Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Rules for Political Engagement [an abridged article by Gary North]

Here are 10 facts of US national politics that you must understand to get meaningful change.

1. You can't beat something with nothing.
2. 80% of politicians respond only to two things: (1) fear; (2) pain.
3. Bureaucrats (tenured) respond only to one thing: budget cuts.
4. Political reform never comes as long as the tax money flows in.
5. The #1 goal is to reduce the government's funds, not re-direct them.
6. Congress's club system sucks in 80% of new members by term #2.
7. Politicians listen to their peers, not to their constituents.
8. Money from the government buys off most voters.
9. Most citizens care little about politics and know less.
10. This gives influence to organized swing-vote blocs.

When our friends get into power, they aren't our friends any more.
When a movement is in either political party's hip pocket, it will be sat on.


Saturday, August 28, 2010

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Why Ministers Must be Men

"It is very easy for objectors to say that the reason Christian women were not allowed to become religious ministers back in the 'olden time' was because the position of women in society back then would have made the Christian faith disreputable to outsiders if women were allowed to function in this way . . . The problem with this argument is that it is actually the reverse of the truth. The Christian church did not have to exclude women in order to fit right in. Excluding women from the ministry was the odd thing to do. The ancient world was crawling with priestesses, and if Christians had admitted women into their ministry, no one would have raised an eyebrow. The church took the counter-cultural route and did something that made her stand out -- which is, incidentally, what we are being called to do ...
[In 1 Tim 2] Paul then gives the prohibition that has been the cause of so much controversy. It must be said that the controversy exists, not because Paul said something that was unclear, but rather because he said something that is inconvenient for us, especially for those who want to have a ministry as cool as three-hundred dollar sunglasses...

Monday, August 23, 2010

A Skinflint's Manifesto [Preface] ...

I do not need to spend more than $50 on:

a wristwatch;
a pair of shoes;
a cell phone;
a pair of non-prescription sunglasses.

... societal status symbols.  Refuse to spend your way up the pecking order.

... what else?

Friday, August 20, 2010

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Reverence and Relevance

"If the evangelical Christian leadership thinks that "cool Christianity" is a sustainable path forward, they are severely mistaken. As a twentysomething, I can say with confidence ... If we are interested in Christianity in any sort of serious way, it is not because it's easy or trendy or popular. It's because Jesus himself is appealing, and what he says rings true. It's because the world we inhabit is utterly phony, ephemeral, narcissistic, image-obsessed and sex-drenched—and we want an alternative. It's not because we want more of the same."

- Brett McCracken, in his excellent Wall Street Journal Article, The Perils of Hipster Christianity and Why Young Evangelicals Reject Churches That Try to be Cool. 

My thanks to John M for sending this link to me.  Excellent!


Thursday, August 12, 2010

Something to Consider with your Sons

The 20 Worst-Paying College Degrees in 2010 [shown w/ starting then median salary]

1. Child and Family Studies $29,500 $38,400

2. Elementary Education  $31,600 $44,400

3. Social Work  $31,800 $44,900

4. Athletic Training $32,800 $45,700

5. Culinary Arts $35,900 $50,600

6. Horticulture $35,000 $50,800

7. Paralegal Studies/Law $35,100 $51,300

8. Theology $34,700 $51,300

9. Recreation & Leisure $33,300 $53,200

10. Special Education $36,000 $53,800

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

The 3 Essential Questions

Last weekend, as a birthday present, my dear wife and parents sponsored my going to a local seminar put on by The Institute on the Constitution.  It was taught by Pastor David Whitney [pictured above as the one in the middle kneeling].  I learned a lot.  One of the more memorable quotes was the list below of the 3 essential questions to ask anyone running for office in your community or state. 

1.  Have you read constitution of our nation and state?
2.  What is the purpose of gov’t?  Really, give us the definitive statement to which we can hold you accountable if you do end up in office.
3.  Where is your list?  ... Your impeachment list?  Because so few of our officials on a state or national level have been faithful to their oaths of office to uphold and abide by the constitution and it is time for a reckoning.  Once you take that oath, part of keeping it will mean calling other violators to account.  That is impeachment.  Where do you plan to start?  Where is your list?
[photo: life.com]

Monday, August 9, 2010

Living in Lord of the Flies

In no previous generation of the church did we feel such an “impulse” to connect with the youth. In every previous generation, young people were expected to grow out of it and they were proud when they did. I can still remember tieing my first tie. … how proud I was to tie my first tie myself when I went to church on Sunday morning. So, through all of human history up till about 30 years ago, we cordially opened our arms to the youth and said, “here’s what adult people do and we welcome you to join us as soon as you prove yourself responsible.” And now, many people think that we have to take a different tack and say to the young people, “we want to be like you”.

The last thing any young person needs is any encouragement to be adolescent. They need to be encouraged to be adults and to be responsible. So the last thing we [should] do in ministry to them is tell them it’s fine to remain as youthful people, cut off from everything in their adolescent ghetto. They live in Lord of the Flies. Their electronic media – their Twitters, Facebook, texting and so forth – put them in an adolescent ghetto. More so than any previous generation, they are cut off from the world of adults.

- T. David Gordon, author of Why Johnny Can't Sing Hymns: How Pop Culture Rewrote the Hymnal

Friday, August 6, 2010

The “Gary North” Curriculum

[an abridged article]

Technical skills are learned best on the job. The apprenticeship system is the way to go. If a student finishes high school at (say) 16 or 17, then it's time to find a mentor who will apprentice the high school graduate locally. The student gets a technical skill that has a market.

Meanwhile, the student takes AP, CLEP, and DSST exams to quiz out of college. By age 20, the student is a collage graduate, which the student has paid for with wages from the apprenticeship job. He is ready for a career.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Liberty: the Luxury of Self-Discipline

As for the rage to believe that we have found the secret of liberty in general permissiveness from the cradle on, this seems to me a disastrous sentimentality, which, whatever liberties it sets loose, loosens also the cement that alone can bind society into a stable compound -- a code of obeyed taboos. I can only recall the saying of a wise Frenchman that `liberty is the luxury of self-discipline.' Historically, those peoples that did not discipline themselves had discipline thrust on them from the outside. That is why the normal cycle in the life and death of great nations has been first a powerful tyranny broken by revolt, the enjoyment of liberty, the abuse of liberty -- and back to tyranny again. As I see it, in this country -- a land of the most persistent idealism and the blandest cynicism -- the race is on between its decadence and its vitality.

- Alistair Cooke
photo: www.kued.org

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Soft Tyranny

Michael Gerson, chief speechwriter for President George W. Bush, has written that "if Republicans run in future elections with a simplistic anti-government message, ignoring the poor, the addicted and children at risk, they will lose, and they will deserve to lose." Gerson argues for a "compassionate conservatism" and "faith-based initiatives" in which the federal government plays a central role.

Gerson all but ignores liberty's successes and the civil society in which humans flourish, even though he is surrounded in his every moment by its magnificence. So numerous are liberty's treasures that they defy cataloguing. The object of Gerson's scorn is misplaced. Gerson does not ask, "How many enterprises and jobs might have been created, how many people might have been saved from illness and disease, how many more poor children might have been fed but for the additional costs, market dislocations, and management inefficiencies that distort supply and demand or discourage research and development as a result of the federal government's role?"

Liberty's permeance in American society often makes its manifestations elusive or invisible to those born into it. Even if liberty is acknowledged, it is often taken for granted and its permanence assumed. ...The Conservative does not despise government. He despises tyranny. This is precisely why the Conservative reveres the Constitution and insists on adherence to it. An "effective" government that operates outside its constitutional limitations is a dangerous government. ...The Conservative is alarmed by the ascent of a soft tyranny and its cheery acceptance by the neo-Statist.

-Mark Levin, Liberty and Tyranny