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 Time.com (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.

(Original): http://www.nytimes.com/2008/09/08/busin ... f=politics
(Archived): http://www.westerfunk.net/archives/poli ... /Part%201/
http://www.westerfunk.net/archives/poli ... /Part%202/

In addition:

(Original): http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/f1984d88-7cd5 ... 07658.html
(Archived): http://www.westerfunk.net/archives/poli ... 20respect/
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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:
(Original): http://www.newsweek.com/id/42534
(Archived): http://www.westerfunk.net/archives/poli ... k%20-%201/ (Part 1)
http://www.westerfunk.net/archives/poli ... k%20-%202/ (Part 2)

"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/0.2.149.27 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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God's Sovereign Reign Over Gustav 

Knowing God is all-sovereign over all creation, that not even a sparrow falls to the ground without His knowledge and involvement; and knowing that at any moment He could stay Gustav from causing massive damage, we must be willing to embrace that what God has ordained is being used for His glory and righteous purposes, and thus submit to His rule. He is righteous and holy. We are not. He knows what we humans need infinitely better than we do, as difficult as these circumstances may be.

At the same time, because we know God is all-sovereign and all-powerful, may we pray for mercy for those within the coastal region affected by this storm, that they may be spared sorrow upon sorrow, and at the same time pray they may see God's mighty merciful hand working even in the midst of something so catastrophic, that ultimately they may see the glory of Christ and His power in salvation. If we believe God is not sovereign over this, we sever the only hope in it: that God has a purpose beyond what we mere finite, sinful humans can comprehend.

May the Gospel be displayed to those affected by this storm in which we proclaim the Gospel through word and service for their needs, because this is what we all need more desperately than anything in this world: the salvation and rescue of our souls, both now and for eternity. May the Lord use this to bring honor and glory to His name, regardless of what happens. May we submit to His sovereign Kingship over His creation, and particularly Gustav, knowing especially that for us who are saved, all these things are working together for our good and His glory. Lord, please be merciful, yet not our will but Your will be done.

Was Katrina Intelligent Design? - John Piper
Tsunami and Repentance - John Piper
The NPR Tsunami Interview (MP3) - John Piper

May we not dare put God in the dock as to what He is doing with this, as if He must give an account to us. We have no clue what we speak of ... like Job, may we cover our mouths with our hands in awe at His sovereignty and power and the fact that as believers, He spared us when He didn't have to, in the Person and Work of Christ.

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Update: 9/2/2008

Praise God for displaying His sovereign mercy in sparing New Orleans a direct hit ...
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A Response to an Anti-Obama Email I Received 

Wow. Apparently being written from a self-professed Christian, I honestly don't know what else I can say about this.

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"JACK WHEELER is a brilliant man who was the author of Reagan's strategy to break the back of the Soviet Union with the star wars race and expose their inner weakness. For years he wrote a weekly intelligence update that was extremely interesting and well structured and informed. He consults(ed) with several mega corporations on global trends and the future, etc. I think he is in semi-retirement now. He is a true patriot with a no-nonsense approach to everything. He is also a somewhat well known mountain climber and adventurer. Written by Dr. Jack Wheeler the O-man, Barack Hussein Obama, is an eloquently tailored empty suit. No resume, no accomplishments, no experience, no original ideas, no understanding of how the economy works, no understanding of how the world works, nothing but abstract empty rhetoric devoid of real substance. He has no real identity. He is half-white, which he rejects. The rest of him is mostly Arab, which he hides but is disclosed by his non-African Arabic surname and his Arabic first and middle names as a way to triply proclaim his Arabic parentage to people in Kenya . Only a small part of him is African Black from his Luo grandmother, which he pretends he is exclusively. What he isn't, not a genetic drop of, is 'African-American,' the descendant of enslaved Africans brought to America chained in slave ships. He hasn't a single ancestor who was a slave. Instead, his Arab ancestors were slave owners. Slave-trading was the main Arab business in East Africa for centuries until the British ended it. Let that sink in: Obama is not the descendant of slaves; he is the descendant of slave owners. Thus he makes the perfect Liberal Messiah. It's something Hillary doesn't understand - how some complete neophyte came out of the blue and stole the Democratic nomination from her. Obamamania is beyond politics and reason. It is true religious cults, whose adherents rejects Christianity yet still believe in Original Sin, transferring it from the evil of being human to the evil of being white. Thus Obama has become the white liberals' Christ, offering absolution from the Sin of Being White.

There is no reason or logic behind it, no faults or flaws of his can diminish it, no arguments Hillary could make of any kind can be effective against it. The absurdity of Hypocrisy Clothed in Human Flesh being their Savior is all the more cause for liberals to worship him: Credo quia absurdum, I believe it because it is absurd. Thank heavens that the voting majority of Americans remain Christian and are in no desperate need of a phony savior. His candidacy is ridiculous and should not be taken seriously by any thinking American."

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Ah, what a forceful and convincing argument. If I were hypothetically voting for Obama, I surely wouldn't now [wink]. And now my fed up response to those conservatives who send out such nonsense. Read More...
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Matthew Henry on the Role of Women in Teaching in the Church 

"Let a woman learn quietly with all submissiveness. I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet. For [and here is the reason Paul gives] Adam was formed first, then Eve; and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor." - 1 Timothy 2:11-14

Since Irving Bible Church has recently come to the decision to allow women to preach over men, overturning 20 centuries of church history interpretation on the issue, there has been a lot of controversy, to say the least. And you can be sure more evangelical churches in the future, who have traditionally been conservative in their theology will follow suit with this line of thinking. It is very helpful for our own perspective in history to see what godly men from outside our cultural context, in the history of the church, had to say on the issue, namely because God's truth is timeless and transcends cultural trends that come and go.

So here is Matthew Henry's commentary on his understanding of the above text. Remember, the issue here is not women having or not having the ability to teach at all. Because they absolutely do, which I believe to be indisputable. In addition, I do believe there are absolutely proper contexts in which women can and should teach in. But rather, the issue here is should they teach and preach over men, in light of the creation order sovereignly put in place by God? Is it ultimately rebellion against God Himself, His sovereign, authoritative command (set forth in the very beginning in Genesis 3) for a woman to assert her authority over a man in the context of teaching in the church, much in the same way a person rebelling against governmental authority is exercising direct rebellion against God Himself (Romans 13)? These are things definitely worth considering. Read More...
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Using the Gospel Message as a Means for Political Activism 

"I make these requests in the name of your son, Jesus, who gave his own life against the forces of injustice. Let Him be our example." - Donald Miller, Opening Prayer at the DNC Last Night

More than anything I am saddened by Donald Miller's recent statements both in an interview with ChristianityToday and his prayer last night at the DNC. I realize many I know are fans (some big fans) of Donald Miller and to say anything against the ideas or theology of someone who may have been instrumental in opening them up toward Christianity makes me somewhat of an outcast, which is hard. I pray by God's grace you may see what I'm saying as well as my concerns. I want to affirm that I am indeed glad for the work Miller has done in bringing a new generation a different angle on things that has been used by God in order to bring them to the obedience of faith in Christ, for the salvation of their souls. I know personally of a few former high school students where this was indeed the case. And for that I praise God!

But for the sake of the purity of the Gospel we preach to the world, I cannot help but point out where we really need to watch ourselves and our theology. Most of the time, false doctrine historically has started out small, in things that are questionable, yet maybe not worth splitting over at the moment. But over time, that small error begins to snowball, and gets bigger and bigger, until what you are left with is exactly what Satan wants: a gutted, Christ-less, cross-less, dead Christianity that has nothing to say to the world by which people may be saved. Just look at the state of a majority of mainline denominations in both the United States and Europe. That is the fallout of gutting the Gospel in the 19th and 20th centuries of its essential message. We would do well to pay attention to this.

I am not questioning the intentions of Donald Miller in praying at the DNC, though I would question doing it in the first place from a true Christian worldview perspective (that goes for the RNC as well I might add). Regardless, I have no doubt that he means well, honestly. But more than the abortion statements he's made recently (which alone are just blatantly inaccurate), more than the liberal political activism he's engaged in (which is hypocritically doing the same thing he accuses conservatives of doing in the Republican party), this statement alone during his prayer at the DNC last night really gets under my skin, mainly for the sake of the purity of the Gospel. This is a case in point of why theology matters greatly. You don't have to be a seminary student or prof to know at the very least the essentials of your own faith and the great tradition passed down to us over the course of church history. In fact, this is a necessity with the winds of doctrine whipping back and forth at hurricane force speed. Read More...
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The Seeker-Sensitive Movement: Your Thoughts Al and R.C. 



And Willow Creek's own assessment seems to fall right in line with R.C. and Al's comments ... http://blog.christianitytoday.com/outof ... ek_re.html

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