Friday, August 29, 2008

He Gets It!

For more of her profile, from a conservative commentator read this

This presidential race is like a tennis match. Last night Barack Obama gave a strong overhead smash with his speech last night. This morning McCain digs out Obamas best shot and lobs it back over Barack Obama's head. McCain may not "get it" as far as policies go, but if this works it will be the most brilliant politcial move in history. And when I got on the phone with my mom in Alaska this morning she said, "You called it in June!" Because I said this was a possibility.

Let me tell you why this is such a good call:

1. It works for the base of evangelical Christians. Palin is a pro-life mother of five.

2. She is not wealthy. Her husband still works a blue-collar job. She ran her campaign for governor out of a mini-van going from town to town for goodness sake. Her husband is, however, a world champion snowmobile guy.

3. She is a reformer. She won against an incumbent in an incumbant party in her campaign for governor. After getting in office, she fired the cooks and sold the airplane comped to the governor of Alaska. She chose to fly commercial instead. Cheaper and more practical. Then she went to work rooting out corruption in Juneau, and with other government workers. She has also been a reformer as a mayor as well.

4. Who better to defend the war on terror than a mother of a son who is being deployed to Iraq in the next couple of months?

5. If Mccain leaves the thought out there that he might be done in four years, she may be a real threat to be the first woman president in four years.

6. She is more of a change candidate than Obama, Biden, or McCain.

7. She is from the west. I was getting sickened by the "beltway" stuff with the media and everyone pushing east coast media and candidates. This is important. Western republicans are what she personifies. Blue collar. Middle class folks that emphasize low taxes and moral living. One of the discussions I have with my wife from time to time is which party is more populist. In Michigan, it is democrats that are populist. In the West, democrats are an overeducated crowd of elites, pot smokers, and deviants in much of popular thought. This establishes the ticket as conservative Western brand of conservatives. (California does not count as the West--its different)

8. Her husband is a member of the United Steel Workers union

9. She is young.

10. She is good looking. That does not hurt.

11. She is a small town gal. Well...kinda. She is from Wasilla. Most Americans consider Wasilla a small town. Most Alaskans consider Wasilla suburb of Anchorage. Either way, it is something that the media is suspicious about but something even a lot of big city america will love.

12. She is an outdoorswoman who has not shot anybody (like our current VP)

13. Nobody can say this looks like the Bush/Cheney brand of Republicanism, even if they agree about many things.

14. It showed McCain can outdo Obama in keeping an secret with that stupid text message stuff. It may be small potatoes. But it does matter that McCain can deliver, while Obama is all talk.

15. She is a working mom.

Anyone in the media talking about the Obama speech now? Nope. Convention bounce. I think will be gone by the weekend for the Democrats.

Never underestimate John McCain. The Republican candidates did at their peril. The Democrats are in danger of doing the same.

The picture that will haunt Palin

Football Picks

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Akron 0-0
Wisconsin #13 0-0

I pick Wisconsid

Bowling Green 0-0
Pittsburgh #25 0-0

I pick Pittsburg

Coastal Carolina 0-0
Penn State #22 0-0

I pick Penn State

Youngstown State 0-0
Ohio State #2 0-0

Ohio State

Virginia Tech #17 0-0
East Carolina 0-0

I may regret this, but East Carolina in an upset

Georgia Southern 0-0
Georgia #1 0-0


Hawaii 0-0
Florida #5 0-0

Florida, but it will be closer than expected

Villanova 0-0
West Virginia #8 0-0

West Virginia kills Villinova

Southern California #3 0-0
Virginia 0-0

USC in a close game that exposes USC weaknesses

Appalachian State 0-0
LSU #7 0-0

LSU within 14 points

Northern Iowa 0-0
Brigham Young #16 0-0

BYU in a close game

Florida Atlantic 0-0
Texas #11 0-0

Texas will win, but it will be within 10 points

Chattanooga 0-0
Oklahoma #4 0-0

Oklahoma KILLS Chattanooga

Florida International 0-0
Kansas #14 0-0

Kansas wins

Louisiana-Monroe 0-0
Auburn #10 0-0

Auburn wins

Tennessee-Martin 0-0
South Florida #19 0-0

South Florida

Eastern Washington 0-0
Texas Tech #12 0-0

Texas Tech wins

Alabama #24 0-0
Clemson #9 0-0

Alabama in an upset

Illinois #20 0-0
Missouri #6 0-0

Illinois in an upset

Washington 0-0
Oregon #21 0-0

Oregon wins

Northern Arizona 0-0
Arizona State #15 0-0

Arizona state wins easily

Home Run Acceptance Speech

This evening I took a few moments after the Obama acceptance speech to check out what others were saying. Steve decided to mock the Obama-messiah complex through his very conservative blog. Jason gushed about how he felt a tingle go up his spine.

Have you seen it? What were your impressions? My impression was it was a home run.

The narrative he is selling is about moving forward. As of the end of the speech, McCain's narrative is about the past.

It is interesting how Obama is morphing his story is about himself to be "an all-American story". A story about rising up from poverty, about being in a single parent home, about the power of a loving family, about choosing to be with those suffering instead of pursuing wealth and power as a young man. At times, they border on making Obama appear "messianic". This will work against him in many circles. Still, the Obama campaign is about the future. McCain seems to be about recovering the past.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

My presidential campaign

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Wednesday, August 27, 2008

MSNBC and FOX NEWS joined at the hip

I cannot say I am really a moderate poltically. What I can say is that I am strongly conservative on some issues, strongly liberal on others, and radically moderate on others. So, I do not really fit in a poltical box.

About 8 years ago, I was a strong devotee to FOX NEWS. Fox was smart. I especially liked (and still do to a certain extent) Special Report with Brit Hume. I liked the all star panel at the end (which by the way has become more and more conservative). I watched O'Reilly reguarly and Hannity and Colmes occasionaly. Although, Hannity's way of thinking and his poor sense of logic have bothered me. Through the years, especially after 9/11, he has become more frequently irrational.

About 3 years ago, I started drifting over to MSNBC for some news coverage. I liked Tucker once he took his bow tie off. I have grown to enjoy, and still do, Hardball with Chris Matthews. Since I met my wife I watch a little of Countdown with Keith Oberlmann, but have never really liked him too much as a newsman. (Keith was a great sports guy) As much as Keith criticizes Billo, if their styles and egos are any indication, they could have been cojoined twins.

Last week they transitioned through Dan Abrams from Tucker Carlson to Rachel Maddow. The Air American diva makes the MSNBC transformation complete. Now MSNBC is as irrationally left wing as FOX NEWS is irrationally right wing. MSNBC and FOX NEWS are the same media philosophy, just with different political angles. They are joined at the hip.

Where does that leave folks like me? Anderson Cooper and Larry King as moderates? I don't think so.

I am very disappointed.

Quotes for Today--from 11 by Leonard Sweet

Anyone who doesn't need company is either greater than a man, and is a God, or lesser than a man, and is a beast
Aristotle, as quoted by Thoman Aquinas

The church is a community of people on a journey to God.
Larry Crabb

To journey without being changed is to be a nomad
To change without journeying is to be a chameleon.
To journey and be transformed by the journey is to be a pilgrim
Mark Nepo

In the beginning is relation.
Martin Buber

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Fruit Loop

Today I had a visit to one of our seniors in Ordway, about 18 miles from home. I took the long way around through Rocky Ford and stopped at the Knapp Fruit Stand. I ended up purchasing watermelon and some Palisade Peaches. Rocky Ford has a lot of agricultural business, and it is just down the county from us.

While I was at the fruit stand I though I would take some pictures of the produce:

Who knew that Rocky Ford was also a big onion producer. I did not. We usually buy onions one at a time though.

There were also pinto beans there that were locally harvested

This the flower garden next to the fruit stand. This is something I would like as a flower garden.

These are watermelons. I have never seen this type of watermelon before! How interesting.

Freshly harvested dill weed. You do not see that every day!

Most honeydew melon I have ever seeh has a greenish hue. Here, we see white honeydew in front, and yellow honeydew to the back left. To the right in the back are Rocky Ford Sweet Melons.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

In the news

The Fowler Tribune has an article about us in the paper!

New Camera, New Computer

This is the new computer that was provided for by a generous gift of my mother's friend in Arizona. We also hooked up wireless internet in the parsonage, so now we are wirelessly equipped both at the house and at the office. Cool huh?

Also, this picture was taken with the new camera that my mother and sister got me for my birthday.

In addition to a camera, money, and lots of cards for my birthday, I also recieved a trailblazers hat, some basketball shorts from walmart, a couple of t-shirts, and an itunes gift card.

It feels good to be loved!

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Lately, I have gotten back to a habit that works well for me. Early on in my ministry in Colorado Springs, I discovered that I do well in using small group Bible study materials for my personal devotional times. It serves the double function of helping me review materials for small group use at a later date. Recently, I have been working my way through John Stott Bible Studies.

I started out working throught the Pastoral Epistles (The pastoral epistles are three books in the Bible that are letters written to young pastors on how to lead their congregations). I figured that would give me a good start on my first senior/solo pastorate. Right now I am working through a study on the book of Romans. Studying Romans has been good for me. I have avoided Romans in my preaching and teaching for a while. Why? First of all, it so utterly propositional in the way that it communicates truth. It is theology as stated in a theological tretise. And, to be honest, some of the logic in Romans as it relates to Abraham gets me all turned around. Not so much because I cannot understand Paul's point, but I have a hard time following how he arrived at his point. But slowly I am getting some of the points of the book. And it does not hurt that so much of the book is rooted in the experience of Abraham, and I have just been teaching about Abraham from Genesis in the pulpit.

Most compelling to me so far is the description of God's wrath in chapter 2. God's wrath, as you read on, is expressed in a "giving over" of people. The punishment for sin is being given over to the power of sin and the suffering that sin brings (both eternal and temporal). Very interesting to think about.
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Some quotes for today

In the Christian tradition condemnation is an element of we condemn most properly in the act of forgiving, in the act of separating the doer from the deed.
From The End of Memory by Miroslav Volf (15)

Grace is not opposed to effort, it is opposed to earning.
From The Great Ommission by Dallas Willard (61)

What we call hindrances are really the raw material of spiritual life.
From Yours, Jack by C.S. Lewis (20)

It is hard when your busiest time at work and the Olympics coincide. My wife finds it amusing that I get so wound up about women's gymnastics, and that I keep insisting that badminton can be a very active and exciting sport. That is especially the case when I start working on my floor routine or beam routine on teh way to the restroom as we are watching television.

This may sound strange, but one of the times I am most proud to be an American is when I watch the Olympics. One of the things that I am most proud about in our country is the diversity we have. In many other countries, most of their citizens look alike. We have Olympians with different roots from all over the country. It is neat to see faces with historic Asian, African, Latin, European, and North American influlence.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

The Saddleback Showdown

I enjoyed watching Rick Warren of Saddleback Church do his interview with the two main presidential candidates. Here are my observations:

On Barack Obama:

I think that Obama should be commended for going to a setting that was so clearly leaning in McCain's direction. Not very many other democrat party candidates would have done the interview, and even fewer would have done as well as Obama.

Many of Obama's answers were well answered in an intelligent and thoughtful manner. Some of them, however, were just plain long-winded. I think Obama got the "conversational spirit" of the event, and approached the event the way it should be approached. Evangelicals lean republican, but as an evangelical I think it is obvious that Obama seems more pallatable to evangelicals than folks like Gore and Kerry. He made it clear to hard line pro-life persons that he will not vote with them.

The strength of McCain's answers was that he was clear and concise. Americans like clear and concise. There were a lot of one word and two word answers, followed by further explainations. The weakness of McCain's appearance is that he seemed to be running upon his experiences 20-40 years ago, instead of offering a vision for the future. McCain solidified his pro-life bona fides.
It will be fun to see the two of them debate.

New Plan

I want to be more regular in my blogging. I am having a hard time actually doing so. So now I am putting myself on a schedule:

Monday--Cultural observations (music, tv, movies)
Tuesday--Political Prattle
Wednesday--Quotes of the week
Thursday--Life in Fowler
Friday--Football picks starting next week, Book Reviews
Saturday--This weeks big life lesson

I reserve the right to share life learnings, thinking on faith and God, ministry and other random things anyday. I may cover some things on my list other than what is mentioned. But being a more disciplined blogger has to start somewhere.

Friday, August 08, 2008

Alpha Dog

I have been thinking a lot about dog training and church leadership. In what ways are we socially like dogs? Are there behaviors of leaders of the packs with dogs that I need to relate to my leadership of a congregation? In what ways in this metaphor inappropriate?

This, as a matter of fact, is at the heart of my boundaries discussion of previous month. A large school of thought of my mentors and in my training says that pastors should be "lovers and historians" of their congregations for the first six months to one year of their tenure. This means not making any major initiatives or challenges to your congregation. Yet, instinctually, there is a deep sense that I need to establish my self as a leader fairly quickly here in Fowler.

This is even more in my mind after this week. This week I have worked with two pastors that both advocate a strong, patriarchal, top down leadership structure in ministry as THE biblical model of church leadership. It has worked for one church very well, and the other church seems to be just emerging from the difficult time.

I tend to be a democratic leader and a consensus builder as a leader. The problem is, in both my ministries in Montana and in Colorado Springs, I gave away my power as leader in order to support people I worked with. Then, I would end up frustrated because I leveraged my authority to gain support and help in the ministry I was leading. Of course, those other two situations are different in some ways because I was in a support staff person.

Yet, while I want to be a "lover and historian" of my congregation, I want to establish myself as a competent leader in the congregation.

I am stil thinking abou it all...

Thoughtful articles regarding race and current events

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar wrote this thoughtful piece for the Los Angeles Times: Don't Understand the Protests? Phil Vischer (of Veggie Ta...