A Note to Readers

>> Friday, December 19, 2008

Howdy all!

You'll figure this our sooner or later, but I am a technologically challenged person.   That's why my blog  isn't more customized than it is, really, as it takes more time to figure things out than I would prefer (or have) to spend on it.  

However, I do want my blog to look nice, so I'll be working on things as I can to see if I can get a better look.   For the moment, I didn't like my last theme (Ambilu, or something like that) so I have switched to a new theme, DePoMasthead.    I like the look, but the three columns may confuse people a bit and it is probably a bit bold for some. 

Just so y'all know...obviously DePo Masthead shows three columns at a time on the blogs homepage (each column being a different post) but you don't have to view all three columns at once.  If you want to view only one article at a time just click the heading at the top of the column you want to view and it will take you will be able to view just that post. 

Please feel free to comment on the look of the blog, and don't hesitate to give ideas and/or advice.  I can use all I can get. :-)   Hopefully there will be a snappier and more customized look in the future, but content is more important than appearance so I'll keep that as my focus

Moving away from the technical side of things, I would like to know what is on people's mind politically, culturally, theologically, etc, because I want to address issues on this blog that are important not only to me but to others as well.   So, don't hesitate to let me know if you think there is an issue I should be addressing or you would like me to address, or even if you have something you have been thinking about.

The traffic through here has been modest thus far, more than satisfactory to me, definitely enough to motivate me to spend more time blogging.   Hopefully I'll be posting some more non-political topics, but be warned that I am passionate about politics and political posts take less time to write. ;-) 

Thanks for swinging by!


God bless and veritas supra omnis!



The Christian’s reason for Conservative Economics

>> Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Christian conservatives, especially those with a strong bent towards conservative economics (conservative economics defined as an economic philosophy that places an emphasis on the ability of individuals and businesses to control their own resources free of government intervention and regulation), often wonder why people don't see the merit in their arguments.   There are a considerable number of reasons for this lack of effectiveness as I daresay most (Christian) economic conservatives would readily acknowledge, a couple of them being philosophic indoctrination in the public school system, an emotional investment in their position, etc.  For someone who has given careful consideration to the issue before coming to a conclusion, it is easy to be frustrated by the apparent lack of consideration on the part of others.  But, far too often, we fail to seriously and thoughtfully ask ourselves why it is that our arguments are so ineffective.  We don't seem to question ourselves very often; mostly we just question others. 


I think we could use a little more introspection on the issue, and now seems a particularly good time to indulge in this introspection.   Some of my own thoughts on the issue are as follow.
We talk a lot about it being wrong for the government to take what is not theirs but ours (take more than they reasonable need to function properly at the governmental level) because they have no right to take it.  Certainly, that is true, but for the Christian that answer is incomplete to the point of actually being wrong.   From a perspective that is not particularly inclined to conservative economics that answer sounds repulsively selfish on its own two feet, but particularly selfish in light of one of the most basic tenants of Christianity...that we are to care for the poor and needy.  Simply put, to argue that we shouldn't pay high taxes and shouldn't allow the government to implement wealth distribution programs (that take "surplus wealth") or semi distributive programs simply because that is "our" excess wealth (wording not necessarily my own…trying to look at it from another point of view) and it "belongs" to us is a selfish, un-Christian position if you haven’t grown up adhering to conservative economics.  Quite frankly, even as a conservative, I can easily understand this point of view.   
Is there some truth to this view that conservatives are just selfish?  I think there is in some cases, but certainly that isn’t true always nor is it inherent to conservatives.   I do believe that some people oppose things like government wealth distribution programs for less than Christ-like reasons, but even if there weren’t such people to reflect badly on others of similar political beliefs, the rhetoric commonly employed by conservatives is of such a nature that you can neither confirm nor deny the good or bad intentions of conservatives.  It just sounds bad to an ear not pre-disposed to agree.  
Regardless of what you think about the above thoughts, I think we can all agree on this.   There is no reason for the Christian (or even the non-Christian) economists to rely on this seemingly selfish reasoning to promote their governmental philosophy.  For the Christian there is much more behind conservative economics, and to acknowledge this would significantly impact our rhetoric, heart (through constant reminder), and the perception of others.
Every mature believer should have long ago realized and accepted this fundamental truth: Our money, no matter how hard we work to earn it, is not our own.  It isn't the government's either.   It is the property of God!  We are only stewards of the resources that He has been so gracious as to entrust us with, and it is our calling to be the best steward of those resources that we can be.  The wealth we keep from the government isn't ours at all!  We should be extremely cautious with the “because it's mine" rhetoric.   We might actually start believing it if we don't already. 
As a Christian, I hold to a conservative economic philosophy because I believe it allows me to be the best steward possible of the resources entrusted to me by God.  They allow me to personally fulfill the biblical command to care for the poor and needy.  


Think about it for a moment.  If I were paying tax dollars to the government for the express purpose of it being re-distributing to people in more need of it than I, a healthy chunk of my money is going to get eaten up in the collection and distribution process.  The government first has to pay someone to collect the money, then it has to pay someone to distribute it, then it has to pay someone to organize the collection and distribution process.  Next, it has to pay someone to enforce the collection process which entails many consuming tasks; it has to pay someone to keep books, accounting for what comes in and goes out; it has to pay someone to identify and/or determine who needs the re-distributed wealth, another consuming task, and the list goes on.

Clearly, what money I send to the government to distribute will be dramatically reduced out of necessity by the time it reaches a (hopefully) needy person.   Then there is the issue of not knowing the person who will receive the money.  You will not know whether they really need the money and aren’t just being funneled it for political gain.  If I am paying $10,000 in taxes every year, then that is $10,000 I can’t use to meet needs right here around me which are plentiful.  Think what I could do to meet needs with $10,000!  
Elaborating further on a previously made point: as a Christian of limited income and a responsibility to faithfully steward it in whatever amount, I don't know that the person receiving my money through the government really is in need and not just lazy, for instance, or they have friends who could better care for their needs than I or the government.  I can't keep track of my dollars-lost in a pool of billions-to know that they aren't being used by an un-ethical politician to buy votes.  I can't keep track of my dollars, to ensure that they aren’t being used to fix budget short falls (possibly resulting from bad stewardship on the government’s part) instead of being used to assist those in need.   Yet, I can’t steward adequately if I don’t have this sort of knowledge!  
There are a lot of things I don't know when the government stewards my money for me, but if I am to be a faithful steward I need to have an advanced knowledge, right?  
But, consider this.  If I, as a Christian seeking to glorify God, see a person with a need in my midst, or I hear of a person in need through a friend I trust, I can give them the money I have extra without employing a middle man like the government does.  If I have a hundred dollars to give to a person in need I can give them the whole hundred dollars.   When I give it to the government to give to that same person, the government, out of necessity (I don’t necessarily fault them for the necessity) takes a very large portion of that money to pay for the things they have to pay for.   It might be $44 or $74 instead of $100 by the time it makes it to the needy person.   As a Christian, this poor, inefficient use of my funds concerns me, especially when I can do better.


There are other reasons that I base my conservative economics on my faith, but I won’t take the time to list and detail them as they are not the point of this post.   The point of this post is (excuse the repetition) that as CHRISTIANS we have a responsibility to do justice to the Word of God and its intent.   God’s intent isn’t that we hoard our money like miserable, greedy misers.  God’s intent is for us to use the resources entrusted to us for the advancement of His Kingdom, and that starts with meeting the needs of those in our midst.    If we do not communicate this in our arguments for conservative economics, then we serve our Lord and Master poorly in this regard and will likely fail to advance our cause.


When posed the question, “Why don’t you support aiding the poor (through government aid programs)?  You don’t “need” all your money!” don’t say, “Because it’s mine!”  That answer strongly smacks of selfishness.    Instead, answer this way: “As a steward of the resources God has entrusted to me (with which to further His Kingdom), I believe that for reasons both practical and theological that I am best able to efficiently and faithfully manage the resources entrusted to me.”   That’s the essence of it, or at least it should be, I believe.      


In conclusion…the issue of perception should be important for a Christian.   We are assured in scripture that holding fast to our Faith will bring scorn, hate, and persecution; but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try our best to present ourselves to the world well, and, most importantly, ably serve and communicate the Love and Justice of our Lord and Savior.  If we are able to accurately communicate and exemplify the heart of our Lord and Maker, our testimony will have a power that even we cannot completely comprehend.


There are HUGE portions of America’s population sharing with you and I a-like-or-very-similar Christian faith that overwhelmingly vote to support high taxes and government welfare because of a flawed or incomplete understanding of our duty to the poor and needy (as it relates to and involves the government).   I would be silly not to use this common ground of faith to argue for what I believe to be true.  Unfortunately, I have not done this on many occasions, and even more unfortunately the same is true of millions of fellow Conservative Evangelical Christians.  May that never be the case from here on forward!


God bless and veritas supra omnis!


More on AFA's boycott: rebutting some common objections

>> Wednesday, November 19, 2008

After my previous post on boycotting, I have been doing more reading of others thoughts on the issue, and I must say that I have been surprised and interested by some of the objections raised.   I would like to continue exploring the issue of boycotting started in my previous post by addressing some of those concerns (I already answered a couple in the comments section of my previous post so I won’t directly deal with them here).   First, here is a link to an article that helps give more information on Pepsi-Cola's involvement with the homosexual agenda.  


Some of the objections are as follow.  I have phrased them (the objections) myself, in my own words, since not all will use the same words to describe their position...but I think I have done justice to them. :-) 


-“Well, if you boycott one for supporting the homosexual agenda you should boycott them all!  Boycott the world if you are going to be consistent!” 


Another way of phrasing this is…”it’s not right to boycott one but not the other!”    The reasonable conclusion of this logic, speaking contextually (this argument is almost exclusively used by those opposed to boycotting) is that we shouldn’t boycott anybody unless we boycott everybody, which of course they are not willing to do, so, nobody is boycotted.  The message this reasoning sends is “do whatever you want; I don’t care if my money is used for things I don’t want it used for.”   It’s hard to hold corporations accountable if this is the pervasive thought of the people best situated to hold them accountable.


I can’t speak for all others, but I don’t advocate boycotting everybody.  I recognize that if you tried to boycott every corporation that supported a cause you disagreed with eventually it gets to the point where it is extremely difficult to sustain.  


What I advocate (advocate not meaning that I feel called to lead the charge) is deliberate, concentrated boycotts.   By getting large numbers of people on the same page to face down corporations one at a time you stand a good chance to successfully execute a boycott and send a message to other companies, causing some to discontinue support for a cause that could make them the object of a boycott and cause others to not begin support.  This approach seems very reasonable and stands a good chance of succeeding.   But then, it’s already had success!   Ask Wal-Mart and McDonald’s. 


The radical homosexual movement is tremendously aided by corporate contributions to their cause.   With their support, homosexual activists are able to apply immense pressure to federal lawmakers on Capitol Hill (and to state politicians) cementing their interests most significantly in the government controlled school curriculums and programs; they are able to run extensive grass roots campaigns that are often less than honest but successful in cementing what was begun in the public school system; they are able to silence the opposition with political pressure, and stable and overpowering resources.


Christians have been dismayed and cowed by their efforts, to their great detriment.   It’s time they demonstrated their ability to shape the culture too, no longer allowing their opposition to make hay virtually unopposed.  Their opposition’s revenue stream is a key element to contest.   Force corporations to cut their funding for homosexual activists, and you deal the homosexual movement a significant blow.  If nothing else, it helps even the field more.


The world will never be perfect.  There will always be evil in it and no one person can fight everything.   But that doesn’t mean we should just roll over and let it reign uncontested.   We should fight what we can, when we can, how we can.   That’s what I advocate.  


-”It’s impracticable for me.”


Everybody’s circumstances are different, but with as many different competing companies as there are I am hard pressed to imagine that there is only one option for anything.    If I decide to boycott Wal-Mart then I have seven or eight other stores I can go to for the products I would normally buy at W-M.   If I decide to boycott Pepsi Cola then I can drink Dr. Pepper (not always easy to find up north – shockingly), Coca-Cola, Root Beer, or some other soft drink.   If I decide not to drink Gatorade because they’re part of the Pepsi-Cola conglomerate that shouldn't be a problem either.  Last time I checked there were about three other products that were basically the same as Gatorade, one of which actually tasted better and didn’t leave me feeling thirsty.  


Boycott Ford?   No problem!  I can buy Dodge, Chevy, Toyota or Nissan. Between the four of them I shouldn’t have a problem finding a truck to meet my needs.   Boycott Starbucks?    They just finished a Root’s coffee shop in Rockwall that I hear is good, Sonic is now carrying an excellent Java chiller (four different flavors), McDonald’s has pretty good coffees (so I am told), and I make most of my own coffee anyway (it’s cheaper when all is said and done and made from excellent, organic, environmentally friendly, freshly roasted coffee beans).


There are PLENTY of alternatives for virtually everything!   The fact that there are alternatives not only makes it easier to boycott, but it should make us less hesitant to do so. 


-“It’s useless.


As mentioned in my previous post dealing with the same issue…when you boycott one company, assuming you still need products that they carried, you will then start shopping at their competitors.   This means that A), the boycotted company will have less money, and B), their competitors have more money.  This double whammy puts them at a disadvantage and that disadvantage is made all the more severe in troubled economic times like what we are experiencing.  Besides, it’s not useless unless it doesn’t work, and it has worked!   The successful boycotts of Wal-Mart and McDonalds make this objection the easiest to rebut.     


-”It shouldn’t be such a big deal!  It makes Christians look bad and unloving.  It’s forcing our religious views on others!


While I can’t speak for everybody, I don’t advocate boycotting everybody who supports something I disagree with, particularly when it comes to spiritual matters.   Quite frankly, if the only issue at stake in the homosexual movement was state recognition of gay marriages then I would be MUCH less willing to boycott a company for supporting that agenda (I won’t go into the details of why…suffice it to say that I believe marriage is under the jurisdiction of God and the Church, not the government, and I would prefer that government didn’t involve itself in defining marriage).  The single biggest reason I oppose the homosexual agenda is that it seeks to suppress constitutional rights guaranteed all Americans.    A key component of most gay advocacy groups is more stringent “hate crimes” and “anti-discrimination” laws.   


Hate crime laws basically, to the best of my understanding, add extra penalty for committing a crime out of hate.  Hate, as a motive, usually is and would more so under the guidance of homosexual activists, be proved circumstantially, not factually, because it usually can’t be proven factually.   Hate crime laws of the sort proposed by homosexual activists (per my understanding of where they wish to ultimately advance their agenda) stand to undermine the most basic concept of just punishment, sacrificing it to a specific agenda.  That should not only alarm Christians; it should alarm all who believe in constitutionally protected justice for all.


“Anti-discrimination” laws such as those put forward by radical homosexual activist groups (like PFLAG) discriminate against those who don’t agree with the people or groups pushing the laws in question.    In the guise of fairness, anti-discrimination laws would make mandatory hiring quotas for companies that are based on things like gender, race, “sexual orientation,” religious beliefs, etc.  Already we see these principles enacted quite commonly (hiring quota’s, affirmative action, etc.).   Religious freedom would be threatened by these laws.  You would no longer be able to refuse to hire people because of your religious beliefs which might, for instance, make them believe it wrong to hire homosexual employees. Their right to do so is guaranteed by our constitution, but anti-discrimination and hate crime laws would severely infringe on their rights.    


In short, legalizing gay marriage is not the only issue at stake here.   As I mentioned earlier, I do not view legalized gay marriage as a hill I want to die on or am willing to die on.  I won’t elaborate on it now, but I support laws that would allow indirectly things like civil unions and visiting rights for gays.  


I would HIGHLY recommend that everybody viewing this post check out this very insightful post from Rod Dreher’s Crunchy Con blog.   I don’t necessarily agree with every point made, but the point of the post is important and it contains some good stats.


Back to the issue…there is a much more serious threat to ALL Americans posed by the radical homosexual agenda.  It seeks to undermine the very foundation of religious liberty and freedom in the US, and that is not something only Christians should be worried about.   Everybody should understand that such a deadly weapon could easily be turned on them.  Muslims should fear it.   Mormons should fear it.   Humanists should fear it, and the list goes on.  This is not an issue only “radical” evangelical fundamentalists should worry about.  Once such powers of discrimination and oppression are given to the government, there is nothing to keep the government from using those powers against you!  


In closing, I respect the views of those who disagree with me on this issue.  But, I think that many are being less than charitable towards organizations like AFA because of their boycott and often less than reasonable in evaluating the reasons-for-and-implications-of opposing the radical homosexual agenda.


There are more questions that could be addressed here, but I have a sneaking suspicion that anybody reading this post is quite satisfied with its length. :-)


God bless and veritas supra omnis!


Is boycotting a good thing?

>> Saturday, November 15, 2008

In the midst of a busy week of studying and working a train of thought has popped into my mind that hasn’t yet stopped.   That train of thought is…what value does a boycott have?


For some background, I recently took part in a boycott of McDonalds per the request of Don Wildemon and the American Family Association (visit their homepage at www.afa.net) and much to my surprise, the boycott seemed to work.    The requests (conditions) made by AFA were met and once again AFA members and/or supporters are ingesting the superior junk food of McDonalds.  


(For most of the details behind AFA’s boycott: McDonalds joined the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC), Richard Ellis, a leading McDonalds Executive sat on the board for NGLCC, McDonalds donated $20,000 to the cause, and when AFA applied pressure Mr. Ellis stated that those opposed to the homosexual agenda were “hate driven.”  These details do not include past actions of McDonalds on behalf of gay activism, which includes sponsoring “Gay Pride” parades in San Francisco) 


I must admit to being quite surprised by the success of the boycott.  In the past, I have always been somewhat skeptical of their effects and value, but it seemed that principle was at stake here so I took part in the McDonalds boycott willingly, albeit, somewhat skeptically.  Needless to say, I felt like a million when McDonald’s backed down and took a neutral position on the issue. 


A couple days ago I received another “Action Alert” from AFA containing this information and statement.


PepsiCo gives $500,000 to promote the gay agenda in workplace


November 14, 2008

Dear Friend,

Pepsi has given Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) a half-million dollars to help push the homosexual agenda in the workplace. PFLAG is a political advocacy group that promotes radical homosexual political causes like same-sex marriage, hate-crime laws, and gay adoption.

Pepsi has a long tradition of financial support for homosexual groups. According to Jacqueline Millan, director of PepsiCo Corporate Contributions, "We are delighted to continue our partnership with PFLAG...(in) promoting the necessary message of inclusion to untapped groups...and that is a crucial step toward building a healthy working environment."

Despite the fact that 30 states have passed constitutional amendments defining marriage as being between a man and a woman, Pepsi continues to support the efforts by same-sex groups pushing for homosexual marriage.

AFA wrote Pepsi on October 14 and again on October 29 asking the company to remain neutral in the culture war. Pepsi didn't care enough to respond to the AFA letters. Pepsi's lack of response indicates the company plans to continue support for the homosexual agenda.


What do y’all think?  Do the actions of Pepsi-Cola justify a boycott?


My gut reaction is to say absolutely yes for the following reasons.   


1. Without having done any detailed research to determine exactly what activities PFLAG sponsors and participates in, it appears that they are your standard issue gay rights extremist (emphasis on extremist).


2. $500,000 is A BUNCH of money!  Do you know what a cash strapped pro-life advocacy group could do with that much money?   The answer is a whole lot.


3. Of particular concern, their advocacy of "hate crimes" is just another way of implementing “anti-discrimination” laws that would severely penalize (i.e. discriminate against) companies, organizations, perhaps even churches that “discriminate” against gays for religious reasons.  Regardless of what your position is on the marriage issue, it is one thing to legalize it and another to say that you can’t refuse to hire gay employees for religious reasons.


4. If it (a boycott) worked once, why won’t it work again?  A concentration of attention on one single corporate entity such as McDonald’s or corporate conglomerate like Pepsi-Cola is bound (and in the case of McDonald’s did) to effect them in the pocket book, and that’s where they smart the most.  As a matter of information, AFA has also led a mostly successful boycott against Wal-Mart.


5. We can’t stay neutral in the culture war while our opposition works ‘round the clock.  


The reality of things is that one organization like AFA, or even several, cannot boycott the corporate monetary foundation out from under gay activists all at once.   A quick scan of PFLAG's sponsors uncludes  such corporate giants as IBM, Wells Fargo, Best Buy, Ford (my favorite truck!!!), Comcast, JP Morgan Chase, and Orbitz.  These are just some of their sponsors; the Pepsi-Cola corporate conglomerate itself includes brands such as Frito Lay, Quaker Oats, Gatorade, and Tropicana.  But, just because you can’t fight all the battles at once doesn’t mean you can’t do what you can when you can as you can.   As stated in point 5, inaction is never a match for action as they relate to culture wars, and as mentioned in point 4, concentrated effort is much more likely to succeed then less well organized efforts, and if you can start fighting and winning one at a time you will move steadily towards your goal (you just might not get their as fast as you would prefer).    


Part of the logic behind boycotting is to make people understand that actions have consequences.   If the only actions that have consequences are those actions in support of gay “activism” (which I would like to say is not always wrong) and the actions that don’t have consequences are those in opposition to the pro-family agenda, then what actions do you think are going to be taken?  


Anyway, I could go on and on but I think this is a good start.   Boycotting is actually a very interesting issue when you start thinking big picture and very similar to military actions from a strategy standpoint (I love military history).   How do you effectively boycott?   How does timing come into play, or does it?  How do you best martial the resources available?  Who or what do you go take action against first? What deserves first priority?  Most importantly, what do I hope to accomplish?  What is the vision motivating my actions…or do I have one?  


The list of questions could go on…     


I’d love to hear your thoughts if you would like to leave them in the comments.  For those reading this post who may not know me well; please don’t assume I believe anything that I didn’t say. :-)  I am quite prepared to defend my beliefs, but I am not necessarily prepared to defend what I don’t believe.


God bless and veritas supra omnis!     

P.S. If you see two posts dealing with the same subject (still learning the ropes here :-) only pay attention to the one that was posted first.


Experiment and edifying thoughts from John Piper

>> Tuesday, November 11, 2008

I have been experimenting with things on the blog here, trying to figure things out, and as part of the experiment I decided to post a video.   Trying to think of something to post, this one came to mind.  If you have time to watch it (it isn't very long) I hope you find it edifying.  


God bless and veritas supra omnis!


Thomas Kempis: of the danger of superfluity of words

>> Monday, November 10, 2008

I was blessed by these thoughts this morning and hope that you will find them edifying as well.    It’s a simple reminder, but we all need to hear it often.


Avoid as far as thou canst the tumult of men; for talk concerning worldly things, though it be innocently undertaken, is a hindrance, so quickly are we led captive and defiled by vanity.  Many a time I wish that I had held my peace, and had not gone amongst men.  But why do we talk and gossip so continually, seeing that we so rarely resume our silence without some hurt done to our conscience?  We like talking so much because we hope by our conversations to gain some mutual comfort, and because we seek to refresh our wearied spirits by variety of thoughts.  And we very willingly talk and think of those things which we love or desire, or else of those which we most dislike.


2. But alas! It is so often to no purpose and in vain.   For this outward consolation is no small hindrance to the inner comfort which cometh from God.  Therefore must we watch and pray that time pass not idly away.   If it be right and desirable for thee to speak, speak things which are to edification.  Evil custom and neglect of our real profit tend much to make us heedless of watching over our lips.  Nevertheless, devout conversation on spiritual things helpeth not a little to spiritual progress, most of all where those of kindred mind and spirit find their ground of fellowship in God.


Taken from "The Imitation of Christ" by Thomas A Kempis Chapter X


The above shouldn’t be interpreted as meaning that we can never talk about anything that isn’t deep and spiritual; only that we should give up talking or communicating (through talking, emailing, text messaging, etc) for the sake of talking and particularly shouldn’t talk about “vain things” just because that’s what everybody else is doing.   We should always be looking to avoid vain things and embrace profitable things even - perhaps especially - in our speech and we need to learn to do this at an early age in order that our young years be not wasted on idle vain things. 


Some related thoughts from Mr. Kempis, in Chapter XI of "The Imitation of Christ" (chapter XI is titled "Of Seeking Peace of Mind and Spiritual Progress"):


How came it to pass that many of the Saints were so perfect, so contemplative of Divine things?  Because they steadfastly sought to mortify themselves from all worldly desires, and so were enabled to cling with their whole heart to God, and be free and at leisure for the thought of Him.  We are too much occupied with our own affections, and too anxious about transitory things.  Seldom too, do we conquer even a single fault, nor are we zealous for daily growth in grace.  And so we remain lukewarm and unspiritual.


If we cannot conquer even the smallest thoughts thoughts we shouldn't be thinking, what hope do we have of conquering the strong temptations?    Any who think small hard things are not important set themselves up to fall.   


God bless and veritas supra omnis!   

Edit: Leonard Ravenhill recommends the following scriptures for our consideration on this subject.

Psalm 12:3-4
Psalm 34:13
Psalm 37:30
Psalm 39:1,3
Psalm 120:2-3
Proverbs 20:15
Eccl. 5:6
Romans 3:4,13-14
II Cor. 12:20
James 3:2


You can read more of Mr. Ravenhill's thoughts here... http://www.ravenhill.org/tongue.htm


To Christians: Pray for Obama

>> Friday, November 7, 2008

In the aftermath of Tuesday’s election, American’s wake up to a new day that doesn’t necessarily mean all the same things to everybody; but for all, it definitely is a new day.  For all, the historic election of a black candidate proves beyond the shadow of a doubt that racism is where it should be for the overwhelming majority of Americans: in the past.   It is indicative of an almost miraculous change in the hearts and minds of millions upon millions of Americans.   Obama’s historic victory by no means guarantees that the residual challenges/problems of race will be done away with…time is the most effective remedy for many of those challenges; but, when examined in light of America’s past, I think American’s should see Obama’s victory as proof of a good thing.  


I sincerely hope that Republicans and Conservatives will not allow their many and profound differences with Obama to mar this moment.  Let us all, for a little while at least, allow this moment to be appreciated, that America is truly beyond the shadow of a doubt, a country where race is less important than the person.


But, despite the positives of Obama’s victory, for Republicans and (more importantly) Conservatives, the negatives will in the long run far out way the positives.  The plight of the unborn stands to greatly worsen due to the election of Obama, the economy stands to gain nothing and lose more under Obama, the war in Iraq will end prematurely, in all likelihood negatively impacting the War on Terror (not something all conservatives agree on but something I believe to be true), socialist welfare and fascist government control will be further entrenched as the norm in our country (the words fascist and socialist are not used in the negative sense, merely the factual)…and the list goes on.  But I don’t need to exhaustively list the negatives of Obama’s pending presidency; you know all or at least some of which I speak (in the not unlikely event that some reading this post are Obama supporters).  The crucial question of the day for Republicans and especially Conservatives is…what now?    This is the question that should be foremost on all our minds.


I will not get into my personal take on how Conservatives need to change their strategy to regain power and (more importantly) influence-we have months and years to do that-but I would like to issue this challenge because it is of critical and immediate importance.


First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. 

I Timothy 2:1-4 (ESV)


The Bible explicitly states that we are to pray for our leaders and to give them respect.  Therefore, if Christians truly wish to honor God then they will pray daily for Barak Obama and Joe Biden…and they shouldn’t pray that for their hurt or their failure…they should pray that God will touch them mightily, opening their eyes to His Truth and lead them in on a path that will honor God and benefit the American people, not the Republican Party or any other specific agenda driven group.  I firmly believe one of the greatest shortcomings of Christians in the last decade is their willingness to ignore their responsibility as Christians to intercede before the Throne of Grace for ALL their leaders.  They have interceded on behalf of their nation, but not ALL their leaders as specifically commanded.  Many, for instance, skewered George Bush but failed to humbly and unselfishly intercede on his behalf before the Throne of Grace.  The same is true of many individuals treatment of Bill Clinton, an object of particularly strong scorn.


I remember on numerous occasions my parents, my Mother in particular, lamenting the lack of respect Christians show for the leaders they disagreed with on many issues.  Instead, they allowed their personal differences to mar their application of biblical spiritual responsibilities, sacrificing true Godliness to petty, selfish partisanship.  May that not be the case this time!    I sincerely pray that all Christians will pray daily for our leaders, particularly President elect Obama and I rejoice to see so many already committing to do just that.  Let us never cease to remind ourselves of this, even when locked in great cultural and political battles.


If we are to right what needs to be righted we cannot rely on the halls of Washington or the various state capitals; we cannot rely on the courts; we cannot rely on the media or even community town halls or minority outreaches.   We must rely on God, His providence, and our faithfulness.  The conservative comeback, which I think can undoubtedly take place, will ride on the strength of the prayers and humble petitions of Christians like you and I.  Let us never for a moment lose our focus on that point.  May we never fail to honor our responsibility to honor and pray for those God has placed in authority over us. 


Our current President has a quite extensive “Presidential Prayer Team” that has many members and I believe it is largely motivated by George Bush’s strong faith.  I was initially fearful that they would not continue to their efforts on behalf of President Obama, but I am happy to see that they will continue to lift up our President in prayer beyond George Bush’s tenure in office.    Here are some quotes from people you will recognize taken from the prayer team’s website (presidentialprayerteam.org).


Prayer is…always affected by the character and conduct of him who prays. Water cannot rise above its own level, and the spotless prayer cannot flow from the spotted heart. Straight praying is never born of crooked conduct.
Leonard Ravenhill

President-elect Obama faces many challenges, and I urge everyone to join me in pledging our support and prayers and he begins the difficult task ahead.
Billy Graham, November 4, 2008

I'm very proud to have supported Senator McCain and the only regret is that more Americans didn't share my conviction that he would have made an outstanding President. I not only recognize, but respect that we are a nation in which the people choose and tonight they have chosen Senator Obama. He was not my choice, but he will be my President and I will pray for him to lead this great nation with God's help and grace. He will face serious challenges to lead our country and he will need all Americans to give him a chance.
Governor Mike Huckabee, November 5, 2008 on his blog

The new President will surely need our prayers because he and his administration face huge, serious challenges to the health of our nation and to peace in the world - challenges that, in my opinion, neither he nor any government on earth will have the power to overcome without divine aid. So this is no time for Christians to go into the bunkers. No time to wail or moan over our retirement plans. This is a time to repent, to pray more, to give more. It's a time for Christians to lead, encourage, and minister to a faltering country in a faltering economy.
Chuck Colson, November 5, 2008

The Pope assured President Elect Obama of his prayers that God would assist him in his "high responsibilities in service to the nation and to the international community" and "sustain you and the beloved American people in your efforts, together with all men and women of good will, to build a world of peace, solidarity and justice."
Pope Benedict XVI, in a telegram sent via the U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See


I wish and pray the best for President elect Obama and Vice President elect Biden.  I didn’t vote for them because of deep and irreconcilable differences (as things stand) and I have no reason to believe that those differences will magically disappear now that they have won their campaign.  So, I am quite prepared to disagree with them on any number of issues.   But I am open to giving them a chance to prove me wrong and never will I oppose Obama (or anybody for that matter) just for the sake of opposing them.   I will daily lift them up in prayer, specifically requesting that God would touch them tangibly and that they would heed His leading (I pray the same for myself) and that He would grant them an extra measure of wisdom and discernment as they lead our nation.  Please join me in doing so.  


Remember, though both have a past that rightfully should cause grave doubts, one thing we cannot doubt is that God is sovereign, and He can do what He will’s when He will’s it.


God bless and veritas supra omnis!


Edit:  Duncan Ligon has some good thoughts on specific ways Christians should lift President Obama up.   




The single most important reason I am voting for McCain/Palin

>> Saturday, November 1, 2008

Hello all!  

I recently received an email from a friend asking for my take on John McCain, and I replied in some length.   Most of the email was of relatively little importance as we (I) mostly dialogued about things not necessarily related to core moral values…but I did want to pull the part of the email (modified and lengthened) in which I explain the most important reason I am supporting McCain.   I have posted it below and hope that agree or disagree, you find it edifying in some way.

In Christ,


P.S. I would welcome any comments, but would especially welcome disagreeing comments.  I didn’t touch on everything and didn’t explain everything I did touch on in full, so disagreeing comments might touch on something that would call for addition elaboration.   You can judge for yourself if that is a good thing. ;-) 

 Why I believe those supporting the pro-life agenda should vote for John McCain

Over the past four years the American people have been so pre-occupied with things like the war in Iraq and the economy that we (as a group) have tended to overlook one thing of vital importance; the advancement of the pro-life agenda.   Love George Bush or hate him, it seems hard to deny that he, when all is said and done, has been true to his pro-life position.  Not only has his appointment of Justices Roberts and Alito to the Supreme Court (both strongly pro-life) opened up the opportunity to challenge the validity of Roe v. Wade at the Supreme Court level, but his many appointments to the lower judiciaries have made it possible to keep lower courts from legislating pro-choice laws on the people and likewise made it possible for conservative pro-lifers to defeat organizations like Planned Parenthood.   In short, the grass roots pro-life movement has not faced anywhere near the government sponsored impediments under George W. Bush they have faced for years.    As a result, the pro-life movement has been advanced and thousands upon thousands of babies have been saved from grizzly deaths (don’t forget the partial birth abortion issue).    10 years ago it would have been almost unthinkable to think that we would have such pro-life legislation on the ballot as Amendment 48 in Colorado.  Today it is not unthinkable.   Even the Republican Party platform has become more conservative on the abortion issue thanks to grass roots activists.  

All these advancements, though significant, are precarious at best and small at worst.   If a liberal government and court system imposed their pro-choice agenda once they can and will do it again.

In Barak Obama we have the most radically pro-choice Presidential Candidate ever.   If elected to office he will undo all the progress made by the pro-life movement in short order and will further cement the security of the pro-choice agenda.   In short, if the pro-life movement doesn’t want to see all they have accomplished go by the way-side...they must defeat Barak Obama.  Enter John McCain.   John McCain is not 100% pro-life.   His support for abortions in the case of rape and incest is troubling in light of the fact that those babies deserve to live just as much as others, and his support of embryonic stem cell research has rightfully raised red flags for many (I don’t happen to have as much of what I call a working concern with his support of embryonic stem cell research as some, but in the interest of time I’ll leave that issue untouched for now).

McCain is not the candidate the vast majority of the pro-life movement supported in the primaries, but unfortunately, he won anyway.    Now, pro-life advocates are faced with two sets of consequences if they vote for either Obama or McCain, assuming they will hold true to their word.

 If they vote for Obama the consequences will be:

-the legalization (again) of partial birth abortion

-continued tax payer subsidies for Planned Parenthood and their sister organizations

-the continuation of Roe v. Wade

-the appointment of young, pro-choice, liberal judges to the US Supreme Court and the various lower courts

-increased government support for sex education in public schools

-government intervention in the adoption field, including the disallowance of discrimination on religious lines for adoption agencies

-no requirements for parental notification and/or consent for minors in obtaining an abortion

-the death of hundreds of thousands (if not millions) more babies  

That isn’t even an exhaustive list of the consequences of an Obama presidency.   The consequences of a McCain presidency (also not exhaustive) are:        

-the overturn of Roe v. Wade

-the freedom of the states to pass such legislation in regards to abortion as they choose

-no more tax payer support for Planned Parenthood and their sister organizations

-possible government support for embryonic stem cell research (I say possible because I don’t think it will happen if it hasn't already)

-exception clauses in anti-abortion laws providing for abortion in the case of incest and rape

A McCain presidency would not allow for the total advancement of the pro-life movement, but it would A) fight for the overturn of Roe v. Wade, the first all important step in allowing straight up pro-life legislation, B) allow the opportunity for states to pass outright bans on abortion (it is not clear if states would be forced to include McCain’s exception clause), C) cut the funds abortion clinics use to prey on young girls.

In short, John McCain has an imperfect pro-life stance, but the pro-life movement would still have tremendous opportunity to advance their cause under a McCain presidency, and most importantly, they would not lose the ground they have already gained and their opposition would not be strengthened.

Many people would call support for McCain a compromise on the life issue because he isn’t as solid as others.   There is some amount of truth to that position, but I would remind all who believe such that this is not about us the living; this is about the unborn.  This (abortion) shouldn’t be considered the same way as taxes…I would be happy to pay more taxes if I was confident that it would somehow result in the betterment of unborn babies…if I need to compromise on things like taxes, immigration, etc. in the interest of preserving the gains of the pro-life movement then I would be more than happy to, and (at the risk of being repetitious) I believe John McCain represents the best chance we have on the ballot for preserving the gains of the pro-life movement.  As John Piper has said, the issue of life is always the foremost issue for our consideration.  Everything else is secondary.   If you would like to throw your vote to a perhaps more solidly pro-life candidate like Chuck Baldwin at the risk of Obama winning the presidency (or being emboldened by a significant popular vote victory) then I would encourage you to think of how you would explain to an aborted baby that the reason you didn’t support their best chance was that the chance was imperfect.  I am sure the millions of babies that will lose their lives by way of abortion under an Obama presidency and the subsequent battles to undo the damage will understand.  I am much more willing to pin my chances of lower taxes or immigration reform (to name a couple for instances) to a lost cause (the Baldwin presidential campaign) then I am the chances of unborn babies. 

The pro-life movement must support John McCain.  If they don’t, I believe they will be indirectly responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of additional babies under Obama’s radical agenda and for not saving the millions of babies that would be saved by McCain’s policies.

Is that too extreme a statement?  Perhaps…I certainly don’t want to appear judgmental towards those who don’t support McCain as I recognize that different people of equal sincerity will often arrive at different conclusions…but I do feel that the burden of responsibility is heavy and in the case of abortion we must be as clear as possible in articulating our views.  So, I have.  

This is the reality of where this election stands.  The only person on the ballot with a more conservative stated position on abortion is Chuck Baldwin.   Baldwin is polling what?  .5%?  1%?  2%?  You can decry all you want that Baldwin is not polling better then he is…the fact of the matter is that he isn’t and we owe it too the unborn to do the best we can to protect them, and "the best" in this case isn't voting for Chuck Baldwin.   I don’t personally feel comfortable playing political chicken with baby’s lives.    It's good to hold to principle; but when innocent lives are lost because of it by way of abortion then I would suggest the principle should be seriously re-examined. 

Until recently I was seriously contemplating withholding my vote on the grounds that there was no candidate I would feel good supporting.   I didn’t like the thought of walking away from the voter’s booth feeling anything less than glad support for whoever had received my vote.   Frankly, I just differ too much with McCain on things like McCain-Feingold, immigration, the environment (and the political ramifications), and other important issues to “feel good” about voting for him.    But this last Sunday, I shared my thoughts and feelings with one of my church elders, Mr. Hale.  This is the essence of the council he shared (I will try not to put words in his mouth).To conclude: I don’t think I need to say anything else.  But again, please don’t take this post as a harsh condemnation of everybody who doesn’t agree with me.  I don’t expect everyone to disagree with me…but I believe the things I believe for reasons, and if those reasons aren’t worth putting forward in no uncertain terms then they aren’t worth believing.

We all want to feel good about who we vote for.   This is not a wrong desire, especially if feeling good is determined by how closely we agree with the person in question.   But, if we operate on a feel good basis we operate on selfishness and naivety.    Neither of us wanted McCain to be our nominee and neither of us will "feel good" if we vote for him.   Due to our disagreements with him on policy issues, it would probably feel better if we voted third party (then we wouldn’t be responsible in any way for what happened under a McCain presidency if he won) or didn’t vote at all (for the same reasons).  But our decisions should not be based on what feels good…they should be based upon what is best for others…not our feelings.  The ability to separate our feelings from our decisions when they threaten to mar our decision making process is the mark of a good leader and a wise person. 

At the end of the day, when all is said and done, McCain represents the best hope for the unborn, and that is the overriding issue of importance.    If we seek to protect those who can’t protect themselves then we should vote for their best hope.

I agree with Mr. Hale 100%.   I am not making a negative judgment on people for supporting Baldwin; but understand that the reason I support McCain is not because I agree with him as much as I would like or that I will skip out of the voting booth whistling and with the best of feelings.  I support him because I believe he is the best hope for the unborn in seeing that their immediate needs and threats are dealt with.  The life issue is far too important to take out grudges on the GOP for not being the party you want them to be or that they claimed to be...and unfortunately I believe many people are.  

Again, I won’t “feel good” voting for McCain, but I will vote for him nonetheless with the conviction that it is the right thing to do for the sake of others who need protection more than I and the preservation and furtherance of the gains made by the pro-life movement is of monumentally greater importance than taxes, immigration, etc.

God bless!



"Where am I?" and important information from AiG

>> Saturday, October 18, 2008

Hello y'all!

I just wanted to pop in and let you know why my silence has been so deafening.    The computer I normally work on is down and has been down for awhile, so I haven't been able to spend much time on blog things.   I am sure that this is anything but crushing to you, but now you know anyway. :-)    

I have been tempted to blog on political matters since they don't take as much time but I know I am on overload with politics and I am guessing most of you are too.   So, I have stayed away from politics.  Now that you know what's up with my silence, I do have something to share that I found extremely interesting (and important) and thought you might as well.   

While reading my email this morning, the headline of an email from AiG Answers in Genesis) caught my eye.  I opened it and followed the link, leading to the video on "Cloning, Stem Cells, and the Value of Life."   I have pasted the link below.  Please watch it if you can. It contains vital information!


Veritas Supra Omnis!


Russia: the old bear

>> Thursday, October 9, 2008

I have been doing a lot of reading about Russia lately courtesy of Paul Johnson's "Modern Times" but so far the bulk of my study has been limited to the early days of Soviet Russia.   In an effort to know a little about an appropriate policy to pursue in regards to Russia, I have been doing some study on the internet.   Most of the stuff I have found isn't worth relaying, but I found this particular article to be very insightful.  It confirmed some things I have already been thinking about and offered an opinion not very commonly propagated.  
Basically, when evaluating a true communist or socialist country you have to keep in mind that both communism and socialism are self-destructive.  Eventually they will eat themselves from the inside out, but before they come to that point they are usually an extremely formidable opponent because all their efforts are very focused and nationalized.   When the Soviet Union collapsed, America didn't have as much to do with it as we like to think.   Mostly our policies helped to hasten their demise, it didn't bring it about.
Today, Russia is somewhat rejuvenated but still a far cry from what they used to be.   When formulating Russian policy we can't underestimate their strength or course, but nor can we over-estimate it and that seems to be what we are doing.  Russia may still be a bear, but it is a very old bear and its strength is greatly diminished.  Unless they make some serious changes that I highly doubt they will make, Russia will continue to fade.  The article in question lays out reasons for why Russia isn't the bear we are used to thinking of it as.
Enjoy and Veritas Supra Omnis!


Some questions pertaining to authority

>> Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Hello all!

 Well, I wanted my first post to be an article that I have been working on about the acceptability of women serving in the civil sphere (I would prefer to open with a less controversial subject but that just happens to be what I have been working on) but the "editing process" is taking longer than I would prefer, unfortunately.   But, the good news is, once the process is completed it will no doubt be better reading.  ;-)   For the time being I have a couple of questions I would like to ask along with a few scattered thoughts to throw out.   I don't necessarily expect answers since I know all of you are busy, so few or no responses won't bother me, but there's no harm in asking them so why not? 

 Anyway, here are the questions.

 First: Do you believe that parental ever ceases to exist?  Or, rephrasing the question, does there come a time in a parent/child relationship when there is a total break in the authority structure?

 If you have time to answer the question, what I am looking for as a response is mostly just yes or no, a few verses to consider and maybe an article you have read that provides insight.   

 Second: Do you believe we as a culture fundamentally misunderstand the biblical concept of earthly spiritual authority?   

 If you have time to answer this I am looking for basically the same things as I am for the first question.  Nothing complicated or time consuming, just some ideas and leads.  

 Why am I asking these questions?   Because, as I speak to more young people about matters having to do with authority it seems to be pretty evident that even within the conservative church there is something about our understanding of authority that doesn't rectify complete authority, practically speaking (as in a parent's authority over a five year old) and shepherding (as in a parent discipling and shepherding an older teenage child who is of the age that it needs to be taking more direct responsibility for the specific direction of their lives).   For some reason, we seem to only think of authority in terms of "ruling" and even oppression. That causes tremendous tension between parents, who are afraid of losing their mode of influence in their childs life (their authoritative rule, if you will) and the child who doesn't want to be "ruled," who instead desires some amount of freedom.

 When I look at biblical earthly authority, more than "ruling" (ultimate authority) I see nurturing and discipleship that is relative to the needs of those being discipled.   Ultimately the the aim of non secular God ordained authority is to lead in obedience and teach.   For parents they are to raise their children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, and for church leaders to see to the more specific needs of their flock.  Because of all our thoughts of authority meaning to rule we lose the focus on relaying and teaching.  But, I am now rambling.  

 Anyway, if you would like to tune in with some thoughts and some answers to the above questions I would be most appreciative.   I think this is an incredibly important issue that is not always dealt with to the extent that it bears dealing with.     Headship (authority) is meant to be a beautiful thing and effective in it's task (surprise!), but if our understanding is faulty it loses it's beauty and effectiveness.   So, I have been studying the issue.   Hopefully when I am done I will have all the answers I need to have.   It's a more difficult study then I was anticipating though, and I am having to process and organize a lot of new information. :-)


 Btw, if you do have some thoughts you would like to share then it would be great for you to post them here as a comment (they will of course have to be approved, not that I don't trust you of course) but email is also great so choose your method.  My email for those who don't know is texancellist@hotmail.com.

 Veritas Supra Omnis!




P.S.  Sorry for getting off on a less than stellar foot here on the blog.   Some things just don't start the way you wish they would. :-)


Hello and Introduction

>> Thursday, October 2, 2008

Hello! My name is Mark Hutchins and I wanted to take a moment to tell you a few things about me and my intentions for this blog.

First: I am a young evangelical home-schooled guy who has many opinions, loves to debate and discuss a wide range of issues (politics, culture, economics, practical theology, organics, coffee, you name it). But I am acutely aware of my shortcomings in knowledge, wisdom, and understanding. Part of the reasoning for starting this blog is to get my thoughts out and hopefully receive feedback that will help me to grow both in knowledge, understanding, and presentation.

Second: pursuant to my personal desire to grow in wisdom and understanding, I would like to do what I can to spread truth as I know it. I won't always be right on everything, but that doesn't and shouldn't keep me or anybody else from proclaiming truth as we know it. I believe our culture is not one that values truth in any sphere of life, preferring moral relativism. Moral relativism is a disease, directly contrary to God's word and deadly.

My motto is "Veritas Supra Omnis" which in essence means "above all truth," or "truth above all." My desire for my my life and my blog is above all to live and proclaim the truth of God's word, esteeming above all else that which I know to be truly honoring and obedient to God and His revealed Word.

This blog will not be confined to lofty spiritual matters. I love the nitty-gritty of politics and am just as likely to post about the state of the presidential and congressional races from a purely editorial perspective as I am to post on a theological matter, perhaps more so. Sometimes I might post about something that has happened in my life. We’ll just have to see, but for now I hope you understand where I am coming from and what my ultimate aim is.

I pray that I will be faithful in holding to these principles and that through my faithfulness God will be glorified. Comments, whether they be assenting or dissenting, are welcome.

God bless and veritas supra omnis!




>> Thursday, July 10, 2008

Hello all!


This is a test post so that I can see how it looks.   At this point I am not officially launching this blog as I am not certain what level of activicty (if any) will be possible.   Mostly I just wanted to grab "veritassupraomnis" before someone else did.    I'm not certain that the liklihood of someone grabbing it is or was high, but at anyrate it's now reserved for me. ;-)


God Bless!


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