Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Sam and Dennis

Dennis Prager takes Sam Harris to the woodshed.

Sam: “An “atheist” is simply someone who thinks that the God of Abraham should be buried with the rest of these imaginary friends. I am quite sure that we need only use words like “reason,” “common sense,” “evidence,” and “intellectual honesty” to do the job.”

Dennis: “On the other side, we believers look at the evidence and believe that there is a God. In that sense, the atheist has considerably less intellectual honesty than the sophisticated believer. The atheist says he knows, despite the fact that what he “knows” is unprovable. The believer believes because he knows that what he believes is ultimately unprovable. “

… and much more.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

From a Roman Prison

I’m sitting at my desk this morning trying to imagine Paul as he sits in prison getting ready to pen a letter to Timothy. Paul probably hadn’t bathed, eaten decent food, or seen sunlight for quite some time. He also probably had wounds that hadn’t healed, as well as psychological discouragement and loneliness regarding his situation.

As a citizen of Rome, Paul could have easily rectified his situation by just promising the Roman authorities he would quit preaching the coming kingdom of heaven. Instead of worrying about himself and trying to make his situation better, Paul decided it was more important for him to write Timothy a letter of encouragement and instructions.

Paul didn’t need an environment of honesty or comfort in order to live with Christian integrity. Paul freely acknowledged his own wretchedness, even as he set the standard for honesty and integrity, even as he suffered for Christ.

If Paul were alive today and still sitting in a Roman prison, it is inconceivable to me that he would pen a letter to New Life Church or the National Association of Evangelicals with anything other than severe reprimands and condemnation. There is no excuse for a Christian Church of 14,000 or a Christian Association of Churches to allow a man like Haggard to be their leader; none! Yet, throughout the Christian opinion sphere, not all, but most of the commentary is making excuses and calling for grace and understanding.

Integrity was not an option in the life of Paul and it can’t be an option in the life of any Christian leader. Former President Reagan once stated that he didn’t leave the Democratic Party, the Democratic Party left him. I feel the same way about the Christian Church; I didn’t leave the Christian Church, the Christian Church has left me.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

The Whole Tragedy

In Regards to the Ted Haggard revelations, David Frum at NRO makes some very good arguments for why a person who fails to live up to his or her own high standards is still more moral and less hypocritical than a person without standards. Like Mr. Frum, I have more respect for those who battle and then lose to personal demons than those who refuses to acknowledge or battle their demons.

However, I’m not sure this argument applies to Ted Haggard or to any of the institutions he is associated with. Rev. Haggard, the Haggard family, New Life Church in Colorado Springs, and the National Association of Evangelicals all seem more attached to the demons of fame, power, and fortune, than the battle to overcome demons; or at least they were until this story broke.

In the movies, certain super heroes can step into a phone booth or private room and transform into someone who is not recognized by family and friends, but in real life, hiding even the smallest of character traits from those around us is almost impossible. Hiding major character flaws IS impossible. The Haggard family, New Life Church, and the National Association of Evangelicals may have allowed themselves to be deceived, but in all likelihood, they probably knew most of the truth about Rev. Haggard and chose to do nothing, even if they didn’t know all of the details.

I keep reading commentary about how this is a story of a man who tragically could not control his sexual nature. Excuse me while I gag! This story is only about sex in the fine print. This is a story of failure top to bottom; a failed man, a failed family, a failed Church, and a failed association of Churches. Rev. Haggard is not the only one who needs to be on his knees begging for forgiveness and asking for reformation and reconciliation.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Perrier Swishing Senator Kerry

Senator Kerry or anyone else on the campaign trail could easily garble a few lines of prepared text. Misspeaking is quite easy for most people, even when not on the campaign trail. Apologizing once a misspoken error becomes public is just as easy.

However, when Senator Kerry makes a statement regarding the military during a political campaign, his statement is immediately newsworthy because he was the most recent Presidential nominee of his party and because he has a track record of accusing the military of atrocities. This doesn’t mean everything he says is wrong, but for veterans and active duty military, the statements of Senator Kerry are often insulting.

What Senator Kerry actually said is possibly more indicative of his true beliefs than what he meant to say. The reaction of other candidates is also newsworthy because some candidates in both parties have contempt for anyone common enough to join the military.

Many are now claiming that insulting our Commander-In-Chief passes as a valid excuse for Senator Kerry’s insults. Senator Kerry’s unwillingness to apologize without continuing to insult the United States military and the Commander-In-Chief is worse than his original gaff. Perhaps military veterans have a better understanding of what it takes to establish and maintain this country than all of the Perrier swishers in media and government.