Podcast 04 – Solid Joys with Missionary Jeremy Farmer

January 29, 2011 in Podcast

This week our podcast features an exclusive interview with Missionary Jeremy Farmer.  Jeremy taught for a few years at Northland International University before heading out on deputation on his way to Cambodia.  You won’t want to miss the conversation that covers a whole host of theological issues (including discussions concerning “moments of conversion” and missions strategies in Cambodia) mixed in with Jeremy’s own life story.  You will also learn about why “solid joys” has been the theme of this missions endeavor.  Find more about the Farmers by logging on to www.solidjoys.org.

Download the mp3 directly here.

My Thoughts on Obama, Bauchmann and Paul Ryan

January 26, 2011 in Politics

As per my annual nerdish tradition, I spent last night tweeting my way through the State of the Union Address and both responses.   So, I thought I would share those random, stream-of-consciousness tweets here.  Remember, start from the bottom and then work your way up if you would like to view these chronological order.

Final summary: Obama – nothing memorable nothing surprising; Paul Ryan – excellent job; Bauchmann – entire speech not needed and poorly delivered.

I am a huge tea party supporter – but Michele Bauchmann’s response was completely unneccesary! It was poorly delivered and could not match Paul Ryan’s message which featured more actual tea party themes – limited government and return, control spending and return to the Constitution.

Congresswoman Bauchman, you need to learn to look at the right camera. There should be a little red light on the one you should be looking into. This just looks wierd.

I’m all for a balanced budget amendment and repeal of Obama Care.

is hoping Bauchmann does not urge us to be armed and dangerous in response to the State of the Union.

Michele Bachmann = Ross Perot?

She likes her charts…

is waiting to hear from Michele Bachmann

Tonight simply summed up – Paul Ryan gets it.

Paul Ryan in his short response referred to the Constitution and the Founding Fathers several times. How many times did the President refer to eitht the Constition or the Founding Fathers in his hour long address? Exactly…

Limited government – that’s why Paul Ryan is da man.

?”The BLESSING of self government.”

I still think Paul Ryan is one of the smartest men in Washington.

Just a reminder, Congressman Ryan, you did vote for the first bailout… So you are right, no one party is exclusively responsible for uncontrolled spending.

?”Grace will replace grief” – Paul Ryan on Congresswoman Giffords

Rebuild people’s faith in the institution of government – I want people distrusting government and keeping them accountable!!

Asking milionaires who keep us employed to give up their hard earned money is patriotic – I don’t think so.

A freeze in spending sounds good – but an actual cut in spending is what is needed.

These standing ovations seem larger when everyone is sitting together. Lets go back to sitting with the party.

So high speed rail is the only the only way to get rid of the unconstitutional pat downs?

High speed rail? No, thanks.

I’m still not confortable with the federal government running the student loan industry.

?”Make a difference – become a teacher.”

?”It’s not just the winner of the Super Bowl who deserves to be celebrated, but the winner of the science fair.” – Because the Bears lost?

Boehner (yes, I figured out how to spell his name) looks bored.

Mr. President, you did not give anyone a tax cut, you merely kept Bush’s cuts and didn’t raise taxes as u said u wanted to in the campaign.

Government is now a shared responsability – a change from the man who once told Republicans, “You lost, I won.”

A robust democracy demands debate – amen! (except we live in a republic…

Biden looks tall tonight sitting next to the Speaker of the House whose name I cannot spell.

I wonder if Obama will give me a shout out?

Podcast 03 – Mark Block of the Herman Cain Presidential Campaign

January 22, 2011 in Podcast, Politics

The race to replace Barack Obama has begun!  Already we hear names bantered about all over the internet such as Sarah Palin, MItt Romney, Mitch Daniels and even Newt Gingrich.  However, there’s another candidate whose name just seems to keep popping up every so often – Herman Cain of Georgia.  Who is Herman Cain and what does he stand for?  We’ll ask these questions to his very own chief- of-staff, Mark Block.  Previous to this, Mark spearheaded the Wisconsin chapter of Americans for Prosperity which saw incredible conservative success at the polls this past November.  What would make him leave while on such a hot streak to join a little-known presidential campaign?  Tune in and find out!

Learn more about Herman Cain here - www.hermancain.com

Download the mp3 recording here.

Also check out these books written by Mr. Cain:

     

We Don’t Sing This Song in My Church

January 20, 2011 in Links, Politics, Video

On Gun Control and Violence

January 19, 2011 in Politics

As you have already figured out, faithful blog reader, I am a big fan of Texas Congressman Ron Paul.  In his most recent weekly column, Texas Straight Talk, Congressman Paul addresses the reaction to last week’s shooting in Arizona.  It is right on and worthy of your attention.

The terrible violence in Arizona last weekend prompted much national discussion on many issues.  All Americans are united in their sympathies for the victims and their families.  All wonder what could motivate such a horrible act.  However, some have attempted to use this tragedy to discredit philosophical adversaries or score political points.  This sort of opportunism is simply despicable.

We are fortunate to live in a society where violence is universally denounced.  Not one public official or commentator has attempted to justify this reprehensible act, yet the newspapers, internet, and airwaves are full of people trying to claim it was somehow motivated by someone else’s political rhetoric.  Most disturbing are the calls to use government power to censor certain forms of speech, and even outlaw certain types of criticism of public officials.  This was the completely apolitical act of a violent and disturbed man.  How sad that the attempted murder of the Congresswoman who had just read the First Amendment on the House floor would be used in efforts to chill free speech!  Perhaps some would feel safer if the Alien and Sedition Acts were reinstated.

Also troubling are the renewed calls for stricter gun control laws, and for government to “do something” to somehow prevent similar incidents in the future.  This always seems to be the knee jerk reaction to any crime committed with a gun.  Nonsensical proposals to outlaw guns around federal officials and install bulletproof barriers in the congressional gallery only reinforce the growing perception that politicians view their own lives as far more important than the lives of ordinary citizens.  Politicians and a complicit media have conditioned many citizens to view government as our protector, leading to more demands for government action whenever tragedies occur.  But this impulse is at odds with the best American traditions of self-reliance and individualism, and it also leads to bad laws and the loss of liberty.

Remember – liberty only has meaning if we still believe in it when terrible things happen and more government security is demanded.  Government cannot make us safe by mandating security any more than it can make us prosperous by decreeing an end to poverty.

Read the whole article here – http://bit.ly/goCpnS

Hank Williams and Russell Moore See the Light

January 18, 2011 in Links

If after you’ve finished listening to your weekly Understanding Our Times Podcast (and only after you’ve  FINISHED), may I recommend yet another podcast?  Russell Moore of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary has launched a weekly podcast entitled, The Cross and the Jukebox.  The program features a different country or folk song each week which will be dissected and discussed in ight of God’s Word. 

Moore himself explains,

So why have this conversation every week? Well, first of all, because I’m already having it, and decided to let my friends listen in. When I used to guest-host the Albert Mohler radio program, I would frequently start and end each segment with bumper-music and spend a few minutes talking about what was really going on in the song and how it related to our topic. Since then, I hear from people all over the place who want to continue some of those discussions.

More importantly, I think lyrical music can often get to the bone of what’s really going on in hearts, minds, and culture than abstract discourse can. Our neighbors are often more honest about what they really think and feel when they’re singing than when they’re talking. And so are we.

That’s why, I think, the Apostle Paul interrupted his interrogation by his critics at Mars Hill by quoting their poets. What Paul was doing was not so much “building a bridge to the gospel” at that point as saying, “You don’t really believe what you’re saying. I’ve heard your music. Now let’s talk about Jesus and the resurrection.”

Most often on this podcast, we’ll be talking about country music. Why? Well, first of all, because that’s what I know. Some of the earliest memories I have are of sitting with several generations of my family listening to the Grand Old Opry. The music of Carters and Cash and Jones and Haggard has stayed with me throughout my life. If I’d been born in different circumstances, I’d probably be drawn to different music.

But, more critically, because country music and the genres that created and fueled it (blues, bluegrass, folk) got at something closer to the bone of human existence than the commercialized pop jingles every generation brings forward. And, with this the case, country music (and forms like it, most notably some aspects of hip-hop) can expose the hidden theologies around us, and within us.

Roots music, after all, is remarkably honest about things commercial music often doesn’t want to talk about: despair, loneliness, heartache, sin, redemption, sowing what one reaps. And in so doing, this music often unveils what it looks like to be, in Flannery O’Connor’s words, “Christ-haunted.” Often, in this music, there’s a Christian subtext but no Christianity. There’s some kind of redemption but no crucifixion. There’s grace, and grace abounding, but often grace that sin may abound.

As a fundamentalist, I was never taught to examine music beyond examining the worldliness of the beat or the vulgarity of some words.  I fear there are many like me who have lost the ability to reason, think through and engage the lyrical content of most music.  So, it is refreshing to hear intelligent discussion concerning the worldview, philosophy and elements of common grace behind some popular tunes – all from a gospel centered perspective.

In this premier edition, Moore discusses the gospel favorite, I Saw the Light written by Hank Williams.  You will want to hear this program!

Listen here – http://www.russellmoore.com/2011/01/14/introducing-the-cross-and-the-jukebox/

Subscribe to the Podcast here – http://feeds.feedburner.com/MooreToThePointTheCrossAndTheJukebox

Some of you may also remember the Dr. Moore was my guest on ths very podcast speaking of his book, Adopted for life.  Download that podcast here - Adopted for Life with Dr. Russell Moore.

Podcast 02 – God’s Design for the Family with Pastor James McDonald

January 15, 2011 in Podcast

Many Christians fear that our modern times have ushered in a brutal assault on the traditional family.  Some struggle even defining what a family actually is.  While conservative politicians talk about family values and liberal politicians talk about the values of love and tolerance, our goal is to ascertain what God says about the subject.  What does the Bible have to say about the institution of the family?  This is the question I pose to Pastor James McDonald on this edition of the Understanding Our Times podcast.  Pastor McDonald is the Teaching Elder at Providence Church in Peoria, IL, a member congregation of the Covenant Presbyterian Church (CPC) denomination.

Download the mp3 recording here.

Pastor McDonald and Providence Church will also be hosting a Midwest Worldview Conference in April.  As an attendee of last year’s conference, I highly recommend you consider attending next year.  This year’s speakers include Gary DeMar and Joel McDurmon of American Vision. Gary DeMar had appeared on our broadcast in the past as we talked about dispensationalism and Joel McDurmon will be on the program in the future (when a time can be worked out) speaking on the issue of socialism.  For more details about the conference, click here.

Congratulations to Reince Priebus

January 14, 2011 in Politics

 

Congrats to Reince Priebus, the new Republican Party National Chairman.  Previous to this, Reince served as the chairman of the Wisconsin Republican Party.  I’ve backed this man ever since his name was first rumored as a candidate.  He is a man of great wisdom and knowledge.  I know this because of one lone incident. 

Last year I did some phone-banking for now Governor Scott Walker at our local GOP victory center here in Rock County.  I was there for probably 30 minutes when in walks Chairman Priebus.  After chatting for a few minutes, Reince asked for my thoughts on the election and the GOP strategy in general.  This simply proves Reince Priebus is a smart man who knows sound council when he hears it.  What more could you ask for? 

By the way, Reince, give me a call anytime for advice concerning the direction of the national party…

For more information look here – http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2011/01/14/republicans-select-new-party-chief/

My Letter to the Editor: Media Wants to Blame Patriots

January 13, 2011 in Politics

Recently I wrote a letter to the editor of the Beloit Daily News conerning the tragic shooting in Arizona.  You can read it here below:

I find the news coverage of the shooting of Congresswoman Giffords to be disgraceful.  This was the work of an unstable man who embraced the works of Hitler.  Yet, if you were to believe the media, Jared Loughner was acting out due to heated political debate brought about by the Tea Party movement. 

First, heated political debate did not contribute to this man’s actions.  This man believes the government to be controlling us through the use of grammar.  This is not the mark of a man in throws of high-minded political discussion.  There is no major party that advocates this view.  There is no third party that I am aware of that advocates this view.  Cooling the debate over Obamacare would not have changed what happened last Saturday. 

Intense, heated debate is exactly what this country needs.  No political party should be able to steamroll through their agenda.  Debate and opposition, though at times heated, is needed in order to bring about deliberate, thoughtful legislation.   We act as though this is something new.  For as long as our republic has existed, there has been heated political rhetoric. 

Second, as someone who has spoken at and attended many Tea Party gatherings, not once have I ever heard anything resembling a call for violence.  Many of us are Christians who seek to promote life.  The revolution we speak of ideological.  It is irresponsible to suggest that it is anything more.  Besides, no one has even produced one shred of evidence that this man had any connection to a tea party anywhere.

This ought to be a time where we come together to pray for the families of these innocent victims.  Instead, some in the media seek to slander patriots and divide us as they push their own clearly political agenda.

Ron Paul vs. the Fed

January 10, 2011 in Podcast

Congressman Ron Paul officially takes on th Federal Reserve!  Read this quip from Congressman Paul’s latest article entitled, “Toward Sensible Monetary Policy”:

Last week the 112th Congress was sworn in.  I am pleased that I will be chairing the Monetary Policy Subcommittee of the Financial Services Committee, which has oversight of the Federal Reserve.  Obviously, this position will facilitate my efforts to ensure the Fed provides the American people with more information about what they have been doing with and to our money.  Not surprisingly, since my chairmanship was announced, apologists for the Fed have been recycling the old canard about how increased transparency threatens the Fed’s so-called political independence.

By independence, they are referring to the Fed’s ability to greatly impact the economy with virtually no meaningful oversight.  We only recently learned that the bankers at the Fed were able to use the latest financial crisis to bail out Wall Street cronies and foreign central banks with billions of dollars that were created and wasted, instead of appropriated and voted on by representatives of the people.  The Fed and its supporters in Congress vehemently fought even this small bit of transparency and without this one-time provision in the financial reform act forcing disclosure, we would still not have this information.  Indeed, we are in the dark on so much of what the Fed has done.  This is extremely dangerous for our country, yet this power and secrecy is defended as some kind of public good, which is patently ridiculous.

Our government is based on a system of checks and balances.  With no check on the Fed, it is no surprise it has thrown the economy wildly off balance.  The solution is not to re-inflate the bubbles the Fed created, or to continue to devalue the currency, or to throw billions at failing banks and corporations.  The solution is to return sanity and freedom to monetary policy.  Forcing the entire country to use a medium of exchange that is subject to the whims of elite bankers and their cronies on Wall Street is not sanity.  Hoping that an unchecked, all-powerful, behemoth banking cartel will solve any economic problem is not sanity.

Read the whole post here – http://bit.ly/fiaMPg