Archives for October 2008
When I was in Raleigh, NC for the ReThink Conference I had the pleasure of meeting Shelly Moore. Shelly has a band and a new album called Hope and Decay which I’ve been really enjoying over the last few weeks. She describes her genre as “Indie Rock” — which I’ve actually never heard of (look, I’m pretty out of it, sorry). What I can say is that Shelly has a very clear, melodic, relaxing voice and an overall soothing musical style. It makes her album a great vehicle for a combination of comfort, background music, and edification. The lyrics are rich with theological truth, particular on our daily need for God’s grace.
My favorite song on the album is “Be Exalted” – a cry of thanksgiving for God’s sometimes mysterious and always good leading connected with a hearty petition that God would be exalted by His creation, that His excellencies would be more widely known and appreciated. The lyrics are:
Jesus, I’m amazed by You/By the way You lead, by the way You love / Jesus, I am changed by You / By the way You lead, by the way You love / With unfailing love for those you’ve redeemed / * You’ve captured my heart / You’ve captured my mind / O God / * Be exalted, O God / God of the amazing, God of the amazing / Be exalted, O God / God of the amazing, God unchanging – yes / * Jesus, I’m amazed by You / By the way You lead, by the way You love / Jesus, I am changed by You / By the way You lead, by the way You love / With unending love for those you’ve restored
Another great song is called “Solid Ground”. This one is about waiting for God, trusting in His promise in the midst of deep pain:
Hearts are broken, walls fall down / Oh the walls come crashing down / Pillars of strength, now piles of rubble / In tears we try to make sense of this puzzle / * Seasons will change / Colors will fade / These notes will be heard no more / One day the pain / Will cease to remain / Because this was never a story about me / * Hearts are hurting, faith is shifting / But our souls don’t rest on sand / A picture of youth, now reminds us of glory / Because this was never a story about me / * For now we cry / Wiping the tears from our eyes / And we wait for You / We wait for You / You are making all things new
You can listen to portions of several songs for free on her My Space page (including “Solid Ground”). I highly recommend getting the album (follow the links–songs are available for $0.99 each on Itunes). Scroll down here to find information about her booking agent and press contact.
An anonymous individual has authored an outstanding (if chilling) sixteen-page depiction of what America could look like in 2012 if Barack Obama becomes President and a Democratic majority remains in both houses of Congress. I appreciate this author sounding the alarm while maintaining strong confidence in the sovereignty and goodness of God (rather than appealing to shrill, ungodly anxiety). [If you’ll permit me sharing my opinion: The election outcome is not final.] The letter’s preface:
What will the United States be like if Senator Obama is elected? The most reliable way of predicting people’s future actions is by looking at their past actions. Jesus himself taught, “You will recognize them by their fruits” (Matthew 7:16). Anyone who has hired employees knows that – the best predictor of a person’s future job performance is not what he tells you he can do but what he has actually done in the past.
So here is a picture of the changes that are likely or at least very possible if Senator Obama is elected and the far-left segments of the Democratic Party gain control of the White House, the Congress, and perhaps then the Supreme Court. The entire letter is written as a “What if?” exercise, but that does not make it empty speculation because every future “event” described here is based on established legal and political trends that can already be abundantly documented and that only need a “tipping point” such as the election of Senator Obama and a Democratic House and Senate to begin to put them into place. Every past event named in this letter (everything prior to October 22, 2008) is established fact and has already taken place.
This letter is not “predicting” that all of the imaginative future “events” named in this letter will happen. But it is saying that each one of these changes could happen and also that each change would be a the natural outcome of (a) published legal opinions already written by liberal judges, (b) trends already seen in states with liberal-dominated courts such as California and Massachusetts, (c) recent past promises, practices, and legislative initiatives of the current liberal leadership of the Democratic Party and (d) Senator Obama’s previous actions, previous voting record, and previous public promises to the far-left groups that won the nomination for him.
Many of these changes, if they occur, will have significant implications for Christians. This letter is addressed particularly to their concerns so they will be aware of what is at stake before the November 4 election.
Some will respond to this letter by saying, “Well, I hope hardship and even persecution come to the church. It will strengthen the church!” But hoping for suffering is wrong. It is similar to saying, “I hope I get some serious illness because it will strengthen my faith.” Jesus taught us to pray the opposite: “And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil” (Matt. 6:13). Paul urged us to pray not for persecution but “for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way” (1 Tim. 2:2). So Christians should hope and pray that such difficult times do not come. But if they do come, then it will be right to trust God to bring good out of them and also bring them to an end.
Of course, there are many evangelical Christians supporting Senator Obama as well as many supporting Senator McCain in this election. Christians on both sides should continue to respect and cherish each other’s friendship as well as the freedom people have in the United States to differ on these issues and to freely speak our opinions about them to one another.
Read the letter (which can also be freely downloaded).
Tullian Tchividjian is putting the finishing touches on a new book which sounds quite interesting: Unfashionable: Making a Difference in the World by Being Different. Here’s a little intro video:
Boundless just published an article I wrote on discovering your vocation. It is based on interactions I’ve had with a variety of college students over the years on choosing a major/career path (as well as my own personal journey). The opening:
A hundred years ago young adults did not have anywhere near the mind-boggling and almost debilitating number of options available today. In general, sons took on the line of work of their fathers, and girls adopted whatever domestic, social, and vocational roles their mothers held. It wasn’t so much about “finding your calling” as it was about your calling finding you.
Today, relatively few pursue the line of work of their parents. How might Christians think about the additional freedoms and opportunities afforded by modern life? Is it really entirely up to us to choose our line of work, or can we wait to specifically hear from God on the matter?
In the Bible we see both Moses and David go from being anonymous shepherds to big-time prophet/miracle worker and king, respectively. But they had the advantage of remarkable divine intervention. How many of us would love to have God announce our life work to us audibly from a burning bush? Or have a prophet seek us out with anointing oil, announcing what career to pursue?
Here is the full article if case you are interested.
Richard Epstein is a senior fellow at Stanford’s Hoover Institution and a professor of law at the University of Chicago, visiting this fall at the New York University School of Law. Given Obama’s former association with the University of Chicago Law School, Epstein used to know Obama and corresponded with him when he was a state senator.
Given their personal relationship, it seems significant that Epstein joins millions of anonymous Americans in wondering: Do we really know Obama? Epstein writes:
The odd point is how his many learned and thoughtful supporters couch their endorsement. Almost without exception, they praise the man, not the program. Their claim is that Obama has proved himself to be a consummate politician who understands that the first principle of holding high office is to get reelected. His natural moderation in tone and demeanor, therefore, translate into getting advisers who know their substantive areas, and listening to them before making any rash moves. The dominant trope is that he will be a pragmatic president who will move in small increments toward the center, not in bold steps toward the left.
But is it all true? The short answer is that nobody knows. Virtually everyone who knows him recognizes that he plays his cards close to the vest, so that you can make your case to him without knowing whether it has registered. At this point, my fear is that the change in office will not lead to a change in his liberal voting record, as reinforced by a hyperactive Democratic platform. My great fear is that a landslide victory will give him solid majorities in both Houses of Congress, so that no stalling tactics by Republicans can slow down his legislative victory procession. At that point his innate pragmatism will line up with his strong left-of-center beliefs on issues that have thus far been muted during the campaign.
Epstein goes to describe “three key components, which, taken together, can convert a shaky financial situation into a global depression.”
The first of these is his anti-free trade attitude that loomed so large in the primaries. But even Obama cannot repeal the principle of comparative advantage. Any efforts to scuttle NAFTA, deny fast-track approval to other agreements, or limit outsourcing will not be as dramatic as the Smoot-Hawley tariff. But combined, they would act as a depressant on general economic growth. Everyone would suffer.
Second, Obama is committed to strengthening unions by his endorsement of the Employer Free Choice Act, a misnamed statute that forces union recognition without elections and employment contracts through mandatory arbitration thereafter. That one-two punch could tie up the very small businesses that Obama seems determined to help. Tax relief won’t work for firms that won’t get formed because a labor fight is not in their initial budget.
And third, he is in favor of progressive individual taxes and high corporate taxes. It is as though the U.S. does not have to compete for labor and capital in global markets. My fear is that with his strong egalitarian bent, he has not internalized the lesson that high rates do not offset declining revenues.
Read the whole thing.