Saturday, April 29, 2006

The Kitchen's on Fire

Peggy Noonan, one of my favorite columnists, says it well again:

"Congress and the White House right now are like people who live in a big house who have finally noticed the kitchen is on fire. So they all meet in the living room and debate how exactly to rebuild the kitchen, what color to repaint the walls, and how to get the best deal on a new microwave. And while they are holding their discussion they're forgetting to do the most important thing. They're forgetting to put out the fire. You can lose a house this way. Putting out the fire in this case is closing and policing the essentially open border with Mexico--now. Close down illegal immigration, now. Then talk. (A hunch for liberals: Your views will be received with greater generosity once the air of daily crisis is removed.)"

If you'd like to read the entire article, click here: The Big Three

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Chuck Colson on the Renaissance of Christian Fiction

In his recent Breakpoint Commentary titled, Modern-Day Renaissance, Charles Colson writes of the resurgence of quality Christian fiction. He cites several examples, and goes on to explain how poor Christian fiction has been in recent years.

"The state of Christian fiction was so poor for a while that most Christians have forgotten what a rich heritage we actually have in fiction, from the likes of Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, Austen, O’Connor, and so many more. These writers understood that moral literature is one of the most important ways of transmitting Christian truth."

Perhaps Christian fiction writers are at last rediscovering the art of true storytelling.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Newt's Five Challenges

Newt Gingrich, former Speaker of the House, is one my favorite politicians. Indeed, he is a politician, and he certainly has some baggage, but many of his ideas resonate with me. Here are his five challenges to Americans. These are things he says we must be willing to do if we, as a nation, are to survive.
  • Confronting a world in which America's enemies, including the irreconcilable wing of Islam and rogue dictatorships, could acquire and use nuclear or biological weapons;
  • Defending God in the public square;
  • Protecting America's unique civilization;
  • Competing in the global economy in an era of the economic rise of China and India, which will require transformations in litigation, education, taxation, regulation, and environmental, energy and health policies for America to continue to be the most successful economy in the world;
  • Promoting active, healthy aging so more people can live longer, which will require dramatic transformation in pensions, Social Security and health care.

If you wish to read his entire article, click on this link:

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Framing our Perspective with Words that Fit

One my favorite columnists, Victor Davis Hanson, has penned another worthy article. This time he addresses the idea that the terms we use to define things--in this case illegal immigrants--tells us much about how we really think on the subject. He says ...

"In the fierce debate over illegal immigration, the particular terms used by those who argue our porous borders are not a serious problem can tell us a lot. ... 'Undocumented worker,' for example, is the politically correct synonym for 'illegal alien.' It implies that those who have crossed the border without the proper documentation have neither broken the law nor are of any different status than American citizens. But it is an inaccurate term. Not all those who come here illegally are working. And most never had, or even applied for, immigration documents.In other words, there really are millions here illegally. They are not aliens from another planet, but aliens in the literal sense — simply not lawful residents of this country."

I like what rocker Ted Nugent said. "Calling illegal aliens undocumented workers is like calling a bank robbery an undocumented withdrawl."

Back to Hanson ...

"'Guest workers,' as well, is an inexact, euphemistic term. After all, invited company is rarely asked to wash their hosts' dishes. 'Imported laborer' or 'contracted worker' would be more accurate. Far better than "guest worker," such terms convey the commercial nature of the arrangement. Even more precise would be 'imported low-wage laborer,' to take into account the critical issue of wages. Even the old, crude label bracero — 'the arms' — better reflected the reality of low-paid, brutal labor than does 'guest worker.'"

You can read Hanson's entire article, here:

Sunday, April 23, 2006

A Kinder, Gentler Ann Coulter

Ann Coulter is certainly a controversial figure. She is known as caustic and opinionated. She is a bit rough around the edges in her presentation, but essentially, I like her ideas. She has penned what I think to be a great article about common sense in our behavior, and the risk and perils of doing stupid things.

She also addresses the issue of vulgarity or vulgar behavior, and how we as a society seem to be afraid of being judgmental. And she writes about our fear of hypocrisy. A good article!

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Listening: Between Here and Gone ... Elysium

I have long been a huge Mary Chapin Carpenter fan. I've been listening since the early '90's. Her recent album, Between Here and Goneincludes several memorable songs. Among my favorites are One Small Heart and Elysium. The song links will take you to a short ITunes clip, but I think you have to be a member to listen.

Anyway, the song Elysium employs some wonderful imagery to blend with the melody and arrangement to transport the listener into the ancient, Homeric Elysian Fields, which in Greek literature, was the final resting place of the heroic and the virtuous.

Here are the lyrics to Elysium.

I don't really know how I got here this time
I was only just following orders
Listening to the voice in my mind
Saying steer clear of margins and borders
So I wasn't thinking of where we would go

On a cold afternoon through the mountains we drove
Up a few hairpin turns and then spread out below
The valley appeared with the sun
Like Elysium

I looked out the window and stared at the fields
Where the blue sky and green were colliding
I looked back at you and I knew we were sealed
By a fate that has ways of providing

Yes sometimes you get there in spite of the route
Losing track of your life and what it's about
The road seems to know when to straighten right out
The closer you come
To Elysium

They say there's a place for those who are good
With it's pearly gates swinging wide open
The rest of us here are just knocking on wood
Quietly, piously hoping

I could wonder if all of it led me to you
I could show you the arrows and circles I drew
I didn't have a map, it's the best I could do
On the fly and on the run

To dreams that were tethered like kites to the ground
To the bridges I burned, to then turning around
It was here in your heart I was finally found
And the last battle won
For Elysium

Copyright © 2004, Mary Chapin Carpenter

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

on Emergent

I have been following (very casually) the Emergent church movement. I confess that I do not know a great deal about it yet. But I know enough to believe that I should be alert to possible danger. In my effort to learn more, I have found so far, three substantive sources. The sources I link to below are outside of the movement looking in, and write from a perspective that appears to be similar to mine.
  • A Slice of Laodicea is probably the most outspoken against the movement.
  • Paul W. Martin, a pastor located in Toronto, Ontario, Canada presented a paper on the movement at a local pastor's conference: Examining Emergent
  • Phillip Johnson, a pastor who has close ties to John MacArthur of the radio program, Grace to You, delivered a message at the 2006 Shepherd's Conference at Grace Community Church in Sun Valley California in March of 2006. His message is titled Absolutely Not!
Admittedly, each of these links are to sites where the authors have serious problems with the Emergent church movement. But I'm trying my best to be fair. I have reserved Brian McLaren's book, A Generous Orthodoxy, at the library. When it becomes available, I plan to read it.

I'll post my review of it here when I'm done.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Birth Dearth

Mark Early of Prison Fellowship has written a great article on the "Birth Dearth" and its potential impact on the future. Read it here:

Monday, April 17, 2006

Woodrow Wilson Quote

I ran across this quote today and it really made sense.

"You cannot become thorough Americans if you think of yourselves in groups. America does not consist of groups. A man who thinks of himself as belonging to a particular national group in America has not yet become an American." Woodrow Wilson