Saturday, October 30, 2004

Election in a Divided Country

While political historians could inevitably trace our current problems as a nation back to roughly the day that the Republican Cavemen walked out of that meeting with the Democratic Hunter-Gatherers, recent history seems to give several insights into which the neither the media nor the talk shows seem to explore very deeplly.

1. The drastic swing in the popularity of Bush-41 after the first Gulf War. The U.S. was very united in the first war to free Kuwait and restore order to the world. As the election neared, popular talk shifted from the war to domestic issues. Many conservatives blamed the media, especially CNN at the time, for getting Clinton elected. Certainly the media had shown bias before, but a new era had begun.

2. Terrorism in the 90's. Terrorism and the way that the U.S. dealt with the Somalian problems, the bombing of the WTC, and the bombing of the USS Cole gave reasons for the nation to be viewed as soft on terrorism. No one on either side of the fence really viewed the possibilities with the kind of seriousness that we now realize was needed. America's lack of clear resolution in the 90's eventually led to lots of finger-pointing after 9/11.

3. The impeachment of Clinton. The entire affair stands as a black mark on America's history. The embarassment to the office of president and the division that the entire mess created were both harmful. Whether or not you believe Clinton should have been impeached, you have to agree that the matter and the distraction that the hearings and investigations created are something that weakened our country and divided us further down the aisle.

4. The Bush-Gore election fiasco. The arguments that continued and the attitudes that followed by those who thought that Bush was not legitimately elected have further divided the country into two parts.

5. The spin on terrorism and Iraq. Following one of the worst and yet most unifying events to ever occur in 9/11, the factions have created two Americas (if I may borrow that terminology): One America that is resolute in taking the necessary measures to fight terrorism and protect ourselves, and one America that wants to downplay the war on terror to something secondary.

6. The gap between Bush and Kerry. The extreme differences between these two candidates also produces extreme feelings by people who realize the implications of the election.

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

An Open Letter to Churches about Politicians

To the Churches:

The presence of people at church for worship should be the most sanctified gathering we experience this side of heaven. At the very heart of worship is the acknowledgment and attributing of God's worthiness to him as God. There should be no secondary or other focus of our worship. Anything that falls outside of pure reverence for God should be questioned sternly.

Now there are many things that become questionable in worship if we are to take worship as seriously as the Christian faith warrants. Accordingly, the presence of any politician for political gain at a worship service is first and foremost a neglect for the God that we should be gathering to worship. No matter how 'religious' the politician may be or claim to be, there is no place in worship for stumping, as Jared Bridges soundly defends.

Politicians should absolutely be welcomed when attending our churches, just as every other person. There would even seemingly be no problem with a politician holding an office in the church so long as the person met the biblical qualifications for the position. However, allowing a mortal man or woman the platform to advance their political views and allow such a presentation to become mixed with the church's gathering to worship an Almighty God is completely and utterly deplorable. How can any church stand for such a shameful distraction?

As the news has covered politicians speaking lately in churches trying to gather last-minute votes I feel like the church is being prostituted to the world. When a church becomes no more than a social organization that invites politicians to come and address its members (even in a non-partisan "both sides" event) the church has ceased to be the church. For whatever purpose these people are gathering, it is not to be the church nor to worship God.

Believers in Christ should be informed voters. Believers in Christ should be active in our country's political system. However, the worship service is neither the time nor the place for a political speaker or a political rally to take place.

Every church certainly falls short of worshiping in the most biblical way that we are able. Many things could and should be changed to make our worship more God-centered and less man-centered. The church that would claim to have everything perfectly in order would surely be sinful in such a claim. This matter is not one for a church to boast over another church. Rather, it is a pressing matter for us to examine ourselves and to seek to be more biblical churches in the future than the present.

Colby Willen

Friday, October 22, 2004

Kids, Children, Soldiers

Kids. n. a.k.a. "children"

a.k.a. "The American soldier."

Will someone please identify which soldier in the American military was drafted and sent to war? Also, where are these 13-year olds that liberals keep insinuating when they talk about our 'kids' fighting in Iraq?

Maureen Dowd jumps on this platform in her editorial yesterday by tossing out the "we sent our kids to fight" line. No, Maureen, that would be the Palestinians. In America we allow our people to choose. When our 18 year-old men and women decide that a respectable and honorable way of life is to join the military, then we honor that choice. We're all in favor of choice aren't we?

As a nation, we are not sending our sons and daughters to war. We're sending our strength to war. As the book of Proverbs states, "the glory of young men is their strength." Are we supposed to limit our military to the middle-aged? Maybe the elderly should be the ones on the front this what liberals are suggesting?

Luckily we still have a generation that has enough pride in being American that they desire to fight for and defend the country. We still have a volunteer army, and we still have the greatest military in the history of the world. Does it hurt to see our loved ones injured or killed in the struggle against terrorism? Certainly. But let's not make them to be martyrs.

As for Dowd's attack on Bush's faith, she makes the war out to be a religious crusade. There certainly is a religious crusade going on, and it is one that would abolish America if it could get its hands on the right weapons. Since when did being a President who believes in God become contrary to American ideals? A quick look down the lines of presidential history shows some amazingly religious men who led from the oval office. Sure, there have been some who were nominally Christian, but never before has there been such media attacks on the CIC for mentioning God and the Bible, but then, that's another blog entry for another day.

Monday, October 18, 2004


Prescient. adj. Having knowledge of coming events; foreseeing; conscious beforehand.

More than one paper has used the term "prescient" to describe the Senator running for President as they place themselves firmly in his corner. Don't we all wish we had a candidate who was relatively prescient? But in truth, none are. Maybe a glimpse here and there, but wishy-washy on current topics doesn't convince one that a candidate is prescient. Someone who stands resolute on the direction of the country seems to deserve the term to a little higher degree.

Maybe these papers meant that Kerry was prescient of what he needed to say for the next polling results. Maybe this term should be 'pollscient' instead.

Sunday, October 17, 2004

Some Light

In a devotional called Light on the Path Heinrich Bitzer gives the reader a verse or two in Hebrew and Greek each day, often steering his reader to translate an Old Testament verse and a related New Testament verse that gives some interesting and related things to consider. Today's verses are an excellent example:

Yours, O LORD, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty, indeed everything that is in the heavens and the earth; Yours is the dominion, O LORD, and You exalt Yourself as head over all. (I Chronicles 29:11)

"My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; 28 and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father's hand. I and the Father are one." (John 10:27-30)

Thursday, October 14, 2004

Bubba Voted Out

Travis ("Bubba") was voted off Survivor tonight. His "secret signals" to the other tribe got all the women on his tribe fired up. From there he had no chance. So the hope of Sullivan Central High School is voted off the island.

Friday, October 08, 2004

Bubba Survives Survivor

Bubba makes it personal for me as he's the first person I've actually known on the show. We were in school together since we were kids (he, Travis, was a year ahead of me.) We played football together for a couple of years when we were kids.

For some reason I've been a fan of Survivor since I caught the last two episodes of the first series. I think it is my competitive nature and my fantasy of wondering how I would do on the show. I argue that lying is completely permissable since it's only a game - lying would be the same as not showing someone else your cards or not exposing your motivations for a purchase in Monopoly.

As for Bubba and the men's team, they have failed to play the game in a fashion that will help them to win. Each of the men seems so concerned/threatened by the other men that they are overly concerned about voting each other out than about beating the women and retaining a strong team presence. If and when the tribes merge, the larger tribe almost always has the upper hand in voting out the former members of the smaller tribe. In this case, the women would dominate the men. However, the producers/planners of the game have shown that they can mix things up from time to time to make the game interesting just when one 'tribe' seems overly dominant.

As for Bubba's chances, I think they are reasonable. While he has taken up with the 'older' men in the tribe, he seems to be on pretty good terms with the others that still remain.

Interesting fact about Bubba: the orange Bob Barker shirt that he is always wearing is the shirt that was popular in our high school way back when. I don't know if he has preserved his shirt this long or if maybe he got a new one somewhere especially to wear on survivor (though the one he's wearing doesn't look too new.)

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Track Record

What do comets, baseball pitchers, the moon, and stock shares have in common? We can predict where they're going by where they've been and appear to be heading. Curt Schilling didn't start the first game of the post-season for the Red Sox because of any other reason than his track record for the past 3-6 months of pitching. If you're investing, would you rather put your money in a proven fund or go with an unknown based on promises of a different agenda to come?

But, claiming that something or someone will go in a direction they have failed previously to go is like predicting that hurricane Jeanne would turn due West when it was heading due East into the Atlantic - there was little reason and no predictions that the change would actually happen. I kind of get that same feeling in hearing the presidential and vice-presidential debates. A man's words only carry so much meaning, and when his words deviate from his track record, we have little evidence that his words are trustworthy. If Curt Schilling had gone 3-15 for the season and wound up with a 7.83 era for the Red Sox, no matter how strongly he insisted that he would pitch a winning game in the playoffs, his case would hold little water.

You decide.

Tuesday, October 05, 2004


This word is about to come out of the closet if the liberal left has any say in the matter. The irony is that the liberal left stammers and stutters whenever polygamy is brought up in debate, tending to denounce polygamy because it is "wrong." I'm sorry, but the word "wrong" should only be applied by the left to conservative ideas.

Dr. Albert Mohler addresses the slippery slope that seems like the next logical progression if our society is to adopt gay marriage. Mohler responds to one of the first actual arguments in favor of the legality of polygamy in USA Today by Jonathan Turley. Turley calls polygamy laws "hypocrisy," and he is correct if we are to adopt gay marriage as a constitutional right.

The relativism present in most arguments in favor of gay marriage becomes ludicrous when examined. People ultimately begin to argue the existence right and wrong when pushed to answer precisely why gay marriage is okay but other deviations on marriage are not equally proper. The morality of the issue is based more on public opinion than any objective standard. As long as polygamy is only endorsed by a quiet minority, the left can sweep in under the rug. But what happens when the same kind of activism that has pushed homosexuality for the past 30 or so years catches the polygamy wave?

For the present, I think Turley argument is actually a benefit to the conservative side. Turley's argument is accurate, and he brings to light the path that is beckoning to a society that reinterprets its constitutional freedoms to allow for everything under the sun.

Monday, October 04, 2004

Ethical Blogging

Rebecca's Pocket gives a good piece on the ethics involved in the world of weblogs. Why are blogs not taken more seriously out there by the mainstream media? Part of the reason is the trust factor. People trust The Washington Post and the New York Times because the reports in these publications have been proven factual over the years (minus a few glitches and omissions, of course.) The reason people in the blog world visit a few select big-name blogs is the trust we develop in these to be accurate and dependable. Visiting any random blog is like interviewing a person on the street - you have no idea what you are getting.

Much has been made of the 'checks and balances' that blogs have come to weigh in with on the media. Still, the notion of 'checks and balances' as they apply to blogs really only apply to those which have enough traffic to create a balanced system. 99.9% of blogs out there (according to figures established in my own mind) do not receive the traffic to truly make them a balanced vehicle of truth, though the lack of this accountability does not imply that they are not true. If I published on my blog tomorrow that Martians had landed in my back yard and were setting up a pizza parlor marketed toward Star Trek and Star Wars fanatics, the tabloids might show up to interview me but no one (or few) in the blog world would rush to my defense. Conversely, at a low traffic blog, the truest analysis is likely to get merely a passing yawn.

The interesting part about the whole system is the way that the big blogs are like a towering structure built with the smaller blogs as the support. Instapundit is 200,000 hits strong partially because of the information gathered from the blogosphere. Glenn Reynolds then both gives credibility to other blogs and is viewed as a good 'thermometer' for the accuracy of other things going on out there (taking nothing away from his own articles and original blog entries.)

On the flip side, just as a major newspaper can be burned by one of its own who decides to make up the facts for its stories, the blogosphere is infinitely more susceptible to such problems. Bloggers as a whole will never be taken too seriously just as letters to the editor in every small town newspaper across the country carry little weight until the proven name of the community weighs in with an opinion.