Saturday, February 11, 2017

On the political fight for the faith and keeping it distinct from the real fight

The recent elections have emboldened many of the faith. Victories by evangelicals and those who claim to believe in defending religious freedoms have refocused many efforts regarding abortion, gay marriage, homeschooling, bathroom laws, and other political issues that are important to people with a Judeo-Christian worldview. It also creates a challenge.

This focus has brought many at every level to take on a political mindset as a valid way to fight for the faith. We see it in the writings and hear it in the videos/podcasts of religious leaders around the country. It’s not universal, but there is a clear shift in the majority towards participating in more political battlegrounds. This shift comes with risks. If people allow the political battles over religion to replace the personal, familial, and cultural battles that must all be fought as well, we will lose ground in the more important arena for the sake of winning higher-profile victories in the political one.

We’ve always maintained that the separation of church and state is an essential barrier to maintain. It’s not a fear of religion creeping into government. Our concern is that government will have too much influence over the church. Just as America’s founders fought to maintain religious freedoms that could not be taken away from people by the government, so too do we believe that today’s circumstances warrant the same fight.

The forces mounted against us would love to see the faithful become engrossed in political battles. The world of politics ebbs and flows. Victories can be reversed very quickly and political sentiment is fleeting. Just look at what happened with Obamacare. This was a gigantic undertaking that took countless man-hours to create, hundreds of millions of dollars to establish and “sell” to the American people, and directly affected hundreds of millions of people in multiple ways. Now, it’s on the verge of being wiped from existence in less than a decade. That’s politics.

As for fleeting political sentiment, we need only to look at the ease in which our foes shifted sentiment on gay marriage. Lest we forget, a large majority (some polls showed over 70%) of Americans were against same-sex marriage in 2007… including Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. In less than two presidential terms, America’s sentiment was reversed. Now, nearly 70% of Americans support same-sex marriage.

The point is this: battles fought for the faith on the political front yield temporary results. That’s not to say that they’re not important or that we shouldn’t fight them, but it seems as if laws and government have become the focal point. This should not be. Political solutions are band-aids. If we do not win the cultural battles and shift the mindsets of Americans, particularly young Americans, to embrace a Biblical worldview, every political victory will eventually be overturned. In fact, political victories are often used as rallying cries to galvanize the opposition.

The real fight

There was a time not too long ago when the church was the cultural center of everyday life. Scores of people within every community participated in outreach, helped the needy, and most importantly shared the Gospel with those who need to hear it the most. We were a nation that embraced the Biblical worldview.

Today, this is not really the case. The church is something that some people go to on Sundays. It’s losing its cultural sway. We’ve seen in the last couple of years a slight shift back in the right direction. This was a reaction to the cultural shift to the left. When those opposing a Biblical worldview started winning more political victories, the church started pushing back.

The victories we’ve seen on the political front have a predictable and unfortunate side-effect. Too much attention is being put back onto the political front because we feel we have a way to make a difference there. Again, there’s nothing wrong with waging political warfare for the faith as long as it doesn’t diminish the efforts on the cultural front, but unfortunately we’re seeing it do just that.

It’s understandable. Political victories are tangible. They make us feel good. They make headlines. It’s rare to see a story written about an atheist who is brought to the faith by someone ministering to them, but if a law is passed restricting abortions, it’s big news. The cultural battle for the faith will not get much attention, but it’s the more important battle in the whole scheme of things.

This cannot be stressed enough: We will lose in the long-term battle if we do not reinvigorate our efforts. Just as we must maintain a separation of church and state, we must also maintain a separation between fighting for the faith politically and fighting for the faith culturally. Of the two, the cultural aspect must be our primary fight.

Let politicians do political things. Victories on the religious freedom front cannot be used to replace the imperative of sharing the Gospel and doing the Lord’s work. Now is not the time to get complacent. Our political victories must become a rallying cry to double-down on the cultural battles we face.

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It still surprises many when they read this chapter and realize that it's in the Old Testament.

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Friday, February 10, 2017

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Make it so.

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Saturday, January 28, 2017

Judeo-Christian Church Teachings Coming Soon

Thank you to all who have been patient over the last year. After posting new teachings nearly every day for some time, we took on projects that pulled us away from this ministry. I know what you’re thinking because I’ve thought the same thing many times: “What can be more important than spreading the Word?”

It wasn’t about importance nor desire. The sabbatical we took from this site wasn’t meant to downplay its mission by allowing other things to supersede it. Despite the amazing support we’ve been given by many of you, this is still something that’s new to us. We’re neither traditionally trained nor formally educated in the faith. This has always been something we’ve been compelled to do, but when things entered our lives that better fit into our skill set, we prioritized them.

I never intended it to go this far. We were supposed to slow down on this site, but allowing it to screech to a stop was 100% my fault. Elections, business, and the building of a new political party all overcame me and I allowed them to pull too much away from this ministry. We will be correcting that error going forward.

Again, thank you all for supporting us. We pray that we’ll be able to return to full Biblical strength in our teachings in the coming weeks. It’s a transition… a little at a time. For now, I’m posting this as a promise to make the effort. What comes in the future will be based upon whether or not I’m able to keep the promise. If this is righteous, the Holy Spirit will guide us.

Thank you and God Bless.

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Friday, January 13, 2017

Stream of consciousness Tweets finally scared me into worrying about Trump as President

There are times when Donald Trump’s Tweets cause mainstream media and political enemies to go insane in their attempts to discern what evil intentions he communicated in 140-characters or less. Then, there are Tweets that will go mostly unnoticed by the media but that actually worry me greatly. This morning was such an occasion.

In a 45-minute Tweetstorm that started before most Americans were awake, Trump unloaded a stream of consciousness that makes me wonder about him. I’ve never hid the fact that I’ve opposed him for a long time, nor have I tried to hide my mild surprise that many of his actions since winning the election have been positive. I’ve taken on the mindset that when he does good things, I’ll praise him, and when he does bad things, I’ll oppose.

What he Tweeted this morning wasn’t really anything new. Here’s the Tweetstorm in question:

Trump Tweetstorm

None of it seems too bad, right? Individually, any of these Tweets are harmless repeats of things he’s said in the past. Taken as a whole, I’m suddenly concerned. Is this really how he thinks? He came out with kudos for his cabinet, a humblebrag of sorts. Then, he alerted everyone about the source of fake news that hit him this week, making sure to continue his attacks on the intelligence community. Hillary Clinton was the next target – “guilty as hell.” He ends it with an attempt to be clever by calling Obamacare the “Unaffordable” Care Act.

Again, it seems like no big deal, but consider one thing: this was 45-minutes worth of thoughts that the next President felt needed to be said. Set aside the grammatical errors that make George W. Bush seem like the 2nd least intelligent President in the modern era. Consider the fact that Trump needs to be focused if we’re going to get out of the mess that Barack Obama has put us in.

That’s what worries me. It’s not the attacks. At this point, we just have to accept that our President has thinner skin than Kim Jong-un. It’s not the inability to communicate cohesively. Twitter allows communication blemishes to be excused away in this modern era of emojis and hashtags. The thing that worries me the most is that his stream of consciousness is undisciplined. It reveals that Trump can’t keep a coherent thought in place long enough to make the tough decisions.

His Tweets have given us an unprecedented glimpse into the thought processes of a President. It’s much easier to see how he failed so miserably at dozens of endeavors outside of real estate, entertainment, and political campaigning. My concerns of the past that have been repressed recently are creeping back very quickly. This guy really is an idiot and he’s about to be running the nation. The only solace I have left is knowing that at least he’s not Hillary.

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Wednesday, January 11, 2017

7 hour meeting. Sushi reward.

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Sunday, January 8, 2017

It’s time for Christians and conservative to end our addiction to Hollywood

A decade ago, I received a job offer in southern California. The money was much better than I was making in Oklahoma, but the cost of living essentially made it a wash. What prompted me to move my family to the left(wing) coast away from conservative Oklahoma was Hollywood. I had a screenplay that was nearly finished and having access to Hollywood an hour away made pitching it much easier.

In other words, I wanted to be part of Hollywood. No, I wasn’t into the glitz or the glamour. I’ve always enjoyed good storytelling and creativity was being stifled in favor of unnecessary sequels (everything was about franchises back then) and horrific reboots. I had a winner that was almost complete and Hollywood needed a fresh voice. I was going to give it to them.

Life happened. I advanced in my job much faster than expected, gaining partial ownership of the company in less than a year. With my new partners, we formed another company, sold it along with the first company, and it became clear that my dreams of revamping Hollywood needed to go on hold while I built another company. Today, I have a great screenplay that I’m confident could get bought. It will never be seen by anyone in Hollywood. Living here for a decade and watching the leftward lurch of the industry made me realize that I no longer want to be a part of that world.

It’s not just the politics and lack of creativity. The rampant militant atheism that was once quietly chuckled about behind the scenes has emerged as a blatant badge of honor worn by so many. There are notable exceptions such as Denzel Washington and Chris Pratt, but the fact that they’re notable for being willing to discuss their faith is a testament to the heathen nature of the entertainment industry.

Tonight, while much of America watches the Golden Globes, I will be busying myself with work. It’s not easy for many of us that loved Hollywood in the past to avoid this staple of life distractions, but it’s something that needs to be done. Christian conservatives in particular should do what we can to find new pastimes instead of supporting the people who oppose most of what we believe. They promote “tolerance” while demonstrating very little of their own when it comes to conservative responsibility or Christian morals. They demand “justice” to be served while condoning lawlessness at the border. They tell us they won’t support the President of the United States before he’s even sworn in while giving tearful goodbyes to the most failure-laden leader in American history.

With all this, so many of us still pay good money to see them perform. No more. I’m done. That’s not to say that I’m boycotting movies and television. I’m simply going to be extremely selective. I’d rather see a good movie with a conservative message than an award-winning liberal flick. It’s not going to be easy since there are no “Christian conservative movie ratings” apps that I know of (someone should build one or let me know if there’s one already). I’ll have to go with my gut and read reviews of trusted conservatives. To that end, I will also try to put some reviews of my own up on this site when I find shows that are worthy. No promises – I haven’t seen very many this year that fall into that category, but now that I’m looking, hopefully more will come available.

Christian conservatives often rail against the liberals and atheists in Hollywood, then we support them with our dollars and watch their awards shows. It probably won’t change any time soon, but if there’s a way to make them change, it’s by supporting those who are ideologically aligned with us and avoid those who are not. That doesn’t give us many options, but it’s better than encouraging their agenda by buying tickets to their shows.

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Friday, January 6, 2017

Will “Mexico’s gonna pay for it” become Trump’s “Read my lips, no new taxes”?

Four years is forever in the world of politics. We’ve seen shifts in ideology happen in months, even weeks, so the thought that actions today can dramatically affect an election nearly four years away is ludicrous, right? As fickle as American voters seem to be, there’s one thing that works in spite of the passage of time: recorded sound bites.

Donald Trump has a problem with his wall. Reports started popping up yesterday that his promise to have Mexico pay for the wall may be broken with some of his first actions. Congress is likely going to have to fund the building of the Mexican border wall with taxpayer dollars. Some of us have assumed this would be the case since his first ludicrous proclamation that Mexico would be paying for it, but it’s just starting to hit home now.

Since he’s always known that it would be nearly impossible to make a sovereign nation pay for something they don’t want, he started mitigating the potential damage back in October by saying that Mexico would reimburse us for the price of the wall. The spin is already starting. First, they were supposed to pay for it. Now, they’re supposed to pay us back for building it. Starting around noon today and with every future financial interaction with Mexico, we’ll hear that these are example of how he’s making them pay for it. We’ll probably hear about how Ford pulling out of its Mexican plant is the first batch of dollars that will be used for the wall. In fact, every job we “get back” from Mexico will be used as an example of wall-repayment.

Here’s the problem. None of these claims will change the fact that American taxpayers will have their dollars put into building it. Keep in mind that I’m not against this; we’ve needed stronger border security for decades and if there’s an opportunity to finally build a wall without adding to the budget, I’m all for it. The problem is twofold: they won’t be cutting other portions of the budget to make up for the added expense and he used this line to mislead the people.

Some will argue that he was just new to politics, that he wasn’t aware that Mexico wouldn’t be paying for it. Others will say it was hyperbole on the campaign trail. Therefore, the only possible excuses are that he’s an idiot or a liar. Either trait would have prevented him from being President if he didn’t run against the only candidate who lies even more than he does.

What does this mean for 2020? It could be huge. If he’s not able to tangibly get Mexico to pay for the wall, he’s going to get hammered by the Democrats. As they learned this year, showing poor character or having as his only qualification the fact that he was born rich weren’t enough to sway the people. However, Americans still do not look kindly on failed promises, particularly when they’re the primary talking point used by a candidate. Every President fails in many or even most of their promises, but they have to keep the big ones. Had Barack Obama failed to get Obamacare passed, he would have lost in 2012. If George W. Bush had failed to protect Americans after 9/11, he would have lost in 2004. If Bill Clinton had not kept his promise to engage an economic plan that would “compete and prosper in the world economy,” he would have probably still beaten Bob Dole in 1996, but not as badly (granted, his economy benefited from the rise of the internet, but the economy still thrived on his watch).

George H. W. Bush also had a big campaign promise: no new taxes. Backed into a corner, he ended up raising taxes in his first term. This hurt him dramatically because of an extremely well played sound bite that hit television and radio constantly in 1992. “Read my lips. No new taxes.” This was an isolated sound bite that tanked his chances.

“We’re going to build a wall and Mexico’s going to pay for it.” This phrase was uttered probably north of 100 times by Trump during the campaign. If he doesn’t deliver and American taxpayers are stuck with $10-$70 billion to build and yearly maintenance fees in the billions as well, the Democrats are going to paint Trump as either an idiot or a liar. It may stick. There’s no shortage of sound bites and the message can resonate if he doesn’t have a successful first term.

I’m all for a wall. I just wish he would have been up front about it to Americans instead of giving millions of people the false hope that he was going to force a sovereign nation to pay to defend our borders from their citizens. This may come back to haunt him and the Republican Party in 2020.

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