Open Election

Here is what Ephesians teaches about predestination:

  1. God has determined that the people who put their hope in Christ will be adopted as his children and will become Christlike.
  2. Before he created the world God chose Israel as the people who would live by the promises of God that would ultimately be fulfilled in Christ.
  3. The people of Israel were the first to hope in Christ. They didn’t know his name would be Jesus, in fact through most of Israel’s history they didn’t even know his title would be Christ or Messiah. (The title ‘Messiah’ comes fairly late in Israel’s history and in the literature of the Bible.) But the story of the Bible is forward looking, beginning with God’s call of Abraham through whom all the peoples of the earth are to be blessed
  4. God’s choice of the nation Israel as his “chosen people” seemed like an exclusive thing, like a closed circle. In fact Israel’s various rituals, sacrifices, and purity laws were almost guaranteed to exclude the other nations. But Ephesians is about a surprise: “You Gentiles were included when you heard of Christ and believed in him.” The circle is now open, the wall of separation is broken down, and it was God’s secret plan all along.

Election refers to God’s act of choosing people to belong to him. In Ephesians chapter 1, Paul teaches that election is dynamic, open, and growing. Everyday people from unexpected places are coming into the light and life that Christ offers to us.

Soldier and Mom

Our friend Margaret passed on this exchange of emails she had with her son Klint, who is stationed in Iraq, regarding the election of Barack Obama as our next president.

Klint Replies and Mom Answers

Mom,

I will try and call again later this week. I am running a school that includes driving, shooting, sneaking around in the woods etc. There is a tremendous amount of labor put into this thing and lots of moving pieces all coming together at once, so I am stupid busy and not getting much sleep. No probs though.

The elections. Hmm, I like Obama and I think there will be a lot of positive things that come from his presidency especially as far as international relations go. My concern is a democrat controlled house and senate to go with him.  I feel that socialism is a threat to liberty and as far as I am concerned it is fascism in disguise, a wolf in sheep’s clothing so to speak. So, having all three houses controlled by people who view government as a redistribution center for others peoples money greatly greatly concerns me.

As far as “old white men”, umm if we are going to use racial terms to describe culture then it should be noted that old white men are the reason that our country has one of the highest standards of living and has generated the most wealth and the most stable govt in the history of the world.

The colonial settlers created a cultural blend of entrepreneurship, egalitarianism and protestant work ethic that was unique in the history of the western world  and they formed that culture into a government.

Those principles should not be thrown out nor should they be mocked by those who do not know history or just how horrible life is in so many other parts of the world.

But as with any complex system, there is room for improvement.  This financial crises has exposed the flaw in under-regulation. That does not mean the whole concept is flawed, it just means that the system needs a tune up. Its a matter of not throwing the baby out with the bath water i suppose, but im afraid that populist rhetoric and mentality will give the three branches too much power to change the system towards socialism and we will end up like England with a 50% income tax rate and so many public funding programs that the govt can not keep track of them.

This type of system by its nature can not generate wealth, it only stifles initiative to create wealth or to excel, especially if you know that the govt will strip you of your earnings in order to fund more govt programs that are staffed by people that can not be fired and are not subject to the standards of achievement that are inherent in private enterprise.

I am, however, excited by the prospect of some real change in environment regulation, because as far as that goes the environment is one of those public arenas that affect everyone and is within the realm of govt to monitor and regulate. I am also happy to have someone that is not in the business of personal morality legislation as i feel that what consenting adults do in their own property is their business and should not really fall within the scope of govt regulation.

Anyway, we shall see, I know that the Iraqi army guys are scared to death that we are going to abandon them before everything has become stable.

The changes this year are amazingly dramatic and for these guys it is night and day. Last year they basically expected to die in combat. They almost viewed it as inevitable. Now, they are buying houses and planning weddings and thinking about life other than violence and death. They view Obama’s win with great concern because they think that if we go home now, then it will be back to the meat grinder for them if the Sunnis decide to try and re-take power.

I for one have spent too much of my time and effort over here to see it fall apart because we decided to leave the job 90% finished.   So, these are my concerns here, and I hope they are ill founded.

And you will have to excuse me for not viewing the late 60s and 70s from a viewpoint other than tragic.

I’m sure it was fun, however. At least you weren’t in China or Russia then.   Wow, umm so that’s my rant.   I will try and call this week if my connection is worth a crap.

Love, K

Ok time for Mom’s rant.

First,  while the 60’s and 70’s were definitely scary militarily, i.e,. Cuban Missile Crisis, Vietnam war, etc.  It also had some incredible leaps in science and humanity.  Space travel, men on the moon, civil rights – holy cow!  As a kid can you imagine what it meant to watch the space program evolve!  As a black person I can’t even begin to fathom their coming into a new era of equality with all they had endured in the past.

Alright, “old white men” might have been a bit harsh and yes, our founding fathers were “old white men,” but they had a dream and a plan.  I haven’t seen that since Kennedy.  Time for some new ideas.

As far as socialism and redistribution of wealth, Klint, you’re smarter than buying into that bunk!  Taxation, that we have had since the beginning of the civilized world, is about redistributing the wealth, to the causes that keep a civilized world.

It builds infrastructure, builds programs to help the less fortunate, funds our entire social structure from the local police, firemen, schools,  . . .  and so on.

And the problems we are having with the economy, I believe in part is because the government didn’t get involved and put a kibosh on some of the loan programs.  There is a place for government intervention and yes it is a fine line, but it is still needed.

In some ways we are very similar to the 30’s and the President at that time made some far reaching decisions to turn the nation around that probably looked very “socialistic” in it’s scope, i.e., Social Security, public works programs, banking.  But it worked and we are not a socialist  society, at least as far as I can tell.

Yes, having a president and congress all of the same party could have the potential for bad decisions, but in the same light it could have the potential for passing some far reaching reforms.  Let’s hope that is the case.  I do understand your concerns about Iraq, and undoing what we’ve accomplished. Hopefully Obama will listen to his military advisers, unlike the last president!

Ok I’m done, gotta go to work.  Take care,

love these discussions, can’t wait to have them around the dinner table when you get back!

love,

Mom

love,

Mom

BOO!

This is the eve of All Saints Day.  In the middle ages, evidently the belief was that All Saints Day was an especially holy day.  The faithful throughout the world would be honoring the Saints and the Saints would be interceding for the faithful, and the powers of darkness would be banished, at least temporarily.  But what about the night before all the folks start praying?  The eve of All Hallows Day (another way of saying All Saints Day) was the devil’s last chance to prowl.

I grew up celebrating Halloween as a relatively benign holiday; a chance to enjoy a crisp fall evening, to pretend I was someone else, and to enjoy gifts of free candy from my neighbors.  Then over the years bad things started to happen–or at least to be reported: people contaminating candy and doing other mean things.  Pranks got out of hand and became vandalism.  It has been a bad problem it Detroit–people celebrated Devil’s Night by setting the city on fire!

Then there were reports of Satanic cults, and concern that we shouldn’t be honoring the powers of darkness anyway.  I live in a pretty quiet small town.  A few trick-or-treater’s go out before dark with their parents to houses they know.  Otherwise not much goes on.  We don’t get to many costumed kids at our house because, well let’s see: I’ve only lived here seven years and not everybody knows me, and I’ve been putting off fixing my porch light for seven years . . .

So tonight I got on my bike and stuffed some candy in my handlebar bag.  I rode around searching for trick-or-treaters and delivered the goods to them–in plain view of their parents, of course.

I’m glad the kids are able to enjoy a mild form of the holiday.  Of course parents are right to be cautious.  But I’m glad they’re not entirely paranoid.

We are about 4 day away from an important national election.  Of course there is reason to be concerned.  But let’s not become paranoid.  Maybe I’m naive, but I’m always a little suspicious of conspiracy theories.  Vote your conscience.  Vote for the candidate you are convinced will do the most good or the least harm to the country, as the case may be.  We have to remain vigilant always–but we don’t need to be paranoid yet.

Aw, Come on Al!

Al Gore didn’t help those who would like to overlook the abortion question, in his remarks tonight.  He reminded us that the next president could potentially appoint up to three supreme court justices, and they could potentially vote to overturn Roe V. Wade–if folks vote for McCain.

I was trying to tell myself that abortion is not really a presidential issue–it was the supreme court who overturned the states’ rights to regulate abortion–and in spite of twenty years of Republican presidencies, we haven’t got a court that is conservative enough to send the question back to the states.

The republicans don’t have any enthusiasm for their own candidate.  James Dobson–in spite of his 30 years of opposing abortion–has said he probably can’t vote for John McCain, even though McCain claims to be pro-life.

I wanted to celebrate the fact that 45 years after Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech, our country is getting close to being color blind.  I wanted to be proud of a candidate with connections to my own state.

But then Al Gore reminded me of why the governor of my own state was probably scratched off the list of potential vice-presidential candidates.  The pictures of her embracing and accepting money from one of the few providers of late-term abortions in the nation, would be too controversial, too distracting from the message of change.

And former vice president Gore reminded us that the issue has not gone away.

What’s a Pro-Life Voter to Do?

The archbishop of Denver criticized Nancy Pelosi for misrepresenting catholic teaching on abortion (here).  She claimed that the church was ambiguous on the question of when life begins.  Archbishop Chaput answered that the church has never been ambiguous about abortion–it has always condemned the practice.  Archbishop Chaput even quotes the Protestant theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer, who said,

“the destruction of the embryo in the mother’s womb is a violation of the right to live which God has bestowed on this nascent life. To raise the question whether we are here concerned already with a human being or not is merely to confuse the issue. The simple fact is that God certainly intended to create a human being and that this nascent human being has been deliberately deprived of his life. And that is nothing but murder.”  (From Bonhoeffer’s Ethics)

Candidate Obama has voted against restrictions on late-term abortions and even against a law protecting infants who survive unsuccessful abortion procedures.  A nurse from Chicago has testified under oath several times that she has witnessed this phenomenon several times.  Babies (that’s what everyone calls fetuses after they are born) have been left to die after surviving induced abortions (here).

We are not talking about subtle nuances here–whether a fertilized egg is a person–we are talking about near-term fetuses or even babies surviving outside the womb.

So how can a pro-life voter support a candidate who opposes any restrictions on late-term abortions?

But there is another life-issue–war.  The other candidate says he will keep us in Iraq for one hundred years, if necessary.

Looking back on these two issues, we are really talking about elective abortion and elective war.  No one on the pro-life side wishes to deny abortion when it is medically necessary to save the life of the mother. What bothers so many is when abortion is not necessary, but a choice, an elective option.

The same is true of George Bush’s war in Iraq.  It was an elective war.  We were not under attack, nor were we in imminent danger of attack from Iraq.  Even had it been true that Saddam Hussein was still trying to develop Weapons of Mass Destruction, no one believed he had a missile ready to launch.  So this was an optional war–not a war forced upon us but a war chosen to accomplish a good cause–eliminating a tyrant, bringing democracy to the Middle East–but not a war undertaken for immediate self-defense.

Only one candidate had the judgment or courage to vote against that war.

Help me out readers.  Am I being selfish to think of my own family? In sixteen years my grandson could be sent to Iraq.  Maybe he will be told that the Iraqi government is almost ready to stand on its own–they just need a little more time.  Right now we don’t have a draft–but the current system is unfair to those who enlisted, and there have been senators calling for a reinstatement of conscription.

I assume that all those who enlist for active duty or in the reserves are motivated by the desire to serve their country.  I assume they believe they will not been sent into optional or elective wars.  They will not be called upon to enter harm’s way unless it is absolutely necessary.  In that case we will want a president with a proven record of good judgment.

So here is my problem.  How can I vote for a candidate who supports elective, optional late-term abortion?  How can I vote for a candidate who supports elective, optional war?

You might say the answer is either don’t vote or vote for a third party candidate.

The problem with that for me is that it would be avoiding my responsibility.  Barack Obama or John McCain will be our next president (of course, barring unforseen tragedies or divine intervention).  I have a responsibility to choose one of these candidates.  Which pro-life issue is more important?  Or do I call it a draw and vote on the other issues?  In that case, the choice to me is clear enough.