me organizing the data for them. But most significantly, I hate being told what to with my own stuff. I despise being forced into a framework I find unwieldy.There is at least a learning curve, which burns up time I don't have.

There is more to it.
The jab from that third friend (mentioned beforehand) was ... in the Facebook economy, users are not the customer, they are the product. Users are "sold" to advertisers. This is widely recognized by computer professionals. (Probably clearly seen also by economists, certainly by advertisers.) It is not understood by lay people (normal users, consumers, most of your family and friends). The majority are lambs ... silently sold to the sellers.

If that last sentence seems senseless, that is the point. The US economy, even the world economy, has turned into one massive TV broadcast, paid for by advertising. So it's all free, right? Not! Advertisers want you to buy something. They will fund the "free show" (television, radio, and now internet) in hopes that you will spend real money on other things. But many of us would happily pay for programming and services if we could get relief from the mind numbing drone of commercials. (And why is it that so many of the subscription channels on cable and satellite also run ads? Someone is double-dipping. Ewww...)

Granted, I don't pay for this service either. But it is backed by one that I do pay for.

That's more than I wanted to say about advertising, and probably less than I should say about Facebook. And now I have 45 minutes less time to figure out what I will do about Timeline.

-- R; <><

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Pro-Family != Hate

It's time to remove the verbal veil ... see what is really happening.
There are people campaigning to blot out hate speech.
If it were truly hate speech that they were blotting, I would join them. I'd bring my own ink!
But it's not.

"They" have an agenda.
Their agenda is to normalize their own way of life. One of their tactics is to label any detractions or objections as "hate speech". Such a cute trick: If you disagree with another group, come up with a label everyone hates and stick it to them.

The label "hate speech" is a rhetorical device that is used to shut down dialogue. It should serve as its own warning label, "someone doesn't actually want to talk about it". And they don't want you to talk ... at all.
We are pro-family. I say "we" because my wife and kids and most of our nearest relatives and close friends are pro-family. To be clear, by pro-family, I mean that we support traditional marriage: one man, one woman, "til death do us part". There's no hate in that arrangement.

Several alternative lifestyles, one in particular, define marriage differently. But some of us don't want to swallow this redefinition. A large number of people, many of them Christians, disagree with the idea and disapprove of the agenda. Doesn't mean we hate anyone. Frankly, just the opposite. But to say that "gay marriage is wrong" is flagged as hate speech.

To be fair, there certainly are some in the anti-gay-marriage camp who do hate. But life is not boolean logic and two wrongs don't make a right, so the hate of some does not render the "gay marriage is wrong" statement hate verbiage. The anger of some straights is worth discussing ... in a different post.

If I said smoking was bad for you, would that be hate speech? I don't hate smokers. Would it be wrong to say that I "hate" breathing second hand tobacco smoke? Hate is a four-letter word.

If I said getting drunk is usually not smart, would you call it hate speech? Most of us "hate" drunk driving. Most of us recognize that drunkenness, even "safe" when you're not driving, makes you look bad. (YouTube is everywhere.)

If I said that divorce hurts everyone, would that be hate? All of my friends who have gone through it have expressed pain. God said, "I hate divorce.", so do you censor Him?

Scared of Losing Something? Sure, I'm scared of losing something.

I'm scared, as an American, of losing the heritage that made this country great. Historically, the US did many things well, though we made mistakes. I have always said that the best of America was rooted in Reformation Christianity. (But I'll save defending that position for another post.) A cornerstone of that legacy is "traditional marriage".

As a Christian, I know that I have made mistakes. No no ... let's be clear ... not "mistakes", I have done wrong, harmful and hurtful things. I am no better than drunkards or cheaters or ... or homosexuals. (If we lived under sharia law, I might have lost fingers by now, maybe worse.) I am thankful that Jesus took it for me.

  • The Jewish law tells us how to live.
  • The Jewish Messiah redeems us with His Own Life.

Getting it right, in the Old Testament, is tedious. No one makes it. And there is a constant reminder, "sin must be dealt with". Every other culture (around the Jews in the BC days) would change the rules, either make it relative or say it doesn't matter. (We still do that today.)

Getting it right, in the New Testament, means take the offer. Believe and receive. Then live. And remember you're "a new creation". So don't go back to your old ways. As a Christian, I have nothing to lose. So I'm not scared of the homosexual agenda. But it still hurts.

So ... without fear ... without being shrill or frantic ... and without hate ... gay marriage is wrong. Not to say that some friends don't disagree. (I will not "out" those near and dear to me who are stuck in it. They are loved!)

But "they" (the movement) have an agenda.
They want to make their lifestyle "okay", but it is not victimless. no more than cutting. Their "orientation" is about as real as a nicotine fit. It's a choice.

Their agenda is to normalize their way of life, but they cannot do that without destroying another way of life. I hate that.

-- R; <><

Sunday, February 26, 2012

My Story

My Story

I was 11.
I kind of believed in God. But I was already annoyed with fanatical absolute concepts.

Mom and Dad were "recently religious", for lack of a better term. We had attended church regularly as long as I could remember. But they had stepped things up a notch, and that triggered my annoyance. I was almost angry about it. I hate having things forced on me.

I was a good kid.
That's how I saw myself. Truth is, I have a serious mean streak. Not sure if I was conscious of it or if I just thought I could control it. But I was out of conrol in other ways. I was starting to get into mild trouble.

Mild trouble:
I was hard to control in school.
That was the extent of "trouble".
But that was tough for my teachers and in turn was difficult for my parents. Simple stuff like, "shut up while the teacher is talking", obvious common sense, just did not click. If I wanted to say something, why not??

Everyone is a "sinner". Most people like to weigh sins, as if some badness is more bad and other badness is not-so-bad. Wrong is wrong. Sin is sin. Every drug is a "gateway drug". Every sin is a "gateway sin". And eventually, death is death and hell is hell.

I was convicted that I was "a sinner". For a long time, I did not want to bow to this reality.

Jesus Paid

I grew up hearing about Jesus, that He was/is the Son of God. Somehow, He is also part of the Trinity, so He is God. I knew that He died on a cross, was buried, rose from that grave. Never understood why.
Here's why:

Sin cuts you off from God. Sin is the stuff you do, starting with the attitude you hold, that shuts you out from your Creator. Sin is what rips away everything that makes life worth living. That's hell. The fire and brimstone part is true, but that's not the worst of it. The worst of it is that ultimate aloneness, an unberarble emptiness, so full of yourself there's no room for anything or anyone else.

Even though I was just 11, life was starting to be hell. Look ... "mild". I used the word "mild" to make the point. My life was far from the hell some people go through. Thank God! (literally) But I was on my way there.

They finally sent me home from school. That hurt.

I Believe

I believed. Finally I realized that I had had enough of myself. I only vaguely remember the moment, didn't mention it, and thought it was private. But people could tell. Mom heard from the teachers. They asked about the change, so she asked me. Frustrated that my secret was blown, I responded, "How did you know?" Mothers always know.

There was no thunder. There were no fuzzy feelings. I've never spoken in tongues. But it was real ... and pivotal. Life is not perfect, but I actually have life.

-- R; <><

Thursday, January 19, 2012

The Truth Cowboy

The cow-hands of the Old West knew.  The cow-hands of today know.  "Don't try to understand 'em. Just rope, throw, and brand 'em."  That's how it is when herding cattle.

Similarly, Truth must be pursued.  It cannot be possessed in our current frame.  It must be acquired and identified, even inventoried.

I'm not really that much of a cowboy.  Never worked in the dirt like those good men and women.  But I know that I gotta chase the Truth, round it up, kind of like chasing cattle.  Someone has to ride herd, take on the distractions which lead the little doggies astray, and vaqueros don't usually ride alone.

Like the library background?  I do too.  It reminds me of one of my mentors who has a lot of books.

-- R: <><