Friday, March 29, 2013

Today my firstborn turned 18

Today my firstborn turned 18 years old. This is a milestone, not only in your life, but in the lives of your mother and me. Today is the result of years of questioning ourselves, falling on our faces for wisdom, and hoping that God is bigger than our mistakes for your sake (He is, of course). We have also seen the fruit of our labor and faith as you have grown up into the man you are now, though I can take no credit for the grace of God.

As a child you were always compliant. So much so that we thought other parents must really be doing it wrong to have so many complaints about parenthood...then we had our next child, and understood. To be fair, Todd has grown to become very compliant and hard working but this letter isn't about him.
You have had your challenges to face. You have been knocked down by life at times, and sometimes by your own doing. You have seen hard times and poverty, and yet you have this gift for being able to stand back up, dust off yourself, and continue on as though nothing has happened.

Today you are a man in the eyes of the law. In my eyes you have been a man for quite a while. Today you can vote. You can claim your independence. You can buy things on credit in your own name. You can have your own checking account with real checks and everything. These are good things but they all carry a responsibility with them. If used incorrectly they can become an insurmountable burden. Don't just save what you have after spending, spend what you have after saving. Living debt free is the best option. Strive to maintain your debt-free status.

As a parent, the one thing I take the most pride in is something I cannot take any credit for, your faith in God. It has thrilled my heart to count you as my brother as well as my son. We are co-heirs with Christ. We will inherit the Glory of heaven someday. Which is relieving when you consider what I will end up leaving for you on Earth.

Changes in your life are going to start coming like a fireball. Graduation will mark an end of a big chapter and from there you will begin the venture of a career. Don't be concerned that you don't know what that career is yet, in truth, you have already begun your career. You are a follower of Christ. Your job is secondary to that fact. He will guide you to the right place. Not all tasks will be pleasant. Many will stretch you in difficult ways. Many will be well suited and you will easily shine with them. Do all things for the Glory of God and you will find the joy in all of it. "Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing." (James 1:2-4, ESV)

You are only 8 years away from my age when I had you. In my time between 18 and having you, I joined the Navy, learned some useful skills, and wasted many years away from the Lord. After the military I worked only to support my weekends with my friends. The Lord drew me back to Him in His mercy and brought me your mother, and then You...and the rest of the kids.
I wasted many years trying to do things only to please myself, a trait I still struggle to repress. You have a head start. You are already walking with the Lord. Seek Him first and believe that He wants the best for you even when things of this world start looking like more fun. The truth is that sin IS fun. It does satisfy the cravings of the flesh, for a season, but the repercussions of a foolish decision can be very costly. While sin satisfies the flesh, it does not ever fulfill. It will always leave you wanting more and never fully attaining. It is the carrot on the stick. Always before your eyes but never within reach. Always promising but never fulfilling. I give these warnings, not because of any danger you are in, but because I know of the dangers and temptations that are coming.

Further down the road to come the Lord may bless you with a wife. That will be in His timing and of His choosing if you are patient and willing to wait for the best. In preparation for that time, do not invest your time looking for the right spouse, work on being the right spouse. God will bring your wife to you when you least expect it. I will have another letter for you when that time comes.

18 years have flown by. I still see the little boy jumping on the bed and singing "You are my sunshine". The boy running from a band-aid as though we were threatening amputation. Those first guitar lessons together (you taught me so much). The long haired Emo phase (So glad that is over). The tough transition from the church of glitz and glamour and clowns to a church of sobriety, piety, and the Cross. You have grown into a man who I am very proud of. I thank God for the privilege of the last 18 years with you. I thank God for the years to come.

Happy Birthday son, I love you


Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Republicans care nothing about the poor.

Ah the careless and unchecked lies that get spewed all over the internet and other media.

According to this study taken from 2008, the states who voted republican tended to be more charitable than the states who voted democratic. The top 8 most charitable states were all republican while the bottom 7 states were democratic. In fact, if you add up all of the percentage points for republican states vs. democratic states, the count comes out to 119.5 Republican vs. 113.9 Democratic, despite the fact that there were only 22 republican states vs 28 democratic states in 2008. That means Republicans were more charitable than Democrats with less states.

Now one might say that Republicans were able to be more charitable because they have all the money. After all,  everyone knows that republicans are all about the super-rich so they must have more money to give away. Well according to this article, the richest states were largely democratic while the poorest states were largely republican.

Any chance we can finally put this one to rest? Probably not.

Truth rarely means much in politics.

Friday, May 25, 2012


Using pornography to satisfy God-given sexual desire is like eating Twinkies to satisfy God-given hunger.

We mistake taste and titillation as being the totality of the purpose for God-given hungers and desires. Junk food may satisfy our cravings but it does not address the intention of hunger which is to nourish our bodies. Pornography is a cheap substitute for intimacy within marriage. It satisfies the craving but it leaves us undernourished sexually.
Sexual desire is intended to bring us together with our spouse and share the unity we have with each other. It is a celebration of intimate relationship. It is a picture of our vulnerabilities before Christ as we share in His intimate love for us. We display ourselves before God, naked and with blemish, and He accepts us and loves us as we are. Every time we join with our spouse, we are celebrating this image.
Pornography leaves us without most of the other benefits of sex. Intimacy, acceptance, protection, bonding, pheromones, Oxytocin, endorphins, etc. God's purpose for the desires he gives us are for our good. It is grace on God's part that he built in these desires. They make it pleasing and easy to do His will. If we can just believe that His way satisfies more fully.

John Piper has an excellent discussion on this very thing.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Theistic Evolution

Theistic evolution is the idea that the theory of evolution does not contradict scripture. The account of creation in Genesis coincides with secular scientific theories on evolution. I am puzzled by the concept of the theistic evolutionist. In my mind this is the most difficult position to defend. My issue isn't with their desire to embrace evolutionist thinking, nor their desire to embrace their faith. My issue is that they try to do both at the same time when they are mutually exclusive to each other. The theistic evolutionist has the daunting task of not only reconciling evolutionary theory with scientific data, but then reconciling that theory with scripture. The former issue of defending the theory (or theories) of evolution are not the subject of the post so I will not go into that area here.

The most difficult area of reconciliation between these two concepts is in the age of the Earth. Standard evolution theory puts the Earth at 4.5 billion(ish) years old. The dating of the Bible puts the age of the Earth at roughly 6500 years. That leaves a lot of reconciling for the theistic evolutionist. Neither the creationist nor the evolutionist have to wrestle with this as they both understand that it can not be reconciled.

Genesis 1 and 2 give the account of creation which is boiled down to this:

Day 1: The heavens, the earth, light and darkness.
Day 2: Heaven
Day 3: Dry land, the seas, and vegetation.
Day 4: The sun, the moon and the stars.
Day 5: Living creatures in the water, birds in the air.
Day 6: Land animals and people.
Day 7: God "rested".

In each account the day is marked with a number and highlighted with a definition of the evening and morning. The Hebrew word "yom" is what we translate to the word "day". Yom is used 1109 times in the Bible to describe a 24 hour period. Only 9 times is it used to describe an era or long passage of time. Every time yom is used with a number such as 40 days, or day 7, etc., it refers to a 24 hour period. Every time yom is used with the descriptor of evening (ereb) and morning (boquer) it refers to a 24 hour period. In Genesis we have the daily account of creation highlighted with both a numerical reference and a description of morning and evening. It seems that the author was especially careful to point out this usage of yom as being literal.

The most common attempt to get around this issue is with 2 Peter 3:8 "But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day." This passage references Psalm 90:4 "For a thousand years in your sight are but as yesterday when it is past, or as a watch in the night." The first thing to note here is that 2 Peter is not referencing creation in any way. The context tells the reader to not lose hope in God's promise just because He seems slow in fulfilling it. God is patient and will fulfill His promise in His timing. God is not bound by the anxiety of time as we are. We are encouraged to be patient as well. We should also note that 2 Peter says a day is like a thousand years, Peter is using a simile. The correct understanding of a day as a 24 hour period is what makes this simile so powerful in its contrast to the thousand years. This is that same kind of simile we find in Psalm 90.

The psalmist uses a synonymous parallelism to contrast the thousand years period by two short periods. The usage of this passage to defend theistic evolution is especially difficult. If one accepts the contrast of a thousand years with the day as literal here they must also see the contrast of the thousand years with a watch of the night as literal. I hardly think a watchman could keep his eyes open for that long.

The contextual understanding of these passages is to highlight how different our perception of time is from God's. We only have 70 or so years to fulfill our promises. God has all of eternity to fulfill His. We can have faith in His promises because of this.

Another problem with the day of Genesis being 1000 years is that vegetation was created on day 3 and sunlight on day 4. I have trouble imagining vegetation surviving for a thousand years waiting for sunlight.

That is not the only problem with theistic evolution though. The TE also has to contend with the lack of scriptures defining a day as a million years. There is a lot of years to reconcile between 6000 creation "days" and the 4.5 billion years tauted by the evolutionists. There is also the problem of the fossil record. Evolutionists claim millions of years of animal life before man appeared on the scene based on the fossil record, but there was no death before the fall in the garden. Animal and human fossils should be found very close to each other according to the biblical account.

I know there is a difference between the theory(ies) of evolution and the origins of the Earth but in the case of reconciling Genesis to secular scientific thought they are so closely related that it makes no sense to approach the topic from two separate paths. The theistic evolutionist has a lot of hurdles to overcome in their understanding of creation, more so than the pure evolutionist. In my opinion there is no way to marry the two. They directly contradict each other. I would advise the theistic evolutionist to consider the large, and growing, volume of science behind creation. There is no need to wrestle with seeming contradictions in scripture and science. The scientific evidence supporting the biblical account is great.

Ultimately, the Christian must understand that our walk is one of faith. We must believe in order to be saved. Truth will not contradict itself. We may not understand it with our human perception but that does not change truth. God is gracious in that we do have the witness of science to help our belief but "Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed." John 20:29b

Get off the fence my TE friend.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

The trial of Casey Anthony

I admit that I have not been following the Casey Anthony trial at all but of the little I know of it, it is sad that another young life was lost at the whim of her mother. I do have to wonder though, if it were just two years earlier, and the mother facilitated for someone to help birth the baby somewhat, then take a pair of scissors to the back of the baby's skull, then have the baby's brains sucked out before crushing the skull, Casey might have been heralded as a heroine activist for feminine rights.

Why should two years make a difference? why should 2 months or 7 months inside the womb make a difference?

I am confused by the Facebook posts of friends, whom I know to be pro-choice, who beguile Casey. They are dismayed at the brutality with which the baby was killed and the callousness of the mother who went dancing within a week of doing it. Somehow the irony is lost on them when considering how much more brutal an abortion is. 

Maybe it took Casey a little longer to decide she didn't want the baby.  Maybe she didn't feel the need to hire a doctor at that point since she could do it herself. How can one really decide if they are ready to start a family within 3 or 6 months of getting pregnant? It really takes a few years to make that decision after one has lived through all of the adjustments that are needed with a newborn. How about the terrible twos? Even if the mother survives the newborn phase, surely the government can't force her to go through the terrible twos if that is not her wish, and lets not even talk about the teenage years!

When you make life and death a personal decision, you have to validate all reasons that someone would have for doing it. It is their right to decide after all. You can't say that your desire to not want to risk birthing a child at your old age is any more valid than someone else not wanting to look "fat" for the prom. You can't say that waiting until 6 months is more or less responsible than deciding at 1 month to kill the child. How can we then cast judgement on a young woman who took 2 years (and 9 months) to decide whether or not she wanted to keep the baby alive? If we condemn her actions, then on what grounds do we not also condemn the actions of those who legally kill their children at a much younger age?

I have compassion for Casey. She lives in a world where the lives of our young are valued only on the basis of the mother's consideration of them. How can that philosophy not come to the next logical conclusion? I feel for all of the mother's out there who are, or have, faced this same dilemma. It has been drilled into us for decades that life and death are ours to decide. When there is no absolute basis or policy to regulate the action of that decision then the standard shifts from person to person. Life is meaningless but in the eye of the beholder.

We scoff at Casey's callousness but proclaim the value of abortion based on the mother's callousness and apparent lack of emotional harm. We marvel at the brutality of this child's death but find live dissection and burning of the unborn child to be "harmless".

God grant us the grace to submit the decisions of life and death to Your hands except where You have delegated that decision to us. May we have wisdom to bear that decision with the weight that it deserves. May we learn to value human life as You do. You value us so highly that You would send Your very Son to pay the penalty for our sin in order to reconcile our sin with Your holiness. If You died for this unborn child, how can we then devalue its life based on the whims of a wicked and foolish heart?

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Can we get some insurance reform please?

I am all for insurance reform. The cost to the average american taxpayer is becoming unbearable. I would love to see a public option put in place to allow everyone to participate.

I am not referring to the healthcare reform that is threatening to be pushed on us right now. The insurance reform I am speaking of is CAR insurance.

Every state in the union requires car insurance. The minimum standards change from state to state but everyone must have some level of insurance. I wish I could come up with a product and have the government mandate that everyone must buy it. I wouldn't have to worry about the quality or the cost.

Car insurance largely became mandatory state by state throughout the 1980's and 90's. Prior to that time car insurance might have cost $300.00 per year as insurance companies competed with each other to show value in their product to the consumer. Now, in Michigan, basic coverage can cost $500.00 to $1500.00 per year, or even more. This is only for basic coverage which provides little to no value to the insured other than compliance with state law. Much of that cost comes from the insured absorbing the cost of the uninsured. The uninsured take the risk because a ticket for no insurance may cost a couple hundred dollars. If you are ticketed once a year on average, the cost is significantly less than being insured. If your vehicle is totaled in an accident it was likely already a beater and is easily replaced. If someone else is hurt in the accident, that is what the basic coverage is designed to provide for. The uninsured runs the risk of being sued for medical costs in that case, but like many other areas of life for the poor, the prohibitive costs offer few alternative options. Even with the new driver responsibility fee of $200 per year, on top of the ticket for no insurance, the cost is still cheaper than carrying basic insurance coverage.

(As a side note, you would have to be blind to see the driver responsibility fee as anything other than another tax that is designed to bolster the insurance companies and provide revenue for a failing state economy.)

Lets assume for the moment that the government really does devise laws and financial mandates for our betterment and not to cover their own ineptitude.

I propose that if we had a "public option" to meet minimum state requirements we could ensure full compliance with the law. We could wrap up the cost of the basic coverage in the cost of car fuel. That way you contribute to the insurance as you drive. The bigger users of gas will likely be the ones at the most risk of an accident due to their longevity on the road, therefore the contribution ratio becomes the most evenly divided when paid for through fuel cost. This would also promote "green" cars which is another political drive by the government for our own good.

We would have to lock down the use of the funds to cover the cost of the insurance to ensure that the government would not be allowed to dip into the funds for other reasons as they are prone to do.

This "public option" for car insurance would also still allow private insurance companies to continue their benevolent work of providing comprehensive coverage at an affordable and competitive rate. Car loan providers would still require comprehensive coverage to protect their investments, but the consumer would benefit from competitive rates as insurance companies try to win the customer with the best value. This can only happen when the consumer is not mandated to buy their product.

And best of all there is no reason to fund abortion through car insurance so even this congress should have no problem getting this passed.

As always I am open to alternative thoughts on this. What do you think?

Friday, November 13, 2009

If George Bush was an idiot..

Note: This was taken from an email that has been passed around. Author Unknown.

If George W. Bush had been the first President to need a teleprompter installed to be able to get through a press conference, would you have laughed and said this is more proof of how he inept he is on his own and is really controlled by smarter men behind the scenes?

If George W. Bush had spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to take Laura Bush to a play in NYC, would you have approved?

If George W. Bush had reduced your retirement plan's holdings of GM stock by 90% and given the unions a majority stake in GM, would you have approved?

If George W. Bush had made a joke at the expense of the Special Olympics, would you have approved?

If George W. Bush had given Gordon Brown a set of inexpensive and incorrectly formatted DVDs, when Gordon Brown had given him a thoughtful and historically significant gift, would you have approved?

If George W. Bush had given the Queen of England an iPod containing videos of his speeches, would you have thought this embarrassingly narcissistic and tacky?

If George W. Bush had bowed to the King of Saudi Arabia would you have approved?

If George W. Bush had visited Austria and made reference to the non-existent "Austrian language," would you have brushed it off as a minor slip?

If George W. Bush had filled his cabinet and circle of advisers with people who cannot seem to keep current in their income taxes, would you have approved?

If George W. Bush had been so Spanish illiterate as to refer to "Cinco de Cuatro" in front of the Mexican ambassador when it was the 5th of May (Cinco de Mayo), and continued to flub it when he tried again, would you have winced in embarrassment?

If George W. Bush had mis-spelled the word "advice" would you have hammered him for it for years like Dan Quayle and potatoe as proof of what a dunce he is?

If George W. Bush had burned 9,000 gallons of jet fuel to go plant a single tree on Earth Day, would you have concluded he's a hypocrite?

If George W. Bush's administration had okayed Air Force One flying low over millions of people followed by a jet fighter in downtown Manhattan causing widespread panic, would you have wondered whether they actually get what happened on 9-11?

If George W. Bush had failed to send relief aid to flood victims throughout the Midwest with more people killed or made homeless than in New Orleans, would you want it made into a major ongoing political issue with claims of racism and incompetence?

If George W. Bush had created the position of 32 Czars who report directly to him, bypassing the House and Senate on much of what is happening in America, would you have approved?

If George W. Bush had ordered the firing of the CEO of a major corporation, even though he had no constitutional authority to do so, would you have approved?

If George W Bush had proposed to double the national debt, which had taken more than two centuries to accumulate, in one year, would you have approved?

If George W. Bush had then proposed to double the debt again within 10 years, would you have approved?

So, tell me again, what is it about Obama that makes him so brilliant and impressive? Can't think of anything?

Don't worry. He's done all this in 5 months -- so you'll have three years and seven months to come up with an answer.

In the new series "V", it i said that the most dangerous weapon that the enemy possesses is devotion. Devotion of the people can be a great thing if the object of devotion is trustworthy and unwavering like God is but when you have devotion to a man you tend to give him a pass for questionable actions. This is just further proof that of George Bush and Obama, it is the man who is admired or condemned, not his actions.