25 October 2016

Isaiah Sixty-One: a poem

diamonds reflect light
shining multifaceted
yet they do not change

sprouts emerge from seed
minute, but climbing skyward
branches raised in praise

once saved, always saved
a bride adorned with jewels
effulgent beauty

kept safe, yet growing
tender shoot, reaching for God
sanctified beauty

Isaiah 61:10-11
I will greatly rejoice in the Lord;
     my soul shall exult in my God,
for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation;
     he has covered me with the robe of righteousness,
as a bridegroom decks himself like a priest with a beautiful headdress,
     and as a bride adorns herself with jewels.
For as the earth brings forth its sprouts,
     and as a garden causes what is sown in it to sprout up,
so the Lord will cause righteousness and praise
     to sprout up before all the nations.

10 October 2016

selling our birthrights for a pot of stew

Yesterday, someone asked me why my only political posts have spoken out against Trump. Although not technically true, I think I understood the nature of his observation. Here are few thoughts that have been rattling around in my head. Consider them for what they're worth.
Voting for Hillary has never been an option for me, not even for the briefest moment. I disagree with her on most policy issues, and especially the issue of sanctity of life. Her desire for protection for abortion even until very late term makes bile rise in my throat. I find her behaviors reprehensible regarding Benghazi and the email scandal to name just a couple. There has never been a time in this election or prior when I have thought that Hillary Clinton is a good idea for our country. I still wouldn't waste the ink to cast a vote for her.
I have voted Republican in every election I have voted in, not because I am a party guy, but because historically, the views of the GOP have generally matched my own. I have certainly had points of disagreement with various candidates, but nothing that I have found to be disqualifying. That has changed this year with Trump. I have enumerated these concerns ad nauseam before and I won't recount them now. If you are a brave soul, feel free to go back into my Facebook or Twitter history and see what I have written.
The reason I have spoken out about Trump so vociferously is that he is supposed to represent MY party. He is supposed to espouse the values that I hold dear. When I have told people that I am a Republican and a conservative, that has traditionally meant something. It doesn't anymore. Now I find that my party's candidate makes a mockery of what I want my leaders to stand for. Republicans, Trump isn't what we bargained for. Or maybe he is, and now I, along with thousands of others, are politically homeless.
I have been particularly disappointed in the dogged support of Trump by several well-known evangelical leaders. These (mostly) men who have historically stood on principle and family values, calling us to a higher moral plane have abandoned principle, often with rhetorical misdirection (e.g., calling Trump's words "dirty talk" or "locker room talk" instead of sexual assault) and promises that he'll get better.
I remain passionate about my resistance to Trump because of what evangelicals have resorted to in his defense. They have overlooked that he has been vulgar and narcissistic sputtering out hateful invectives against anyone who disagrees with him. Too many Christians are selling their birthrights for a pot of stew.
Christian friends, Clinton will be undeniably terrible for the cause of the Republic. I acknowledge that clearly and consistently. BUT, Donald Trump threatens deep harm not only to the nation, but more importantly, to the cause of Christ. When James Dobson says that Trump has accepted Christ but that he is a "baby Christian", he shines a light on Trump not just as a representative of America, but as a representative of Christ. A watching world sees a man who appears unrepentant, hateful, and self-centered and thinks, "so that's what a Christian is." And yet we fail to weep.
So, briefly, there is no risk of people associating Clinton with biblical Christianity, but there is an immanent risk of people assuming that Trump must be what Christians look like. That conclusion is unthinkable.
O how terrible for those who confuse good with evil, right with wrong, light with dark, sweet with bitter.-Isaiah 5:20
Finally, brothers and sisters, fill your minds with beauty and truth. Meditate on whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is good, whatever is virtuous and praiseworthy.-Philippians 4:8

08 October 2016

a better Way, a better Truth, a better Life

I was deeply bothered by the audio clip of Trump yesterday. It seems to be yet another example that his lewdness knows no bounds. I wrote a deeply personal blog post today that I decided not to share. I was concerned enough about the content that I shared it with three people I really trust: my wife, my best friend, and my mother. Ultimately, though what I wrote is important and authentic, the detailed account is unnecessary for a general audience and potentially harmful for a young one. I don't want to risk harming those I love. 

But let me say this. Too often in my life, I have engaged in sins of omission and commission when it comes to women. I have treated women poorly and I have failed to defend them when I should have.

Men, we CANNOT continue to be party to a culture that debases women. We do not have the luxury of justifying ourselves by saying "all men do it." To all of the girls and women I have ever known, forgive me for the ways in which my thoughts, words, and actions have harmed you.

Dads, we need to teach our children that women are not sexual playthings. We live in a culture that tells us they are. If you listen to the culture, and even to our current presidential candidates, you will begin to believe it. Too often, I have failed to stand against the tide of sexual indecency. Forgive me for not consistently demonstrating what God calls men to be.

Men, Trump's words and behaviors have given us an opportunity. We can fail to speak out because we know we have done the same things. We can tacitly support Trump by laughing at the things he says and does.

Or we can humbly confess that we have failed to honor women and take a stand. We can say that we will not be part of a culture that continues to degrade and demoralize women. We can choose to move strongly against a hypersexualized culture. We can give ourselves in love and service to those who have no voice in a culture that tells them their beauty lies only in their sexuality. We can show by word and action, that there is a better Way, a better Truth, and a better Life.

Men, let's take a stand.