Wednesday, November 16, 2016
First, let's start with the good stuff. Love. God is love. God IS love. Love is God's essence. Love is the force that drives God's goodness. Without love we have nothing. God gave up His only son out of love for us. Heck, I'll even go a step further and say love is indeed an actual force in the universe. It's immeasurable by standard means, but it connects us in such a strong way that it breaks the cold paradigm of standard scientific laws regarding self preservation and survival. It's what can elevate us from the natural to the divine. Love is just plain awesome.
Grace. Grace is fantastic. Grace is a symptom of God's perfect love. Grace is what allows us flawed creatures to continue living. Grace is what keeps the world from tearing itself apart. Grace allows the aggrieved to forgive the repentant. Grace gives the undeserved the chance to turn back toward God. Grace is an important tool in our every day lives that helps extend His Kingdom.
Both love and grace are foundational to Christian doctrine. Jesus expressed love and grace many times throughout the gospel while Paul made it very clear how important love is in 1 Corinthians 13. Their worth is never to be underestimated. However, I believe many in today's modern Christian circles are interpreting love and grace to be something it isn't, which I'll get to in a minute.
As you'll notice, I didn't bring up inclusion above. That's because I wanted to address the lack of inclusion charge directly.
The biggest problem I see with the whole "lack of inclusion", as well as the application of love and grace, is the inability of people to separate a person from their actions. This is quite common among those who follow a liberal ideology. Leftists so often identify themselves by their beliefs to a point that they're virtually inseparable. Thus to call out their apostasy or sinful behavior is also seen as an indictment of them as a person. To suggest they turn away from such things is, in their minds, an attempt to "change who they are".
Some may read this and be confused. Aren't our beliefs and what we do make who we are? Modern culture would have us believe this. But this is a lie from hell itself. We are God's children. He made each and every one of us and knows us personally. Each of us has the capacity to do wrong or right thanks to the freedom of choice God has given us. And while our choices and what we do can set our path and influence how others react around us, we're always one step away from turning back to God. And each of us are a soul worth fighting for and redeeming. The person, the soul, is us. We are not drunkards, liars, racists, killers, and jerks. We are precious creatures that may have done those things, but it's not who we are. We are so much more than our actions and beliefs.
This is important to understand when it comes to inclusion. The modern day leftist influenced version of inclusion means accepting the person AND their beliefs and actions. To be inclusive in their minds, you have to accept not only them, but their potentially non biblical beliefs. But that's not the inclusion Christians should be seeking. The inclusion we must practice is one that is inclusive of every person, since their soul is definitely worth fighting for, but not one that accepts their sin or non biblical beliefs. Christianity should always accept anyone willing to become a Christian, but that does not mean we'd need to go along with a belief that isn't biblical, such as not believing Jesus is the only way to Heaven. In fact, it's our duties as Christians to point out such wrong beliefs and guide them back to the truth. Doing otherwise, such as letting them continue to believe something not biblical, risks them staying disconnected from God.
In other words, we must be inclusive and accept the person, but that doesn't extend to their beliefs or actions.
This brings us back to love and grace. There seems to be this belief that hate and love are on opposite ends of some monolithic emotional scale where one is either filled with love or filled with hate. That love is universally good while hate is universally bad or evil. I cannot stress how wrong this type of thinking is. Let me explain...
When it comes to love, I'm well aware of what I just said about love being a force of God. And that's still true. However, it doesn't preclude flawed humans such as ourselves from loving things that are wicked or evil. In fact, one of our biggest ways we become disconnected from God is to transfer our love of Him to something else such as ourselves or money. A heart filled with love that is not directed toward God or our neighbors, the two greatest commandments Jesus gave us, may very well not be good at all.
As for hate, the answer is even easier. God hates sin. God hates evil. God hates wickedness. So if God can both love and hate, does that not mean we have the same capacity? Just like God, we are capable of loving and hating while also being wrong or right. The key difference is where that love and hate is directed.
And this leads us back to the ability to separate the person from the sin/belief/actions. Love can be directed toward the person and hate can be directed toward the sin. That is not wrong. It's not a contradiction. That is biblical.
So this is what love isn't. While love is kind, love isn't simply being nice as to not upset someone. A loving person at times must indeed tell someone when they're wrong. A loving person must oppose sin and apostasy. Part of love is speaking truth, though being kind about it. Love is not refusing to speak truth because that truth might upset the other person. It's the opposite of love by allowing that person to believe you accept their false belief or sin. Love isn't some warm fuzzy get along hugathon where no one raises a contrary word. Believing someone that speaks out against apostasy or sin doesn't have love is like believing a parent doesn't love their children when they discipline them for wrongdoing.
Now let's talk about what grace isn't. Grace is not acceptance of sin. While grace will forgive someone of wrong doing, thinking or believing, it does not mean the person bestowing grace accepts the sinful behavior or wrong thinking. God has forgiven all of us countless times, but do you think He's fine with you continuing to commit the same sin that He just forgave? Of course not! He's willing to forgive you, the person, for committing the sin. But He doesn't accept the sin, the action, itself. He actually hates it. So while I may have the capacity to forgive someone who may think that they can get to Heaven without Jesus, it does not mean, nor should I, accept such a belief. In fact, you can make the case accepting such a belief is deliberately leading someone astray (since they would know better), which is a big no no in the Bible.
Many modern day Christians struggle with the separation of person and action. As long as they continue to believe the lie that a person is what they've done or believe, they will continue to struggle with what it really means to love, bestow grace, and be inclusive as God wants us to be. However, if they follow the example of Christ by loving the person and hating the sin, they will be act in far more clarity and accordance with the Bible.
Monday, November 14, 2016
First off, as I said previously, Trump supporters need to remain vigilant with what our president does. If you voted for him, you must own every decision he makes. Of course, doing so will prove difficult. Because even though the election was won and hard fought, the battle still continues. CNN (and perhaps others, but I've only been paying close attention to the supposedly "most trusted news") is in a full anit-Trump propaganda mode by giving glowing wall to wall coverage of the protests going on in our country while at the same time being on the hunt for any type of evidence that Trump is either putting forth his Hitler agenda or pointing out where he's apparently not keeping his campaign promises. So if you thought it'd be "over" after the election, you thought wrong. What you're seeing is the left's attempt to punish those that voted for Trump by trying to portray a national outcry through the protests and also by continually trying to demoralize his supporters by claiming things like "the country took a huge step back" or that "hate wins" or "white nationalism is back!". You know, stuff like that to make you feel extremely guilty for voting for Trump.
And if you think all this wasn't planned, think again. While many were genuinely shocked at a Hillary loss, it's silly to think that no one on the left was prepared for the possibility of a Trump victory. They're called contingency plans. Remember that Democratic operatives paid people to incite violence at Trump rallies. They've discussed how voter fraud can be committed and claims it has been used for decades. There's emails showing collusion between pollsters and the Clinton campaign about how to oversample their polls. What this means is pollsters were deliberately trying to make the polls favorable for the Clinton campaign by oversampling a demographic known to largely vote for Hillary. There's also email showing collusion between the media conducting interviews for Ted Cruz and Donald Trump and the Clinton campaign, with the media asking what questions they should ask them. So if they were THIS coordinated to get Hillary elected, do you think they're just gonna go "Oh well, we lost, might as well pack it up"? Oh no, these are Alinksyites we're talking about. Losing the election is definitely a major setback, but it's not total defeat. To think otherwise is foolish.
These protests are organized with paid protesters in the mix. They're deliberately trying to draw an incident that will legitimize their resistance. They're looking for the opposition to mess up. The media is waiting for them to do so. Leftist operatives are waiting for it to take place so they can pounce on it to further their agenda. It's textbook Alinsky tactics.
But, you might say, "Obama and Clinton called for unity and a peaceful transition!" Well, yes, they have to. If they didn't; if they raised the call to arms themselves, then it ties the violence and damage these riots are causing directly to them. They are directly and publicly responsible. That moves them farther from power, which is what an Alinskyite would not do. However, they play nice and it forces the winners, and the right, to lower our guard and extend their hand in unity, looking gracious in defeat all while the operatives underneath keep doing what they're doing.
What's telling is that neither Obama or Hillary have came out to publicly denounce these riots. Which they should. If they're calling for a peaceful transition, then they should tell their ardent supporters to calm and back off. But they haven't. Yet, you have Bernie Sanders, whom is a socialist but NOT an Alinskyite telling them to stop. He's not part of the inner circle loop, which is obvious by the way he was treated in the primaries. Yet Obama and Hillary are. They won't tell these people to stop. They're just waiting for this protest to produce the incident.
What is this incident? It could be a variety of things, but the bottom line intent is that these protests are designed to provoke a response from either Trump supporters, republicans, law enforcement, etc that makes it look like the protesters are being oppressed. Maybe some protesters get run over when blocking traffic (by someone just not paying attention). Maybe some protesters get beaten down or shot in a chaotic situation. The facts for the incident won't matter. All that matters is that some "peaceful" protesters got hurt and are being oppressed.
After such an incident, you can bet there will be calls for a variety of central power grabbing actions. It could be that martial law is declared because the incident set off nationwide chaos in urban areas. It could be a call to institute a federal police force to supersede local law enforcement. It could be declaring a state of emergency that somehow delays or usurps the transitional political process. It could be trying to push forward some type of emergency injunction in the court that stops Trump from taking office.
We'll all have to wait and see how long these protests continue. It's been nearly a week. If it lasts much longer, it points more to something organized and planned than it does to a spontaneous grassroots uprising. Because I'm sorry, but your every day college age American doesn't simply upend their daily life day after day to protest. The anger will wear off. The reality will set in. They'll have to go back to work or school. Life will carry on. The only way to keep them going is through paid and professional organization. And even if the incident never occurs, which is possible, the battle rages on as the media will continue to punish the American people who voted for Trump. Leftist outlets will continue to write scathing mockery after scathing mockery. They will continue to foment resentment and division every step of the way with the end goal of trying to turn the tide politically in their favor.
It's going to take courage and resilience to see through it all. If we thought the election was bad, this is easily worse since at least before the election liberals were simply smug and mocking in thinking they'd win. Sure, they'd chastise Trump supporters accordingly, but ultimately they'd win, so no big whoop. But now that they lost and their reality has been shattered, they're going to do their worst to make the rest of us pay for our supposedly horrible decision.
Stay strong America. Stay strong Trump and team. Pray for strength and the courage to fight against these lies. We've been handed a major victory. Let that remind us that we are on the right path.
Wednesday, November 9, 2016
I don't necessarily think we'll have much trouble with that. See, because the media probably will not own up to its own dishonesty, it'll be looking for anything to go "SEE?! WE TOLD YOU HE'S DANGEROUS!!!". He could shake a woman's hand on camera and someone in the media would inevitably go "Did you see that woman who stopped Trump from groping her?!". This is expected. And I'm fine with that. Ironically, their dishonesty and bias will keep a Trump administration honest. And I'm OK with that. They hated Reagan and yet he managed to pull off the biggest lopsided re-election victory in history.
However, we have to do our parts. Regardless what you think about Trump, he was a controversial candidate and will most likely be a controversial president. I mean, you kind of have to be if you intend to build a wall and drain the swamp. And because of those promises, we need to make sure we're paying attention these next 4 years. We need to pay attention to not only what Trump does, but also what Congress does and says.
Remember, politics doesn't go dormant in between elections. In fact, while elections have a lot of drama in campaigning, it's actually not nearly as dramatic as the political persuasion theater that happens in between. Many political figures will say outlandish things during election time in order to persuade voters of varying information levels. An example of this is Harry Reid in the 2012 election claiming that Mitt Romney hasn't paid taxes for 10 years. About as bald faced false as it gets, but it was meant to build on the "evil out of touch rich guy" narrative the Obama campaign was pushing. But these things are ephemeral and simplistic in intent. However, the political persuasion theater when there isn't an election going is far more sophisticated. An example of this would the political grandstanding about government shut downs or Rand Paul filibustering John Brennan's CIA Director Senate confirmation hearing to talk about the droning of American citizens. The filibuster eventually forced then Attorney General Eric Holder to firmly state that the US government did not have a right to drone kill its own citizens. Prior to the filibuster, Holder gave a very ambiguous and politically weaselly response to the question. Rand's filibuster was able to put the Obama administration, and John Brennan, on record regarding this issue.
So, paying attention while an election isn't going on is the biggest way to stay informed. Trump should have less obstacles than Reagan had to get his legislation through. The key will be to watch what happens in the Senate. Assuming that pro Trump legislature passes the House with no problem, the thinner majority in the Senate will require some Democrats to cross the aisle. This is where Trump's negotiating and persuasion can really come in handy. Things to pay attention to will be how the Senate votes go, which bills that the Speaker and Senate majority leaders bring to the floor, and what political stunts will be pulled when confirmation hearings begin.
It's important for supporters to keep track of which promises he upholds, which he deviates, and which he ignores. He's made promises to the inner cities to help out the black community in our country; a very bold move and something many conservatives have wanted a leader to say for years. Now, will he follow through? Will he build that wall? Drain the swamp? Effectively replace Obamacare?
And lastly, there's lots of fear about a Trump presidency. I find most of it ridiculous and irrational. However, it seems to be real. Part of our role will be to remain vigilant. We held our own establishment party members accountable when we nominated Trump despite party bosses scolding us not to do so (though full disclosure: I voted for Cruz in the primaries). We rejected their elitism by electing Trump when they turned their back on him. There was a lot of "if you elect him, bad things will happen". Part of our honesty must be to remain vigilant and own these problems should they manifest.
I think Trump will be a great president, but as Trump said last night, "It's only just begun". And I look forward to seeing how things unfold with a real leader that prizes being on time and under budget.
Monday, November 7, 2016
- Is under FBI investigation
- Has a campaign that illegally coordinates with pacs
- Has been exposed by unconventional means (wiki leaks and project veritas) because the conventional means (the media) are instead doing their best to protect her
- Has too many real scandals over the decades to count
- Has enriched herself through the Clinton Foundation (how does someone go from being "broke" out of the White House to being worth hundreds of millions of dollars without running or owning a private business?) in exchange for giving special state department favors
Thursday, November 3, 2016
Evangelicals, Conservatives, and Republicans: Trump IS the breakthrough candidate you've been waiting for. Here's why you should vote for him.
What I'm attempting to do today is convince you that Donald Trump is a breakthrough candidate and that you can vote for him with positive confidence. While stopping the most corrupt politician and establishment this country has ever seen and preventing an imbalanced liberal Supreme Court are two very important reasons to vote for Trump, they just don't seem like big enough reasons to vote for Trump for a decent chunk of the Republican base. And while preventative voting is indeed a smart use of one's vote (contrary to what many Johnson supporters say), it doesn't generate enthusiasm. And that's important. Enthusiasm is the biggest factor in guaranteeing someone makes it to the polls. Enthusiasm also spreads socially among peers, which has the chance to bring even more people to the booth. Without it, you have a voter that although they'll vote for Trump to stop Hillary, might not conjure up the motivation to actually make it to the polls on election day. And that's what I'm trying to do: generate some enthusiasm by persuading you that Trump is a good candidate. Not only is he a good candidate, he's a breakthrough candidate.
What do I mean by breakthrough candidate? A breakthrough candidate is one that defies political norms. A breakthrough candidate is one that is able to reach down and connect with the American public on a visceral level. A breakthrough candidate is one that ignites enthusiasm.
For decades, many conservatives, evangelicals, and Republicans have been looking for a breakthrough candidate. Someone that isn't beholden to special interests. Someone that respects the Constitution. Someone that will fight against political correctness and the bullying tactics of liberals.
Donald Trump is all of those. But why hasn't he been acknowledged as such? Because many who've been waiting for this breakthrough candidate were waiting for another Ronald Reagan. In other words, many set their expectations for a very specific individual, character and all. But, by doing so, they've unintentionally blinded themselves to Trump's breakthrough candidacy. One parallel that comes up for me is to remember that the pharisees rejected Jesus largely because they were expecting the Messiah to be a mighty, kingly conqueror that would save them from Roman occupation. Now I'm not claiming Trump to be some kind of political Jesus. That's not only ridiculous, but blasphemous. What I am saying though is that God will send us people in times of need that aren't what we're expecting. Paul is another such example. David another.
Specifically, here's why Trump is a breakthrough candidate:
- He's not a politician. He's a businessman. While many of his interactions play the same kind of game as politics, he's never been an elected official. This is breakthrough since distrust for career politicians as at an all time high. People are tried of hearing the same platitudes from well spoken politicians that have resulted in nothing or even worse: betrayal. He doesn't robotically repeat the same stump speech over and over or seem like he's brainlessly listening to political consultants. This makes him appear far more genuine.
- He's not beholden to special interests. One the main themes in Washington politics for the past decade has been self serving corruption that perpetuates. The optics into corruption have been magnified by the revelations of Project Veritas and Wikileaks. One of the biggest discerned causes for corruption is special interests, or in plain terms, rich people paying off politicians for policies and decisions favorable to them and their own interests. Once again, this has been magnified by the exposure of pay for play at the Clinton Foundation when Clinton was Secretary of State. People want a leader that has their interests first and foremost. Being a billionaire himself, he has the capacity to not owe any big donors any favors and can work toward the policy he's campaigning on.
- He rejects political correctness. By being as bold as he's been, he's been able to cut through the political correctness filter that has debilitated so many politicians. Many on the right see political correctness as weapon used by the left to neutralize some of the hard truths this country faces. His ability to speak plainly and boldly is another big sign of being a real genuine leader.
- He puts all Americans first. While the left's obsession with identify politics that divide us into racial, gender, and financially based voter blocs, Republicans have also been known to do this by only appealing to their base. They don't attempt to reach out to the other side and persuade them to come over. Trump, on the other hands, has reached out to everyone. He's campaigned in heavily Democratic states to get his message out. He's made inroads to the black community, saying things many on the right have been saying for years and have been waiting for a candidate to say them. Many Americans are tired of taking a back seat to illegal immigrants and jobs being sent oversees. His Pro-American stance is, again, exactly what people want to see in a leader.
Monday, October 24, 2016
The problem with what Trump is saying about the election being rigged is its potential ambiguity. This has been a vulnerability of his the entire election season. Trump says something that's not carefully crafted like a seasoned politician would. His opponents then interpret those words, deliberately in most cases, to push the next-coming-of-Hitler narrative.
When it comes to saying "the election is rigged", it's easy to take it to mean rampant voter fraud. That no matter how many people actually vote for Trump, Clinton is going to win by cheating on election day. That's probably the most common interpretation when Trump says the election is rigged. Even though that's not exactly what Trump is meaning, that's how his opponents are choosing to interpret it. And by doing so, it does two things:
- It makes it easier to refute and defend. Voter fraud is notoriously hard to prove. Most of the suspected methods are front loaded, meaning that proving it after the votes have been counted is nearly impossible. And trying to catch, expose, and stop voter fraud on election day is hard to do given all the sensitivities and constitutional ramifications involved. Therefore, due to a lot of this lack of concrete evidence and after the fact prosecutions, it's easy to say "voter fraud doesn't exist" because by any objective measurable factor, it doesn't.
- It deflects attention from what Trump is really getting at. The media can claim they aren't ignoring it and just claim Trump is crazy.
Also, another problem with this collusion is the deceptive appearance. Activist groups, by their definition, should be seen as grass roots, every day citizen organizations rallying for and/or against some cause. This type of grass roots activism gives a sense of genuine credibility to the issue they're talking about. Yet, if a major political party is engineering and paying for these groups behind the scenes, it's deceptively playing an influence angle that's hard to reject without looking like a conspiracy theorist. Heck, prior to Project Veritas' latest work, it's super easy for people to dismiss dark money funded fake activism as crackpot conspiracy theory. But once exposed, it shows a party going to great lengths to deceive the people in this country.
Monday, August 1, 2016
But first, let's start with pointing out how the current deck is stacked against parties that are not the Republican and or the Democrat party. There are two significant factors that play against these other parties. One, the presidential election does not do run offs. Without going into too much detail, a run off occurs when one candidate does not receive at least 50% of the votes. The idea is that while one candidate did indeed get more votes than any other candidate, most of the people did NOT vote for them. My favorite example is how Bill Clinton won in 1992. He only received 43% of the vote. Bush Sr received 38% and Perot 19%. So while Clinton received the most, there were still 57% of Americans that did not vote for him. Had there been a run off system in place, there would have been a 2nd round of votes (either automatic using preference style voting or another full manual round of voting) where only Bush and Clinton were on the ballot. And naturally, in a two candidate race, one will get at least 50%. This is why a 3rd party candidate is a problem. More Americans did not want Clinton than did, but still he was elected. Without runoffs, more than 2 parties in the presidential election make it so it's highly likely we'll have a president that most Americans did NOT want. In these cases, the vote for the 3rd party candidate is a waste since it could have given a candidate that a voter is somewhat ok with a better chance at winning and also reaching 50%.
And two, most people use their vote defensively, especially because there's no runoffs. In many elections with multiple candidates, a voter will be faced with these choices
- A candidate they most ideologically align with
- A candidate they somewhat ideologically align with
- A candidate they most ideologically disagree with
This doesn't necessarily mean 3rd parties don't have large support, because they might - at least on an ideological scale. But then again, these parties aren't winning. So when it comes to answering the question of why I think a 3rd party candidate can't win, the answer really is this: Why would I think a 3rd party candidate can win in a presidential election, the biggest election in the country and arguably the world, when they can't even win lesser offices? And if they're not even trying to win lesser offices, it shows a party that isn't really serious about building its political power.
Because when it comes down to it, presidential elections cannot be won on ideology alone. Presidential elections will never be won by banking on the unfavorable ratings of the Republican and Democrat candidates. Presidential elections will never be won by only coming around every four years pretending to be the "sane" candidate.
Instead, presidential elections are won by a political movement that stays in the public's eye. A constant, ideological reminder that keeps pointing out that "hey, our ideology is the best, yo". Despite many people's personal distaste for political theater, what they may not realize is that this drama actually keeps each party's antics, actions, ideals and values, for better or worse, fresh in people's minds. People are bombarded with Democrat this, Republican that. But in the last 4 years since Johnson ran last time, how much have you heard from him or the Libertarian party? Where were they when it came time to weigh in on the myriad of scandals and controversies that have come up? Why wasn't their presence felt during the mid terms? As far I know, they were nowhere to be heard. Even media bias isn't enough to explain away the lack of Libertarian presence during a very politically turbulent last 4 years.
So let's look back at the last time a 3rd party actually was successful: the Republican party. The Republican party was born in the 1850's primarily as an abolitionist movement. Most of them came from an ideological fracture in the Whig party, the Democrat's opposition at the time, in response to legislation that was going to expand slavery. During the 1850's while being unsuccessful in winning the presidency in 1856, they were gaining seats in congress the entire time. And while it's difficult to know what kind of political theater was around during that time, it can be reasonably assumed that the Republican party was fresh in the public's eye seeing as 6 states had already seceded and formed the Confederacy between the time Lincoln was elected and the time he was inaugurated fearing the Republican's abolitionist platform.
So, in other words, the Republican party formed from the Whig party, along with some Free Soil Democrats. Their platform, the abolition of slavery, was front and center in the public eye that decade. Using that issue, they were able to gain seats in congress years before they won the presidency in 1860. This would be the gold standard example to how a 3rd party emerges as a political power. This took 6 years.
On the contrary, the libertarian party has been around for over 40 years. Yet, despite this, there hasn't been much to show except for them playing the spoiler. Looking at their history page, it seems they are actually proud of getting a noticeable chunk of the votes, like 5 or 15 percent, despite suffering an overwhelming loss. This, to me, shows they aren't really serious about winning. They expect to lose, but consider it a victory if they just make it on the board even it is a small amount. With that attitude, it isn't surprising at all that there's no Libertarians holding congressional seats as a true member of the party and not a Republican that has Libertarian values. If you're ok with just getting noticed, you'll never win. While people may vote defensively, they're still voting for whom they expect to win.
So bottom line is, the Libertarian party, and just about every other 3rd party today, are doing it wrong. They celebrate losing badly. They only seem to get noticed every 4 years. They don't seem to be trying very hard to go after lower offices. It's no wonder they haven't gained much ground since 1971. They're still ranked spoiler status to me. There have been articles over the years predicting the rise of the libertarian party, but I guess I'm still waiting for them to start taking congressional seats from Democrats and Republicans.
While today's political climate is vastly different from that of the 1850's, the model for success should remain largely the same. Get in the public's eye often. Win lesser offices that builds momentum, exposure and a foundation of success. Build upon that foundation enough and you'll have the White House and/or plenty of success that champions Libertarian values. Become a political force to be reckoned with. Until then, they and all other 3rd parties will never be taken seriously. Yes, you can create "clever" memes that blame 3rd party lack of success on some inane bewildering voting logic. But all that does is give someone a reason to not face the truth.
I say all this to not persuade you to vote for Republicans or Democrats. I say it simply to point out what I see to be the truth about why 3rd party candidates aren't winning. Is it a wasted vote? It just depends on your outlook of the Republican and Democrat candidates. If you truly believe both candidates to be equally bad or you don't really care if either one sits in the Oval office, then at least functionally speaking, your vote is not wasted since it isn't really much of a vote at all. It's like watching a football game between two teams, then rooting for a completely different team altogether to win the game. It just isn't going to happen. It's not wasted because wasting a vote would indicate that the voter had some intent for direct impact. In this case, the voter doesn't care who wins so voting for their candidate, even if it's a potted plant, has no direct impact - but they're ok with that. However, if you feel strongly that one candidate would be far far worse and a real, terrible danger to the country, then yes, your vote is wasted on the 3rd party candidate. They won't win and now that vote is one less vote the terrible candidate has to overcome to win. By actually caring about someone other than the 3rd party candidate inhabiting the Oval office, there's at least some need to want to prevent a disastrous administration, which is going to have a bigger impact than voting 3rd party. In this case, the vote is wasted since it won't have a direct impact even though the voter wanted to make one.
There is a very good reason why people disagree with 3rd party voting as I hope I've outlined. People might not be able to articulate it well (me being one of them, though I try), but it doesn't mean there isn't some valid reasoning behind it. Don't kid yourself. Johnson may indeed become the most successful 3rd party candidate in history and eclipse Perot. But he'll still lose by a margin that would be considered a landslide in a two candidate election. Then the Libertarian party will disappear from the public conscience for another 4 years while Democrats and Republicans duke it out in political theater. Libertarians will tout their "victory" and claim a movement is rising, then reappear 4 years later only to lose again.
I guess at the end of the day, all I'm saying is if you're going to vote 3rd party, just own it. Own up to the reality that your candidate is going to lose. Own up to being aware the impact of your vote is only to indirectly make it easier for one candidate to win. Proudly point out that you've taken a principled stand despite knowing you won't win. Face reality. But please, stop the whining when someone expresses a notion of futility toward today's 3rd party candidates.
Sunday, June 12, 2016
For better or worse, part of today's culture involves questioning every conventional tradition. From child rearing to law enforcement, from what we eat to how and what kids learn in school and even what constitutes being male and female. Everything is questioned. And for better or worse, justifications are easily made for breaking tried and true traditions. I'll say I personally find this aspect of culture to the level it's at today to be quite foolish. A culture that doesn't heed the wisdom and respect the traditions of its culture are doomed to either ruin their way of life or repeat the same mistakes that the traditions put in place mitigated.
And while there's many I could talk about, there's one in particular I wish to address today: The ever growing belief that a Christian does not need to go to church. Full disclosure: I used to believe that myself. In fact, it's because I did believe that and have turned away from the belief that I have some credibility when it comes to explaining why this belief is not only faulty, but it's the clever work of Satan that instills this belief in people.
Here's the argument: I'm a Christian and all I need to do is pray and believe. I don't need to go to church for God to hear me and bless me.
The argument isn't necessary false. Because yes, God will hear you and be with you wherever you are. And yes, God can do whatever He wants and can grant blessings on someone who chooses not to go to church. God has done this.
But, there's some problems with this line of thought...
First, we're to operate as the Body of Christ. One cannot operate as part of the body if they're not connecting with other parts of the body on a regular basis. How can a body part disconnected from a body still operate? God mandates that the Body of Christ extend His Kingdom throughout the entire world. So if one is disconnected from the body, how is one supposed to help extend His Kingdom as part of that body?
Second, God can bless anyone any way He wishes for anyone whether they deserve it or not. But despite that, keep in mind that the church, the Body of Christ, is God's primary vehicle for facilitating blessings and answering prayers. Yes, God could drop a new car in your driveway if He chose to. But it's more likely that your need, communicated through church and the Body of Christ, will be met by connections from within this body. But if you're not connecting with this body, then you're cutting yourself off from a plethora of benefits and blessings and essentially relying on God to help you win the blessing lottery. Again, blessings typically work through the church and its people.
Third, expecting God to deliver blessing while choosing not to be a part of the system He created and expects you to be a part of doesn't really indicate a willing, serving spirit. It's bending God to your will instead of His. I could sit and not eat and pray and expect that God will sustain me forever. However, in doing so, I'd be ignoring the provision of food he's provided me to keep up my physical strength. So in essence, instead of accepting God's gift of food to keep my physical strength up, I'm telling God he needs to heal my body and keep me from starving directly. The same thing can be said for someone who wishes to operate outside of the Body of Christ, but still expects God to bless them. It doesn't indicate the attitude we should have toward God.
And lastly, let's just call out the main reason for not going as it is: laziness. The challenge to the tradition of going to church, like many of our cultural challenges to tradition, really has nothing to do with being a more effective Christian (since usually challenges to tradition are aimed at making something better). Weekends are usually reserved for sleeping in and doing some type of fun recreational activity to balance out a possibly hectic work week. One of the last things anyone wants to do is have to get up on a Sunday morning and go to something "boring" that takes up a quarter of their weekend. This is especially true for those that have pretty active Saturdays. The desire to have at least one morning during the week where you can sleep in is quite compelling.
It's a choice we're presented with, that of choosing between indulging in personal comfort and sacrificing it to honor God. This is a choice we have to make all the time, yet if one cannot even sacrifice a morning of comfort for God, how do they expect to make the even harder choices? That's another value going to church adds: it trains you to sacrifice. And while we don't have to do animal sacrifices these days, theres plenty of things we do and like we must be willing to sacrifice for Him.
Believing you don't need to go to church because "your own personal relationship with Jesus doesn't demand it" is a deception straight from Hell to keep God's children in a complacent state of ineffectivenes that works against extending His Kingdom. Don't believe it. Get to a church and get yourself connected.
Tuesday, May 3, 2016
- Overall, the people believing in God is on the decline. One of the primary reasons cited for this is people not seeing how God, and by extension the church, is relevant in their lives.
- While God can will and does do the heavy lifting of changing hearts, it doesn't mean we can get away with putting in as little effort as possible. There are plenty of passages in the Bible, including a parable by Jesus, about taking the gifts God has given us and doing the best we can with them. Not only does it produce more fruit, but wasting one's gifts is considered a terrible sin.
- Baby Boomers: Lots of them. Biggest generation of responsible producers.
- Generation X: witnessed and developed many of the technological advances in the last 30 - 40 years.
- Millennials: Hungry for real, meaningful, experiences.