The Prodigal Sons, Tim Keller, Politics, and the Gospel 

The Prodigal Sons - Tim Keller (MP3)

I've heard this sermon before, but listened to it again because it's so excellent. I'll admit: recently I've had a wrong tendency to want to blackball one political group over another. Keller reminded me (because I'm so quick to forget) that even deeper than all of that is an attitude of superiority.

In taking a step back from all of the nonsense going back and forth between camps at this time, I realized (once again, because I need constant reminders) that there are many unbelieving conservatives who are the elder brother in the parable. They influence much of what is heard and thought about in the conservative political sphere. This is also true in the liberal sphere.

As believers in the Gospel, we (I) really need to be careful about how much stock we put into what they tell us. Our priority beyond politics is the kingdom of Christ and His Gospel. How quick my own heart is to forget that ... yet one more reason why I need to preach the Gospel to my own heart on a continual basis.
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A Zeal For God Not According to Knowledge 

"For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge." - Romans 10:2

These words were spoken by Paul testifying to the Jews zeal for God, His ways, His acts, His words. Yet their zeal for God, as he says, was not according to knowledge. The whole discourse of Romans chapters nine through eleven is dealing with the unbelief of the Jews as a whole and how it is God's promises to them still stand in light of the fact that a majority of the nation of Israel rejected the Messiah, Jesus. Paul's undeniable response as to why God's promises still stand is that not all physical Israel (Israelistes) is spiritual Israel (all of God's people for all time), but rather His promise stands according to election, that is, His choice, not ours, in who He wants to save through granting faith.

Reflecting on this verse in particular though made me think not so much in terms of the Jews as a whole though, but rather my own heart (the first place we should start in applying the Scriptures) and its daily tendencies toward unbelief, and in our own day, specifically within evangelicalism at large within America. There are many people in our culture who claim to be Protestant Christians, who claim the title born again, claiming to be regenerated by the power of God from death to life, and yet their lives are totally out of sync with that confession, living as if they had never been born of God's Spirit. There is no outward evidence pointing to the inward, supernatural reality that the Holy Spirit has indwelt their hearts. This verse makes me think about this a lot. How many of us in our Evangelical Christian Culture have a zeal for God, just as the unbelieving Jews did, yet a zeal not according to knowledge, that is, a zeal for God outside of the Gospel? No one can definitively know of course, for only God sees the belief or unbelief of the heart. Yet there are clear indications in Scripture (James, 1 John) that point in one direction or the other. Read More...
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Dark Helmet's Evil Twin Sister 

So, how is this fashion? Saw this on today. Apparently, this is the latest "cutting edge" fashion on the runway in London. I'm scared and confused ... Lonestarrrr! (Movie reference - Spaceballs)

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What If McCain Said This About Hillary? 

"You can put, uh, lipstick on a pig, it's still a pig." - Obama.

Let's just reverse the political playing field for a moment, all things being even. Can you imagine the back lash from the left (not to mention the media) if McCain had made a comparable statement about Hillary a few months ago? The double standard here is strikingly bright, like phosphorus reacting with chlorine gas (okay, nerdy illustration, but you get the point).

In other related news: Student GOP leader resigns over Obama remark ... So, a Republican student makes a very racially insensitive statement against Obama and gets rightfully canned (by his own party members I might add), and yet Obama can make such insensitive statements toward a woman running for the VP slot, as the one above, and not go unchecked, even by his own party, who implicitly and explicitly pride themselves as being the founders of political correctness, equality and sensitivity? Please. I must say this is turning out to be a very revealing election about the philosophically illogical inner-workings of relativism in our society. It is impossible to put on a "neutral position" face forever. Eventually, you're true colors will begin showing, especially if you are running for President.

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O'Reilly Presses Obama on Economic Issues 

"If I'm sitting pretty and I have a waitress who is making minimum wage plus tips, and I can afford it [healthcare] and she can't, what's the big deal for me to say I'm gonna pay a little bit more? That's neighborliness." - Obama. Now you tell me what he really believes about what is best economically for this nation. It's called redistribution of wealth.

I find this interesting: at the beginning of the interview, O'Reilly starts to quote statistics on the growth of the economy; but then in response, Obama halts O'Reilly's statistics defense and states how "we can play a statistics game" all day long and not get to the heart of the issues (paraphrase). Yet throughout the whole interview, Obama seems to find it convenient to use statistics in defense of his point of view over and over again. So can we or can we not use statistics? It's just clear from this that Obama is a master at dodging tough, direct questions.

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Fannie and Freddie Takeover: A Cautionary Tale 

The problem I have with the Fannie and Freddie debacle is not so much the quick-fix, economic rescue of these massive, government-backed organizations announced this weekend, using billions of dollars of our tax money to bail them out. I believe that was inevitable given the structure of how they were setup to begin with and the level of the housing market they hold. But rather the root problem for me lies in the fact that they were ever created to start with. Their rescue was simply the place this whole thing had to end up.

Here is some background on all of this. According to an article at (cited at the end of this entry), Fannie Mae was established 70 years ago in 1938, during the Great Depression, by Franklin D. Roosevelt, who himself was a strong proponent of the "new liberalism" that had abandoned its historic roots associated with free, unfettered markets (the ideology of classical liberalism). He established the company, with government money and promised backing, to rescue those during the Great Depression who had defaulted on their loans, thus paving the way for low to middle-income home buyers to obtain a house.

Now, to be honest, there is a lot of short-term good this did (and maybe even some long-term good): it made it possible for people who otherwise couldn't get a home to now become home-owners. But as with most socialist-type, government-intervening schemes, such as this, they work well in the short-term at patching a problem and yet neglect the long-term effects, creating a bigger problem. It works much in the same way pain killers do by only keeping the pain at bay, without addressing the cause of the pain (which could be a fatal move). Read More...
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NY Times Writes on MSNBC Anchor Demotion 

Wow, a NY Times article that goes into detail on the demotion of the two MSNBC anchors Chris Matthews and Keith Olbermann over the weekend. It seems some people in the journalistic world are waking up to the fact that whether you’re a Republican or a Democrat, you don’t want to hear the opinions of the anchors, you want them to do actual journalism and reporting, not rambling on about their own views. If you want opinionated commentary, there are plenty of other readily available outlets for that, for both Republicans and Democrats. But a major primetime news network, reporting on major political events, is not the place to do that.

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In addition:

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Politics and the Gospel - Part 1 

(Disclaimer: I used this picture to the left because it was one of the oddest things I've seen today. I didn't know Santa was the poster-child for breaking down barriers. Ha!)

I have posted this response on politics from John Hendryx before, even recently, but feel a need to post it yet again. I am unabashedly conservative and have convictions that I believe this is what's right for the country. However, with the level of political division in this country at a heightened point, and with what I'm hearing about fellow conservative Christians attacking other Christians for their leanings toward Obama, I figured it was time to get this out there again.

Might I remind all of us as believers that during this political season, neither the McCain/Palin ticket nor the Obama/Biden ticket is our hope of bringing peace to this Earth. That is what Christ has already come to do on our behalf, not by becoming a political hero, but by giving up His life in our place to give us hope for eternity. That is where our primary affections should lie, the eternal kingdom of God, not in one temporal political party or the other.

I'm saddened to hear that some members at our church are attacking other believers for their particular political leanings. This needs to stop as it defies the kind of unity Paul commanded of the churches he wrote to. Politics is not our hope, only Christ and His kingdom is. Conservatism does not = Christianity. I do believe it fits more in line with a Christian worldview, but in no way believe it is the hope of the world. Only the Gospel is. Here is Hendryx's response to a question posed to him: Read More...
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Newsweek on Palin in October of 2007 

Excerpts from the article:
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"While this year's political buzz has been about Hillary Clinton's run for the White House and Nancy Pelosi's ascension to Speaker of the House, women leaders like Palin, a Republican, and Napolitano, a Democrat, have gained significant power in the lives of millions of Americans at the state level."

"New research shows that voters give female governors significantly higher marks than their male counterparts on such qualities as honesty, cooperation and caring—as well as toughness. And at a time when the national debate has become poisonously partisan, governors like Napolitano, 49, and Palin, 43, are making their mark with a pragmatic, postpartisan approach to solving problems, a style that works especially well with the large numbers of independent voters in their respective states."

"In Alaska, Palin is challenging the dominant, sometimes corrupting, role of oil companies in the state's political culture. "The public has put a lot of faith in us," says Palin during a meeting with lawmakers in her downtown Anchorage office, where—as if to drive the point home—the giant letters on the side of the ConocoPhillips skyscraper fill an entire wall of windows. "They're saying, 'Here's your shot, clean it up'." For Palin, that has meant tackling the cozy relationship between the state's political elite and the energy industry that provides 85 percent of Alaska's tax revenues—and distancing herself from fellow Republicans, including the state's senior U.S. senator, Ted Stevens, whose home was recently searched by FBI agents looking for evidence in an ongoing corruption investigation. (Stevens has denied any wrongdoing.) But even as she tackles Big Oil's power, Palin has transformed her own family's connections to the industry into a political advantage. Her husband, Todd, is a longtime employee of BP, but, as Palin points out, the "First Dude" is a blue-collar "sloper," a fieldworker on the North Slope, a cherished occupation in the state. "He's not in London making the decisions whether to build a gas line." Read More...
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Google Chrome - First Impressions 

As with most Google products, many of which I use, simplicity seems to be the overarching theme. This is good for many of their applications, such as Google Talk and Earth, which makes it easy for the average user to navigate and operate. However, I must admit, I was hoping for a bit more functionality with the release of this new browser. Because it lacks some of the "out-of-the-box" functionality of Firefox and even IE (such as a basic menu toolbar), it fell short of my expectations.

Now, I know you can add applications to it and so forth. In addition, it is still in Beta testing, so things could change with it. But I doubt much will be added, knowing Google's simplistic mode of developing applications. Their web browser is no exception. And for that I think I will simply stick with Firefox, at least for now.

Also, I did some investigation on what "engine" (or the component that drives the browser) they are using to render web content to your computer screen and this is what I found in the log files after hitting my websites: "AppleWebKit/525.13 (KHTML, like Gecko) Chrome/ Safari/525.13." So, they are essentially using Safari as the browser core? That's disappointing, though I know it's not for you Mac fans out there. However, that's not me, nor is it a great majority of my colleagues.

I figured they would be developing their own engine and going from there. Maybe that was already outlined from the very beginning in the initial news release, but since I only heard about it the other day, I haven't had much time to investigate that. Regardless, I'm disappointed. I guess I was hoping maybe they would create their own engine code that made browsing even more efficient. But it's just (in the Democrats words) more of the same, it seems.

I will say though that if you just want a straight, vanilla browser with no complex parts to it and all you want to do is read news on the web, or whatever, this is the browser for you. But if you want more default functionality, stick with Firefox or IE. I'm not impressed so far.
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