Woe To You

George W. Bush

I don’t know what it is like to be the most hated man in America. It has to be heartbreaking. I know what its like to make mistakes and for those mistakes to cost people money. I know what it is to make mistakes and have people disappointed in my actions. But I don’t know what it is like to be hated. Jesus said, “Woe to you when all men speak well of you…” (Luke 6:26). This is a burden George W. Bush will never have to carry.

George W. Bush is certainly the most hated man in America. This is a tragedy. While I have my issues with certain things he has done in his two terms, while I have anger at the billions of dollars wasted because he wouldn’t say “No” to spending, while I hate the needless loss of life that all war produces, while I think he was far too passive in recent months, it is wrong to hate this good man.

I hear and read people who can scarcely hold their own brains inside their heads they are so filled with hate toward him. But think about this – since 9/11 2001 there have been over 12,222 acts of terrorism by Islamic radicals and not one has been on American soil. It’s not because they didn’t want to do them here.

I am one American who believes the cause of fighting the terrorist who want to destroy this country and our way of life is a just one. I may have used a different “strategery” in the conflicts we faced, but the terrorists have not given up. They live on an ideology of hate. Those Americans who fuel their daily lives by hating George W. Bush will be consumed by it. I heard once that Hate leads to the dark side.

I want to say, Thank you Mr. President for your efforts to fight terrorism. Thank you for your example of grace to people who said the most hateful things about you without swinging back. Thanks for keeping the country free and safe. Thank you for being noble in the face of hate. May you find the respect you deserve on the other side of January 20th.

telemicus out

It Takes a Bigger Man

I guess I’m a small man – in terms of character. I’m gracious when I lose at sports. But when I, or my side, suffer loss in the arena if ideas, I am not so gracious. Ideas and philosophies regarding politics or any other area of life that lends itself to good and bad or right and wrong these are positions we hold on principle. In matters of opinion, everyone has a right of course. However, if we hold positions based on heart-felt beliefs and principles we should not blow them off simply because our side lost.

 

During his concession speech, I didn’t want to hear McCain talking about how wonderful The One is. I wanted to hear him say congratulations and that’s it. Then I wanted him to say to the over fifty-six million people who supported him, “I promised to fight for you and when I get back to Washington I plan to do everything in my power to promote and defend the ideas of conservatism and the constitution we believe in.” But he didn’t side with the people – he sided with The One and promised to work with him. That takes a bigger man than me.

 

Tell me – should we forget the vitriolic horrible things that the left said about the current President as if they didn’t mean it? They did mean it! Every time they called him stupid, they meant it. Every time they called him a liar, they meant it. Every time they accused him of being a traitor, they meant it. And even when they made plans to accuse him of war crimes, they meant that too. The One achieved a victory on Tuesday by beating the current president without mercy on the campaign trail. He made Bush the sole scapegoat for everything that happened in the last eight years. It is an empirical fact that the democrats are responsible for the mortgage collapse. Yet The One waltzed across the country and daily hung it around the Presidents neck while Bush, and the Republicans remained silent.

 

The President came out yesterday with all the class in the world and expressed nothing but graciousness to The One promising to extend every courtesy and help in the transition. It takes a bigger man than me. I would probably send him a note, leave the keys to White House at the security gate, and call it good.

 

Jesus sent the disciples out into the world with the message of the Kingdom saying, “And if any place will not welcome you or listen to you, shake the dust off your feet when you leave, as a testimony against them” (Mark 6:11).  Was he being a bad sport, a sore looser, a small man or was he standing on principles that are beyond compromise? You may say, “Well the principles of the Kingdom are more significant than political opinions.” This is true only to the degree that ones political beliefs are opinion based on preference rather than belief based on principle.

 

For many, the sacredness of the Constitution and the Sanctity of Human Life, just to name a couple, are issues of principle and not opinion. There are times when the cause is bigger than opinion polls and our own reputation with the opposition. But perhaps to understand the value appeasement and capitulation it simply takes a bigger man.

 

telemicus out 

The Courage of Brotherhood

Scott is my brother. He’s been a part of almost everything that I’ve done in my life that was cool. I was about 16 years old when he was born. So I’ve always been older by a good ways. But now we are both grown married men with kids. We share similar views (not matching) on music, religion, politics and sports. I counseled him when he was younger and he has counseled me quite a bit in recent years. We are both fierce in personality, passionate about what we believe and opinionated on a few topics.

Scott challenges me on many fronts. He steps in the path of my generalizations. He checks my impetuous comments. He rebuffs my over-the-top rhetoric and even questions my parenting at times. Because of our relationship, he has the liberty to do these things without damaging our friendship. For all these reasons and more, Scott inspires me to be a better person.

 

I think we each need a person in our lives that inspires us to be better people. Scott is certainly not the only person in my life that plays this role, but he is my brother and that is a big deal. The wise man said, “A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity” (Proverbs 17:17). Scott is my brother by blood, but also through adversity. We’ve been through some tough times and we’ve leaned on each other in those times. When life pounds us and seeks to break our honor and crush our courage, the relationship we share sustains us.

 

Take a look at these comments from a soldier concerning the reliance brother’s in arms while facing the horrors of being in a prison camp.

“Each man’s suffering was our shared concern, each man’s resistance our shared responsibility. We didn’t relieve one another other of the demands of honor. Each man was expected to resist to the best of his ability. But we relied on one another to strengthen our ability, to encourage us when we felt used up, to assure us that there was no dishonor in trying but falling short of how we perceived our duty in one instance, if we recovered and tried again. And we honored the chain of command that supplemented our own understanding of our duty, of its demands and its limits, so that we would not think ourselves cowards for having an exhaustible supply of courage. When we saw both our duty and our courage as common experience, our duty was easier to bear and our courage more at the ready. We completed one another’s sense of honor and it made us stronger.” – John McCain

 

I am fortunate to have people in my life who help complete my sense of honor and make me stronger. My family members all do this in some measure, but Scott does this in a special way. I am grateful for all of these and I depend on them to give me courage and to help me along the way. If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up! (Eccl 4:10). Who is it that completes your sense of honor and makes you stronger?

 

telemicus out 

Do We Need a Stimulus?

Well the geniuses in Washington have decided that we need yet another Stimulus Package. The money they sent earlier this year apparently wasn’t enough. The 700 billion was for the bankers, but now they think they need to give US (the people) some money too. They hope we will use the money to buy or “invest”. Do you see that if we use the new stimulus to buy and invest, then the Wall Street banker types are getting the money again?

 

The tedious Barney Franks (a primary player in the mortgage fiasco) said yesterday that the time is right for deficit spending adding, “There are plenty of rich people that we can tax down the road to get this money back.” This is the most insane thing I’ve ever heard out of a politician. These people are planning and proclaiming before the election that they intend to raise taxes.

 

The One says only the top 5% will see a tax increase. The other 95%, we will all get a tax break. But about 40% of those who earn a paycheck don’t owe any tax at all. (Social security payments are not the same as income tax.) Now we understand that those who don’t make enough to owe any taxes will be getting a refund. Meaning – they plan to take from the producers and give to those who do not produce. This is socialism. It is not American.

 

We try to teach our kids to be responsible people. We want them to work hard, be smart, and pull their own weight. Sometimes they make bad decisions and they need our help to get out of tight spots. It’s altogether proper to do that. But there comes a time when we stop bailing them out. If we continue to rescue them, we soon become enablers of their foolish decision-making. A time always comes when we have to say, “No.” They call this tough love.

 

It’s time to show some tough love to Washington D.C. They need to learn to live on a budget. The American people are not heartless. We have always been willing to help those in need. Americans are good and compassionate people, but we are tired of rip offs and political con artists. We don’t need another stimulus package. We need responsibility, wisdom, respect and restraint. We need a leader who will find the people responsible for the mess we are in and insure that they are removed and unable to ever be in a position to do this again.

 

In the parable of the Talents, Jesus said, “Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!”  Matthew 25:21 They have not been faithful in these things. We should not allow them to have charge over even more. Vote against socialism that would spread the wealth of the workers to the idle hands of takers. Be wise Americans when you vote.

 

telemicus out 

Questions and Answers

Watching the debate last week I noticed how often a question was asked and then both men of whom it was asked simply went right on and said the things they wanted to say, failing to answer the question posed. Then in Bible class, I saw another example of this same thing, but done well. It happened in John 14. Jesus is addressing his apostles on the night before the crucifixion. He is attempting to explain the importance of obedience in the context of love and relationship with him. Take a look at this.

Jesus said, “Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me. He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him.” Then Judas (not Judas Iscariot) said, “But, Lord, why do you intend to show yourself to us and not to the world?” Jesus replied, “If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. (John 14:21-23).

 

Jesus goes on with his discussion, but never directly answers the question. But his point throughout the following verses clearly does answer the question. Jesus always planned to show himself to the world. It was his intention that the world would see him through our obedience, love and relationship with him. Jesus ties love and obedience together and declares that our love for Him and for each other would demonstrate to the world that we are His.

 

I think its alright to leave questions unanswered sometimes if by our continuing comments and actions the answer can be understood. Too many people want easy answers. Voltaire said, “No problem can withstand the assault of sustained thinking.”

 

It’s good when we have a question to ponder. When we roll around in the dirt of thought, it fosters growth in our thoughts and in our souls. It is here that we uncover the treasure of clarity. Wisdom doesn’t float on the surface of the water; we have to mine for it and sort through a lot of gravel and silt to find what is valuable. If you’re in the role of a teacher, it’s alright to hold back the answer. Let your students struggle and dig. If the question is yours, do the work of thinking. Every problem contains within it – its own answer.

 

telemicus out

Character and the Poisoned Waterhole

When I was doing youth ministry, one of the questions parents asked me regularly was, “How do I keep my kid from getting in with the wrong crowd?” The question stretches into the world of celebrity, pro sports, business – yes and even churches. The wrong crowd will always poison the waterhole of character.

 

In the wrong crowd, there is always an Influencer. He (or she) will often suggest the actions that he will not do. He (or she) will talk a degree of crazy that is seen as funny or exciting. Often one or more followers in the crowd will take the initiative of stupidity and do it. The Influencer will never accept responsibility for their actions and will point at followers and say, “I didn’t tell them to do it.” In any crowd – look at the character of the Influencer and you will find the character of the crowd.

 

If you have a child that shows the character of a follower, it is critical that you develop in them a strong sense of what is good and evil, right and wrong. It’s rare that a true follower becomes the Influencer. Therefore, your teaching must be purposed, consistent and pervasive. For a follower, all moments are teaching moments. With a character based on high moral values, the follower will find an Influencer of that same character to follow.

 

When a person “gets in” with the wrong crowd, it doesn’t take long to see the influence of the crowd on a person who was of moldable character. Paul wrote, “Do not be misled: Bad company corrupts good character” (1 Corinthians 15:33). That corruption is not accidental. The Enemy is always seeking to “kill, steal and destroy” lives. This is why character matters – it determines destiny.

 

When a person seeks a position of leadership, whether in an organization, business, politics or a church, he or she is inviting an examination of their conduct, words, character and even relationships. We all encounter people of weak character in life. We make evaluations about them. Sometimes by simply meeting a person, we can sense that they are not good. Others hide the reality of their character, but eventually, the force of truth smashes the wall of deceit and exposes them.

 

One test of character is how quickly we cut ties with those who prove themselves to be without honor. I heard Donald Trump yesterday talking about what a great guy Howard Stern is. He said that the radio/T.V. persona is not who he really is. But you see, we are not allowed such duplicity as to have one set of morals publicly and another in private. Jesus said, “For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks” (Matthew 12:34).

 

The wrong crowd; those who influence our belief system, who sway our actions and nudge us in the direction of their own interest; these poison the waterhole of character. The wrong crowd will not poison a person of noble character. This person will examine associates, sever relationships and maintain integrity of soul. The evil Influencers will hold no sway. “For the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd; he will lead them to springs of living water” (The Revelation 7:17). 

 

telemicus out

A Community Organizer?

You gotta be kidding me. A Democratic labor leader, Cecil Roberts, said a couple of weeks ago, “I used to be a community organizer and I’m in good company; Martin Luther King was a community organizer. Listen, Sarah, Moses was a community organizer and yes, Jesus was a community organizer.”

This was a slap at Sarah Palin.

Jesus was NOT a community organizer. He was a revolutionary. From the moment of his birth, he upset the world. Check out The Revelation chapter 12. In the spiritual realm and the physical, there was an effort to destroy this baby. He lived within a political system poisoned by power and yet he did not organize protests. He did not run for office or a seat with the elders. He did not seek to be a scribe. He went about doing good.

His enemies criticized him for not being religious enough, made fun of his faith, and insulted him by questioning his ancestry. They falsely charged him with blasphemy; they accused him of being demon possessed and of using the devils power. They hated him like no one else.

 

He lived within a religious system that was corrupted by power and hypocrisy. Yet he did not organize a new branch of Judaism. He went to synagogue and worshiped according to the law.  He honored teachers as a boy and challenged them from his teens until his death. His life inspired the godly and convicted the unholy. His love endeared him to the people. Yet he resisted and even refused to become a community organizer (King). He called people to DO good not to organize.

 

His teachings were radical. Among them… He openly called God, “Abba” the most intimate of terms and taught others to do the same. This revolutionary act ushered in a new way of relating to God. He taught his followers a radical new way to live; to love their enemies, to do good to those who hate, to serve those who are demanding, to give and not expect a return, to be holy beyond the law, to sacrifice self for the good of others, to turn the other cheek, and to be kind to the rude.

 

Some call him a pacifist. These people don’t really know him. He took the time to make a whip and then used it to drive people out of His Father’s house who were turning it into a Super Center instead of the Temple of God. And this was not a one time event, but perhaps a habit. They hated to see him coming. Yet he acted alone. He didn’t even organize his own followers to do these things. He called us to stand for good and righteousness and for our Father.

 

Jesus’ declared a new level of morality. He demonstrated dignity toward women. He upheld the sanctity of marriage and the value of family. He modeled forgiveness, but beyond that, he modeled a refusal to pass judgment when society demanded it. He fed the hungry, healed the sick, and rescued those oppressed by the Enemy. In the end, He faced the horrors of hate in his physical body. He bore the weight of the sins of the world on his own soul. He faced the greatest shame and deepest loneliness that a human has ever known and yet forgave his oppressors and loved his own to the very end.

 

Jesus was not a community organizer, he was a radical, revolutionary savior. He changed the world forever. “No one ever spoke the way this man does” (John 7:46).

 

telemicus out

I’m Gonna Say Jesus

You’ve probably heard the story of the children’s Bible class where the teacher gazes at the bright innocent faces of eight first graders and asks, “Can anyone tell me what has long ears, a tiny pink nose, a thick fluffy tail and hops all around?” One little guy timidly raises his hand and says, “Well it sounds like a bunny rabbit, but I’m gonna say Jesus.”

 

I’m afraid we sometimes have the same reaction when we encounter Jesus in harsh realities of life. God is not divorced from the reality of our lives. He is never taken by surprise, at the same time, he doesn’t want us to look at life through religious glasses. Jim McGuiggan said, “Jesus didn’t come to make you religious and take away your life, He came to show you that real life is religious.”

 

Each of us has life biases that inform our attitudes and conduct. Some democrats see the republicans as the cause of every ill. Some republicans see democrats in the same fashion. Teens see the olds as out of touch and olds see teens as disrespectful anarchists. And sometimes Christians see everything that happens through a religious prism that misses the human connection to God.

 

I think we Christians sometimes “spiritualize” things that are just things. In Bible class, guys often talk about events looking through traditional scriptural understanding. The early followers of Christ did not understand the doctrine of redemption. They didn’t get the function of the church. They didn’t understand the nature of his work or his mission. Until after Pentecost, most were clueless as to the spiritual complexities of Christ. So when we assign these understandings and motives, we create a false impression of them and a standard for ourselves that may not be realistic.

 

The things we do and the things that happen to us never surprise Our Father. He may be displeased, but never surprised. He knows what we will do. So when we do what he knew we would, he is neither surprised or disappointed. And being the loving Father that he is, he is always at work to prepare for the moment when we see things correctly, when we are sorry for our actions, when we come to our senses and when we turn back to him.

 

And when we turn back to him, he does not offer guilt, shame or condemnation. He does not express rejection, does not require penance, doesn’t impose a moral quarantine and is not aloof. He doesn’t spiritualize our relationship; our relationship with him is spiritual and human. God gets the human condition.

 

“So what has ten fingers and ten toes, wears clothes, walks upright and loves people?”

 

“Well, it sounds like a person, but I’m gonna say Jesus.”

 

See what I mean?

 

telemicus out

Simple Politics

Simplify I don’t like complicated. It gives me tired head. I don’t want complicated theology. I don’t want complicated cars. I don’t want complicated menus and I don’t want complicated politics. But it seems there are those among us who enjoy taking the simple jewelry of any subject and turning them into a tangled mess of tiny chains that require tweezers, magnifying glass, pliers and the jaws of life to untangle. 

I don’t care if he intended to call her a pig or not. It was a stupid comment and he did know better than to issue the line. But that is the first knot in the necklace. Then the media grabs the it, then the opposition, then the other side and in a while, the point is lost and necklace looks like metallic spaghetti.  

How about we simplify this thing? The role of government is not to solve problems. They don’t know how and they aren’t good at it when they try. They should do fewer things and try doing them well. Well Michael, you’re so bright, what should they do? Thanks for asking. Here is my political theory. 

Government should…

  • Protect the borders from enemies and aliens.
  • Protect the rights and freedoms of the citizens.
  • Protect the helpless (unborn, children, elderly and impoverished.)
  • Maintain a military equipped to defend our nation and stand with our friends.
  • Educate our children through High School.

  • Enforce our laws and punish lawlessness.
  • Live within fair and reasonable tax revenue.
  • Be limited in the degree they can intrude in business.

Government should foster…

  • The private development of business to meet national needs.

  • The private development of business for medical research.

  • The private development of business for scientific research. 

Government should not…

  • Protect its people from failure. (If you fail – it’s on you. Deal with it.)

  • Create debt. (We have to live within our means the government should too.)

  • Bail out failed businesses. (If your business fails – it’s on you. Deal with it.)

  • Police the entire planet. (We cannot be the sheriff for the world.)

  • Give money to our enemies. (If they need aid – we will distribute it, period.)

  • Regulate private behavior

Okay – well that’s my simple look at it. Tell me what you think. Make sure that your suggestion doesn’t fit into one of the sections I’ve listed. I’ll post some of your thoughts as we go along. This could be fun. 

michael out

Hear Me Now – Beleive Me Later

Hanz & Franz I have seen, and you have as well, a parent stand and talk, threaten, bargain, negotiate, cry, yell and even throw things in an effort to get their own child to do what they ask. But if the child knows that the parent is only making racket and will likely never follow through on their shrill threats, they have no reason to obey. 

We are told that the United States should use diplomacy first and force only when it is necessary. I think this is right. However, if the person listening to diplomacy does not believe the person speaking has the resolve to use the necessary force required they will not respond to diplomacy because the speaker has no credibility.  

A friend of mine used to tell his kids, “If you decide to obey after I have to get up or move to get you to obey, you’ll be punished because you didn’t obey at my words.”  

The extreme Islamic fascist who are our enemies are not responsive to words. They understand one language – the overwhelming use of force. The Taliban in Afghanistan had the opportunity to avoid war, but refused. The Iraqi’s had the same option but they ignored the U.N. resolutions not once but over thirty times. All they had to do to avoid war was comply, but they refused. The Russians are much the same now as they were in the early 60’s. They posture and strut around as if we are supposed to fall back in fear at their awesomeness. We never will. 

Some think they can play us. Kim Jong Il comes to mind. That pot bellied little tyrant agreed to dismantle the nuclear reactor in his country so that he could receive aid from the United States. But we hear this week that they have started reassembling the thing in secret. Like a child sneaking into the cupboard to eat his mother’s chocolate chips, Il thinks we wont notice. He will have to suffer significant pain in order to learn the lesson.   

Today, Secretary Rice is going to visit Libya. She is the first ranking US official to visit in over 50 years. Gaddafi learned his lesson about supporting terrorism. He has been behaving himself for many years since Reagan bombed Libya in response to their terrorist activities. After the US overthrew Hussein, Gaddafi also voluntarily gave up his secret WMDs. 

Last night John McCain explained what happened his life that changed him from a self-centered man to a man who loves his country more than himself. In that speech he said, “I hate war.” It should be a last resort. However, if our enemies do not believe that we mean business, they will not respond to talk. Some are wise enough to know that we will respond. Some are too naïve to realize the strength and sophistication they are dealing with. 

And some know if the person sitting at the desk in the oval office can be jerked around. This is why our enemies are hoping that Obama will be president and not McCain. Hear me now – believe me later. 

telemicus out