Dogmatic Ignorance

You get the government you deserve.

A democracy mandates an informed and involved public.

The only thing worse than a fool is a fool with strong convictions.

Great Depression II?  Might not be hyperbole.

An uninformed and lazy citizenry handcuffs elected officials

Where our are great “Profiles in Courage” leaders, who put the nation’s well being above their political necks?

The cliches and soundbites are now in full effect as our nation enters what could be its greatest economic crisis since the 1930’s.  What makes matters worse is that election day is a little over a month away, making getting re-elected more important than doing what is best for the country.

For all of you who think this is a “bailout” (terrible phrase to use to sell this to the American public) its not.  Its a RESCUE PLAN!  I implore you to get more informed on this before spouting off on the subject.  Lets get this straight, what happens on Wall Street does not stay on Wall Street, it floods onto main street.  If Wall Street is devastated (which it will be) then main street goes down as well.  This is not about giving billions to rich white guys, this is about saving jobs, homes, pensions, 401K’s, and businesses.  Sure it might feel good to feel like you are sticking it to the fat cats on Wall Street by seeing this rescue plan go down in flames, but you will be cutting off your nose to spite your face.  Because if our economy crumbles, and I am not exaggerating, then executives on Wall Street will lose a couple million, but still be fine.  It will be you and I who suffer.  It will be our communities and friends who pay the price as unemployment skyrockets, housing prices drop even further, and getting loans becomes impossible.

I entitled this post “Dogmatic Ignorance” because this is what most Americans are right now; they have their minds made up that this rescue plan is bad, even though they know little about it or what the consequences will be if it is not passed.  They hear 700 billion and Wall Street and just assume its rich people getting taken care of, and them holding the bill.  This simply is not true.  The bill is set up recoup possibly all the money going out, and even give the tax payer shares in the companies that need help.  But since our lawmakers are terrified of coming home and being labeled as “those guys who gave rich Wall Street a bailout” as they face election, they will not act unless the public gets behind them.

The truth is that most lawmakers thought the deal would pass, and most wanted it to.  Its just that to many wanted to have their cake and eat it to.  They wanted to see it go through, and still be one of those who got to vote “nay.”  They were relying on the courage and integrity of their peers for their political gain.  Shame on them, and shame on anyone who lambastes this plan and does not know the stakes.

I wrote my Congress person today and would advise you to do the same.

ryan

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Gospel of Matthew

Matthew finds Jesus interfacing with three groups of people.

1.  Jewish leaders:  The religious folk who are also the power brokers.  They are almost always hostile toward the mission of Jesus and the unfolding of the Kingdom of God.  Their hearts are hard and they are unwilling to repent of their majoring on the minors and unloving hearts.  All of us have seasons in which we can relate to this group and find ourselves struggling with self-righteousness.  These may be times in which we are growing in spiritual knowledge or have found new Bible teachers we deeply gravitate to.  Also, new believers also can fall prey to this mindset for a season as they are deeply excited about their salvation and wonder how anyone could not live the Christian life they have recently discovered.

2.  The Crowds:  These people are largely the object of Jesus’ ministry and teaching, yet most remain non-committal and prone to being enamored with Jesus at one moment and calling for his crucifixion the next.  Often the crowd loses it passion or interest for Jesus and his message in the burdens of life and the pressures from the powers that be.

3. The disciple:  The disciples often are perplexed and confused at Jesus’ mission and often have a hard time understanding what he is talking about.  They sometimes make boastful claims of spiritual commitment and bravery that will fail to back up.  But they love Jesus and they know Jesus.  The know the grace and compassion of their Lord and are willing to have their wills bent to his message and commands, because this is where they find true life, eternal life.

I think we can all relate to the groups in the Gospel of Matthew.  I read through the whole book of Matthew yesterday and just started taking down notes about how people reacted to Jesus and then thought about myself.  Think about your life and if you where you are at.

ryan

Desiring God Conference Audio

Here is the website where you can hear all the sessions.  It is worth you time.  I listened to the message by Ferguson on James and was deeply enriched by it.  Partly because I had studied the book of James more in depth than any other book of the Bible, and also because it is full of truths for living the Christian life.

ryan

Total Church

In the middle of reading a really good book entitled Total Church.

What makes the book really interesting is that the authors are advocating for church models that combine a holistic, house church, community centered understanding of church, with strong theology.  Up to this point, house church and strong theology have gone together like an NFL wide receiver and humility.  Here is a quote from this book that pricked my conscience and has me thinking.

I was talking with a prominent evangelical church leader and asked him why more people are not open to a household model of church or to community groups meeting in homes.  The church leader was candid in his reply: ‘ Because people like me come from professional backgrounds, and we want churches that reflect our backgrounds.  I don’t want to be opening my home to people.  I don’t want to get involved in people’s lives.  I don’t want needy people in my church.  Before people like me went into Christian ministry, we were lawyers, doctors, businessmen.  And when we get involved in ministry we bring those values with us.  We want to lead growing churches with professional people, church administrators, healthy budgets.  We want church to be a well-run organization with polished presentations'”

Now I doubt many church leaders and pastors would be this forward in saying something like this, but the attitude is quite pervasive in many places.  It makes me wonder if we are really ready to count the cost that comes with being a messenger of the Gospel in our culture.

ryan

I’m John McCain And I Approve This Message

Well I wrote about Sarah Palin last week and how crazy feminist liberals were viewing her as somehow not a real woman because of her political convictions.  Well Professor Wendy Doniger of the University of Chicago just came out and spewed a whole bucket of hate and craziness; claiming that Palin is hypocritical for thinking she is actually a woman.  Here is the article.

You have to believe the McCain is rejoicing in his political genius of picking Palin and just gleefully hoping that this type of loony tune rant gets more exposure and drives more voters to McCain/Palin.

ryan

Good To Be A Bronco Fan

“If your town could save one sports team—college or pro—and the others had to relocate to Vladivostok, Russia, which one would stay?

In Denver, for instance, the fans would keep the Broncos and happily drive all other teams to the airport. Proof: If you added your name to the season-ticket waiting list now, it’d be nearly 190 years before you got a call.” Rick Reilly

It is a close to as to which bring me more glee, watching UNLV win NCAA Tournement games, or the Broncos demolish the Raiders and in the process reemerge as a quality football team.

The Broncos beat the Raiders like a Tiebtian monk at a Chinese police picnic.  I could not stop watching as Jay Cutler demonstrated he is one of the best QB’s in the league and better than his 2006 draft counterparts Leinart, and Young.  The O-line was dominant and the play calling was Shanahan demonstrating he is one of the best offensive minds in football; that is when he has the players needed.

This upcoming week is going to be the real test in which we find out if Denver is for real or not as the Chargers visit Mile High for the biggest game of the week.  But at least for today it is wonderful to be a Bronco fan.

ryan

John Owen and Spiritual Growth

Spiritual formation has become as trendy as Twitter.  During seminary I had participate in a two and half year spiritual formation track.  In many ways though spiritual formation is really just good old fashioned discipleship with a dusting of mystical/monastic influences.  Sadly, one of the biggest ingredients that seems to be missing from the modern spiritual formation movement is an emphasis on sin, and repentance.  We can spend great energy trying to be in tune with God and learning breath prayers but if we are not eradicating sin in our lives we are really taking a thimble to scoop water out of a sinking ship.  I read this quote from the Puritan theologian John Owen yesterday and I am still being convicted by it.

The vigor and power of our spiritual life depends on the mortification of the deeds of the flesh.

Owen basically asserts that there is a direct link between our willingness to destroy the pervasive sin in our lives, and our relationship with Jesus, and experience of the Holy Spirit.  I want to be careful here and say that Owen is not saying advocating a super moralism, quite the contrary.  This mortification/eradication of sin is not done through our will, but rather our awareness of need and desperation that leads us to surrender absolutely to the work of the Holy Spirit.

ryan