Friday, March 30, 2007

Waffle, Not a Pancake

Marvin Olasky has a useful article about Christianity in China. One of the Chinese church leaders told him, "China is a waffle, not a pancake." Let us glorify our Lord for 125 million believers in that country! This is the news behind the news.
A Great Lesson from Recent French History

You need to read "How to Win in Iraq" if you want to understand a successful strategy to defeat insurgents -- and how important the politics-at-home front is in this war.

Historian Arthur Herman explains the history of the French war against insurgents in Algeria in the 1950s -- it was one of their colonies, and they were fighting against the FLN. A commander named David Galula developed very effective tactics, and they pretty much won the war in Algeria. But political disaster back in France handed Algeria over to the FLN.

There is a parallel in Vietnam, too.

General Patreus is using tactics very similar to the ones developed in Algeria -- with the same kinds of successes. But political strife in the US could well yield the same result as what happened in France and Algeria -- disastrous for both, really -- fifty years ago.

I strongly recommend this article.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Great Quote to Ponder

"We are what we repeatedly do." -- Aristotle

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Distinguishing Private Approaches and Government Policy

Dennis Prager gives an important insight here (italics mine):

"Compassion in social policy almost always produces unfair results. Compassion for murderers allows them to keep their lives after taking the life of another. Compassion for minorities leads to affirmative action, which means that individuals who are not members of a designated minority will be treated unfairly. Compassion for immigrant children led to bilingual education, which subsequently prevented most of those children from advancing in American society.
Compassion as the primary determinant of behavior is effective in personal life. In making public policy, it is a morally and socially destructive guideline. In fact, it is so bad that thinking people must conclude that its primary purpose is to enable policy makers who are guided by compassion to feel good about themselves."

There's a connecting theme of personal responsibility. In many ways US culture has shifted to saying that individuals are not personally responsible for their decisions (though businesses, military, and government leaders still are, and don't get the same benefit of the doubt).

When personal responsibility erodes you see two aspects come forward: (1) It's not my fault, it's _________ (my genes, my environment, my parents...) and (2) the government should take care of that, not me.

Neither of these builds strong healthy societies or strengthens families.

The ultimate extension of this thinking is "we need more education and money, and then all these problems will go away."

Far better to state the facts: there is sin, and it must be dealt with.

It is good for individuals to treat one another with compassion (and that means real love, holding them accountable, dealing with sin). It is appropriate for public policy to set standards and act in ways that are consistent with the law.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

How Wives Can Kill Their Marriage

Doug Giles posts what he calls "surefire principles" for a wife to make her man miserable:

1. Nag your husband.
2. Disparage him in public.
3. Keep him on a short leash.
4. Be a drama queen.
5. Hate his friends.
6. Hate his hobbies.
7. Cut him off sexually.
8. Get your parents and/or siblings involved in your marriage.
9. Never apologize.
10. Look bugly (butt ugly).

Read the details (part 1) here.

What would be on your list for husbands to kill a marriage?

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Will Fred Thompson Enter the Republican Primary?

One of the intriguing possibilities is that Fred Thompson might enter the presidential primary race. Mark Alexander fairly gushes about his conservative bonafides.

I was asked yesterday what I thought about the "family values" Republic candidates who have had (multiple) failed marriages. It was clearly meant as a jibe, but there is an important point here -- we need a man with very strong character in the Whitehouse. I don't have my thoughts clearly worked out on this.

[Side note: While I have not agreed with all of George Bush's decisions or actions, I am very impressed with his graciousness towards others, even those whom have treated him evilly. Perhaps this graciousness has backfired politically. Some may confuse it with weakness and unwillingness to defend himself.]

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Christians and Pacificism, Considering Iraq

Many of our brothers and sisters in Christ are calling for pacificism as the appropriate "Christian" response to islamofascist terrorists. Marvin Olasky gives us a thoughtful look at the issues.
Is "300" Accurate?

Victor David Hansen helps put the popular movie "300" in historical perspective. (No, I haven't seen it, but I have read the original account by Herodotus.)

Do not underestimate the power of movies in our culture. They powerfully shape people's ideas and perspectives on current and past events.

There are plenty of Al Gore critics -- and I concur with a number of their points (see articles by John Fund and Iain Murray).

Part of the problem with Mr. Gore's approach is when he uses information incorrectly (e.g., showing charts of 20 foot sea level increases instead of 2 feet). It's dramatic, makes for 'compelling' story, but then when people find out you've been disingenuous, the message is shot.

So instead of promoting good dialogue, constructive conversation, and solution-finding, you get partisan bickering.
Hear God's Voice in Scripture

John Piper writes wonderfully about

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Parent Prayer

Being a parent can drive you to prayer. I believe this part of God's design!

Here is a wonderful blog post by a mother, articulating how she is compelled by her love for her daughter to pray for her: A Mother's Greatest Weapon.

"I may be able to make her make up her bed, and keep her from bad movies. But I cannot make her be unselfish, loving, and considerate. I can--up to a point--take care of the outside. But I am wholly dependent upon the Lord to work in her heart to "will and do" His good pleasure. If only God will enable me to tend to the possible, depending on Him for the impossible." -- Ruth Bell Graham

Dads, this is for us, too.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Isn't This Kinda Late?

Let's take away Adolf's citizenship!

I think with the problems facing the German government, this would be really, really low on their list of priorities.
How Would Jesus Pastor?

Here's a wonderful article describing the pastoral ministry -- and community service -- of Charles Seldon, the author of "What Would Jesus Do." Recommended.
Concerns about Women in Our Military

I realize the issues surrounding women in our military have several dimensions. I've been called sexist on a few occasions about this, but in my heart I do not believe it is correct to have women in military roles. Data cited in this article do not encourage me.

Now I do believe women should be able to defend themselves against physical harm. But this is personal training issue, not a formal military role.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

What Everyone Can Put On His Resume!
(HT: B. Roth)
What Women Want In A Man

Humor break!

Original List (age 22):
1. Handsome
2. Charming
3. Financially successful
4. A caring listener
5. Witty
6. In good shape
7. Dresses with style
8. Appreciates finer things
9. Full of thoughtful surprises
10. An imaginative, romantic lover

Revised List (age 32):
1. Nice looking (prefer hair on his head)
2. Opens car doors, holds chairs
3. Has enough money for a nice dinner
4. Listens as much as talks
5. Laughs at my jokes
6. Carries bags of groceries with ease
7. Owns at least one tie
8. Appreciates a good home-cooked meal
9. Remembers birthdays and anniversaries
10. Seeks romance at least once a week

Revised List (age 42):
1. Not too ugly (bald head OK)
2. Doesn't drive off until I'm in the car
3. Works steady - splurges on dinner out occasionally
4. Nods head when I'm talking
5. Usually remembers punch lines of jokes
6. Is in good enough shape to rearrange the furniture
7. Wears a shirt that covers his stomach
8. Knows not to buy champagne with screw-top lids
9. Remembers to put the toilet seat down
10. Shaves most weekends

Revised List (age 52):
1. Keeps hair in nose and ears trimmed
2. Doesn't belch or scratch in public
3. Doesn't borrow money too often
4. Doesn't nod off to sleep when I'm venting
5. Doesn't re-tell the same joke too many times
6. Is in good enough shape to get off couch on weekends
7. Usually wears matching socks and fresh underwear
8. Appreciates a good TV dinner
9. Remembers my name on occasion
10. Shaves some weekends

Revised List (age 62):
1. Doesn't scare small children
2. Remembers where bathroom is
3. Doesn't require much money for upkeep
4. Only snores lightly when asleep
5. Remembers why he's laughing
6. Is in good enough shape to stand up by himself
7. Usually wears clothes
8. Likes soft foods
9. Remembers where he left his teeth
10. Remembers that it's the weekend

Revised List (age 72):
1. Breathing
2. Doesn't miss the toilet

Thursday, March 08, 2007

30 Pints of Blood

Chuck Colson tells the story of American soldiers lining up to donate blood for a captured enemy who desperately needed 30 pints of blood.

This is a great picture of love. Christ bled for us, that we might live.

Who are you and I bleeding for? How much blood will we give so that crusty neighbor, arrogant coworker, or unresponsive child will know Christ and live?

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Teaching "Difficult" People

Every Bible teacher will have the opportunity to teach "tougher-to-love" people:

Lesson Hijackers

I've started a special blog, just on this topic, and encourage you to check it out.

Tougher To Love

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Christians Riot Over Discovery Channel Documentary

"Christians rioted in Wheaton and Colorado Springs today in protest of the upcoming Discovery Channel documentary on the bones of Jesus, his wife Mary, and his son Judah. Two people were killed when police fired bullets into the crowd after they overturned cars and set fire to a TV station. James Dobson and Max Lucado issued a joint statement demanding the government arrest James Cameron, the movie sponsor, and behead him for blasphemy."

This didn't happen. It's not going to happen. Neither is a Discovery Channel movie highlighting what Mohamed did to the Jews at Medina.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Jesus Isn't Buried There -- Well, Not That Jesus

Kevin Nelstead has a good post on the absurdity of the Jesus Family Tomb "news" -- with links to detailed debunking information if you need it.

Amazing Grace movie -- Go See It

I went to see Amazing Grace last night and thoroughly enjoyed it. Go see it. It will warm your heart and give you inspiration to stay the difficult course. Best line is John Newton's "I am a great sinner and Christ is a great savior."

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Foolish Thinking About Al Gore's House, Events

Al Gore gets plenty of criticism for being hypocritical -- he 'preaches' about reduced consumption and has lavish houses and flys in chartered jets, and the events he is planning will generate plenty of additional greenhouse warming.

Let me suggest that the trendline is clear -- more affluent cultures produce less pollution, have better health, and have the technological options to be better stewards of the environment. Poorer people have fewer choices, fewer options.

So an alternative line of thinking is this: "What can we do to raise the standards of living for everyone, and continue to find creative ways to leave a lighter footprint?"
The Accelerating Future

This "Shift Happens" video has a whole range of jolting facts, and helps illustrate our human tendency to extrapolate linearly into the future -- when in fact things are moving exponentially.

Check it out, consider how technology can amplify both evil and good, and pray!