Archive for June 26, 2009

So You Want To Enter The Political Arena?

politicalarenaI have never held public office, but I have always been fascinated by those who do. I marvel at the wisdom of some politicians and the sheer stupidity of others but they all must be credited for having the courage to serve. No matter what your persuasion, life in the political arena is not for the faint of heart.

If you have ever considered a life of political involvement, you would do well to glean wisdom from those who have served with excellence. One of the finest examples I can reference is the a man whose life inspired me to start this site his name is William Wilberforce. Time doesn’t permit me to give you a thorough account of his life here, but you would do well to familiarize yourself with this man.

Wilberforce was unique among career politicians in that his motivation for holding public office was to serve the people. He was first and foremost an authentic Christian who knew that his accountability was to God and not just to his constituents. He knew that the real answer to the problems of his time and of all times was found not in the benevolence of government but in the grace of Jesus Christ who died on a cross to free men from slavery to sin. This profoundly affected his approach to the role of public policy in everyday matters.

Wilberforce was kind enough to chronicle his philosophy and approach to public service in his magnum opus A Practical View of Christianity. If you have ever considered running for public office or would like to have a model for holding your elected officials accountable consider the following points Wilberforce raises (I have included the page numbers and paragraph locations):

  • One of the best ways to win public opinion for sound policy is to “make goodness fashionable”. – pg. 83, paragraph 1
  • Great political victories come by patience and endurance or “by degree”. – pg. 159, paragraph 4
  • Choose your battles. – pg. 159, paragraph 5
  • Vote your conscience, not your party. – pg. 161, paragraph 2
  • Be the conscience of your country. – pg. 163, paragraph 4
  • Disappointment and desertion are certainties. – pg. 164, paragraph 4
  • Always look for opportunities to share the gospel. – pg. 164, paragraph 4
  • Create community for those of like mind and faith. – pg. 183, paragraph 1
  • Never compromise integrity for the sake of friendship. – pg. 201, paragraph 3
  • All service in victory and defeat is for the glory of God. – pg. 208, paragraph 1
  • Representation is always about serving the people. – pg. 253, paragraph 1

I hope that these gems of wisdom will encourage and challenge you. I also hope that they cause you to buy and read Wilberforce, himself. It is an investment that will pay dividends for years to come.

It’s All In Your Head

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“For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.”

– Romans 1:21-23

If you believe in God, its all in your head. At least that is what some scientists are trying to prove. Rather than actually considering that they may be some justification for faith, scientists are trying to isolate certain chemicals in the brain that effect why people seek God and how the concept of God is perceived.

This study was noted recently in an article in USA Today placed oddly enough in the opinion section. The article highlights the research of Andrew Newberg and Mark Robert Waldman. According to their findings, how a person perceives God can cause positive or negative neurological and emotional consequences. People who tend to see God as benevolent and caring and non-judgemental tend to have a positive outlook on life, while those who see Him as a God of wrath and judgement tend to have a negative outlook on life. Essentially what the scientists are saying is that people who believe in a Holy God who hates sin and will judge it accordingly are being guided by an evolutionary neuro-chemical creation that causes them to be negative.

Commenting on this article on his own site, Dr. Al Mohler, president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary wrote:

Let’s be clear: If religious belief is nothing more than a biological process and if God is nothing more than a concept originating inside the neurobiological process of the brain, then we should simply wish for more persons to hold to what might be considered healthy understandings of God as compared to those which might be considered unhealthy. Of course, it is at this very point that the logic breaks down. Thinking in purely conceptual terms, virtually any sane person would take greater comfort in a God who is both benevolent and judgmental. After all, do we not all yearn for God to bring judgment upon mass murderers, child molesters, and the perpetrators of vast economic fraud?

The functional view of religion reduces belief in God to its potential personal and social utility. According to Andrew Newberg, certain forms of religion can indeed offer positive benefits, while other forms of belief bring both personal and social harms. Newberg and Waldman are at least honest in acknowledging that their understanding of religion is completely independent of the question of God’s existence or nonexistence.

No amount of laboratory research can isolate the origin of God. This is especially true if the hypothesis is predicated on the workings of the human brain. The good scientists would have just as easy a time searching for an aircraft carrier in cupboard. I hate to break it to the good gentlemen but their hypothesis is all in their heads.

HT: Dr. Al Mohler

The Danger That Is Truth

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“Nothing is easier than self-deceit. For what each man wishes, that he also believes to be true.”

– Demosthenes

Truth is a very powerful and even dangerous thing. Yet, its danger does not threaten those who desire truth, but only those who desire to suppress it. A good example of this is the recent presidential election in Iran.

President Ahmadinejad, an anti-semitic brutal, dictator has run Iran into the ground. He has suppressed the voice of his people and their cries for reforms for years. Now that the people have spoken, he has hijacked their voice by stealing this election. His people have taken to the streets to protest and they have been met with violence and thuggery. His rival, the more democratically minded Mir Hussein Moussavi, has been treated with disrespect and is being treated as a criminal by the Ahmadinejad regime. If it were not for sporadic connection to the internet, the news of the protests and election fraud would likely not be making its way westward. I hope that Ahmadinejad will eventually be overthrown by the people he has so long repressed.

Suppression of the truth, however, is not localized to brutal, middle-eastern regimes. Even in our enlightened, and industrialized nation there are many who seek to hide truth from those who need it badly. This form of suppression, albeit very subtle, is suppression nonetheless. It usually takes the form of social conditioning such as constructing cultural markers. How many times do you hear scientific programs begin with statements like, “billions and billions of years ago man evolved”, or my personal favorite, “that is a violation of separation of church and state”. Such deceptions have been platforms for perpetrating one of the greatest hoaxes in the history of western civilization-the attempt to replace the worship of God with the worship of state.

How endangered we feel will tell us how inline we are with truth. The fact that many in this country don’t believe that truth exists or worse don’t care should signal us that we are in peril indeed.

Hence, The Scapegoat

goatLet me be the first to offer my condolences to the family of Stephen Tyrone Jones. His murder this week at the hands of a domestic terrorist is tragic. I hope that Mr. Jones family will find their healing and hope in the gospel of Jesus Christ. No other message can bring them greater comfort in the wake of this tragedy.

As sad as I am for the family of Mr. Jones, I am equally outraged at the mainstream media. They have already begun to spin their narrative of the event making the perpetrator out to be a “right-wing”, talk-radio junkie. This is a moniker that the media have also been happy to slap on Christians, and any other group that doesn’t bolster its worldview. What it reveals, however, is not just bias but a wanton disregard for the depravity of the human heart.

The mainstream media has to have a politically motivated scapegoat. They cant deal in terms of sin and human depravity. To admit that this man did an act that had more to do with sin than politics would be to admit that sin is real and that a Holy God holds us accountable for our sin. This the media cannot admit, hence the scapegoat.