The Tea Party and Libertarianism

The Tea Party would have you believe that they are libertarian.  The gospel of Bachmann and Cain sounds like it, and fiscally the two are incredibly similar.  Libertarians have long favored small government and limited spending.  The Tea Party is primarily a reactive movement to the ballooning national debt, but it is more than that. 

There is another aspect to the Tea Party, one that has been part of conservatism for decades.  The Tea Party is a movement of morals.  Which ordinarily wouldn’t be a bad thing, but they want to enforce these morals on others who might not share them.  Rick Perry said, and quite appropriately, that he wants to make Washington DC as small a part of our daily lives as possible.  But, he, and most other Republican candidates, favor the banning of gay marriage, even if it means amending the constitution.

Now, I am a Christian, and as such I believe that God intended marriage to be between a man and a woman.  That being said, I also think that government shouldn’t be the facilitator of morals.  The government attempting this is dangerous in two ways.

First, the government cannot fix people.  If the federal government bans gay marriage, that doesn’t fix the problem.  A law cannot change people’s hearts, that’s not the way God designed laws to function.  Only he can change hearts.  No amount of government interference will do that.

Second, a cornerstone of libertarian philosophy is that everyone has civil liberties that the government shouldn’t interfere with.  Everyone, conservative Christians included, believe that their own civil liberties shouldn’t be interfered with.  It’s the First Amendment.  Everyone gets to say what they want and believe what they want.  This is America; we have freedom of religion and speech.  But the Tea Party only believes in these liberties so far as they agree with them.  They want the right to their own beliefs, but don’t want those who disagree with them to have civil liberties.

The Tea Party also has built a significant amount of their success on anti-Muslim sensationalism.  The birther movement illustrates this well.  They have tried, successfully, to paint Obama as a foreign Muslim.  They raised significant stink about building a mosque near the World Trade Center.

The Tea Party wants to deny equal rights to gays and Muslims.  That isn’t libertarian.  That’s dangerous.


The Lie

               Mankind’s chief problem is that it believes the lie.  I do not mean a lie, as if the lie were one of many lies told to us.  Nor do I mean lies, as if man’s problem were that he is gullible.  What I mean is that man believes, and suffers from believing, the lie.  We have been told the lie for millennia, each time believing it, realizing from painful experience that it isn’t true, but continuing to fall for the same lie over and over and over.
The first one to lie this lie was Satan, when he whispered in Eve’s ear that she would gain great knowledge if she only ate the fruit that had been forbidden.  She was told to look to creation to find what only the Creator could give.

Now, instead of the serpent, Satan has other agents at his disposal to propagate the lie.

Go to Jared, and your girlfriend will be gorgeous and love you unconditionally forever.

Buy your kids lots of cheap toys at Walmart and you will make this Christmas the best Christmas ever.

Go to college, get a good job, and live the American dream as if a nice house, a 401k, and a yearly vacation on the family boat could ever bring meaning to life.

The Dos Equis guy tells us that we aren’t happy because our lives aren’t interesting enough.
Katy Perry tells us that our lives are somehow less spectacular if we can remember what we did on Friday.

And it’s all a lie.  The lie.

We look to this world for happiness, but we will never find it here.

Creation was never meant to satisfy us.  Creation never can satisfy us.  Creation is meant to point to the God who can satisfy us.

Solomon found that out the hard way.  He wrote a book about it.  Read Ecclesiastes sometime.

The reason I love the movie Fight Club and the song “Cigarettes” by Fort Minor is that they expose the lie.  They tell the truth.

Nothing in this world is permanent.  It was designed that way.  All the pleasures of this life are flawed and end.  Your kids will be sick of their presents by New Years.  The girl that diamond got you won’t love you unconditionally.  The beer bottle has a bottom and a hangover the next day.  You may enjoy your big house and boat now, but in 20 years your kids will be enjoying them for you.

The lie is that the temporary can give us the eternal.   Much like the woman at the well, we keep drawing water every day when God himself is standing right in front of us offering living water.  All we have to do is drink, and we’ll never be thirsty again.

Temporary things bring us temporary happiness, but eternal things bring us eternal happiness.

I’m not saying that creation is a bad thing, because it’s not.  I’m just trying to point out the absurdity of playing in the tide pool when there’s an ocean right in front of us.
Don’t believe the lie.


Fantasy Football Playoff Idea

If your fantasy league is like most fantasy leagues, it probably (due to the definition of the word "most") has 10 or 12 teams, features a 14 week regular season and a two week playoff to determine the champion.  The fantasy league of which I'm commissioner has 10 teams, which means each team will play 4 teams once and 5 teams twice.  I have come up with a cool idea for determining what team play each other twice, and which teams play each other once.

We could have done the traditional method and just let Yahoo choose randomly, or we could have moved into divisions.  Choosing randomly seemed too boring, and both ideas seemed like they could get unfair (due to unbalanced schedules) pretty quickly. 

My idea was to play a round robin schedule for the first nine games, like any randomized league would do.  The next five games are based completely on the previous week's standings, so you won't know until the end of one week who will play who the next week.  Beginning in week 10 and ending in week 14, the 1st place team plays the 2nd place team, 3rd plays 4th, and so on.  

This accomplishes a few things.  First, the teams in playoff position (1-4) will have to prove each week that they deserve to be there.  Second, the teams at the bottom of the table won't have to worry getting trashed each week.  Because every team is playing the team that is directly above or below them, no game should be out of reach for any team.  Third, it works like a real playoff, too, with a winning streak giving you harder games, but getting you closer to the top.  Teams aren't rewarded for losing either, as a loss counts as a loss in the standings and the standings are what counts when the regular season ends, and the real playoffs begin.


Someone Worth Dying For?

There's a song on the radio right now called "Someone Worth Dying For".  While I really enjoy the band that sang the song (they did a song with Lecrae), I have significant issue with message of the song.

It's "worth it" when the something gained is of greater value than the something that's been given up. In order for us to be worth dying for, it must mean that 1) we have worth apart from God and 2) there's something that God doesn't have.

The fact is that there is nothing God doesn't have.  Everything that exists, from wealth to beauty to your soul, was created by God out of nothing. God can't gain anything.  In Him is everything. If there was anything that God ever lacked, he could just speak it into existence; he doesn't need to trade his life for it.

Also, compared to God we aren't worth anything.  The Bible makes it clear that when Christ died, it was in spite of our worthlessness, not because of our worth.  Psalm 8:4 says "What is man that you are mindful of him?" Romans 5 talks about how some people would give their lives for a a good man, but only God would give his life for his enemies. 

The thing that makes the gospel so incredible is that he died for us when we weren't worth dying for.  That's beautiful.  I have eternal life, not because I deserve it, but simply because Christ loves me enough to give it to me. 

The only reason I have any worth at all is because of Christ.


The Morality of Music

There are a few people whom I love and respect that believe with all of their hearts that certain types of modern music, such as rock and rap, are in and of themselves morally wrong.  I'm writing this in order to explain 1) why I believe that all music is glorifying to God and 2) what kind of music we should use in the church.

So, is music inherrently wrong?
1. God created everything that exists, both "visible and invisible".  - Colossians 1:16
2. Nothing else is capable of true creation.  - John 1:3
3. God's creation is meant to glorify Him. - Psalm 19:1
3. All music is part of God's creation.
4. All music glorifies God.

Why does rock and rap seem to go along so well with worldliness?
1. We live in a fallen world, where good things like sex, drugs, and alcohol can be easily twisted and used for things they weren't intended for.
2. It's impossible for any form of music to be performed or written by any person who isn't a sinner.

What kind of music should we use in the church?
1.  As all music was created by God, we should be open to using all music in worship.
2. We should be aware that it's easy for any music in church (from classical to southern gospel to rock) to turn into a performance instead of worship.
3. We should be aware of what causes our brother to fall into sin, and avoid that in public worship.


Things That Irritate Me About The So-Called "Debt Crisis"

1. There is absolutely nothing preventing Congress from raising the debt ceiling today.  The debates and compromises can happen after that's done.  Congress is playing a needless game of chicken with our economy.

2. The government spending more than it makes is, in the short term, good for the economy.  It's true that raising taxes will slow the economy, but it's just as true that cutting government spending will do the same thing.

3. If we do something about unemployment, government revenues will increase on their own without any taxes being raised.

4.  Congress needs to simply raise the debt ceiling, take steps to create more government jobs in areas like construction that will leave permanent benefits, and create a commission to figure out how we're going to pay off the national debt.

5. I really want there to be a third party focusing on fiscal responsibility through raising taxes and cutting entitlement programs.


My Five Favorite Albums of 2011 (So Far)

I say "so far" because the year is far from over.  I fully expect Needtobreathe's The Reckoning and Switchfoot's Dark Horses to blow these five out of the water.  MercyMe's coming out with The Worship Sessions, which is only available at Family Christian Stores, and Stellar Kart releases their Disney cover EP, A Whole New World, tomorrow.  I'm really looking forward to all four.

Also here are YouTube links to Needtobreathe's single "Drive All Night" and Switchfoot's "Dark Horses".

That being said, here are my favorite albums of 2011, so far.

5. Third Day - Move
I wasn't a fan of this CD until I saw Third Day in concert.  They can put on a show, and Move rocks.
Best Song: "Follow Me There"

4. Coldplay - Every Teardrop Is A Waterfall EP
It's not technically an album, but these three songs are a fantastic taste of what's coming with their next release.
Best Song: "Every Teardrop Is A Waterfall"

3. Owl City - All Things Bright And Beautiful
Much better produced than Ocean Eyes, and Adam Young finally learned to sing out.
Best track: It's really difficult to choose just one, but I'm going to say "Deer In The Headlights".

2. Parachute - The Way It Was
Best CD for cranking and singing along in your car when you're alone.  Not that I do that....
Best track: "Something to Believe In"

1. Danen Kane - Love Is Waiting
I went to a Lifest, a Christian music festival, and saw quite a few big name Christian artists.  Danen Kane was, musically, the best concert I went to the whole week.
Best track: Love Is Waiting


The Knowledge of the Holy

I've been doing a study through A.W. Tozer's The Knowledge of the Holy at our local rescue mission.  One thing I've been struck with is that God is always the ultimate possessor of any and all good attributes.  He isn't just really big; he is infinite.  He isn't just loving; love finds its definition in him.  He isn't just holy; he can't stand even the smallest sin.

I realize this might not blow your mind, but right now (12:20 in the morning) it's blowing mine.  I can't even come close to the greatness of this God, but he still loves me.


Legalism and License

It’s basic Christian nature to go one of two ways on the issue of questionable things. The first holds that certain things are morally wrong because they aren’t necessarily a good idea.  The second recognizes that those same things aren’t morally wrong, but don’t recognize that doing them might not necessarily be a good idea.
This is why Paul slaps us in the face with 1 Corinthians 6:12.
“All things are lawful for me,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful for me,” but I will not be enslaved by anything.
Just because something isn’t inherently wrong doesn’t necessarily make it a good idea, and just because something isn’t a good idea doesn’t make it morally wrong.