Thursday, September 04, 2008

A New Kind of Politics

Check out my new political blog, A New Kind of Politics. It's something that I don't know is out there: a conservative, black, evangelical perspective on this year's election season. For many people, "conservative" and "black" don't go together. If it's too uncomfortable, you don't have to click the link. But if you're conservative or open-minded, scoot on over and let me know what you think.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Check Out the New Site!

I don't know if I have enough readers to get my own domain, but I figured I'd take the shot. I imported all of the posts and comments, so this site is just here for posterity's sake. See you there!

Friday, November 03, 2006

Ain't It the Truth?

Dan K. Thomasson, Scripps Howard News Service:

"Kerry should not be let off the hook easily. ... The senator is enough of a political veteran to have known that his remarks could be easily construed as an attack on those who volunteer for military duty, especially with his history. Even if he meant only to imply that Bush was stupid, he had to have been aware that the president's record at Yale University was better than his. ... Under the circumstances, he should not be making jokes about intellectual acuity."

And while I'm talking about Kerry, liberal and Democratic bloggers, columnists and TV hosts have made it very clear that we should realize that Kerry meant to insult President Bush. So his mistake shouldn't be held against him, because we all know what he meant.

But this brings me back to the Mitt Romney and Tony Snow "tar-baby" incidents. They both meant it as an innocuous reference to a "sticky situation". The term originated in a Brer Rabbit story. But everybody went crazy. So we only judge Democrats based on intent?

Thank You, New York Times

So, in the new tradition of liberals accidentally speaking the truth that will hurt their cause, the New York Times has now told the world that Saddam Hussein was really pursuing nuclear technology. Their own words:

"Among the dozens of documents in English were Iraqi reports written in the 1990s and in 2002 for United Nations inspectors in charge of making sure Iraq had abandoned its unconventional arms programs after the Persian Gulf war. Experts say that at the time, Mr. Hussein’s scientists were on the verge of building an atom bomb, as little as a year away." "

In September, the Web site began posting the nuclear documents, and some soon raised concerns. On Sept. 12, it posted a document it called “Progress of Iraqi nuclear program circa 1995.” That description is potentially misleading since the research occurred years earlier.

The Iraqi document is marked “Draft FFCD Version 3 (20.12.95),” meaning it was preparatory for the “Full, Final, Complete Disclosure” that Iraq made to United Nations inspectors in March 1996. The document carries three diagrams showing cross sections of bomb cores, and their diameters.

On Sept. 20, the site posted a much larger document, “Summary of technical achievements of Iraq’s former nuclear program.” It runs to 51 pages, 18 focusing on the development of Iraq’s bomb design. Topics included physical theory, the atomic core and high-explosive experiments. By early October, diplomats and officials said, United Nations arms inspectors in New York and their counterparts in Vienna were alarmed and discussing what to do."

It's all there. Iraq was researching and trying to design nuclear arms. But notice how they are still trying to say that the research and the weapons we found were not "what we were looking for."

But, looking at translations here and here, it seems pretty clear that Saddam had weapons and was trying to develop more. But the NYT framing this discussion to say that Bush is incompetent, because he allowed these documents to be posted. Imagine that! The people that have no problem telling the world about any confidential info that might hurt their cause, are upset because the thing some things should remain secret. Give me a break.

I don't doubt that there was plenty of Iraqi research documents on the site. But, more importantly than this being a questionable decision about what gets released to the public (the Times has some experience there), it shows that as late as 2002 Saddam was rebuilding nuclear and chemical weapons facilities.

So why weren't the headlines reading "SADDAM WAS WORKING TOWARD NUCLEAR IRAQ", or something similar? I hope I don't need to answer that for you.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Chairmen and Apologies

So, Ken Mehlman got a lot of bad press recently over the whole Harold Ford, Jr. ad, because he said it wasn't racist, and said he couldn't pull it. I won't quote it, because you've already seen/read/heard it. What you probably haven't seen or read is that in November of 2005 Howard Dean, chairman of the DNC, was asked by Mehlman to condemn and apologize for racist remarks directed at Republican Michael Steele. In response Dean said that he hadn't received an apology for being called an anti-Semite.

If you aren't getting it, it's something like this: Dean is refusing to apologize for racism, because someone called him a racist. Gee, what could be wrong there.

I'm interested to know what Democrats think about these two incidents side by side. "The Corker ad was openly racist," you say, despite the fact that there were no overt or clear racist statements made. [Some] Democrats have not only used racist terms to describe him ("token", "Uncle Tom"), but black Democrats said it's OK to do it, because he's Republican (this story linked in the post "Black on Black Crime"). "But 'token' and 'Uncle Tom' are not nearly as offensive as 'tar-baby'," you say. The only problem is, when Tony Snow and Mitt Romney used the phrase, they meant it as a noted metaphor for a sticky situation. You said they shouldn't use it ever, because it used to be a racial slur. But when Steny Hoyer and Mike Miller used the aforementioned terms, they meant them as racial statements. So, are we no longer judging on intent, just on word choice?

I just read this article at Ace of Spades about the issue. It's a year old, so it doesn't take into account the recent outcry by Dems about Republican racism. But it nails the issue down pretty sqarely.

I'm so very glad the election is less than a week away. I'll finally be able to stop talking about it.

Also related:

Not Black Enough

Students at Bowdoin College in Maine are shredding the College Republicans there for inviting a black conservative to speak on campus during Black History Month, according to the student paper there.

The critics say North Carolinian Vernon Robinson is not really a black guy; he is, they say, an "Uncle Tom" who has no right to speak on campus. One writer said (with a straight face, presumably) that the Republican student group "displayed its lack of openness by inviting" him.

"To have Robinson speak at this school as a representative of Black History Month destroys the racial peace movement that has been formulating on this campus," one wrote.

For more doses of politically correct nuttiness, head on over to the TongueTied daily edition.

Not Black Enough For Libs

Flags flew at half-staff in Charleston in honor of Rosa Parks, while editorial writers at the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel took a swipe at the only black justice on the U.S. Supreme Court. “In losing a woman, the court with Alito would feature seven white men, one white woman and a black man, who deserves an asterisk because he arguably does not represent the views of mainstream black America.”

See the rest.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Black on Black Crime

Thanks to Mahatma Dandhi for this.

Apparently it's OK to use racial slurs against black Republicans
, but not black Democrats. I guess it's because black Republicans don't like black people either. The double-standard rears its ugly head again.

Will They Ever Get It?

Ah, Bob. It seems he is so set in the fact that Democrats are right and Republicans are wrong that he can't see what's going on in front of his face. He posts this about the recent Republican campaign happenings.

How can you be so scathing against these tactics when employed by the opposition, when your party will use (and has used) them time and again? I had this to say:

I think it's interesting that you offered no defense of Jim Webb, you just threw his name in there. Maybe thats because the content of his writing is just as important as Allen formerly displaying the Confed. flag (which he denounced and apologized for, as opposed to Webb's defense of his novels). And don't give me the free speech nonsense, unless you're prepared to give the same leeway to Allen. He can say it if he wants, no one's trying to arrest him. But does he have to be elected to the Senate?

And Harold Ford? He went to a Playboy party. It's fact. Move on. It's not racist. And I can say that with impunity, since I'm black. I'm as far above criticism for that comment as Michael J. Fox is for his stem cell research commercial. And speaking of MJF, in his commercials he lies about the Republican candidates, saying they want to "restrict" stemcell research. The research is legal in all of those states. In February Jim Talent withdrew his name from a bill that would restrict embryonic stem cell research. And Ben Cardin, one of the people he's supporting, actually voted against the research.

What makes me mad is that the left always gets mad at the right for telling the truth. I don't remember you coming to the defense of Mark Foley when every news outlet in the US printed his IM's. I don't recall you comparing the incident to the Gerry Studds incident. And how do you feel about Robert Byrd being re-elected, in light of his comments in his 2001 interview with Tony Snow? Patrick Kennedy?

These "attacks" that you reference are making you so mad because they are based on the truth. Yes they have political spin, but no more than saying that Bush hates black people because he screwed up Katrina, and not saying anything about Byrd. No one spoke out when Michael Steele was called an "Uncle Tom" and a "token" by white Democrats, nor when the DSCC stole his credit report. They just blamed the staffer and the higher-ups claimed no knowledge (*cough*FOLEY!*cough*). I could go on for days. But I'll just say that the one that pisses me off the most is the Steele thing. But the rest is bad. Progressives and Democrats have just as much a problem with this as conservatives and Republicans.
Every once in a while I find something on one of these progressive blogs that makes sense, so I keep reading. But this trash ruins my mood. And if you live in Maryland, vote Michael Steele.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Pure Madness

I don't even have anything to add.

Bananas are racist fruits.
Eating bananas is racist?
Finding racism everywhere

Ok, I do have something to add. This is what has become of us. A bunch of fools who have become so paranoid we are threatened by the ghost of a slain monster. The specter of racism seems to haunt the black community. We're so ingrained with the idea that it's out there looking for us that we can't accept the fact that there aren't many true racists out there. Sure, the organizations exist, and there are bigots and people who just think they're better, but it's not prevalent.

The worst part is that we've been so trained to see racism in one form from one group, that we miss it when it really happens. Examples:

George Allen's mother is from Tunisia. Recently he used a North African racial slur and later claimed he made it up. Here's the question: is it possible he really thought it was a made up word? He was born in California, with an American father. He may have heard his mother say it when he was very young and not known what it was. There are other allegations that he used other slurs in his youth, but they are somewhat unsubstantiated. But the "macaca" comment has sent him up in flames, along with the idea of the other suggested incidents..

By contrast, Robert Byrd is American through and through. And, as a former member of the KKK, he understands his domestic racial epithets. But no one's mad at him. He opposed the Civil Rights Act of 1964...even filibustered for 14 hours. Of course, he's off the hook for that because he voted for the '68 act. He opposed desegregation of the military, and in 2001...the first year of his current Senate term, he responded to a question about race relations by saying this on national television:

There are white niggers. I've seen a lot of white niggers in my time. I'm going to use that word. We just need to work together to make our country a better country, and I'd just as soon quit talking about it so much.
On national TV! Was there any outcry? Was there a 3-week news cycle on his history as a racist/segregationist? Was there a call for his resignation? Of course not! This is from March 7, 2001, three days after the interview:
Interestingly enough, a Nexis search of major newspapers retrieved just four stories about Byrd's comment on Monday and zero Tuesday morning.

Nexis unearthed no coverage of Byrd's remarks in America's so-called "paper of record," the New York Times. Meanwhile, this story was page-two news in Monday's New York Post.

Compare that with the 20 second-day articles that popped up in 1995 when Dick Armey referred to gay Democratic congressman Barney Frank as "Barney Fag." (Armey later called it a slip of the tongue.) The Gray Lady did consider that news fit to print.

Byrd also called "a mistake" his long-ago membership in the Ku Klux Klan. How many Republicans could get away with discussing their previous involvement in the KKK while deliberately using the word "niggers" twice in one TV interview? Answer: zero.

This is the double-standard. Republicans get no second chances, while Democrats can do whatever they want as long as they apologize. The black community and refuses to realize that the Democrats aren't for us, they're for themselves. So they'll use us to get elected, then say whatever they want, knowing that we're too deeply invested to get out, regardless of what they do. The Republican party is no better, but that's the point. We need to take off our blinders and see what's really out there.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Negro, Please.

I'm so tired of people playing the race card every dang day. It's like there are people paid to sit in an office and find any thing that they could imply racist intent to and get a press release out immediately. Recently I heard about an ad run against Michael Dukakis in '88 about a man named Willie Horton. Apparently it was considered by some to be racist. Check it out for yourself.

I don't know about you, I just don't see it. Sure, you could stretch this to say that it's saying "black people are bad, and Dukakis likes them." Or, you could see it for what it is...a statement of fact. Horton was serving a life-sentence w/o parole for 1st degree murder. But he got to leave for the weekend.

Now we have the Harold Ford ad, which is considered racist because it shows a white woman who is interested in this African-American man. First of all, she was supposed to be one of the girls from a playboy party. If you think of a stereotypical playboy bunny, you have to envision a white, blonde woman. That's a given. So why not use one in your ad, as a stereotype? See this one for yourself.

I don't know about you, but I don't see any racist sentiment there. And, as a black man who is married to a white woman, I have dealt with the issue of race in this context more than most will even see through a friend. You don't have to tell me that the sentiment still exists. But I don't see any racism here. I see a ridiculously outlandish and corny commercial that is destined to affect no one (the only part I like is the face the guy makes after he talks about the porn producer thing). It probably speaks the truth about the guy, but I can't say for sure. But the DNCC and the NAACP are 1)afraid it might be effective, and 2)willing to take any opportunity to discredit the opponents statements.

I have a question...why can't these networks and newspapers, and bloggers seem to find any black people who don't think these ads were racist? Am I the only one? I couldn't possibly be. But you know what, it wouldn't even matter. Because as soon as one of us speaks up, we'll be called Uncle Tom, or "token", or people will say we want to be white, or something like that. Basically we aren't black enough to speak as black people. We wouldn't be counted in the Black Census.

Well, I'm sick of it. Black people need to stand up and take the reigns of their own lives. Instead of playing the race card, a la Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, Cynthia McKinney, and the like, we need to do something with our lives. We need to stop idolizing rappers and basketball players and start looking up to entrepreneurs, doctors, lawyers, scientists, philosophers, and statesmen. We need to stop looking for handouts and start earning our rewards. Don't blame white people for our problems, just fix them.

People say that blacks are born into poverty and are doomed by the system to stay there because they can't get an education and get held down by society. But immigrants keep coming here from Europe, Asia, and India, starting out with pennies to their name and in the second or third generation are successful doctors. Sure, the Europeans might "have it easier" because they're white, but what about the Pakistanis and the Cambodians? It can be done, so let's do it.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Religious Left

There are two things I'm getting tired of from the Christian left in this country. No, they are not abortion and gay marriage. But the first is that every time a blogger or columnist editorializes their statements about conservative Christians, they whittle the position down to abortion and gay marriage. They're going for the "if I hear it enough, it must be true" response from their readers. If they tell everyone that the only thing that matters to a conservative Christian is abortion and gay marriage, no one else will see that we care about other things.

Here's how the conversation might go...

Connie: I think that school vouchers is a great idea. If we can work out a way to bus the low-income kids to the better schools of their choice, then that would start to eliminate the education gap in this country.

Libby: No, you can't do that, because only the rich kids would be able to go to the good schools, and the poor schools would get worse.

Connie: That's what the bus system would be for...the poor kids.

Libby: But buses put undue strain on kids and their families, the poor kids will suffer.

C: They already suffer. The education will help them escape that suffering.

L: You don't care about poor people's well-being, you just want this because it'll allow you to vote for someone who's against abortion and gay marriage.

C: That's not true.

L: It is! That's all you conservative Christians care about. You always bring it up!

C: brought it up.

L: Whatever. If you could get past that, we might actually accomplish some things.

And on and on it goes. Of course, they never mention the fact that they could be the ones to ignore it. Because what happens is, liberals push for it conservatives object, they the liberals say we're holding up real progress because of things that don't matter. Well, if they don't matter, stop pushing for them!!!!! If you stop pushing, we can stop pushing back. But people won't abandon their principles, on either side. Perhaps if the left pushed a social/humanitarian agenda that didn't include abortion or same-sex marriage, the right would jump on board. I would. I'm all for helping poor people. But if you say we can't have the coffee without the cream, then I'll have tea.

The other thing that I'm fed up with is this idea that the Religious Right has hijacked the faith for a political end, but the left hasn't. A quote from Jim Wallis:
Greg shared his cynicism about politics in general and his dislike of how some on the Religious Right have made politics a divisive issue in churches. He recently wrote an op-ed piece in the Minneapolis StarTribune titled “My church has been hijacked by politics.” But he doesn't want to see the same thing on the Left either, and I agreed.
That's preposterous the left has been just as hijacked as the right. I've sat in a lot of conservative church services--revivals, youth rallies, Sunday morning, evening, Bible studies, different denominations--I have never heard a political sermon. Not once. I know it happens in various places, but I've never been present. But 6 months after I started working at a liberal church, I had heard more politics from the altar than I thought I would in my life. When I see reverends out pushing a political agenda, I don't just see Falwell and Robertson and Dobson, I also see Jackson, and Sharpton, and Hanson. The Episcopal Church is facing major issues because the left-wing of their church is pushing a new agenda that the right wants no part of.

And let's not forget that little tidbit. The agenda of the left is the new thing. If you're not satisfied with the way things are, you're welcomed to call for change, but don't get mad at those who are satisfied when the object. The left continues to suggest that the right is pushing an agenda, but the right is mostly standing firm in the existing one, while the left pushes new stuff(the aforementioned school vouchers program excluded).

I wish all these people (like Wallis) who claim to want to separate the church from politics would actually do it. You're a reverend for crying out loud. Stop doing political blogs and speeches and forums and what not where all you do is blast the Christians on the other side of the aisle because they don't agree with you and start preaching the Gospel of Christ.

Don't just preach it for the poor, but for the rich as well...and not just for the liberal, but the conservative also. Wallis was wrong to say "that any gospel that wasn't good news to the poor simply wasn't the gospel of Jesus Christ." The truth is that any gospel that isn't good news to all people is not the Gospel of Jesus Christ."

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Who's The Victim Now?

I just did a Google search for "limbaugh michael fox", because I wanted to see how the situation was being reported in the media. It's pretty unfair. Not one article (synopsis, at least) takes seriously Rush's criticism. They all say he "attacked" Fox and basically say he was criticizing his personal character. But Fox has admitted that he doesn't take his meds sometimes when he's making an appearance.

That's not even the problem. It's understandable that he would do that, because everyone should be aware how bad the tremors can get, because that's what the disease is. The pills help, but not everyone has access all the time. But the real problem is something else.

Fox says that Jim Talent, Michael Steele, and a couple of other Republican politicians oppose stem cell research, and want to make it illegal. But that's not even true. Stem Cell research is legal in all of the states his ad is showing in. In fact, the only person involved who has voted against it is Ben Cardin, a Dem that Fox runs an ad for. But, at least in Mizzou, this is about a constitutional amendment, that will do all sorts of stuff, other than secure stem cell research.

For example: it outlaws human cloning, if you plan to put the fertilized egg inside a woman. But if you plan to incubate it in a lab, you can grow all the babies you want (that's a paraphrase). It also allows for "reimbursement" to women who donate eggs to research. It say they can't be paid for them, but they can apparently be paid back for them. Finally, it says that stem cell researchers have to follow all current scientific laws and ethical standards, unless they impede or discourage stem cell research. I don't know about you, but that sounds to me like they can do whatever they want in the name of stem cell research.

Luckily Rush doesn't have to do all the talking. Jim Caviezel, Kurt Warner, Patricia Heaton and some other celebrities have put together their own ad about Amendment 2. They don't involve the names of candidates, like Fox's ad does (supporting Claire McCaskill), they just give the facts about the amendment. Unfortunately, their ad won't get the national attention that it deserves, and it will be characterized as a response to Fox's ad, though it isn't.

And is it fair that everyone is running to Fox's defense? Is he really incapable of responding himself? Well, he certainly makes enough capaign appearances and pithy jokes to be considered a big boy. All Rush did was pose some questions. Diane Sawyer asked Sean Hannity, "If you have Parkinson’s disease, and you believe embryonic stem cell research is the, is the answer, a possible answer, a possible cure, don't you have a right to speak up?"

Hannity responds: "You have a right to speak up, but he also has a right to be criticized. He’s a guy that is very political...He’s supporting a guy in Maryland, Ben Cardin and Ben Cardin voted the opposite way of which he wanted. Why isn’t he running ads against the Democrat?"

Well said. I finally found an article that considers the other it is.

It also hits on this ad against Harold Ford, Jr. in Tennessee that liberal are saying is racist because it dramatizes a white woman who is attracted to Ford, a black man. Apparently this is supposed to rile up the country white-folk and make them hate this black guy because a white woman is attracted to him. I've seen it all over the place. But, as Hannity says, Steel, along with black Republican gubernatorial candidate Lynn Swan (go Steelers!), have been called "token" by Democrats repeatedly. That's just this year. In the past the term has been given to Colin Powell and Condeleeza Rice...pretty much any black Republican. I guess "conservative" is now synonymous with "racist". Somebody should do a Wikipedia update. Why can't black people be real Republicans? Why must we assume they're all Manchurian candidates? We don't all live on welfare and government housing, you know.

Until I hear a major news outlet other than Fox add outrage at the term "token" being assigned to black Republicans to their news cycle, I'll probably never even respect their political commentary. One story won't cut it. it will have to get big attention for 3 or 4 days and have some investigative reporting and "hard-hitting" questions at the Democrats who said it.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Bees or Beavers?

Which are busier? I'm not sure. I've been one of them these last 10 or 12 days. I'm trying to set up a major event for a few months from now (which means a website and promo materials which I can't afford to contract out), keep up with the work of the ministry, while coaching a small high school basketball team. It's been great fun, but I'm tired and I haven't been able to write five words in the last week.

I've been listening to a lot of sermon podcasts lately. My favorite is still Matt Chandler, but I recently picked up Mark Driscoll's and Rob Bell's podcasts, and have been very impressed. I guess I should have seen it coming, considering the number of people they've each brought near to Christ, but it still amazes me. I'm moved by these men's words every day.

If you've read any of my posts, you know that I'm pretty conservative theologically. I believe it's the responsibility of a Christian to find out what the Bible's writers were trying to say at the time. When you're reading a history, see it as a history; when you're reading a parable, see it as one; when you're reading an apocalypse, know that it's metaphor. And when the writers meant what they said literally, accept it literally. Dig in to find the whole meaning, but know that it's meant to be literal.

I've heard plenty of derogatory terms for Christians from the outside, but I heard(or read, rather) the first one from the inside a few days ago: bibliolators. The writer believes that people who hold any person's belief, revelation, or prophecy (not the future-telling kind) up to Scripture to see if it's right, and "put the Bible on a pedastal" so-to-speak, are idolators. It made me sad. How could you be a Christian and go against the book that tells you of your Lord? How could you fault, even insult, people who won't? Jesus' every teaching was from Scripture. He used it constantly. He taught rabbis and dressed-down the religious elites using Scripture. And that was God. What makes you think that we could do better without it?

"For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in God's sight."
1 Corinthians 3:19

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Good Listening

I think that the mark of a great teacher of the Word is the ability to teach the whole Gospel in every sermon. Someone who can take any passage of Scripture, and show how it points to our fallen condition, our need for redemption, God's love & Christ's life, his death, his resurrection, and our call to accept his grace and extend it to others. Matt Chandler is one of those people. I had a chance to visit The Village Church last weekend and it was great.

I think the downfall of many churches is that they emphasize one aspect of the Gospel over the others. They make some part of the redemption story the "focus" or "key" or "emphasis" of the Gospel. These things range from advocacy to repentance, from acceptance of everyone to rejection of sin. All of these things are Biblical, but none of them are the focus of the Gospel. Paul tells us what the focus of the Gospel is:

"For I resolved to know nothing (to be acquainted with nothing, to make a display of the knowledge of nothing, and to be conscious of nothing) among you except Jesus Christ (the Messiah) and Him crucified. (I Cor. 2:2)

I used the Amplified Version intentionally here. Paul resolved to know Christ and his crucifixion alone. That is the focus of the Gospel. It's the main thing. More than being the main thing, it's the one thing. Of course it is. Jesus is our Savior and our salvation. He is God, in the flesh. How can we get so fixated on side issues that we ignore Him?

In his book God in the Flesh, Don Everts talks about how surprised he was the first time he heard a sermon in a Christian church that didn't mention Jesus. The he went on to say that it ended up being so common that he was no longer surprised by it. Paul could barely write a paragraph without mentioning did we get so far off base?

I have my suspicions, but most of them come down to this fact: we've detached ourselves from the miracle and the majesty of Jesus, who is God. We've emphasized the teachings over the God-Man. There is a lot that goes into the life of a follower of Christ, but it doesn't start with an appreciation for his teachings, or a love for each other, or a desire for community. It starts with the realization that Jesus is God, and that when we needed him, he came to earth to show the way that he would suffer incredible pain to create for us. The realization that without him we are lost, and that we have done and can do nothing to deserve the gift that he is giving. And the understanding that our responsibility is to glorify God and show others the gift that is extended.

What do you think?

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Justice Kicks Little Mercy's...

Ok, not really. I just liked how I could make an alphabetical title. Anyway. The Feminarian posted a fantastically written story, the retelling of a Charles Spurgeon story that shows a conversation in heaven between Mercy and Justice. At this point, I'm having the worst time finding the story, so I'll only be telling my position on her version. And, since I don't do novels or short stories, you'll get the boring, non-fiction version. Sorry :)

Ok, the premise is that Mercy and Justice are watching over the life of Christ, and, in Spurgeon's version, Justice must be satisfied, and isn't until Christ hangs on the cross. The Feminarian agreed with a supervisor who said, "Why does everybody always assume that Justice defeats Mercy? Why does Justice always get its way?"

So she rewrote it so that Mercy would win.

In her version she presents Justice as a typical alpha-male with adequacy issues. He wants everyone punished, and he thinks Jesus should fight back. While the story is well written, I think that idea is theologically incorrect. Justice would be principled, and bound to God's righteousness. Before Christ's death, our relationship with God was governed by Justice. The Law required obedience, sins needed atonement, and rebellion received punishment.

But Mercy was going to change all that. This is the Feminarian's idea of how that took place:

As Jesus hung on the cross, Justice still was not satisfied: “But he did not deserve the death penalty! He was innocent.” Mercy told him to hush, for Jesus was speaking: “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” Mercy smiled, knowing by these words that she had won. In the incredible power of Mercy, Jesus absorbed all the violence and pain and hate that the world could throw at God. Jesus took it into himself…and died.
This makes it seem that the idea was all from Mercy, and Justice was unaware. As thought Justice expected Jesus to start smiting people right there. But I think that the plan for atonement was a collaboration between the two. He wouldn't be suprised and confused at Christ's arrest and execution, becuase, for all intents and purposes, it was his idea. Justice needed payment for sin, and Mercy offered Jesus, both God and man, as the payment for all our sin. They shook hands and did the deed.

And now, through Christ's death and resurection, the baton was passed, and our relationship with God is now governed by Mercy. Justice didn't "win". Justice had to be satisfied, and the mercy Christ showed through the cross did just that.

My major theological contention is this:
When Jesus resurrected, it proved once and for all that death had lost its sting, that love cannot be quenched. It proved that Justice, in the end, was not important –Mercy had the final word. The most Merciful God had proved that no matter what the humans did against him, He would always come back with more love than ever. Unable to argue, Justice acquiesced to the overwhelming power of Mercy.
The emphasis above is mine. Justice, in the sense of payment for sins, must be important. If it weren't, it would mean that Christ's death was unnecessary. It would mean that we could have received the same forgiveness without his sacrifice, because justice isn't important. It diminishes the act.

And Justice doesn't acquiesce to Mercy. Justice and Mercy are equals, the former governor and the current. I don't say this to diminish the importance of Mercy, but to enhance it. The need for justice shows the high price for our sins...the higher the price, the greater the mercy that pays it. Mercy's got the cash, whatever the price; it's always equal to the justice required.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Rick Warren's 5 Points of Politics

I came across an old blog from 2004 at Katie's Beer, a Lutheran site. Click the title to see her post.

This is the text of a column Rick wrote in the Baptist Press News:

During the last presidential election in the United States, there were millions of Christians who didn't vote or weren't even registered to vote! To me, that is inexcusable when you consider what the Bible says about our responsibility as citizens and when you consider the many, many men and women who've given their lives to provide and protect our freedom to vote. The U.S. election of 2000 was a clear reminder that every vote counts, and that every voter has a duty to be involved. As church leaders, we know our congregations are not allowed to endorse specific candidates, and it's important for us to recognize that there can be multiple opinions among Bible-believing Christians when it comes to debatable issues such as the economy, social programs, Social Security and the war in Iraq. But for those of us who accept the Bible as God's Word and know that God has a unique, sovereign purpose for every life, I believe there are five issues that are non-negotiable. To me, they're not even debatable because God's Word is clear on these issues. In order to live a purpose-driven life -- to affirm what God has clearly stated about His purpose for every person He creates -- we must take a stand by finding out what the candidates believe about these five issues, and then vote accordingly. Here are five questions to ask when considering who to vote for in this election: 1. What does each candidate believe about abortion and protecting the lives of unborn children? 2. What does each candidate believe about using unborn babies for stem cell harvesting? 3. What does each candidate believe about homosexual "marriage"? 4. What does each candidate believe about human cloning? 5. What does each candidate believe about euthanasia -- the killing of the elderly and the invalids? Please, please do not forfeit your responsibility on these crucial issues! This election really counts more than most. Be sure to vote, and also be sure to encourage every Christian you know to vote on Tuesday. If you are able to vote early, do so. Then ask all your Christian friends on Tuesday, "Have you voted yet?" and pray for godly leaders to be elected.

I think the 5 points are all important, but they aren't the five most important questions in Christian politics. I think they are all on the level with the problems of poverty, and injustice. Personally, the I think the government should only determine the answer on 3 of the seven: abortion, embryonic stem cell research (ESR), and cloning. I think the latter two should be outlawed in toto, while abortion is something that no one should do or encourage, but should be legal under very strict guidelines. From a Christian standpoint I view abortion as a sin, but it's a legal quagmire. One of the unfortunate things is that ESR is linked to abortion, because if abortion is legalized because the state determines that the unborn are not alive yet, we'll have no legal grounds to block ESR.

I don't plan to vote myself, except maybe for school board when I have children, because our passion often leads us in the wrong direction. We tend to elevate issues over the truth of Scripture, making our political cause into the mark of a "true believer", rather than focusing on bringing glory to God through Jesus. This is something I've learned very recently, through my own actions and reactions and the blogs of many others. I hope to grow in my committment to God through the experience.

To be clear, I'm not saying that no one should vote. I just choose to stand back. I will stand up for issues that come with the Gospel, but I will do my best not to elevate them above their place.

"You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below." (Ex. 20:4)
Whether that shape is an abortion clinic, a starving child, or a cloning lab, we are not to elevate it above our God, who is above all, and through all, and in all.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Change of Heart

I've been doing a lot of reading lately, and I feel convicted to change my stance on war.

This isn't direct to the Iraq War, but to all war. I think that a Christian has no place committing any acts of war, period. This is a very new belief for me, so I haven't processed it very much, but am fairly settled in it.

As for the Iraq War, I'm torn. I feel that if we leave Iraq the battle will be brought to us, and I don't like that thought. I want to be safe. But I've realized (I think God revealed it to me through Scripture and the thoughts of others) that I need to rely on Him to keep me safe, and that whatever happens, Christians have dealt with it before and we can deal with it again. "[We] can do all things through Christ who strengthens [us]."

For anyone who is convinced that Conservative Christians all believe the same things across the board and are unwilling to listen to the other side, let this be an example that the truth surpasses political barriers. Perhaps you should also listen a little more closely to the brothers and sisters on your right.

Monday, October 02, 2006

I Don't Think I Want to Be Christian Anymore

Before you burn me at the stake, hear me out. According to the article at A Blog of Mystical Searches, which may or may not be written by a Christian, The term apparently includes a lot more than I thought(to get to the specific article, click the title of this post). The gist of it is this, a quote from an article he was referencing: "one person used the image of Christianity as a circle, saying that so long as people could put one toe in the circle -- no matter what doubts they might have -- that was enough for membership."

You should read the article yourself, but the subject of his story is a man who doesn't believe in a personal god, which prevents him from believing in Jesus as the Son of God. Yet he calls himself a Christian. A "secular Christian".

This is the comment I posted:

Well, I'm at a loss. Perhaps I'm among the unenlightened who can't see through the haze of my indoctrination to see how this guy - how anyone - could be a Christian without believing that Jesus is the Son of the almighty and eternal God. The God who has been and will be involved in the world and the lives of His people.

It sounds as the the Presbyterian Church is becoming a Unitarian Church. I admittedly don't know much about it, and I glanced at but haven't read the Center for Progressive Christianity's site. But it would seem to me that the church is not a place where if someone "could put one toe in the circle -- no matter what doubts they might have -- that was enough for membership". At least not in the Biblical sense. Jesus asked people to drop everything to follow him. He told them that he was the Son of God, human and eternal at once. He told them that he would rise after his execution. If you don't believe any of these things, then you can't be a Christian.

Yes, you can follow the social teachings of Christ, but that doesn't make you a Christian. It makes you a kind, caring, and moral person.

Of course, if you believe that everything in the Bible is figurative, even Jesus declaring himself the Christ, then you'll always be able to refute what I'm saying. But if you don't believe the Bible, believe the testimony of the men who died to spread the message.

I guess those of us who think you actually have to believe in Jesus' divinity to be a Christian will just have to come up with another name. Maybe we'll go back to being "followers of the Way". Who knows?
This move to a Bible that is entirely figurative is disturbing, and deserves resistance. In fact, it demands resistance. But when we resist, prepared to becalled stupid, backwards, uneducated, closed-minded, exclusionary, intolerant, hateful, hypocritical, unenlightened, and uncaring...that's how they've been attacking us all along, and they'll continue that. But remember the legacy that we have: twenty centuries of people clinging to Biblical truth. The Bible is not a story, or an allegory, or a metaphor. It's more like an anthology of history books, textbooks, prophecies, biographies, and guides for life. Portions are figurative, yes, but the rest is literal. And the farther we stray from that, the farther we stray from Christ, the Way, the Truth, and the Life...the only way to the Father.


As an aside, the church in question is a member of the Center for Progressive Christianity, which, among other things, says they are working to fulfill their mission of reaching out to those who are unimpressed or averse to organized religion by "developing strategies for evangelism that do not assume the absolute superiority of Christianity so that we do not contribute to the worlds tragic divisions."

While most people aren't willing to say it, I am: Christianity has absolute superiority over other religions. And yes, I do say that only because I'm a Christian. If we believe that Jesus is the only--only--way to heaven, how can we say that Christianity is anything but superior? Yes, the church is imperfect, but so is every religion. But downlplaying the utter righteousness of Christ and the Way may make non-Christians less critical of us, but it also dillutes the faith. Do you think the apostles or any of the other early (or modern) Christian martyrs thought the Way was simply equal to the pagan Gods of their generation? And if they did, would they have made that ultimate sacrifice? I doubt it. I hear upside-down cruicifixion is a...well, you know.

I'm afraid for the future of the church in America in the next 15 years. If progressive movement--secular and otherwise--succeeds in convincing the country that only dumb, southern, "neo-cons" believe the Bible literally, and succeed in getting even the most level-headed centrists labeled "fundies", then we're going to have some real troube ahead of us. But don't worry, Jesus doesn't like to say "I told ya so".

Sunday, October 01, 2006

On the Narrow (Pt. 2)

I can't adequately describe the position that the Bible is authoritative but open to allowing us to determine our own morality, because I don't fully understand it. I've been reading quite a bit of articles written from this viewpoint, but I just don't get it. That may be my fault...I might not be smart enough, elite enough, or too entrenched in my fundamentalist, evangelical indoctrination. Or, maybe it doesn't make sense.

I've always said, that if you come to the Bible and something seems wrong, it's probably you. And I'm adding a second clause: if something Biblical needs as much explanation as the idea that Jesus left the door open for us to create our own moral setting, then it's probably made up. The new clause isn't quite as concise, definitive, or certain as the original, but I'm just throwing it out there. This article is from Progressive Christian Witness, a site dedicated to the spread of progressive theology.

I think this part is the key:

But sometimes, also, like the biblical writers—prayerfully and within the lively mind of the community—we take views that differ from some of the past voices in sacred Scripture...We do so, not despite the Bible, but because of it. We live in relation to our sacred Scripture—always listening, always learning, sometimes reverently “talking back”—because it empowers and, indeed, impels us to do so.

The Bible "impels" us to talk back and take differing views? Yes, and a Jenny Craig luncheon is a good place to find a perfectly cooked porterhouse. I believe the Bible tells us, in a few places, that changing or adding or reducing teh Scriptures is purely wrong. Jesus, though he laid to rest some aspects of the Mosaic Law(ritual washing, food laws, tithing) and focused on the freedom to be found in him, said that not one "jot or tittle" (the smallest letter and the smallest mark in Hebrew) will pass from the law until "everything is accomplished". I don't know how that works exactly, but it's there nontheless. Perhaps it means we should stay away from polycotton blends. He does say that the Law breaker will be call the least in the kingdom of heaven, so I guess you can still get it, you'll just get the first floor apartment with the bad plumbing.

Paul says in 2 Corinthians 11 and Galatians 1 that if anyone comes preaching a Gospell different from the one they (the apostles) had preached, then let them be eternally condemned. Now we know that the apostles were (at the time) 13 individuals who had their own style and rhetoric, so the Gospell each preached must have had some stylistic differences. But in scope and substance they had to be the same, based on their own writings, particularly Peter and Paul's endorsements of each other.

So how exactly does the Bible "impel" us to talk back and come up with views that oppose it? The author of this article uses one of the definitions of the Greek word "exousia" to promote this position. The word is translated as "authority", and is used a number of times in the Bible. The definition he uses is this: power of choice, liberty of doing as one pleases.

Typically, as in Matthew 7, it is attributed to Jesus, and rightly so. The Son of God, does have the power of choice. But it can also mean physical strength, and, the most likely candidate, the power of him whose will and commands must be submitted to by others and obeyed. Now, most of us, when discussing Biblical authority, and the authority of Christ, will acknowledge the first definition, but give the most creedence to the last. Jesus and the Bible both drip with "the power of him whose will and commands must be submitted to." As a Christian you can't deny that. So, how does this type of authority encourage and impel opposing viewpoints?

The story of Israel and the Gospel are based in love, and God is love. Love conquers all, but not the feel-good, live and let live kind of love that is alluded to by this type of theology. But the real problem is not that idea of love, it's the idea that our thoughts are more imortant than the Bible. So much so that if the Bible disagrees with us, it must be wrong. What a world.

"'For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways,'
declares the LORD.

'As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.'"

Isaiah 55:8-9

"For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in God's sight?
I Corinthians 3:19

On the Narrow

I've been reading a lot lately about progressive Christianity. I want to be up to date with what's going on theologically around me. The most disturbing things I've come across are these: The "pliability" of Scripture (and the nature of its authority), and the idea that love makes everything okay.

To address the second thing first, love does not make everything ok. Jesus tells us to love everyone - our neighbor, our enemy, God, and ourselves - but he also called us to "do the will of [his] Father in heaven(Mt. 7:21, 24-25; Jn. 14:15)." God's love for us is the driving force of the Gospel. His love fore Israel is the main theme of the Old Testament. The Law and the Prophets hang on love. But what does it mean to love, in Biblical terms?

When Christ gives the two great commands, the first and most important is to love God. In Deuteronomy we're told to love Him with all our heart, soul, and mind. And how do we do that? We praise and obey Him. There's more to it than that, of course, but if you boil it down, that's what we come to. I won't go into a description of this, because if you can disagree with it, I think you have bigger fish to fry.

The second command was like the first, to love one another. Obviously this love is not the same...we aren't supposed to praise and obey each other indefinitely. But Christ gives many examples of what it means to love one another.

He eats with the outcasts, lifts up the sick and poor, focuses on children, and lays his life down for us. But, there is something that Christians are being asked to do by "progressive" and mainline churches that goes against Christ's example, and Paul's teaching. We are being asked to endorse sin under the pretense of loving one another. But Jesus did something quite different.

In Matthew 16, after Peter's confession, Jesus rebukes him fiercely, calling him Satan. "You do not have in mind the things of God," he says, "but the things of men." Peter was working from the human assumption that God wouldn't allow his Son, the Messiah, to be killed. We, much the same way, work from the human assumption that God wouldn't allow someone to be born in a way that forces them to resist their natural desires.

Obviously, the subject at hand is homosexuality. And while I have known and befriended a handful of gay people in my lifetime, I remain convinced of God's intention for romantic relationships. In the less applicable Mosaic Law, the text says that a man is not to lie with another man as he would lie with a woman, and the same thing for women. The prevailing wisdom says of this that there are two different verbs relating to sex, translated as "to lie with" and "to know". The former is a reference to sex without and such. The latter refers to sex within a loving relationship. So, to make them current, we'll use "have sex" and "make love". What we're left with is a simple "all a is b, but not all b is a." All apples are fruits, but not all fruits are apples. All sharks are fish, but not all fish are sharks. You get it right? All love-making is sex, but not all sex is love-making. So, by comparison, to know is always to lie with, but to lie with isn't always to know. So, if the Bible says you can't have sex with a certain group of people, does that mean you can make love? I'm gonna go

But since the Mosaic Law was fulfilled, I'll have to look at something a little more current. First, 1 Corinthians. Paul says here that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God, and includes in his list four sexual categories: the sexually immoral, adulterers, male prostitutes, and homosexual offenders. Depending on your translation the words may be different in English. Many will tell you that "homosexual offenders" means people who commit crimes of a homosexual nature (rape, generally). Unfortunately, that doesn't really hold up to logic. If that was the case, why did he single out two types of homosexual activity? Why not lump them in with "sexually immoral" if you had to do something that would have been immoral if it were heterosexual to fall in the category? And why didn't he enumerate female prostitutes as well? Does that mean it's ok, since he didn't say it? Obviously not.

Some theologians will posit that "porneia" the word translated "sexually immoral" refered specifically to pagan temple prostitutes, and therefore fits perfectly into this passage. But then why would Paul say that there must not be even a hint of "porneia" among us, if it ment temple prostitutes and not sexual immorality?

Alright, since you can hide behind Greek on that one I'll back track a bit to Romans 1. "Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion."

Again, people will say that this is condemnation of sex without love (based on the "inflamed with lust" part). But that's not what I'm looking at. It also says that women gave up natural relations for unnatural ones, and in the same way, men "abandoned natural relations with women". So, presumably, "natural relations" occur between members of opposing gender (heterosexual, if you need it spelled out). Don't be fooled by people saying that the problem was that the men and women described switched from their "natural" orientation (be that hetero- or homosexual). That's just bad theology.

So, when you combine these passages you get a pretty clear Biblical view on homosexuality. But there's where the other problem begins. Apparently, "for the Bible tells me so" is no longer a sufficient answer for Christians. Strange, considering that's what sparked the Reformation, which was the starting point for most of the mainline denominations.

Stay tuned for the exciting conclusion...

Saturday, September 30, 2006

To Err Is Human...Inerrancy Is Divine

So, according to Bob, if you're a conservative Christian you are an undereducated, southern, white evangelical or black protestant. Oh...and you have no conscience, hate gay people, want women to be subjugated, and hope everyone who believes different gets smited...smoten...smitten...would someone conjugate the word "smite", please?

He constantly sets up straw-men to paint a picture of those of us who believe in things like the inerrancy of the Bible as Dark Age serfs, and they who believe the bible is "authoritative, but not inerrant" as the bringers of the Enlightenment.

My question is this: if you believe, as Bob writes, "morality can be objectively determined by reason independent of God’s revelation in Scripture", why do you even care about the Bible? The church fathers believed that Scripture trumped tradition, and tradition trumped reason. I think that tradition and reason are more equal, but Scripture has always been at the top of the food chain, even for Jesus.

But if the Bible is second on the food chain to us, why even use it? How can you trust it? It isn't Shakespeare or Homer...we aren't looking for entertainment, allegory, or insight into human life. We look to the Bible for Truth. And if you think that your source of Truth isn't perfect, how can you trust that it's truthful. I guess for Bob and others like him, the Bible is more about truthiness than Truth.

I posted this as a comment to a couple of his latest blogs at

So, tell me where I fall if I think God is like this:

Angry when His people sin (ex: 1Kings 8:46ff)
Involved in our lives (Matt. 21:22) For us to receive what we pray for, he has to be listening. Not to mention that since He is all loving, and loves all of His people equally, He must be involved in all of our lives. And if not, why do we pray? And that's not to say He's orchestrating every moment, but He's involved.
Longing to forgive us and receive us home (the Prodigal Son, as you mentioned)
Giving endless opportunities to come to Jesus, no matter what we've done (Saul's Conversion)
Ultimately righteous, God will judge everyone, according to their choice to follow Christ (Matt. 11:20-24; 12:36-37; John 5:24-27, etc.)

I'll assume that looking at my list you'll quickly drop me in the authoritarian bucket as a black protestent or white evangelical. I'm sure you'll be surprised to know I'm a black ELCA minister.

You mention in another post that one reason you don't believe in Biblical inerrancy is that the Bible contradicts itself. I think, however, the contradictions speak to the full nature of God.

Jesus was fully God and fully man. That's 100% of each, which is something we can't comprehend. So why is it surprising that the 200% son of God calls us to total acceptance of people and total rejection of sin at the same time? In the same way you can't be 200% anything, you can't have people without sin. But we're called to love people, and hate sin. So we try. We fail, but we press on.

We're also called to confront sin, and love our neighbor. But if we confront a person's sin, they're probably going to be offended and hurt when called on it. Some say that if we hurt them at all, we aren't loving them; but loving another person means leading them to the truth. We can't do that if we posit that loving them means accepting everything they do. The Bible is God's Truth passed through a seive, leaving behind what we are capable of understanding. We should take what He's given us and rely on it, knowing full well that it isn't the Tome of the Full Knowledge of God, but a love story, a biography, and a guidebook.