Back in the Blogging Saddle

I’ve taken an extended break from the blog and from publishing columns. That’s because, since October, 20151208_104503I’ve been proudly serving on Governor Matt Bevin’s Transition team. In October we were focused on pre-election transition activities, then election night happened (I got to be there as returns came in and the whole thing was very exciting) and the very next morning everything went into hyperdrive. Suddenly, it was Governor Elect Bevin and there were only 30 days till inauguration. It was NUTS. But also very exciting and educational.

Now that I am free to write columns again, I find I just don’t know what to say. The whole world is just beyond description. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the Political world. At a time with the strongest Republican field I can ever remember, at a time when the world is as serious as its ever been, it looks like we are going to nominate a narcissistic megalomaniac for President. Trump, Clinton, or Sanders, are all equally unqualified to lead the free world at any time but certainly not at a time like this.

As if things weren’t crazy enough now Falwell Jr. President of Liberty University and Dr. Jeffress of First Baptist Dallas have endorsed Trump. (Jeffress didn’t technically endorse Trump but he might as well have, he appeared with him and introduced him). I assume these two gents have a little more than a 20151208_123011passing knowledge of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. So why endorse the one candidate who has repeatedly stated that he does not need God’s forgiveness because he “leads a really good life”. This is the exact opposite of the gospel that calls for each of us to humble ourselves before the cross. These two do this at a time when Rubio just the other day gave the most fabulous testimony I have ever heard from any politician and magnificently articulated the gospel and its outworking in his life. Ted Cruz has done almost as good a job and has expressed his love for Christ with great sincerity. Cruz’s father was delivered from alcoholism when he came to Christ and is now a pastor. Apparently for Jeffress and Falwell its more important that Trump has gold decorations in his airplane. I don’t even have words.

The World We See.

There has been much in the news over the past couple of months that I have wanted to comment on. I hope to get back to blogging soon. Until then, the gun control debate reminded me of this post, originally written on Christmas 2012, after Sandy Hook. Wanted to republish it now.

 

I will not spend a word of this blog post rehashing or reiterating. By now, everyone knows what happened. Everyone in the nation, perhaps around the world, is simply trying to grasp this. There is no mystery about what occured (are the details even important in the grand scheme). The questions now are all about…why? How can someone do such a thing?

To answer that I will review a bit of a conversation I heard last night between Bill O’Reilly and Geraldo.

O’Reilly: You would classify this as evil wouldn’t you? I mean that’s what this is…”

Geraldo:  Bill, Evil is not strong enough this is beyond evil.

O’Reilly: There is something terribly wrong going through our society and there is nothing we can do about it. I mean we can’t stop it.

Another reporter  on another show said: “With all that we have seen in recent years, we have never seen anything like this.”

All three of these people are incorrect. I don’t say that to judge. They are stuggling as I am, as we all are, to get our heads around this.

But I know that evil IS a strong enough word. I know that we HAVE seen it like this and have seen it many times, and I know that there IS something we can do about it. In fact I’ve seen it myself, close up and personal. I’ve experienced it. That’s why I live to fight it.

Dietrech Bonhoffer, the great Christian theologian took a stand against Hitler in the late 1930’s and early during the second war. The Nazi’s murdered him for taking that stand. He was imprissoned repeatedly, He was hauled around in a panel truck where he was stacked liked cordwood along with other former German dignataries that had dared to question Der Fuhrer. They were kept in the truck for stretches as long as 20 hours. They had no choice but to urinate and defecate on one another. Eventually Bonhoffer was hung at Tegel military prison.

From that prison cell, Bonhoffer wrote these words: The great masquerade of evil has played havoc with all our ethical concepts. For evil to appear disguised as light, charity, historical necessity or social justice is quite bewildering to anyone brought up on our traditional ethical concepts, while for the Christian who bases his life on the Bible, it merely confirms the fundamental wickedness of evil.

The fundamental wickedness of evil…He is talking about here evil disguising itself as something good in order to find a way to wreak destruction. Evil is a strong enough word. This is evil…this slaughter of innocent five year olds…this is what it looks like. As Christians we have been warned of this. This is the self same dark force in the universe that scourged an innocent Christ until he was nearly disembowled. This is the same force that nailed him to a cross and then mocked him. This is the same force that motivated Hitler to lead toddlers to the ovens.

We HAVE seen this before. We see it nearly every day. We see it when we hear of young boys raped by a football coach who masqueraded as someone they could trust and someone that cared for them. We see it when any innocent young child is harmed anywhere in the world. We see it in modern day genocides in Africa. We see it when ISIS beheads, rapes, and tortures. This is  how evil manifests itself. There are no limitations to its outworking of death and destruction there is no remorse present in evil there is no compassion within it.

This is the same force that lures us in with lust, or drugs, or even a promise of alleviating loneliness. It lures with something attractive so that it can rip apart and utterly devastate.

This is the force of darkness that the Bible warns about over and over and over. They are warnings which our culture scoffs at over and over and over. The same people on TV today saying, “Lift a prayer”, will be the same people saying, “How dare you use the word sin…how dare you judge…” tomorrow. There is an enmity with good present in our hearts that wants to stop us from truly admitting that there is evil. It prevents us from doing that one thing that can be done.

Here is where O’Reilly was wrong. We can do something about it. In this world we cannot eliminate it. Evil is among us. It permeates this sinful world. But the counter to it is love.

That seems counterintuitive. It seems that in order to defeat evil like this kid demonstrated at Sandy Hook, we need to take up arms or draw swords. But in that method O’Reilly would be right. Those efforts would be futile. Love as a remedy for evil seems to us as wholly inadequte. It seems too simple and innocuous to work or be effective, yet it is the only effectual strategy.

Of all things… the greatest weapon against evil…the only weapon against evil…is a babe. Satan didn’t see that one coming. That he with all his darkness and wickedness would be defeated by a babe in a manger. That is because that particular Babe represented amazing, unspeakable…LOVE. And love is the atom bomb to evil. Evil cannot overcome pure love. It cannot, it will not defeat love. In fact, love has defeated it.

It is in the Incarnation of Christ…it is in the amazing love of God made flesh, that evil finds its ultimate doom.

I am about to go out tonight and strike a mighty blow against evil. I don’t feel like it but I am going to travel to widows houses on this rainy night and I am going to give them cookies and sing them Christmas Carols. I am going to sing about a Silent Night when perfect love was personified. It is one step. It is one starfish thrown back into the sea. But it IS a step toward the conquering of evil.

And it is not because of anything I did. It is effective and it is the ultimate answer only because it flows from Him and is about what He did.

Satan is evil manifested. He is wickedness concentrated. God, immaculated in Jesus Christ, IS goodness. All that is good flows from Him. The baby Jesus represents all of that perfect and overpowering and conoquering love poured out from God to this sick and decaying world.

Evil will not stand. These babies will be avenged. But for now, it is not for us to avenge them. It is for us to love and by loving to strike a blow on those childrens behalf against the evil that befell them.

Debate Video I just Posted

If you watch any of this debate, and I thought this was Bevin’s best performance (and he has done well in all the debates), what do you think about Conway’s nervous laughter? Kind of Hillary Clintonesque wouldn’t you say? To me Conway looks like a guy who has a guilty conscience. His advisors told him to run millions of dollars in negative ads and he did it, but the whole time he knew it was wrong. And now he is getting called on it and he feels uncomfortable. Do you really want this guy as your next Governor? Because, make no mistake, his actions will affect your life as a Kentuckian much more than what the President can do.

The Clear Winner of Tonight’s Debate

IMG_1256It’s not who you think I am going to say. The clear winner is the Republican field. Walker, Carson, Cruz, and even Huckabee and Paul made some excellent points against the Democrats and the Obama agenda. I thought Christie looked downright silly at times. I thought Bush looked weak and stumbling on several questions. Cruz did great on the questions he got but as I feared he didn’t get enough of them. Paul did well but didn’t distinguish himself. Walker was very strong as was Rubio. Huckabee was a pleasant surprise.

Because he had the best and most meaningful zingers of the night I give first place to Walker. Second place is Cruz. He pulled away in his closing statement. Third place tie between Rubio and Carson. Honorable mention to Huckabee.

An Absolute MUST Read. Explains Trump

What the writer here describes is exactly the type of Statesman Ted Cruz is and can be. Unfortuantely, Donald Trump has sucked all the oxygen up so the flame that is the Cruz campaing (51 million dollars raised in the first 6 weeks from 175,000 donors) cannot erupt. Hopefully Trump, who simply does not have the moral core to lead at a time such as this (need proof? Watch some old episodes of The Apprentice) nor the analytical skills to do more than speak in platitudes. I’m thankful he changed the national conversation as he has, but I sure hope he gets out soon. Anyway, here is the outstanding column on where we are politically.

Trip to Ocoee River

005Recently went white water rafting with my son Nathan. We went to DuckTown Tenn. and used Carolina Ocoee Outfitters as our guide service. They did a great job and it was a fun day. We hope to go back soon and do the full day trip. We did the half day trip (2 hours on water) this time. This has become the most popular white water rafting destination in the US and it’s only six hours from Paducah. I am going to be writing a column about it soon, because there is a danger this rafting location could be lost due to changes in TVA’s dam management policy. More to come on that. For now, enjoy a few pics from our trip. I’m in back, the one who makes the helmet look gooooood!

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