Wednesday, October 31, 2007

My Christmas Gifts - Part 1

A confession - I look forward to each Christmas season for the gifts that I get, but not the pretty wrapped ones on Christmas morning like when I was a child. Time spent with family, good food, vacation days, good food - these are all things I look forward to, and as much as I love and treasure those things, they are not the gifts I most anticipate.

I love hearing Christmas music everywhere - Christ-centered Christmas music. I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas is OK, but it doesn't hold a candle to the traditional carols and some of the more recent Christian Christmas standards. Besides, 5 winters of snow shoveling in Cleveland, OH, kind of tarnishes the White Christmas image for me.

My most favorite Christmas song has to be Move Me Closer (A Shepherd's Hymn) recorded in 1987 by Evie. It tells the story of a mantle-manger-set shepherd asking to be moved closer to the Child. It wraps the spirit of Christmas up for me.

Each Christmas for several years now, as I'm driving down the road and listening to the radio, there it is! Move Me Closer begins to play. Sometimes I just turn the radio on and the song begins to play as if it was just waiting for me to get in and start the car. Usually, I'll only hear it once each season. What a precious gift!

The album Move Me Closer is on has long been out of print and has become a collector's item - with a collector's item price. I once bid on a copy on eBay but dropped out after the price went above $50. Just today, I finally purchased a used copy of the CD. I have a habit of copying my favorite songs onto a few CDs so I don't have to carry a CD library in my car, but I don't think I'm going to do that with this song.

Even though I will have the CD and could play the song any time I want, I want to continue to anticipate and be surprised anew each Christmas season as God gives the gift of this special song and its message to me.

Move me closer to the Child ...

Monday, October 29, 2007

The god of the Mirror

Very interesting 10 segment video of a debate between Christopher Hitchens (God is Not Good) and Dinesh D'Souza (What's so Great About Christianity) at King's College NYC on You Tube. The first segment is here.

There has been a recent glut of "God/religion is bad" books by the likes of Richard Dawkins and Hitchens. As I have read commentaries and books on these, watched videos as the above, and based on my own experience with local atheists (including my semi-atheist younger self), two thoughts have been firming up in my mind.

One thought is that even when these people are willing to assume God's existence, they form their ideas, writings, and speech around the god of the mirror - not God, but a god fashioned in their own image. So, when Christopher Hitchens rails about how immoral god is, he is absolutely right. He's seeing his own image in the mirror. It's like those who choose to marvel at man's engineering and scientific greatness in building a magnificent telescope rather than be awestruck at the wonders revealed.

Then, notice the cool calculated vehemence and loathing coming through in Hitchens. Add to that the fact that these writers have all but given up on trying to support their positions with credible arguments and evidence - reason is thrown out the window. I recommend Alister and Joanna Collicutt McGrath's book, The Dawkins Delusion, where he and his wife expose the non-existent arguments of Richard Dawkins in his book, The God Delusion. On the cover of The Dawkins Delusion, atheist Michael Ruse is quoted: "The God Delusion makes me embarrassed to be an atheist, and the McGraths show why."

It's right out in the open. It seems we have turned a corner; the wraps are coming off; gasoline is being thrown on the fire.

Opportunity knocks.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Compromising on Rudy

There was a reported meeting of pro-life leaders, including Dr, James Dobson, where the leaders expressed their willingness to vote for a third party candidate rather than support a so-called compromise anti-life/anti traditional family candidate who would promise to do some pro-life/pro-family things - i.e. nominate strict constructionist Supreme Court justices, etc. In the pro-life community, there is debate among honest and sincere people as to whether this is a resonable course of action.

The debate basically breaks down along 2 paths. One group supports Dr. Dobson et al's approach which is in effect a shot across the Republican Party's bow to try to force them to walk the walk , not just talk the talk. The other group, it seems to me, basically argues that fewer unborn babies would die under a compromise candidate who presumably could win against Hillary. Too me, this is a lesser evil approach.

Below is something I posted to the blog at Stand to Reason on this subject. This is certainly not an exhaustive treatise on the above options - that may come in time.

One thing I would add is that if the Republican Party nominates a compromise candidate for president, I will immediately change my voter registration from Republican to Independent.

In my opinion there are 2 absolutely non-negotiable moral issues - 1) the sanctity of life, and 2) support for traditional one man one woman marriage for life. I will not support a candidate who is not whole heartedly behind these issues.

A president has the bully pulpit, national and local speaking opportunities, cabinet appointments, and the veto to help persuade and advance these moral issues. The promise to appoint strict constuctionist judges, without the heart and will to be aggressively pro-life/pro-family is simply inadequate.

Compromise in legislation may be acceptable when it is a case of saving no unborn lives vs saving a few, but compromising on electing a president and the support that gives to his party's apparatus, does not seem to me to be analogous to compromising on legislation.
I don't care which party it is, but we currently have one party with planks that support our positions. The election of a compromise candidate will all but ensure the pro-life/pro-family voice will be totally ignored in future elections.

If the Republican party is made to believe that pro-life and pro-family voters will not vote for a compromise candidate on these issues, then it can make the decision to commit suicide and have a new party rise from the ashes or embrace the strength of these positions.

Only God knows if Hillary Clinton has a chance to win against Mike Huckabee. I would almost go so far as to say if Huckabee (just using him as an example) is given a chance to promote his positions, pro-life/pro-family voters get solidly and aggressively behind him, and then he loses, America deserves what it gets and the blame will be on us -- the Christians and their pastors who woke up way too late to the poison we allowed to flourish in our nation. We ignored Francis Schaeffer until it was too late.

I expect moral leadership from a president and I will not vote for one who cannot provide that.

God help us.