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March 19, 2010

I am including a link to Peggy Noonan's column today for two reasons. One, it is remarkably insightful, and, two, it impresses on my mind that she is not really a conservative columnist. She is, where most of America seems to be: right of center. Some conservatives criticize Peggy, but she is overall, a pretty balanced observer. You can't just blow her off, as the left tries to do with with Sean and Rush.

Now for the Slaughter

On the road to Demon Pass, our leader encounters a Baier.

The Wall Street Journal: March 18, 2010

The phrase "demon pass" is a play on words and refers to "deem and pass," what the amateurs in the house are trying to pull off. You won't want to miss this column.

March 17, 2010

I have been thinking about the health care bill and the way the majority is going about getting it passed. Actually none of us really know whether the law is a good thing or not, which fact serves to underline the problem. With the attempts to rush the thing through without thorough exposure and debate, and with the continued attempts to pass the legislation by whatever means avoid the will of the majority in the country, one conclusion suggests itself: The present administration does not trust us. It may be that we don’t deserve that trust. It may be that the administration knows what is best for us. But these are not the premises upon which this country was founded. I think the absence of God in the thoughts of too many leaders is taking its toll.

Along another line of thought, I came across an old essay by Robert Bork that I thought might be useful even today. It was first published as the impeachment of Bill Clinton was looming: COUNTING THE COSTS OF CLINTONISM

March 15, 2010

Program notes posted for "Beyond Redemption," taped in September of 2008.

March 14, 2010

The Passing

When this feeble life is o’er,
me for me shall be no more.

There used to be a movie short called “The March of Time.” It was a kind of newsreel, and dealt with important events in current society as I recall. The march of time, or the passing of time, is a familiar idea, but it is altogether misleading. Time does not march. Time does not pass. We pass.Like a fast car running westbound on the Interstate, we pass mile marker after mile marker, but the markers don’t move. We move.

But on this interstate, there is no eastbound lane. We pass mile marker after mile marker, but we can never go back. We can’t even stop. And this is one of the more profound truths of the Bible. We are rushing headlong through life. We are here for a little while, and then, we pass. "Man, that is born of a woman” said Job, “is few of days, and full of trouble. He cometh forth like a flower, and is cut down: he fleeth also as a shadow, and then he’s gone." (Job 14:1-2). Continue reading

March 11, 2010

Because the questions of second and third tithe arise in the chapters of Deuteronomy we are now covering in the Weekend Bible Study, I have found an old essay I wrote on the topic years ago and added it to this site. You can read it here.

By the way, don't miss George Will today.

February 28, 2010

I came across some notes on a book I read that formed the basis of at least one radio program or sermon. I wrote a short review at the time, intending to post the review here. Somehow, I mislaid it, but things have a way of showing up. It is a short review, but a book worth reading. Steering Through Chaos, by Os Guiness.

February 14, 2010

Some have asked, "What is the scope of the work CEM and Born to Win are doing?" So, we rummaged around and produced a page with a summary of our activities and productivity. Take a look and see for yourself:  What We Do.

February 5, 2010

Why We Read Political Pundits

For more than one reason, I am sure. The better ones are connected, and have lunch with important people. Consequently, they gain insights (and facts) they share with the rest of us. While he was alive and working, Robert Novak was invaluable. People would talk to him on background, and his knowledge and insight helped his readers to understand what was going on at a level surpassing the stuff on the front page.

But there is more. The best of the pundits are widely read, have a strong sense of history, and a knack for conveying understanding---and, in the words of King Solomon, understanding is greatly to be sought after. Pundits are not always right in their conclusions, but at least the best of them let you see clearly why they think the way they do.

One of the greatest surviving pundits these days is one Charles Krauthammer---a thinker of the first order. He is no knee jerk right winger and resists categorization. His column today is a classic example of clarifying issues that the reader may already have a sense of, but hasn't found a way to put it all together. In "The Great Peasant Revolt of 2010, Charles explains with keen insight (and a little irony) the weakness of the present administration, but also of any and all congresses in past years. Evaluating the rebuke the Democrats got in Massachusetts, He asked:

"This being a democracy, don't the Democrats see that clinging to this agenda will march them over a cliff? Don't they understand Massachusetts? Well, they understand it through a prism of two cherished axioms: (1) The people are stupid and (2) Republicans are bad. Result? The dim, led by the malicious, vote incorrectly."

Speaking as one of the "dim" I have begun to smart a little under the assumptions of our betters in Washington, and after this editorial, I will never vote again without thinking about it. Someone, I forget who, recently opined that the intellectual may be smarter than any one of us, but he isn't smarter than all of us. Never forget that, for since in our wisdom we founded a nation governed by the people, God has the right to hold all of us accountable for the stupidity of our government. Attention must be paid.

January 30, 2010

Against "the Wicked"

In thinking about the Lord’s prayer, I came to the phrase, "deliver us from evil." I suspect this is where we might pray some of the imprecatory psalms. In doing my books on the psalms, I noted that David does not pray against people by name, but by description of what they are and what they do. Another Scripture says, "The curse causeless shall not come." Thus, we do not pray against people who have done us no harm, and whose story we may not know. Thus, we may curse the wicked as a category, but not a given person we deem to be wicked. We might be wrong. "As the bird by wandering, as the swallow by flying, so the curse causeless shall not come." (Proverbs 26:2 KJV)

In listening to the stories on the health care bill, which some declare to be dead as the dodo, others that it is on life support, I found myself wondering why on earth congress persons would attempt to do what they were/are trying to do. They don’t have a clear majority, even in congress, who like this bill. And the public is foursquare against it. Why would they try to do this in face of so much opposition? Doubtless they consider this the right thing to do, but where is the payoff? To this day, I have not heard a plain statement about the payoff on this bill. It is dying the death of a thousand cuts, perhaps unfairly, but if it is really good for us, why no coherent statement of why it is so?

So, I have taken to praying that the Lord will expose the wicked and defeat their plans. I did that months ago, and now I am adding a request that he examine the hearts and minds of those attempting this law, who also seem to have little regard for our freedom. For those who wonder why the wicked prosper, and why God allows it, a reading of the psalms should answer that question. God allows it because we do not ask him to act. "You have not, because you ask not." (James 4:2 KJV)

January 29, 2010

Haiti on my mind

It would be interesting to know more about the efforts and results of Christian ministries in Haiti. I get the impression that there are hundreds of them, if not thousands---some having been there a long time. I get the impression that they have not made much of a change in the overall culture of the country. In fact, Christian Missionaries have been going to China for centuries with little effect, but now, internal Chinese Christians are having a profound effect there. What has made the difference?

Where do they start with the Haitians? The Gospel according to John, to be sure. The death and resurrection of Christ, certainly. I expect they teach heaven and hell, and the after life. But I wonder how much they teach about the here and now. Years ago, I read a novel titled, White Man's Grave, which gave a lot of insight into tribal life in Sierra Leone. It seemed obvious to me that standard Christian fare would have little or no traction among those people. What they needed was a good dose of the Law of Moses.

To be sure, the teachings of Jesus are firmly based on, and a more full development of the Law of Moses. But there are times when a people need something very basic. Only have sex with one person for the rest of your life. When it comes time to relieve yourself, go outside the camp and bury it. The discipline of a ceremonial law that has meaning behind it is helpful to keep the whole system bound together. And I am not talking about Messianic Judaism. I am not talking about teaching primitive peoples the Hebrew language. I am talking about simple practical obedience to the real God, the Creator of all things, the source of all justice and righteousness.

How much are the books of the law taught by Christian Missionaries? Would they help, if taught?

January 27, 2010

Toward a More Secure Church

The Christian faith is a curious mixture of individualism and collectivism. We are saved, individually and personally. Faith in an institution is cannot be a substitute for faith in God. Yet are not to forsake the assembling of ourselves—thus, we voluntarily join ourselves to a community of faith. This is important for a lot of reasons.

The problem arises when the church begins to dominate and demand. Just as we say "yes" to Christ, there are times when we must say no the church. And the church has to be secure enough to take no for an answer.

January 24, 2010


Just last week, I noticed the word in an article on health care reform. Joe Klein, writing about Obama's problems wrote: "By the end of his presidency, Bill Clinton had come to the conclusion that he made two big mistakes in his own near fatal push to enact health care reform. One was to go whole hog, all at once, rather than try for incremental change that would slowly transform the system." There was the word. And it reminded me of something I had all but forgotten.

When I was going through college and learning to be a public speaker, the civil rights issue was on a boil. And I asked black fellow I knew what the hurry was. Why not solve one problem at a time rather than attempting a revolution. I don't remember what he said, but I distinctly recall the emotion connected with his rejection of the idea of incrementalism. You can't blame blacks for feeling that way. They wanted their rights and they wanted them now.

And I wondered when I read Joe Klein's article if the emotion connected to the word "incrementalism" is still driving people who remember the struggle. Incremental is bad. Do it all and do it now. But when you are dealing with something as big as the United States, some careful consideration is needed before you try to reverse course and run onto the reef of the law of unintended consequences. It is a lot like turning an aircraft carrier around when it is steaming full speed ahead. I was shocked when I learned how far one of those great ships had to go and how much room they needed to complete the maneuver.

If I could have found a bumper sticker last year that said, "Too Much, Too Fast," I would have broken a personal rule and put it on my car. Nobody is smart enough to foresee every pothole that might take out the bottom of your truck. It is a good thing that they have been forced to slow down. There are some more rough roads ahead.

January, 22, 2010

Respect for God? Someone I read recently used that expression, but the word, respect, seems too small. Perhaps, "in awe of God"? Yes, but falling on your face? Chances are, anyone who does that these days is doing it because he thinks he is supposed to, probably because he read that someone in the Bible did it. I think that if God is present in his glory, a man will be on his face because his knees will not hold him up.

Abraham was a friend of God, and his close encounter with God just before just before the fall of Sodom did not require histrionics. And God did not appear in his glory that day, but as a man. How would you know of the presence of God in form of a man? You wouldn’t unless he intended you to and he plainly intended that Abraham know. They ended that visit walking along a road together and talking seriously as two old friends might.

The disciples of Jesus on the road to Emmaus knew something was different about the man they were talking to, but they didn’t know what until Jesus revealed himself. With hindsight, they realized that their heart burned within them along the road. It seems that a lot of what we experience with God only comes with hindsight.

January 21, 2010

I was more than a little stunned this afternoon when I read an editorial by Mort Zuckerman, Editor in Chief of US News and World Report. It is so rare to see a major news figure admit he is wrong, but this mea culpa goes to the wall. No one could explain more effectively the failure of the Obama presidency, but this explanation comes from an important publisher who voted for Obama and endorsed him.

The title of the piece tells you what Mort is trying to say: "He's Done Everything Wrong."

I've been praying for a few months now that God would expose "the wicked" who are wrecking this country, and the prayer seems to have been answered. I am reasonably sure I am not the only one praying this way. Candidly, the degree to which wrongdoing has been unmasked is astonishing. I have never seen anything quite like it.

January 19, 2010

I just finished preparation for a radio program we will tape this morning, and I am trying to be a little more diligent in posting my program notes here. Today's program is titled, "The Christian Virus," and it begins this way:

An article showed up in my email last week with nothing except a link to an internet page. It was three pages, actually. About Christianity in China. I almost didn’t read it. I have heard about Chinese Christians before, but nothing to make me think they could do any more than struggle along. But I opened the file, and when I got started, I couldn’t stop.

Something important is happening in China that is so counter to what one might expect that it sounds like, well, a miracle. And the miracle is remarkably similar to the one that turned the Roman world upside down in the days of Paul and Barnabas. But there is no Chinese Paul. There isn’t even a Chinese Billy Graham, or Rick Warren. Christianity is not on television, or even radio as far as I know. There are no mega-churches. But there are now some 70 million Christians in China. How on earth did that happen?

It has happened in the way Christianity has always thrived: person to person, like a virus.

The rest of the unedited notes can be read at this link.




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