Friday, April 26, 2013

The Confessions Series: Politics



I used to write a lot on my blog but had good reason to stop.  I heard that Christians spend so much time writing their blogs about loving God and loving others when that energy would be better spent by actually going out and loving God and others.  It is with reservation that I venture back into this arena with this new series on confessions.  Remember that they are confessions.  Feel free to criticize me but this means all of the skeletons and junk in your closet are fair game too. So after a long hiatus from writing which lasted several years, here is what I have learned.

I never convinced anybody to follow Jesus by talking about politics.  I worked and studied in Washington, DC for eight years in the policy arena. I studied political science and international relations at UCLA and Johns Hopkins. I am very political but I avoid the discussion of politics when I would prefer to talk about the gospel.  Politics is about power, grace is something one receives.  So please stop it with all of your Facebook posts.

I do not think Barack Obama is a Muslim.  If you still think he is, stop kidding yourself.  I do not think Barack Obama is a Christian. If you still think he is, stop kidding yourself.

I hate broadcast news that is too liberal. I am talking about CNN. I hate broadcast news that is too conservative.  I am talking about Fox News. If you claim to be objective and your reporting is conservative or liberal, you are not objective. 

I prefer to be around Christians who are both intelligent and loving.  It is not good to have zeal without knowledge but if I have to choose between a more intelligent Christian or a loving Christian, I choose the loving Christian. My friends who know me well know that I am conservative.  I have a lot of work to do on being compassionate so do not call me a compassionate conservative.  The compassionate conservatives were neither compassionate nor conservative. Discuss!

Are we in the end times? I don’t know. Pre-tribulation or post-tribulation? If you do not know what I am talking about there is no need to worry.  Jesus prevailed at Calvary which means we win at the end so stop freaking out all of the time. Feel free to skip to the back of the book on this one.

So I am back living in southern California now and this is just as much of a spiritual frontline battle as Washington, DC.  People are not as concerned about politics here.  I try to stay in the loop by keeping up to date with events in the international arena.  When it comes to discussions on politics, I try to hide my cards as well as I can. My close friends know that if they get me started on the subject, I won’t stop. 

It is important to understand the signs of the times but I confess to ignoring the guy trying to get his feet back on the ground while asking for change in front of the supermarket. I worked at think tanks to understand how radical Islam influences young men in poverty to become terrorists.  If I drive two hours south to Baja California, people live in shacks with a toilet that does not flush because it empties into a hole in the ground. For some dumb reason that I cannot explain, I worry about them less because they are not Muslims. Like I said, I am working on the compassionate part.

Next time on Confessions: The Church, will the men please stand up?

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Mental conditioning coach Moawad gives Alabama unique prep edge

Here's a great article on motivating your workplace or team even if you do not like football. Alabama's football team are contenders for the national title year in and year out. Coach Moawad recognizes the importance of a mental as well as physical edge. Releasing your team's ability to communicate is surprisingly important. Stop telling your team and start teaching them.

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2011/writers/andy_staples/11/03/alabama-mental-conditioning-coach/index.html#ixzz1cfKNaVMw

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Narcosubmarines

I had received a briefing years ago while working at the National Defense University on how drug traffickers in Columbia were using submarines and semi-submersibles to transport drugs. Back then the submarines were slow, small, and crudely built. Some were powered by car batteries to avoid surfacing and exhaust. Well, I was even more shocked at their speed and sophistication now. This video shows craft that are getting bigger and are anything but slow. The drug trade is not what it was under Pablo Escobar but criminals are often times more sophisticated than the authorities that are chasing them.

http://www.cnn.com/2010/WORLD/americas/06/29/vbs.colombian.narcosubs/index.html

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Emancipation - Private Spotswood Rice

I have been watching the Ken Burns special on the Civil War and was blown away from the following words from Private Spotswood Rice. Rice, a former slave escaped and enlisted in the Union during the Civil War. Separated from his wife and child, he had offered to purchase his daughter for $40. The slave owner, Kitty Diggs flatly refused. Emboldened by his enlistment in the Union Army and the recent Emancipation Proclamation by Abraham Lincoln, he gives a staunch warning to his daughter's captor:

... I received a leteter from Cariline telling me that you say I tried to steal to plunder my child away from you now I want you to understand that mary is my Child and she is a God given rite of my own and you may hold on to hear as long as you can but I want you to remembor this one thing that the longor you keep my Child from me the longor you will have to burn in hell and the qwicer youll get their... I have no fears about geting mary out of your hands this whole Government gives chear to me and you cannot help your self.

Spotswood Rice
Benton Barracks Hospital, St. Louis, Mo. September 3, 1864

Friday, October 22, 2010

Quote of the Day - Winston Churchill

Socialism is a philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance, and the gospel of envy, its inherent virtue is the equal sharing of misery.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Video - Frank Caliendo

Its been awhile since I've posted anything so here goes. Frank Caliendo is hilarious! You have to wait through a commercial but it is worth it. Click Here

Monday, July 30, 2007

Monday, July 23, 2007

Quote of the Day - C.S. Lewis

Christ died for men precisely because men are not worth dying for; to make them worth it.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Quote of the Day - C.S. Lewis

Now that I am a Christian I do not have moods in which the whole thing looks very improbable: but when I was an atheist I had moods in which Christianity looked terribly probable.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Article of the Day - The Vitter Effect

An accurate and very insightful article on Evangelicals in America. Newsweek interviews Michael Cromartie, Vice President of the Ethics and Public Policy Center.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Quote of the Day - C.S. Lewis

No Christian and, indeed, no historian could accept the epigram which defines religion as 'what a man does with his solitude.'

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Video of the Week - Paul Pots

Must see video, trust me. If you like the underdog it is always nice to see when dreams come true. My roommates were raving about this yesterday. Click here

If you liked that and want more. Here you go. Click here

Quote of the Day - Dwight D. Eisenhower

There are a number of things wrong with Washington. One of them is that everyone is too far from home.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Quote of the Day - C.S. Lewis

Books on psychology or economics or politics are as continuously metaphorical as books of poetry or devotion.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Quote of the Day - C.S. Lewis

Prostitutes are in no danger of finding their present life so satisfactory that they cannot turn to God: the proud, the avaricious, the self-righteous, are in that danger.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Quote of the Day - G.K. Chesterton

Men do not differ much about what things they will call evils; they differ enormously about what evils they will call excusable.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Tim Keller - Evangelistic Worship

Today's thought comes from Tim Keller, Pastor of Church of the Redeemer in New York City. My friends have been raving about his teaching so I thought I would check it out. The following passage comes from an essay he wrote on evangelistic worship. For the complete article, click here.

Celebrate deeds of mercy and justice. We live in a time when public esteem of the church is plummeting. For many outsiders or inquirers, the deeds of the church will be far more important than words in gaining plausibility. The leaders of most towns see "word-only" churches as costs to their community, not a value. Effective churches will be so involved in deeds of mercy and justice that outsiders will say, "we cannot do without churches like this. This church is channeling so much value into our community through its services to people that if it went out of business, we'd have to raise everybody's taxes." Mercy deeds give the gospel words plausibility (Acts 4:32 followed by v.33.) Therefore, evangelistic worship services should highlight offerings for deed ministry and should celebrate through reports and testimonies and prayer what is being done. It is best that offerings for mercy ministry be separate, attached (as traditional) to the Lord's Supper. This brings before the non-Christian the impact of the gospel on people's hearts (it makes us generous) and the impact of lives poured out for the world.

Quote of the Day - C.S. Lewis

The most valuable thing the Psalms do for me is to express the same delight in God which made David dance.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Quote of the Day - Dwight D. Eisenhower

In preparing for battle I have always found that plans are useless, but planning is indispensable.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Quote of the Day - G.K. Chesterton

The reformer is always right about what is wrong. He is generally wrong about what is right.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Quote of the Day - C.S. Lewis

From Reflections on the Psalms:

It is in the process of being worshipped that God communicates His presence to men.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Quote of the Day - C.S. Lewis

"'Safe?' said Mr. Beaver...'Who said anything about safe? 'Course he isn't safe. but he's good. He's the King, I tell you.'"

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Election 2008 is just getting started

Some people think that Hilary Clinton or Barack Obama have sealed up the presidency. I beg to differ and think that the election cycle has not even started. Sure, some candidates have well established infrastructures and money but there are two new entries into the race.

No Senator has gone straight to the presidency since JFK and he barely got in. This election is shaping up to be different from all others in modern history but don't count out precedence just yet. Governor Bill Richardson has perhaps the most impressive resume of all of the leading democratic nominees and his trump card is that he is the only governor. He has experience as a former Congressman, Energy Secretary, Ambassador to the UN, and now Governor of New Mexico. He has just entered the race so he has nowhere near the amount of money or resources of Obama or Clinton but watch out for this guy. Senators have the luxury of changing their position on an issue without needing to be tied to it. John Kerry's statement "I voted for it before I voted against it" doomed him in 2004 and the American public has a way of spotting the strengths of somebody who has executive experience. The electorate admires somebody who has to make a decision on a policy and stick with it.

Fred Thompson is in the early stages of filing for candidacy. Right now the GOP is in disarray while candidates compete for the heart and soul of the electorate. The evangelical base that got Bush into office in 2004 has yet to get behind one candidate. Although the base may not identify with Thompson the way they did under George W. Bush, he may prove to be the least objectionable candidate. Both paries need to win some states in the south and Fred Thompson from Tennessee has the potential to capture all of it.

Robert Zoellick to World Bank

President Bush formally announced the nomination of former US Trade Representative, Robert Zoellick to the World Bank. Politically astute Hank Paulson headed the search for the new institution head which has been traditionally held by an American. The Bush Administration has made the right move to nominate an individual whose competence is not questioned while is also in good international standing. Mr. Zoellick comes with an established resume as former Dputy Scretary of Sate, US Trade Representative, head of the Center for Strategic and International Studies, and senior official at Goldman Sachs. Unfortunately, it took the Bush Administration too long to understand the importance of picking people who are not only politically loyal, but also competent and widely respected. Paul Wolfowitz had a long resume that seemed perfect for the World Bank however the Bush Administration miscalculated on his ability to navigate the political sensibilities of the institution. The Bush Administration learned the hard way that the nomination of cronies like Harriet Myers to the Supreme Court, Alberto Gonzalez at Justice, and Scott McClellan as Press Secretary would come back to haunt them. The Administration has finally understood the importance of quality in its recent personnel decisions with Hank Paulson at Treasury, Robert Gates as Defense Secretary, Robert Zoellick at the World Bank, Eliot Cohen as Senior Advisor at State, and Tony Snow as White House Press Secretary. Why did it take so long?

Article of the Day - The Frayed Knot

Here is a great article on the effects of marriage and/or divorce. Hopefully you have access to the Economist.

The Frayed Knot

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Proud to be a Bruin

This week, the UCLA women's water polo team clinched the National Championship. Kudos to my fellow UCLA Bruins who can celebrate our 100th national sports championship. But what does that mean? Jeff Miller of the Orange County Register looks for the answer but I think he is asking the wrong question. This national championship continues a tradition of excellence in Westwood which permeates the entire University in athletics, academics, and research. Do not forget that these are student athletes. The average GPA of incoming freshmen is 4.2. The UCLA Medical Center is widely accepted as the best hospital in the West and their graduate programs are almost always in the top 20 nationally. So you say UCLA is not a football powerhouse? Okay, but do not miss out on the big picture. The basketball team has made it to the Final Four the last two years and they are primed to be a national powerhouse for years to come under Ben Howland. That is quite a boast since under modern competition no school will ever repeat a John Wooden-like era. This commitment to excellence is UCLA's contribution to young adults that they will take with them for the rest of their lives. As a life-long Bruin and graduate of the school I say thank you. A lot of other universities may encourage excellence but at UCLA there is a reason why they only hang championship banners in Pauley Pavilion.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Article for the Day - Missionaries in Northern Virginia

Former Bush Administration speechwriter Michael Gerson is right on target in today's article. This time, we need the Africans coming to save us. (Subscription required)

Missionaries in Northern Virginia

By Michael GersonWednesday, May 16, 2007; Page A15

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Waging War Through the Rearview Mirror

It is true that if we do not learn from history we are doomed to repeat it. In today's article we learn that we can draw the incorrect lesson from history and make matters even worse. Shankar Vedantamb applies Yuen Foong Khong's "Analogies at War" to the present situation in Iraq.

We see how the public utilizes analog analysis to try to gain an understanding of new case studies. It takes a keen eye and understanding to recognize when our politicians are doing this. The High Ground is to individually analyze a case study for what it is. If you have an opportunity to read "Analogies at War", it is essential reading for anybody in the policy arena. Click Here

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Video of the Week - Sunday's Comin'

I posted this last year but it is a favorite. It is that time of year again to remember that when it feels like Friday, it is important to know that Sunday's Comin'.

NCAA Tournament

You may have noticed that I have not been blogging. I have been too busy watching my UCLA Bruins' run to the Final Four. Once again Ben Howland beat a Kansas team that many considered to be far superior in talent. The Bruins did it with grit, hustle, discipline, and defense. You cannot accuse these guys of being soft. It also helped that Aaron Aflallo snapped out of his slump. Ben Howland is proving to be the best thing to happen to Westwood since the Wizard left. Hopefully we will hang on to this guy for a long time as I would not be surprised if several NBA teams come knocking on his door.

Article of the Day - Genius or the Gut?

Lou Piniella is considered one of the best managers in baseball. Today's article analyzes the intellect of great baseball managers and reveals a few secrets. Communication is more important than tactics. A sense of humor makes communication easier. Strategic gains in the long run require a willingness to accept a strong likelihood of tactical losses in the short run. Click Here

Monday, March 26, 2007

Quote of the Day - Seth Davis

SI.com: Well, we have a Final Four now. What do you think?

Seth Davis: Powerhouses, big time. You can't ask for anything more. We've been talking about Cinderellas being nice, but what we have left is nothing but the big, ugly stepsisters.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Friday, February 23, 2007

Article for the Day - Mike Scioscia

Angels Manager Mike Scioscia has a unique leadership and managerial style. He notes that team chemistry is important and is initiated from the top down. His methods for building team chemistry have little do with baseball. Click here.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Video of the Week - The Colbert Report

Steven Colbert interviewed Tony Campolo on the Colbert Report. You may or may not agree with Tony Campolo but you cannot ignore what he has to say.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Random Thought

I think more people care about who wins at the Westminster Kennel Club dog show than the Miss America pageant.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Video of the Week - International Justice Mission

Today's video is about the work of the International Justice Mission. Gary Haugen shows how his organization cooperates with the Cambodian government to crack down on sex slavery. I also recommend Haugen's book, The Good News About Injustice. Click Here

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Quote of the Day - Vince Lombardi

Coaches who can outline plays on a black board are a dime a dozen. The ones who win get inside their player and motivate.

Vince Lombardi