Weekend Reading: November 5, 2016

Welcome to the weekend!  As you might imagine, I’ve been pretty slammed with election work, but still wanted to take a moment and share a few stories and thoughts about the election season and other items going on.

I want to begin by saying “thank you” to all my friends who have taken time to share thoughts and hopes about the election. I’m so grateful for all the prayers as well. It’s a stressful business, elections, and also a great honor to play a small part in campaigns across the country.

What many of you may not realize is that your texts and emails and phone calls help shape my own thinking, and in turn the advice and wisdom I give candidates and use to interpret the political landscape. So thank you for the input!

Now for stories…

Here’s a thoughtful article from Kevin DeYoung on his approach to the election.  Key excerpt:

Elections have consequences. Yet I’m much more interested in the church—my church and the Church. Our fidelity to biblical truth, our personal holiness, our sincerity, our consistency, our ability to speak with grace and truth, our unwillingness to confuse the kingdom of this world with the kingdom of Christ, our realism in the midst of utopian promises, our hope in the midst of fear and loathing, our winsome witness to the gospel—to embody these realities week after week is more important than what happens on the second Tuesday in November.

The big news still continues to be the FBI’s role in the election, and how much more are might learn about the emails found on Anthony Weiner’s laptop. It doesn’t seem that we’ll know if these are duplicates of the emails previously examined, or if they are new ones, prior to the election. This has led several people to start talking (prematurely) about impeaching Clinton…and she’s not even elected yet!

For their part, the Clinton world seemed to be in full damage control mode this week. The best they had to hit back with seemed to be the “Donald is tied to the Russians!” line. But when even the New York Times seems to dismiss this, its not good news for HRC.

So here at the end of the week, Trump seemed to be closing in on Clinton, but I’m not sure it really changes the odds that Clinton will win this election – mostly because of how the electoral college is looking (Trump isn’t winning enough populous states).  The key to watch on election night is Pennsylvania. If Trump can pull off an upset there, then you’ll know he’s about to have a very good night (he’ll also have to win NH, FL, NC, NV, AZ, IA and OH among others…).

Speaking of the map – here’s a website you can fiddle around with to come up with your own electoral college result. Lots of fun!

I honestly didn’t know what to make of this one, not having heard much more about it: State Dept. Emails: Clinton White House Data Stolen from National Archives.  It seems highly nefarious, but its hard to tell if this is just a sensationalized accident, or part of the larger Clinton corruption machine.

What that Archives story reminded me of was Orwell’s ‘1984.’ In that book, the main character, Winston, has a job in which his sole function is to change old archived newspaper (and other) data in order to fit with the reality created by state politicians (namely ‘Big Brother’) at the time.  Since that reality was constantly needing to be shifted, Winston was continually editing. I will allow your imagination to complete my analogy and what the future might look like if this kind of thing persists.

Along similar lines? The FBI is investigating one of its own Twitter accounts. This account, one which I had never even heard of before a few days ago, has been posting all kinds of interesting stuff. Seemingly random dumps of information. I’m unsure what the public benefit is here, but I suspect more will come out in the coming weeks.  Of course, if Clinton is elected, maybe not…

Some more follow up on the Jen Hatmaker from Rosaria Butterfield. This was an immensely powerful column. Dr. Mohler also had a follow up podcast as well, which would be worth taking a listen to.

John Piper looks at our desires, and says “your desires want to kill you.” This is an older post, but I had it bookmarked because I thought it would be interesting, and I wasn’t disappointed.

I found this an interesting one to scroll through: How a $600,000+ 3D printer works.  What struck me was how God has given us this innate desire to create. We love the arts, we love to write, draw, build, design and invent new things.  The most significant difference between all of our creativity and the One who made us this way is that He started from nothing. When He created he never copied another man’s idea. He didn’t build from another’s genius. No one ever taught Him how to balance color and shading and weave into his creation the laws of physics and engineering. We are contingent beings, and He simply IS, and WAS, and ALWAYS will be.  As Isaiah says:

Who has measured the Spirit of the LORD, or what man shows him his counsel? Whom did he consult, and who made him understand? Who taught him the path of justice, and taught him knowledge, and showed him the way of understanding? (Isaiah 40:13-14 ESV)

Paul Bedard reports that gun sales are at an all time high. The headline: Gun sales set to break 18-year record, 28M.  Things happen for a reason – people are purchasing guns because they’re concerned that their right to do so will very soon either be curtailed, or taken away altogether. I personally believe that Clinton is being disingenuous when she says she believes in the 2nd amendment, because in the very next breath comes a “but”…the founding fathers never breathed a “but” after those thoughts. Of course, tyrants never seem to think in the same way as men and and women who love liberty.  Too harsh? Maybe.  Or maybe I’m simply mentally preparing for the worst.  Either way, I’m seriously concerned that a Clinton Presidency will attack – not simply erode – the freedoms we enjoy today.

Some Humor (h/t Alex)Unitarian Universalist Church Changes Logo To ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

An interesting opinion piece over at Foreign Policy Mag: Facebook’s Free Basics Is an African Dictator’s Dream.

This was pretty funny – from Dana Perino: How My Husband Ended Up in Jail After Walking Our Dog. TEASER:

Here’s an excerpt from my new book, “Let Me Tell You About Jasper.” This story is written by Peter, explaining how he ended up in jail while I was working at the White House. When he was given his “one phone call” from jail, I was in the Oval Office briefing the president. True story.

That’s all I have for you today, as I need to get back at it!  But I do want to leave you with some encouragement. The election is coming up on Tuesday, and if you’re an American citizen (not everyone of my readers is), then its your right and privilege to vote. Even if you have to skip voting on a race (or two) for lack of knowledge or conscience.  Participating in the process is something that men and women have died safeguarding, and for me that’s enough to take it seriously and fill in a ballot.

Lastly, remember that God is sovereign over the affairs of men.  I know that’s what we always say shortly after wincing at the news, but I want you to think about it this way – He doesn’t just allow Trump and Clinton to be the major party nominees, He decrees it.  He controls everything. That’s what sovereignty means. Nothing happens accidentally.  Nothing happens that He simply “allows” – He’s not in damage control mode right now! God, who made all that lives and breathes, and all that doesn’t, has brought about all aspects of this life for a reason. That reason is that ultimately He desires to have glory from those He created. He will not be denied, He will not be thwarted in His purposes. He will continue to work things (all things) together for those whom He loves, but not ultimately because its about us, rather because its about Him.

Therefore, think on how the God of the universe is working all of these evil times to His ends and His glory. Think of how you will reflect His wisdom and radiance and glory to others (however imperfectly). This of how the gospel gives us a new perspective on politics: we have not been ransomed to be wealthy, comfortable American Christians. We have been ransomed in order to proclaim the excellencies of Jesus Christ – in the midst of turbulent political times or otherwise. This is a world that needs ransoming, that needs saving – not from any outside tyranny, but from itself. And this election cycle reminds us that our biggest problems in life are not global warming, war, or even famine. Our biggest problem is more familiar and more essential; it is us. Our nation’s political leaders are probably an accurate reflection of the culture, and the people it represents, even if it happens to be the worst part of that culture. There is hope, however, but it isn’t found in political leadership or social engagement or “better education.”

These were the same things people looked for 2,000 years ago, but instead the hope they got was not political, but more fundamental, more essential. It was more individual, and yet also more univesal than a political system revamp. When Christ appeared on the scene, the people of Israel had been suffering under tyrants worse than Obama or Clinton. You think you’re concerned about Clinton or Trump? Try living under Nero and Herod. At the time, they desparately needed a political leader who would bring justice, and restore fairness to their land. But instead, they (and we!) got the Son of God who brought them grace and mercy, and who will one day consumate this world with the flaming sword of justice.

For now…enjoy the rest of your weekend, placing your hope for this world and your life, and your children’s lives, in the hands of the One who has sovereignly controlled all of life from its inception, and who alone can bring peace to our lives and our country.

PJW

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