Thursday, October 30, 2008

technology fast

Friends. I'm on a technology fast for 4 days (until Monday night). No blog, email, cell phone, facebook, twitter, gchat... nothing. So if you don't see me around virtually, it is because I'm only reachable in person. If you need to get a hold of me... maybe a letter? Walk over to my house? Call my wife? Carrier pigeon? The options are limited. Have a great week.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Religious right...and left

I honestly get uncomfortable when either party claims Jesus. But there is a shift happening in religious/political landscape that is interesting. But just to remind you... wheather you are a McCain or Obama supporter, neither of them will bring in the Kingdom of God. No my friends, that is much your responsibility as anyone's.

Dueling church signs

Okay, this is one of the funniest things I have seen in a long time. I must say that, in my opinion, the Catholics won the sign duel: certainly in humor.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Donald Miller on Issues

Donald Miller is a Christian leader and author who is publicly campaigning for Obama throughout Ohio and Pennsylvania. I got these quotes from another blog -- these are his thoughts about Obama on the issues of gay marriage and abortion. I thought it was interesting.

It is also interesting that he offered this quote about McCain: "I do wish he were a Christian, or would talk about faith, Jesus, Redemption or the Cross."

I have to say that quote hit me like ton of bricks. Interestingly enough, I'm not sure I have ever heard McCain claim to be a Christian? I mean, maybe he did... but come to think about it, I'm not sure I have ever heard him mention Jesus. It's interesting that I assumed he was. (And he may be).

I'm curious to know your thoughts.

BTW, for the record: even as a pastor, the first thing I look for in a president is NOT Christian faith. I would rather have an good president who is a non-christian than a bad one who is a devout. Feel free to comment on this as well.


Donald Miller on Abortion: "I am a pro-life voter, but do not believe John McCain’s plan on the issue will work. McCain’s only stand on the issue has been a recent switch to a pro-life position, and a promise to continue the attempt to criminalize abortion through the Supreme Court. I believe this is an empty promise, and anybody who understands our judicial system would know this. Chief Justice John Roberts of the Supreme Court (our most conservative Judge, many feel, and the pro-lifers greatest hope for the plan to criminalize abortion) has stated that Roe V. Wade “is the law of the land” and has been backed up in precedent by the Casey case. He does not believe it is plausible to overturn both rulings. Of course it is possible, but it would take a judicial miracle and the appointment of even more conservative, activist judges. This is the only way the overturning of Roe V. Wade will happen. The continuation of rhetoric about being pro-life but not having a realistic plan has tired me of the Republican Party. As more and more evangelicals walk away, I hope Republicans will stop giving lip-service to this important issue. My hope is they will realize they are going to lose more and more votes until they are willing to engage in a bipartisan effort to make progress with comprehensive legislation that is realistic and actual.

"The Democrats have proposed comprehensive legislation called the 95/10 initiative that aims to reduce the number of abortions that take place in this country by 95% within 10 years. While Barack Obama is a pro-choice candidate, he supports this and similar legislation. This is the only proposed and realistic strategy that can move us around the cultural impasse that is breathing hate and anger into the Christian community.

"While Barack Obama opposes late-term abortions, he has made promises to the National Organization or Women to make progress in a woman’s right to chose. I wish Obama were more strong on this issue. Still, I do feel he will accomplish more than John McCain, as John McCain has only recently taken this position and offers no legislation and no plan.

"This is a very debatable issue. There are facts on both sides that seem to refute any argument made. But I have had to do the research and take a position and, for now, this is my position."

Donald Miller on Gay Marriage: "This is not an issue I think much about because I am neither gay nor married, but I understand the evangelicals desire to protect the sanctity of marriage and define it as an exclusive relationship between a man and a woman. I agree with both candidates on this issue as they both oppose gay marriage but protect constitutional rights for domestic partners. In order to oppose civil rights for homosexuals, you would have to change the constitution which I think is dangerous. I agree with McCain and Obama both on this issue as they have stated the same position.

"On other issues that are no less important although less heated such as the economy, globalization and trade, the environment and energy, I support Barack Obama’s positions over John McCain’s."

Donald Miller on Faith: "But let me make something very clear. I don’t dislike John McCain. I think he is a good man and a drastic improvement over Republican candidates in the past. I do wish he were a Christian, or would talk about faith, Jesus, Redemption or the Cross. Barack Obama does, very often, and very unashamedly. I am uncomfortable with the idea of a truly secular man in the White House, a man who has no church, no pastor, does not read the Bible and may not even pray. John McCain seems like a good man, but a secular man. I want our next President to talk and listen to God."

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Stay at home dads and marriage


I have some opinions on this, but I'm going to give you all an opportunity to chime in if you want.

Friday, October 17, 2008

McCain Won

You may or may not think McCain won any of the debates. I feel that each debate simply reinforced the base of each candidate. But, I believe McCain won the "humor debate" hands down at the Al Smith dinner.

Each year, candidates do this kind of roast... kind of a tradition. Obama was okay. McCain was absolutely hilarious. You have to watch both parts... he actually gets funnier as it goes on. I have to say, this was really good. Really, this is well worth your time to watch.

Also, I will say his honoring Obama at the end showed real class. I was impressed.

And I LOVE the way he ended. Classic.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008


Today... I predict that Barack Obama will be the next president of the United States.

What are you trying to say?

This was the gchat status line of my administrative assistant last night.

Should I be expecting a call from OSHA?

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Are you for us or against us?

I am within seconds of perhaps the biggest rant I have ever done on this blog. But I have to pick up my daughter, so fortunately, I will show restraint. You are welcomed to rant for me.... or perhaps you think this prayer is good?

Must.... show... restraint....

Paul for President

If you haven't heard, I'm choosing my cabinet. I might unveil my folks the week before the election. Give me that last minute bump.

But I found some people I want on my team:

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Real priorities

When I first started watching this, my initial thought was, "Okay, this really crosses the acceptable line of humor. It is in poor taste."

But it didn't take me long to catch that it is actually pretty profound if you think about it.

Gunman Kills 15 Potential Voters In Crucial Swing State

Sunday, October 05, 2008


I'm curious, how much the "pro-life" issue (meaning the legal availability of abortion) factors into your current leaning around who you will vote for in this election? Would that issue be the only issue for you (meaning, if you disagreed with someone's foreign policy, economic policy, tax policy, etc. but agreed with you on the issue of abortion, would that be the "swing" issue for you)? How should Christians view this issue between the two candidates?

I thought this was interesting.

How does this issue make you feel about Christians and the election process?

Okay, let me set some posting ground-rules:

1. Don't be a jerk. Speak about people as you would like to be spoken about.

2. Don't make absolute statements without using I language. ("I believe... " rather than... "you are a stupid jerk if you...")


Saturday, October 04, 2008

I'll take 2

Tee Hee

I've had conversations similar to this.

And now...

A word from our sponsor.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Palin's Giving

I posted the Tim Steven's blog below about Biden, Obama and McCain's annual giving. Palin's tax returns were released this week and the Palins' gave 3.3% of their income in 2006 and 1.5% in 2007 (an average of 2.4% for the two years). The average American family gives about 2% of their income to charitable organizations, the average Christian gives around 2.5% (Wow, we Christians are so generous!). Honestly, given Palin's overt Christianity, I am very surprised it was that low. I expect more out of our leaders.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Vice Presidential Debates

Well, what did you think? To be honest, I thought they both did a good job.


"Because we do not rest we lose our way... poisoned by the hypnotic belief that good things come only through unceasing determination and tireless effort, we can never truly rest. And for want of rest our lives are in danger."

Wayne Muller

Interesting compairson

Well, if you haven't figured it out by now, I like politics. Especially the politics of a presidential election. I love the exchange of ideas, I love debate... and I love to talk with thinking people who may have strong opinions but are willing to "play" and allow themselves to be pushed. I have not done this with my Central friends (I don't believe that is appropriate given my position), but this blog is as close as I will allow myself.

Let the truth be known, I'm actually giddy about tonight's debate. I think both candidates will come in fully armed and it will be a good debate. Let's see how that goes. It is predicted to be the most-watched vice-presidential debate in history. Some are saying the most-watched debate period.

I found this on a website (taken from "Leadership Magazine.") I thought it was very interesting an and insightful and I wanted to share it with my blog friends. You are welcome to share your thoughts or just keep to yourself.


"You can listen to every stump speech and read every position paper, but nothing compares to evaluating presidential candidates side-by-side during a debate. Their contrasting styles and views emerge in ways you hadn't noticed during the long primary season. The candidates practice their lines and prepare their strategies, but the format allows for precious moments of spontaneity and even humor. The best candidates deftly address issues in ways that lodge them in the public consciousness.

Perhaps the best example of this is President Reagan, who in 1984 famously said, "I will not make age an issue of this campaign. I am not going to exploit for political purposes my opponent's youth and inexperience." His 56-year-old opponent, Walter Mondale, could only look on in laughter.

The first debate between Senators John McCain and Barack Obama provided no such memorable moments. But it did highlight important distinctions between the Republican and Democratic candidates. Namely, McCain and Obama represent key differences between modern and postmodern cultures. Analyzing their debate through this lens reveals similarities to the church's own debates about how to respond to shifting cultures.

Obama spoke with empathy about the personal effects of the current financial crisis on Main Street America. He advocated greater oversight for Wall Street. McCain, too, said he wants oversight, but he emphasized different reasons for the crisis. He spoke of individual greed and said the government needs to hold the failed executives accountable. As the debate progressed, McCain spoke passionately about members of Congress who perpetuate the "evils of this earmarking and pork-barrel spending." McCain underscored personal morals where Obama accentuated communal values.

Obama consistently drew attention to points of agreement with McCain. He credited McCain for opposing President Bush on torture, for example. By contrast, McCain chided Obama for not understanding the issues and for displaying naïveté. He perpetuated the Right vs. Left dichotomy by describing Obama as the most liberal member of the Senate. While Obama sought to build consensus, McCain pointed out their differences.

The debate's most contentious moments came when Obama reiterated his intent to "meet with anybody at a time and place of my choosing, if I think it's going to keep America safe." Despite taking a political beating for this view from Sen. Hillary Clinton, Obama willingly contrasted himself with McCain:

But we are also going to have to, I believe, engage in tough, direct diplomacy with Iran, and this is a major difference I have with Senator McCain. This notion--by not talking to people we are punishing them--has not worked. It has not worked in Iran, it has not worked in North Korea. In each instance, our efforts of isolation have actually accelerated their efforts to get nuclear weapons. That will change when I'm president of the United States.
"So let me get this right," McCain responded. "We sit down with Ahmadinejad, and he says, 'We're going to wipe Israel off the face of the Earth,' and we say, 'No, you're not'? Oh, please."

McCain is a man of action and frank talk. Obama sees intrinsic value in engagement, which may even produce unexpected tangible consensus. You could plug in certain pastors and see the same differences.

Nationalism is a key reality of the modern world. But postmodernism prioritizes the global community. McCain hammered Obama for advocating precipitous withdrawal from Iraq, which McCain said would result in a host of horrendous consequences for America and the Middle East. He promised to seek American "victory and honor." Obama was more concerned about America's global reputation. Near the end of the debate, he shared a story about his Kenyan father writing letters so he could attend an American college. At the time, Obama said, America offered hope that hard work could pay off. "The ideals and the values of the United States inspired the entire world," Obama said. "I don't think any of us can say that our standing in the world now, the way children around the world look at the United States, is the same."

In their exchanges, Obama called McCain by his first name, drawing attention to his personality. McCain never reciprocated, indicating respect for Obama's office but not necessarily for Obama himself. This difference highlighted Obama's preference to question McCain's judgment and prudence as McCain drew attention to his own experience and record. McCain even mocked intuition and President Bush when explaining his views on Russia.

"I looked into Mr. Putin's eyes, and I saw three letters, a 'K,' a 'G,' and a 'B,'" McCain said. "And their aggression in Georgia is not acceptable behavior."

Not everything in the debate can be framed as the difference between a modern and postmodern worldview. But like our church debates, a little awareness about perspective goes a long way toward understanding. The November election's results may help church leaders gauge the mood of their own constituencies. A tougher challenge is knowing when and how to confront those cultural assumptions for our own good and for the sake of the gospel."

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Does this matter?

WARNING: the following post makes statements that may appear partisan. They are not to be construed as such, but rather simple observations of the political process. Quit trying to figure me out. I'm an equal opportunity offender.

"Where your treasure is, there your heart lies also."
Jesus of Nazareth

I read this a week or so ago, and (given my theology of giving) found this to be pretty disappointing. Does what one give have anything to do with how he or she would run a nation? Maybe, maybe not. But I found this very interesting.


"Last year, Joe Biden made $320,000 in income. And yet, how much did he give to charity? He gave a whopping $995...about 1/4 of 1%.

Maybe he had a bad year? Nope, it turns out that last year he gave more to charity than any of the past ten years. Joe Biden's total giving to charity over the past ten years adds up to $3,690. That is how much a tithing family making 1/3 his salary gives every four months.

Why does this matter? Can't you run the country without giving to charity?

Maybe, but for me, this is huge. Charitable giving speaks to your belief in people. It reflects your heart and whether you truly want to help people who are less fortunate. Lack of giving reveals a selfishness and self-sufficiency. It says, "Screw the world, they are on their own." As a politician, it speaks loudly that your confidence is in big government and not in the American people. And, for someone running for political office who knows his tax returns will be made public, it shows a lack of political astuteness at best (and sheer stupidity at worst) to not think this will make a difference.

I'm not saying Biden needs to be a Christian and give money to a Baptist church to be vice president. But couldn't he find any cause to believe in? Perhaps finding a cure for cancer, helping people with the AIDS epidemic or giving money to help unwed mothers. Surely there is some cause in the world worthy of his support? Nope.

Biden's spokesman, David Wade, says that he simply "doesn't have piles of money to give." Yeah, I feel bad for him. Only $320,000 last year. Imagine if that was the attitude of every American family. Hospitals would close. Churches would cease to exist. The Red Cross wouldn't be around to help during the next disaster.

How are the other candidates doing? Barack Obama wasn't doing much better until 2005 when he began running for president. Prior to that time, his charitable giving averaged 0.9%. Since he's been running for president, it increased to 4.7% in 2005 and 6.1% in 2006. Whatever his motive, I'm glad to see it increasing.

Governor Sarah Palin has not yet released her tax returns, but I'll be watching closely. John McCain gave more than 25% of his income in 2007 to charity. He and his wife believe so much in the concept of helping others that they set up the John and Cindy McCain Foundation to help manage their charitable giving. He didn't just start doing this recently. He has given ALL of his book royalties to charity since the first book deal in 1998 (more than $1.8 million given to charity in ten years). In 1991 (yes, 17 years ago), he opposed a pay raise that the Senate voted for themselves, so he gave that pay raise to charity that year, and every year since, adding up to more than $450,000.

This stuff matters. It's not the only issue on which I'll base my vote, but it is a very big issue. And right now, I'm pretty ticked off at Joe Biden and his lack of leadership and terrible modeling."

Source: Tim Stevens: Leading Smart

Character Formation

"You can't take an epidural shot to ease the pain of giving birth to character. In a sense, every day of your life is labor; the rhythmic agony of producing the person who will wake up in your body tomorrow, creating your reputation, continuing your legacy, and influencing your family, friends, colleagues, neighbors, and countless strangers, for better or worse."

Brian McLaren, "Finding our Way Again: The Return of the Ancient Practices"