Monthly archives "April 2016"

Cruz & Carly

On September 2, 1864, William Sherman’s Army of the Cumberland entered Atlanta having defeated John Hood’s Army of TN.  But Hood’s Army escaped to fight another day.  As Sherman prepared his march through GA to the sea, Hood devised a last throw of the dice plan.  He would head north to TN with hope that Sherman would follow.  He would defeat the Army of the Cumberland in the TN mountains and then join Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern VA which was in a fight to the death with U.S. Grant’s Army of the Potomac.   The South could no longer win the Civil War militarily but they still hoped to stall through battle until the weary North gave up and settled with the South’s winning independence.   Having devised a bold plan that might have worked, Hood hesitated to act until it was too late.

Senator Ted Cruz has entered into a last throw the dice plan by adding the gifted Carly Fiorina to his team as his Vice President if he wins the nomination.   But like Hood he may have waited too long.   Cruz’ hope is that he can win IN now that popular Governor Pence has endorsed him and that Carly can help him win CA.  Just as the South could no longer win the Civil War in 1864, Ted Cruz can no longer win the nomination before the Cleveland Convention. His hope is that Donald Trump will be short enough delegates to win on the first ballot.  Then Cruz believes he can strip Trump of enough delegates to win on subsequent ballots.  It is a long shot but Cruz is really the last man standing in Trump’s way.

We are pleased that Cruz has chosen Carly and it will easily be the smartest team on the field.  Both are brilliant in debate, up on the issues and seldom taken by surprise.  In fact, this may be the smartest combination since 1800 when President John Adams faced Thomas Jefferson for the highest office in the land.  The two had once been friends and reconciled before they both died on July 4, 1826, exactly 50 years after they signed The Declaration of Independence. In 1800  they blasted one another as candidates do still today with Jefferson’s defeating sitting President Adams.

Carly Fiorina was our first choice for the GOP nomination but she dropped out early.  She is fearless when it comes to pointing out the many flaws of Hillary Clinton and it is hard for the Democrats to play the woman card against her.  And Donald Trump is as flawed as Hillary.  Brit Hume, long time ABC and FOX analyst says he has never seen a year when both the leading candidates for the nominations of their respective Parties are so unpopular.

How does such a blessed nation come to this point?  I would suggest it happens when we abandon our spiritual roots.  We are reading through the Bible chronologically as the books appear in the Old and New Testaments.  Right now we are in I Kings with Solomon (the last King to reign over a united Israel before the nation split into Israel in the North and Judah in the South) as he finishes building the Temple and the Royal Palace.   He and the Chosen People are honoring God and the Almighty tells them He will bless them unless they disobey.   That disobedience lies shortly ahead as Solomon abandons the wisdom God has given him for foreign women and foreign gods–a deadly combination for the Chosen of God.  By I Kings 11, Solomon is building temples to foreign gods and his nation is roiling with dissent.

I would suggest this is where our nation is now.  What are some of our false gods?  What is a most popular photo right now?–a Selfie.  Barack Obama took such a photo at the funeral for Nelson Mandela.  That is honoring the deceased is it not?   There is something in us called sin that leads to our wishing to be gods ourselves.   The Serpent told Eve in Gen. 3:5 that she not only would not die if she ate of the forbidden fruit but that she would “be like God.”  That Original Sin is still in us but has been conquered by Christ at the Cross and we can turn from it as we follow Him.   Today we follow the Selfie as symbol of our wishing to be god of our own life.

A cousin of this self-promotion is pride.  All this leads to other idols such as comfort and materialism with little room for sacrifice and giving of ourselves.  We reluctantly joined Facebook to help with the political campaign of a Christian friend of ours.  Much (certainly not all) that is published there says, “Please look at me.”  What makes this all so sad is that the Lord of the Universe looks at us with Perfect Love.  He died for us and rose again and, as Augustine said, “Loves everyone of us as if we were the only one He has to Love.”  We see this lived out humanly speaking with our love for our children and grandchildren.   We have three children and seven grandchildren and love them all with all our love.  This may not work out mathematically, but it works in a loving family.

Satan is a counterfeiter who diverts people into the search for love in the wrong places and wrong ways and from finding divine love and love in the family which is part of God’s Plan.  Thus we see the break up of the home as too many seek after forbidden relationships and foreign gods.

Politically we see this in the election of a President who honors Iran more than Israel and who constantly lifts up Islam as a religion of peace while blasting Christians for the Crusades a millennia ago.  When there is a terrorist attack he in essence says, “We must get guns out of the hands of the law abiding.”  Of American achievement he says, “You didn’t build that!  Someone else did that.”

When Americans rightly ask what has happened to our country, I think the answer is found in Revelation 2:4 when the Lord says to the Church at Ephesus, “You have left your first love.”  And in Revelation 3:14-18 where the Laodicean Church is described as “neither hot nor cold but lukewarm.”  A neutral audience is the hardest to reach.  What is the antidote?  The Lord answers in Revelation 3:19 as He did through the Prophets of old:  “Be zealous and repent.”   But don’t be lukewarm.

If we are honest, our plight should not surprise us.   We are a Second Chosen People and like the First Chosen when we honor God, he blesses us.  When we turn from Him we see evil lived out in its worst forms as described in Isaiah 5:20 and God’s response in 24-25:  “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil. . .as the fire devours the stubble. . .the anger of the Lord is aroused against His People;  He has stretched out His Hand against them.”

But we are not without hope.  God keeps bringing forth believers to lead.  Both Ted Cruz and Carly Fiorina are people of strong and open faith in Jesus Christ.   They testify to this.  If you ask Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton about their faith they will say, “I am a Presbyterian (Trump) and I am a United Methodist (Hillary).   We are United Methodists and I have nothing against Presbyterians or any other denomination but that answer is like saying “I am a member of Rotary Club.”  Certainly there are strong Christians who are members of Trump’s and Clinton’s Churches but too often they have become more social clubs who, like the Church at Ephesus, have left their first love and are like the Church at Laodicea which is lukewarm to faith.

God has again thrown us a lifeline.  From the human side, we have a “last throw of the dice.”   If we will “Be zealous and repent,” it is not too late.  But if we keep throwing the lifeline back eventually there is judgment and destruction.  “Turn us back to You, O Lord, and we will be restored.  Renew our days as of old.”  Lamentations 5:21  May it be so.

Eutychus

Ted Cruz is Alamo-Esque

Monica Crowley writes for The Washington Times, as conservative a publication in the nation’s capital as The Washington Post is Leftist.  She holds a PhD in American Studies and worked for Richard Nixon in his waning years.  She notes that Senator Ted Cruz has invoked the Alamo as the definitive symbol of his fierce independence and defiance.  Quoting a letter from fallen Alamo hero, William Barret Travis, Mr. Cruz says, “I am determined to sustain myself as long as possible.  Victory or death.”

Ted Cruz is the Consummate Conservative in Washington, a city where both Parties disdain his values and he who champions them.  This is a lonely place to be and Senator Cruz has stood alone as he battles Obama and Obamacare, the debt ceiling, taxes, the President’s executive orders, the gutting of the military to fund social programs, gun control and the fraud of global warming.

The Establishment resents how bad his stance has made them look and his refusal to buckle to their gangster-like threats and name calling–“Looney Tunes” being one of the milder ones.  The man who won’t go along is always dangerous to the elites and earns their deep enmity.  This has always been true.  Centuries ago a leader like this named William Wallace was betrayed and set up for murder by the nobility in his native Scotland.  Victory or death!

Donald Trump gained strength in the early primaries and is likely to do well in the upcoming contests in his native East Coast.  But Senator Cruz has won in the Midwest and here in CO as well as his native TX.  One of the challenges the Senator faces is that voters who are attracted to “outsiders” tend to lump Trump and Cruz together.  But Trump is a populist while Senator Cruz is a Principled Conservative.

Populist is a Latin term indicating “Voice of the People,” and the rights of the common person in their struggle with elites.  As good as this sounds it really puts Trump closer to Socialist Bernie Sanders and Socialist Light, Hillary Clinton.  Ted Cruz is closer to Ronald Reagan as a Conservative than anyone we have seen since “The Gipper.”  And Cruz’ principles have led to support from GOP colleagues and former candidates Carly Fiorina and Scott Walker.  Both once denounced him but now find him more appealing than a New York businessman.

Donald Trump has an advantage over Ted Cruz in that, while he is running as a Republican, he is not of the Party.  Senator Cruz is an unwavering Conservative boxed by a Party that continues to mock , dismiss and to kill the Conservative Movement Ted hopes to lead.

Dr. Crowley asked Mr. Cruz how he would wage his longstanding fight against the entrenched ruling class as President. He replied, “Leadership starts at the top.  Once we have a Commander-in-Chief who fights for the interests of the People instead of the Washington Cartel–the career politicians in both Parties, who are in cahoots with lobbyists and special interests to maintain their own power–we will finally see change in Washington.  But we will not break the Washington Cartel without a mandate from the People, and a leader willing to follow the mandate.  Once that happens, it will be more politically risky for the politicians in Washington to do the wrong thing”

There are many differences between populism and conservatism but they have in common a desire to restore America’s greatness.  The bigger foe is the Ruling Establishment that will do all it can to maintain power in the face of the threats of Trump and Cruz.  Senator Cruz is the original slayer of The Establishment and his scars manifest that.  But he has proven to be the most reliable Constitutional Conservative in the race.  With passion he speaks of creating a fairer, flatter tax code, putting an end to regulation that is stifling American ingenuity and job creation, of rebuilding the military, restoring American influence and sending power from Washington back to We the People.

In a race that began with 17 candidates, Senator Cruz is one of three left standing.  He still charges ahead with Alamo-Esque defiance.  I believe God has given us a final chance to return to Him and His Calling as a nation by raising up a Christian man of principle who knows in politics as in the battle, it is victory or it is death.   And People of the Lone Star Sate remember like no one else that the defenders at the Alamo died to the last man to establish the Republic of Texas.  Let us stand with another brave Texan to save the Republic called America.

Eutychus

 

Hillary’s Insouciance

Bill Clinton is back in the news for a new Sister Souljah moment.  During the 1992 Presidential campaign then Governor Clinton told Jesse Jackson that Souljah’s words could have been reversed and uttered by David Duke.  Born Lisa Williamson, Sister Souljah said that if there were good white people she had not met them.   Clinton said David Duke had essentially said, “If there are good black people, I have not met them.”  The man who would become President told Jesse Jackson such racist comments should not be uttered by anyone–black or white.

This past week former President Clinton took on Black Lives Matter who were protesting his 1990’s policy of 100,000 more cops on the street to help stop black on black crime.   Clinton responded to the radicals by asking them if they wanted 13 year old black children dying due to the Crack Wars of the time.  This is still happening with the death of so many black youth in Chicago.  Though the former President backed down the next day, his standing up to the radicals of Black Lives Matter is significant.

One of the reasons this stands out is that the Clintons have few such moments.  They are paranoid people who, with insouciance (casual lack of concern), lie and blame others.  We recall a taped conversation Bill had with Gennifer Flowers which was heard in 1992.  He told Flowers it would help if she could say she was approached by Republicans about their sexual activity–blame the GOP.

When faced with the Monica Lewinsky scandal, Hillary blamed her husband’s problems on a “vast right-wing conspiracy.”  She had to know better as she knows her husband and his wandering eye.  As the facts came out we learned that Bill and Monica began their relationship very early after their first meeting.  Monica would later testify that a month into their “friendship” and “this conduct,” she was still doubtful that the President even knew her name.  After months of lying, obfuscation and dissembling by the Clintons the truth came out.  For lying under oath, the supposed chief defender of American law lost his attorney’s license and was impeached but not convicted.

Did Hillary the insouciant learn from this experience?   She did not as she has said that the e-mail scandal is due to a “vast right-wing conspiracy.”  Even the sensible Left has said this makes no sense as it is the F.B.I. who is conducting the investigation and that F.B.I. Director James Comey is a straight arrow who has gone after the GOP as much as the Democrats.  One suspects that Hillary is not nearly as calm as her dismissive attitude would suggest.

The Democrats in general are worried about this and want it wrapped up soon in case they need turn to the fumbling. bumbling Uncle Joe Biden.  Pretty sure they won’t hand the nomination to crazy Uncle Bernie.  Even if Hillary skates though the e-mail obstacles, some of her aids may be indicted which would also be damaging.

Beyond that, Hillary Clinton is as poor a candidate as most of us have seen.  She is as awkward on the stump as Al Gore and Richard Nixon and has none of husband Bill’s charm nor Nixon’s considerable gifts.  She is cold and calculating and not at all likeable.  Columnist George Will has said he is not a man of empathy but one has to feel a bit for Hillary as she works for the nomination with no skills or aptitude for campaigning.

Young people are not so taken with her or Bill as they see them as old hat, given to conspiracy theory and that Hillary enabled Bill to abuse women like Monica Lewinsky who was young enough to be the President’s daughter.  Some of the young people wonder why the Old Line Press was so enamored of the Clintons.  That is just one of the reasons so many of them are Bernie Sanders fans.

If it were not for so much angst on the Republican side (principally authored by Donald Trump) it is likely that any number of the GOP candidates would be up in the polls over Hillary.  As it is, the Republicans may snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.  With so much coverage of the Donald there has not been much attention paid to the e-mail scandal by the Press.  This is not to say they would go after Hillary as they would a Republican who had a private server for national secrets.

All this makes one long for a Harry Truman or a Ronald Reagan.  Truman lived, said and believed that “The Buck Stops Here.”   With Bill and Hillary the buck stops with the vast right wing.  This is one of the reasons Hillary’s negatives are so high and why so many outside hardened Democrats do not trust her. Do we really want such people who live on the edge, sometimes go over the edge, who lie and cheat back in the White House?   I hope not.

I fear all this is another sign of the decline of the Republic.  Some of the young GOP talent such as Paul Ryan elects not to run.  And the young Marco Rubio, who may have been the most naturally gifted in the race on either side, had to drop out due to the Dumpster who won FL and called him “Little Marco.”   Part of Trump’s appeal to many is that he says publicly what most politicians only think privately.  While that can be refreshing it does not a President make.

All this makes for exciting television but will it make for a successful Presidency?  I suspect not and we cannot afford another error like Barack Obama.  When Lyndon Johnson left office in some disgrace, the great essayist Eric Sevareid noted his failures but said, “On the other hand, we were not the best people a President ever had to lead.”  We may be getting what we deserve as we turn our back on our founding principles.

There is One who remains perfectly calm in the face of these storms and that is the Almighty.  He is never taken by surprise in terms of human sin and flailing about to find someone else to blame.  In fact, His Son took all this on Himself at the Cross–“At the Cross, at the Cross where I first saw the Light.”  I think this is singularly comforting.

There is a story of a group of naturalists in Scotland.  They were looking for a particular flower up and down the hillsides.  Finally they see a whole cluster of the flowers, but they are growing on the side of a precipice.  It is deep and dangerous.  They as older men cannot retrieve them.

They see a little Scottish shepherd boy tending the flocks nearby.   They hit upon the idea of offering him a large sum to climb down and pick the flowers.  The naturalists would tie a rope around his waist and lower him down.  The young lad refuses but in a few moments he is back.   The men say, “Yes, are you going to do it?  Do you want more money?  We will pay it.”

The little shepherd says, “No, I will do it but only if that man can hold the rope.”  He points to a powerful man standing nearby and says, “That is my dad and he will NEVER let go of the rope.”  God is our powerful Heavenly Father who will never let go of the rope.

We do not have to trust the falsely insouciant, the buck passers, the liars, the paranoid.  They are the blind leading the blind.  We can say with confidence, “I have put my trust in the Hands of the One Who said from the Cross, ‘Father into Thy Hands I commit my Spirit.’ ”    We can and we do.  With God there are no dead ends.   Whatever the detours, dangers, delays, difficulties there are no dead ends with God.  He is never taken by surprise and He is still ultimately in charge.  Praise be to God!

Eutychus

 

 

Exploring the Promised Land

Around 1440 B.C. Moses sent 12 spies (one from each tribe) to explore Canaan, the land promised to the Hebrew People.  Ten of these men came back in fear and said, “It is a land flowing with milk and honey.  But the people there are powerful and live in large, well fortified cities.”  Numbers 13:27-28  Joshua and Caleb in essence said, “Nonsense!  We should take this land.  God will help us.”

But the Hebrews counted the majority who said it could not be done rather than the two powerful men who were not afraid and brought a good report.  God then let the Hebrews wander in the desert for nearly 40 years while the fearful generation died off.  But Joshua and Caleb lived to enter the Promised Land in approximately 1400 B.C. and to subdue the cities there for the Hebrews.

Dr. Dennis Kinlaw was one of my Old Testament professors in seminary.  He is a man of incredible spiritual depth.  In his book, This Day with the Master, he points out the names of the 10 spies who brought back a fearful report–Shammua, Shaphat, Igal, Palti, Gaddiel, Gaddi, Ammiel, Sethur, Nahbi, and Geuel.  No one ever names children after these men.  Few historians recognize the names.

Twelve young men stood and faced God’s future at a place called Kadesh Barnea.  Ten chose their future on the basis of their fears.   Two men chose their future on the basis of a personal knowledge of, and full commitment to God and His plans for them.   They wholly followed the Lord, and their names are still spoken thousands of years later.   We still name our children after them.

The world and our nation needs more Calebs and Joshuas.  We have such leaders among us still.  They have names like Ted Cruz and Carly Fiorina and they speak with the sound of a certain trumpet.  But  when they step forward do we listen or, like the Hebrews of old, count the numbers who say, “Government is the answer;  not God.”  In many ways we have become a nation that is wandering in the desert, fearful and anxious, with the blind leading the blind.

Other than a brief eight year period under Ronald Reagan we seem to remain on a glide path on the course set by FDR’s New Deal and LBJ’s Great Society.  And we appear to be running out of time to change course.  It is not easy to bring the minority report as Caleb and Joshua did.  That is one of the reasons too few do it.  But for the sake of our children and grandchildren we must speak up for God and Country.

Let us address fear here.  C.S. Lewis, great Christian apologist of the 20th century wrote in The Screwtape Letters, XXIX, “The act of cowardice is all that matters;  the emotion of fear is, in itself, no sin.”  He is exactly right.  We all have fear sometimes but as Paul writes in II Timothy, “God has not given us a spirit of fear, but a spirit of power. . . .”  And action cures fear.  Ralph Waldo Emerson writes in an essay, “Fear is an instructor of great sagacity and the herald of all revolutions. . .Fear indicates great wrongs which must be righted.” We need such instruction right now.

A comfortable plane ride became very bumpy.  The plane rolled and pitched like a ship on a wind-whipped ocean.  The passengers were agitated except for one little girl who calmly read her book.  After the plane landed she was asked how she stayed so calm.  She answered, “My daddy is the pilot and he is taking me home.”  God can handle the storm.  Caleb and Joshua knew that.

Yes, the world and the nation needs more Calebs and Joshuas.  Only such persons can lead us into the future, into the Promised Land that we need and for which we long.  Will we be among them?   I hope so.

Eutychus