Weekend Reading: February 19, 2016

Welcome to the weekend – its FINALLY here!  Below are the stories, videos, blogs and more that I found most interesting throughout the week. And there was a lot going on, that’s for sure!

Inevitably the presidential contest will be taking up quite a bit of space in this post, but before we get there, I wanted to post this link from Challies on The Character of a Christian. This post focuses on Gentleness, and as I read it, I was struck with the contrast with the men campaigning for President (and their campaigns) and how we are called to behave as Christians. Now, politics is a rough and tumble business, but I think there’s a way to campaign while defending yourself without descending into pure attack mode 100% of the time (as we’ve seen with Bush, unfortunately). Here’s a key quote:

To be gentle is to be tender, humble, and fair, to know what posture and response is fitting for any occasion. It indicates a graciousness, a desire to extend mercy to others, and a desire to yield to both the will of God and the preferences of other people.

The second thing I wanted to point out was that – thanks to some feedback from concerned readers – I must correct some “hyperbole” on my part from last week’s post. I mentioned some of the dirty campaigning from Cruz world, and how it had brought my mind to a place where I could never support the Senator from Texas. I don’t think I was lying there, because that’s how I felt at the time, but it wasn’t a very circumspect statement. I could definitely support Sen. Cruz in two circumstances: 1. If he were the nominee of the GOP and 2. If he were alone in a contest against Donald Trump.  Everyone knows I am working for Gov. Kasich – and for someone whose been working for him quite a while here, I don’t think my bias has been overt whatsoever.

My goal with this weekend reading is to let you know from my perspective how things are going and what I read this week. I don’t have to be unbiased whatsoever, though I do try and be fair.  People may have difficulty squaring how, as an evangelical Christian, I can support Kasich over Cruz or Rubio or Carson (for example – Kasich is a Christian, but Cruz is an outspoken and articulate man of faith, as is Rubio, Carson is a 7th Day Adventist and while he’s a nice guy, that’s a whole ‘nother ball-o-wax).  To explain this more fully would require a longer post, but it has to do with character, the ability to actually get something done for our country, and actually with my concern for the lazy American church. For example, Cruz’ politics don’t bother me nearly so much as his brand of Christianity – a brand which conflates the kingdom of God with the kingdom of America, transposing and misapplying OT promises to America as a whole, instead of Israel and/or even the church specifically. These are purely theological concerns, and while not one of these 3 items is alone a deal breaker, together they make it difficult for me to support – but that’s just me, and where I’m at right now. Again, too much to unpack here..maybe another time!

Now, here’s what happened this week…

I’ve often said before that if you’re supporting Donald Trump at this point, its probably because you want real change and don’t trust politicians. You’re basically like the Obama voter of 2008. However, this week if you were paying attention, you might have lost all reason to support Trump.  He openly and strongly declared he was for the healthcare mandate (then walked it back on Twitter). So he’s for the cornerstone of Obamacare – but maybe now he’s changed his mind? Trump also said in the debate last Saturday that he was against the Iraq war from the beginning and that Bush lied about WMDs. Subsequently, reporters found that he actually supported it, and then was found praising its success.  And finally, he said he’d be “neutral” on Israel/Palestine. I’m pretty sure this has some of my Israeli friends concerned.

Now, separately, Trump got attacked by the Pope who basically said Trump wasn’t a Christian because Christians don’t focus on building walls between people (that is a generous summary). Marco Rubio gave an eloquent slap down to the Pope – pointing out that even Vatican City has a border and walls and the sovereign right to keep people out. But I think he missed the point – I think. Giving the Pope some measure of grace here, I think Kasich actually interpreted the statement correctly (thanks Michael Steele for pointing this out) in that the Pope was trying to say leaders need to be building bridges between people, and not walls etc. Kasich was then right to gently remind the Pope that as a sovereign nation we need a wall, and also that it probably wasn’t the right thing to judge Trump as a non-Christian based on his desire to build a border wall. This is exactly correct, and its why the Pope is misguided – not just politically, but perhaps even theologically. It was foolish to inject himself into American politics so clumsily. Now – I believe that the church is here to shine light on the world, and that means calling out politicians and leaders. But if you’re going to do it, do it for theologically correct reasons, in politically accurate contexts.  There are an ABUNDANCE of theological and just plain character issues with The Donald, why start with this???  And one must understand that the context of our border discussion here in America – which is not the context of the European border discussions. It was a missed opportunity, at the very least. And perhaps it showed a lack of Biblical discernment, I’ll leave that for you to judge. But it definitely showed him as a politically misguided figure.

What else happened this week?  A young man from GA drove up to a Kasich townhall in South Carolina, told his story to the candidate, and what happened next went viral. I think I saw 25 news stories and blogs about this momentary reprieve from the nastiness of the SC campaign, which was nice.

Also, Kate read this story to me about Ted Cruz’ stance on homeschooling. As a homeschooling father, this was interesting to me. No doubt that Cruz would be a very friendly President to homeschoolers! They also have interviews with Rubio and Carson on here as well.

Speaking of Cruz – his campaign hit Donald Trump this week on his support of Planned Parenthood. This is one of the controversial ads that Trump is threatening to file suit over for being a “lie”…not sure how you can dispute it though.

More bad email news for Clinton

Interesting story about how Clinton leads the Dem primary delegate count by several hundred votes – even though she’s behind on actually winning state’s delegates.  And here’s a sort of “process story” on how the national Democratic Party is working behind the scenes to ensure Clinton beats Sanders.

Non Presidential!

Creepy story about severed feet washing up on the west coast…seems a little mysterious to me.

THEOLOGY NERD ALERT: R.C. Sproul interviews D.A. Carson on how to do proper exegesis! I didn’t get to finish this, but what I saw was really good.

For DADS – Jen Wilkin tells us to “speak the truth” to our daughters. (h/t to Derek and Katie and Parris who sent me the article, and then engaged me in wonderful discussions about its merits and nuances).

For FUN: Bark like a dog! AND…chest bump! 

Of course there were two major events on the world stage last week. 1. North Korea launched a test missile, and 2. Justice Scalia died. There’s a lot to be said about the VERY odd circumstances surrounding the death of Scalia. Hard to know what to make of this right now, but its worth keeping an eye on…

Ridiculous: Glenn Beck says that God allowed Scalia to die in order to make sure Cruz becomes President…because he’s a true constitutionalist. Remember – Beck is a mormon, and mormons believe the founding documents were actually inspired by God (similar to the way the Bible was inspired).  Who else believes this? Cruz’ father. There’s more to say about this, but its really too odd and too ridiculous to sort through here and now.

Also, Charles Ryrie passed away.  My good friend Matt R. introduced me to Dr. Ryrie’s ‘Basic Theology’ and way of thinking.  Even though I don’t agree with much of Ryrie, a dispensationalist, I read this article from Denny Burk and it was very touching, and a neat insight into how godly this man was. 

National Review had two good articles on women in combat this week. First, why its not a good idea, and secondly, why Israel isn’t the example people think it is on this front.

And – How Christians Used to Fast During Lent (h/t Katie)

Finally, two items I haven’t gotten to yet but want to. 1. The Whale that Nearly Drowned the Donald and 2. Lord Of The Rings: How Music Elevates Story.

That’s it!  Have a great weekend!

PJW

 

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