Wednesday, June 11, 2008
Friday, November 9, 2007
Caffeinated Thoughts has moved, and is no longer called Caffeinated Thoughts. I moved my entire blog over to http://shanevanderhart.wordpress.com. Check it out, and if you already have me on your blogroll please update it. If not, please go ahead and add it!
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Thursday, November 8, 2007
The recent endorsement of Rudy Giuliani by Pat Robertson has me fired up. There was nothing in his endorsement that led me to believe that he was basing his decision on a Christian worldview. Rather it seemed that fiscal conservatism and the war on terror seemed to be his main reasons for the endorsement.
And Giuliani's "bold vision". What bold vision? What has Guiliani said or done that would make him better in the war on terror than any of the other GOP candidates (with the exception of Ron Paul)? It seems that Robertson cares more about advancing the GOP than his principles.
Jim Wallis of Sojourners wrote a blistering critique of this endorsement. I don't agree on much with Wallis, but this I do:
Remember Robertson's merciless attacks on President Bill Clinton's lapses of sexual morality with Monica Lewinsky? Or his comments about how the 9/11 attacks were the result of America's tolerance for homosexuals and abortion?
Now Robertson is for Rudy, a thrice married adulterous husband, who is estranged from his own children and is both pro-choice and pro-gay rights. According to Pat Robertson's twisted moral logic, forgiving the social conservative shortcomings of Republicans is a Christian virtue, so long as the same virtue is never applied to Democrats. But Pat thinks Rudy can beat Hillary, and Pat really cares about winning for the Republicans.....
Pat Robertson clearly has taken another position. His endorsement of Rudy Giuliani will seem to many to be unprincipled hypocrisy (emphasis mine).
Where I would part ways with Wallis is that I don't see any Democrats that would be worthy of my vote. I'm not sure that a caucus or primary vote or endorsement for Giuliani is a pragmatic one anyway... I'm not convinced that he will win the GOP nomination. I believe that I as a believer in being salt in the political process (Matthew 5:13) need to vote for the very best candidate. It needs to be a principled vote. It should be a vote that is reflective of values I hold near and dear. Especially in the nomination process. The thought of a Giuliani-Clinton race is troubling for me. I don't want to vote against a certain candidate, I want to vote for in support of one. That is why Mike Huckabee has my support. I believe he is the candidate that best represents my values. By the way, I do not believe that a vote for Huckabee is not pragmatic. Some believe he can win in Iowa giving him further momentum.
Principles before pragmatism and principles should come even before party (yes I would vote for a pro-life, pro-family values Democrat before a pro-choice Republican).
Update #2 - I just read this blog post by Jonathan Garthwaite. Huckabee's statement contained within is a thoughtful warning about what power can do.
Wednesday, November 7, 2007
Joe Carter is right on waterboarding. Waterboarding is torture and should never be condoned by Christians. We need to advocate that people who are created in the image of God be treated with dignity. I encourage you to check out his well written post on the subject.
You can read about it here. I didn't even know he had a blog. I've enjoyed a few of his books, so I'm now a happy subscriber of his blog as well.
Tuesday, November 6, 2007
My mom on Sunday handed me an article she was given and wondered what I thought. The article written by David Kirkpatrick entitled "The Evangelical Crackup" was in last week's New York Times. It has been blogged on quite a bit, but I didn't get a chance to read it until yesterday. After reading the article it seems to me to be an attempt at an obituary of the Religious Right and wishful thinking on the part of the liberal mainstream media (MSM).
Here is the gist of the this article:
“There was a time when evangelical churches were becoming largely and almost exclusively the Republican Party at prayer,” said Marvin Olasky, the editor of the evangelical magazine World and an informal adviser to George W. Bush when he was governor. “To some extent — we have to see how much — the Republicans have blown it. That opportunity to lock up that constituency has vanished. The ball now really is in the Democrats’ court.”
You don't really see evangelicals lining up to join the Democratic party. Yes, polling shows that some evangelicals are leaving the GOP, but they are not necessarily going to the Democratic party. You are seeing a broadening of evangelical social concern which I believe is a good think, and a realization that we should not be beholden to one political party.
The article itself is mostly a rehash of the dominant media perspective on evangelicals and politics, though it is noteworthy for Kirkpatrick's style of "journalism by name-dropping." The 7900 word article manages to cram in the names of 23 evangelicals leaders: Terry Fox, Jerry Falwell, James Dobson, Pat Robertson, Paul Weyrich, D. James Kennedy, Rick Warren, Bill Hybels, Marvin Olasky, David Welsh, Ralph Reed, Frank Page, Rick Scarborough, David Wells, Scott McKnight, Jim Wallis, Tony Perkins, Gene Carlson, Todd Carter, Joe Wright, Paul Hill, Harry Jackson, and Donald Wildmon.
But while Kirkpatrick focuses on the cult of personality, the true crux of the conservative Christian political movement is based on a culture of principles. Rather than focusing on a "Who's Who" of Christian leaders, an adequate understanding of the "evangelical Right" requires the recognition and prioritization of six core principles.
These principles of Christian political engagement were outlined in the National Association of Evangelicals' paper - "For the Health of the Nation, An Evangelical Call to Civic Responsibility".
- We work to protect religious freedom and liberty of conscience.
- We work to nurture family life and protect children.
- We work to protect the sanctity of human life and to safeguard its nature.
- We seek justice and compassion for the poor and vulnerable.
- We work to protect human rights.
- We seek peace and work to restrain violence.
- We labor to protect God's creation.
Carter goes on to say that there is a broad consensus among evangelicals, but there is a broad range of viewpoints on how each relates to specific issues because we do not have a developed political theology and tend to borrow from non-religious political philosophies (liberal, conservative, etc.) or glean from other traditions like Catholic social thought.
This is why evangelicals can agree on how the sanctity of life affects our position on abortion while disagreeing on how it relates to the death penalty. Likewise, we agree on the principle of seeking peace and restraining violence but differ on how this affects our view of the Iraq War. What Kirkpatrick is noticing is not a "crackup" among evangelicals but the continual re-prioritization of principles and disagreements over how they correlate with specific issues. At the level of the level of the church and community this is an ongoing, never-completed process.
Carter notes that the emphasis of the different priorities will fluctuate with different leaders and groups. So when one leader places an emphasis on seeking justice and compassion for the poor and vulnerable that doesn't mean there is a disagreement with the other principles. MSM erroneously places too much attention on different personalities with the evangelical community, when this is just a natural fluctuation in the prioritization of principles and issues.
Kirkpatrick's piece does point out a problem however he writes...
Conservative Christian leaders in Washington acknowledge a “leftward drift” among evangelicals, said Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council and the movement’s chief advocate in Washington. He told me he believed that Hybels and many of his admirers had, in effect, fallen away from orthodox evangelical theology. Perkins compared the phenomenon to the century-old division in American Protestantism between the liberal mainline and the orthodox evangelical churches. “It is almost like another split coming within the evangelicals,” he said.
I'm not exactly sure what "orthodox evangelical theology" Perkins is referring to? You have to be pro-Iraq war in order to be orthodox for example? We should not confuse the GOP platform with evangelical theology, which I'm afraid some have done and that is a problem.
Anyway I wouldn't play a funeral dirge just yet.
Monday, November 5, 2007
Sunday, November 4, 2007
Something tells me there is more to this story than what John Carlson is reporting. I don't understand why the Register felt this was worthy of being front page news. From what I read in the article it sounds like this person hasn't been a part of Trinity Lutheran Church in Conroy, IA (LCMS) for a very long time. I've always wondered why people who are no longer active in a church still want their names on the membership roles.
I'm sure it could have been handled better though. I do applaud the church for not defending itself and not talking to the press in what they say is an internal matter, in other words, "Carlson it is none of your business!"
What do you think?
Saturday, November 3, 2007
I seem to have a Star Wars thing going. I'm at a hotel room with three high school guys and my intern for R.Y.E. (Regional Youth Event). One of the students, Robert, showed me this video on YouTube. It is a Star Wars version of "Cops" hilarious.
Friday, November 2, 2007
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Jonathan McKee wrote an excellent article at thesource4ym.com (link below). Having been both a youth pastor in three local churches and now working for a para-church ministry this article resonates with me. What do you think. One thing that really jumped out at me was a quote by Chap Clark who is a professor of youth & family ministries at Fuller Theological Seminary, author of the book Hurt: Inside the World of Teenagers, and long-time veteran of Young Life.
"'Young Life is an expression of the Body of Christ reaching out to the world, and so they are an extension of the Church."
Para-Church ministries are part of the local church. There shouldn't be any competition, and our kingdom building gets in the way of the true Kingdom. What do you think?
(HT: Gerrard Fess)