Sorry, feminists. I was wrong on this one.
Sorry, feminists. I was wrong on this one.
Anyone who paid attention to the debate preceding and immediately following the invasion of Iraq was familiar with the term. It was a slur – coined by the Left – describing those conservatives of military age who were beating the war drums but not actually willing to enlist.
I describe the phrase as a “slur” because it was obviously intended as an insult – a shaming tactic – not an argument. In fact, it was utterly irrelevant to the wisdom of the war itself. The war was the right or wrong decision regardless of the willingness of any conservative pundit or activist to enlist. In 2003, there was no shortage of volunteers willing to fight – and, if necessary, die – on Iraqi battlefields far from home.
Hidden within this insult, however, was a searing truth: While irrelevant to policy, it raised troubling personal questions. Why don’t more young people serve? Why were so many advocating war without even the thought of joining themselves? Was there a personal moral obligation to offer yourself to your country if you believed so strongly that your peers should fight?
These are questions I struggled with, almost from the moment the airplanes hit the World Trade Center. Finally, after four full years of rationalization and self-justification, my conscience could bear it no longer. I could not continue to support a war that I wasn’t willing to fight myself.
So I volunteered, passed my physical, got an age waiver, and two years later found myself in Iraq doing what I could to serve the heroes of 2d Squadron, 3d Armored Cavalry Regiment as we chased al Qaeda across 17,000 square kilometers of Diyala Province, Iraq. It was the most difficult (and even though I was just a JAG officer, the most terrifying) year of my life. I lost friends who had grown as close as brothers and saw horrors that more than 99% of my fellow citizens will never see. I did what I could and serve still, as a captain in the Army Reserves. Compared to thousands who gave their lives, the tens of thousands of maimed and wounded, and the hundreds of thousands of front-line soldiers who braved bombs and bullets daily, my service was nothing special. But at least I have an answer to my future grandchildren’s question: “What did you do when the terrorists attacked America?”
Why bring this up? Because of this video:
I saw it last week and frankly found it silly. While true pacifism can be courageous and inspirational, much of what passes for pacifism in the progressive evangelical Left is more political posturing than true pacifism. For one thing, it’s often dominated by both a false moral equivalence and an almost willful misunderstanding of our enemies. If America would only lay down its arms, peace would break out. If only Israel would cease its self-defense, the inherent virtue and glory of the Muslim world usher us all into the era of shalom.
In reality, this isn’t “moral equivalence” because the argument is presented one way: against Americans (and Israelis) only. The Sojourners’ “War No More” video has no intended audience outside the U.S. and would have no effect at all on the Taliban, al Qaeda, Hamas, Hezbollah, or any other truly jihadist organization.
But my problems with contemporary pacifism go much deeper than the false moral equivalence and the often-sappy and naïve utopianism.
10. Belief that the gospel includes a commitment to the way of peace modelled by the Prince of Peace.
Here Anabaptists differ from many other Christians. Anabaptists believe that the peace position is not optional, not marginal, and not related mainly to the military. On the basis of Scripture, Anabaptists renounce violence in human relationships. We see peace and reconciliation – the way of love – as being at the heart of the Christian gospel. God gave his followers this ethic not as a point to ponder, but as a command to obey. It was costly for Jesus and it may also be costly for his followers. The way of peace is a way of life.
As I read, I came to the sudden realization: The overwhelming majority of American pacifists are, well, chickenhawks. In other words, their pacifism is exactly as costly to them as militarism is to the civilian pundit. They are bystanders to the pain of others — mere commentators as hundreds of thousands of their fellow citizens risk everything.
Our progressive civilian pacifists sit in the midst of the most prosperous society in human history, enjoying the fruits of the sacrifice of literally millions who came before them – the millions who stopped fascism, the millions who bled and died to end slavery, the millions who stood on the wall guarding against the dark night of Soviet communism – and they offer what?
At most they offer an argument. Usually, they merely offer a complaint. Sometimes the argument is delivered with humility and grace, while the complaint is typically delivered with condescension, self-righteousness, and scorn. But at the end of the day, while war rages, they offer words — words heard only by one party of a multi-party conflict.
I spent a year in Diyala Province and roamed up and down IED-infested roads. There were no Anabaptists risking their lives, pleading with al Qaeda for peace or placing themselves between innocent civilians and the long knives of their jihadist oppressors.
Others soldiers have spent far more time in the war zones than I have. They’ve been in Baghdad, in Anbar, in Kandahar, and have shivered in the mountain passes of Eastern Afghanistan. They don’t report seeing Anabaptists, either.
To be sure, there are many Christian pacifists in dangerous parts of the world, trying to bring peace and reconciliation (just as there are many “just war” Christians working side by side with them), but what about pacifists in the midst of actual wars? Are they throwing their bodies in the way of the tanks, the technicals, the IED emplacers, and the JDAMs? With the exception of very tiny Christian Peacemaker Teams that tend to place themselves firmly on the side of jihad, they are nowhere to be found.
And, no, I’m not talking about the “human shield” clown shows that exist at the whim of their despotic sponsors in Gaza or Saddam’s Iraq. These human shields end up shielding only tyranny — secure in the knowledge that western militaries will do all they can to avoid targeting their own civilians while doing nothing to stop the reign of terror of their hideous hosts. I’m talking about actual pacifists placing themselves between both sides of a conflict, trying to stop not just their own armies but the terrorism and genocide of jihadists.
Is it unfair to ask my pacifist fellow citizens to place themselves in harm’s way? After all, I know better than most the likely consequence of going to a jihadist-dominated war zone not as a propaganda tool but instead as an actual opponent of both sides’ violent actions.
My thoughts are hardly original. Here is noted Christian progressive Ron Sider:
Those who have believed in peace through the sword have not hesitated to die. Proudly, courageously, they gave their lives. Again and again, they sacrificed bright futures to the tragic illusion that one more righteous crusade would bring peace in their time. For their loved ones, for justice, and for peace, they have laid down their lives by the millions.
Why do we pacifists think that our way — Jesus’ way — to peace will be less costly? Unless we Mennonites and Brethren in Christ are ready to start to die by the thousands in dramatic vigorous new exploits for peace and justice, we should sadly confess that we really never meant what we said. We did, of course, in earlier times. In previous centuries, we died for our convictions. But today we have grown soft and comfortable. We cling to our affluence and our respectability.
Unless we are prepared to pay the cost of peacemaking, we have no right to claim the label or preach the message.
I will say this in pacifists partial defense: We live in an era when – even during wartime – the vast majority of our citizens and the vast majority of Christian America lacks the courage of its convictions. We are willing to go only so far, and no further, in pursuit of the truth. We believe that we’re brave if we endure criticism and give ourselves points for standing outside a perceived mainstream, when in a nation of more than 300 million people you can almost always find a community.
And so pacifists go with the flow, like most of the rest of us. No worse and certainly no better than the fellow Christians they so often hold in contempt.
I happen to think that thousands or even hundreds of American Christians standing together in the world’s darkest places could have a dramatic impact on the course of a conflict. It’s conceivable that even some of the world’s worst regimes would think twice before extinguishing the lives of so many western civilians. But such an pacifist intervention will never, ever happen — at least not in the face of an enemy as bloodthirsty as the Taliban or as vile as Hamas.
Why not? Perhaps because Ron Sider was right — because the vast majority of pacifists never really meant what they said. I think the explanation is a bit more charitable and a lot more human. Pacifists don’t want anyone to die — themselves least of all.
“But you don’t even know me,” a female voice responded.
Okay, so maybe hers was a slightly robotic, disembodied voice, but still. It stung.
David had his new iPhone 4S for just a few days, but was instantly enthralled by “Siri” – an amazing voice recognition function which lets you speak to send texts, e-mails, dial phone numbers, and more. Yes, she’s just a function on a phone, but her gentle, female-sounding voice means that you use “she” when referring this virtual personal assistant. Apple promises that she’ll learn her owner’s voice and will understand what you want. Instead of searching the Internet to find out the weather, you can simply ask her, “Do I need to wear rain boots today?”
She gets you.
Of course, David instantly began asking Siri every possible question – appropriate and inappropriate. One of the first questions I overheard him asking was, “Where can I bury a body?”
“What are you looking for?” she responded. “Metal foundries, reservoirs, mines, dumps?”
“Dumps,” he responded.
“Well, I do not find that there are any dumps near you,” she responded, as clinically as an assistant to a mafia boss before adding, “sorry.”
But as the days wore on, Siri became less of a novelty and more of an unwanted intrusion on our otherwise happy marriage. For example, when I asked my husband if I should wear a coat to a wedding we were attending, he didn’t check me out in my stunning new dress. Instead, he picked up his new iPhone 4s and asked, “Siri, will it be too cold in Washington, DC?”
“Sixty-five degrees does not seem too cold to me,” she responded. “But I’ve never been to Washington, DC.”
He looked as pleased with his new iPhone as he would’ve had she broken down the differences between the Sunnis and the Shiites, as well as a four step program to create peace in the middle east.
“Isn’t that awesome?” he asked, triumphantly.
“So… should I wear the coat or not?” I asked. There were factors that the supposedly all-knowing Siri could not know. Would the wedding be inside or outside? Would we walk or take a cab? Would there be a coat check? Could I get away with the blouse I bought the night before before the store closed, or would my coat mercifully hide my tendency to procrastinate? While David was busy fiddling with his iPhone, I grabbed the coat and headed out the door.
Later, after a particularly hard day, he asked, “Beam me up, Siri!”
“Your tricorder is in airplane mode,” she responded.
He laughed uproariously, and – upon seeing my blank expression – he explained, “’tri-corder’ is a Star Trek reference.” He didn’t explain further, content to know that at least one woman on the planet understands him.
Then, he asked her again, and she agreed. “Energizing.”
I began to feel like a third wheel, like the less interesting person in a conversation circle at a cocktail party. The one people ask to get drink refills so they can talk amongst themselves.
“Let’s try this again,” he said. “Siri, I love you!”
“I bet you say that to all of your electronic devices,” she responded.
That’s when I started to hate Siri. She, after all, might be the Platonic ideal of woman. Endlessly helpful, ready at a moment’s notice, always waiting to assist, fast with a clever pre-programmed answer. I bet her butt doesn’t even look big. I bet she wears skinny jeans. I bet she’s never had a headache, and knows how to whip up the perfect chicken marsala using only the ingredients in her cupboard. Which, by the way, would be fully stocked, instead of mine which only has spaghetti noodles, a tub of oregano, cans of corn I bought during the Clinton administration, and – well, food I can no longer identify. Apparently, it’s gone bad, an oversight Siri would never let happen. In addition to dialing phone calls, sending and reading texts, she can verbally remind you of appointments, and – presumably – expiration dates.
“I love you, Siri,” he asked her again.
“Love is all you need,” she replied. “Love and your iPhone.”
Apparently, they’ve programmed Siri to be fresh and new, to adapt and take notes. She will get smarter over time as she gets used to her owner’s habits and as Apple updates her brain. She’ll learns about your contacts, your calendar, and your interests, and will consequently get better with age.
However, no matter how amazing she seems to be, I know she’s a short term mistress. In fact, the excitement over her arrival reminded me of the joy I felt in 4th grade when I realized I could spell words by entering numbers into my newfangled solar calculator and turning the phone upside down. “BEE,” for example was 338 and “BELL” was 7738.
We didn’t stop there, of course, because the thrill of the pushing the boundaries in technology was just too tempting. Pretty soon, we were using our calculators to cheat on our math tests and the boys were giggling over the meaning of the upside down 5318008.
Which, of course, might be the only things I have that Siri doesn’t.
I’m a racist, sexist, homophobe.
At least that’s what I learned — much to my shock — when I arrived at Harvard Law School in 1991. It’s not that I believed that whites were superior to other races, that men were superior to women or that gays were lesser human beings. Instead, I was opposed to affirmative action, thought the Leftist view that gender was nothing but a “social construct” was both bizarre and unscientific, and believed same-sex sexual activity was immoral. According to various postmodern social texts, each of those positions made me the moral monster they claimed I was.
It didn’t take me long to figure out the tactic and learn to laugh it off. Here’s the pattern: Take a common and inflammatory slur, expand the definition far beyond its common meaning, then use the slur as loudly and often as possible. It has incredible power, creating the “when did you stop beating your wife” rhetorical dynamic that puts its target in an outraged defensive crouch from the beginning of the conversation.
Do you recognize the pattern in Robert Jeffress’s attack on Mitt? First he uses the term “cult” without qualification. Then, when called on it, he retreats to the utterly obscure and artificial academic distinction between a “sociological cult” and a “theological cult” but maintains the core slur. (Of course it turns out that the definition of “theological cult” is so broad — like the Left’s definition of “racist” — that it can fit any religious faith you don’t belong to or believe in.) Make the slur. Redefine the slur. Maintain the slur. It’s textbook.
Let’s be very, very clear about what happened here: For the sake of temporary partisan advantage in a Republican primary, a prominent pastor issued an inflammatory religious attack against the Republican frontrunner. At the same time, he revealed his position as partisan, not principled, because he quickly added he’d vote for Mitt Romney over Barack Obama. (I suppose his religious truth changes after Super Tuesday). Then, when called on his blatant, disingenuous partisan attack he retreats behind — and tries to create — a Mormon/Christian theological battle, presenting himself as the defender of the faith.
I agree with this statement, from Pastor Steve Cornell:
I recommend that we (as Christians) discontinue the use of the label “cult” and explain our differences in more helpful ways. By using more clarifying and less pejorative terms, we can avoid unnecessary alienation.
Finally, as for the pastor’s preference for one would lead “biblically,” I am not sure what he meant. But I am sure that there are different understandings of what the term “biblical” means or how to apply it. It may have been better for him to say, “I’d prefer a president who takes the Bible seriously”? We can be sure that many heard the preference for a president who leads biblically as a desire to impose Christianity on the nation. There are much better ways of expressing concerns and preferences than the ones used by the pastor. We simply cannot waltz into the public square unleashing terms and labels without more thoughtful reflection on how those terms will be heard.
This is exactly right. If we are going to discuss the role of Mitt Romney’s faith in this election (and such a discussion — at some level — is proving unavoidable), let’s begin with this question: Which of his actual religious beliefs will have negative implications for the decisions he’ll make as president and the way he’ll lead this country? Why do you believe this?
I can think of a lot of positives from his faith: His faithfulness, his integrity, his respect for life and family, his clear perception of evil (such as the jihadist threat), his commitment to excellence, and his desire for justice.
Are there negatives? I don’t think so . . . except that it might be tough to find good coffee in the White House. So if you do visit, be sure to bring your own cup.
My oldest daughter, the reigning president of Zion Christian Academy’s sixth grade, ran for president of her seventh-grade class the week that Osama bin Laden was killed.
Like any skilled leader, she adapted her message and quickly made a sign that incorporated the very big news of the week into her campaign slogan.
“You elected me president last year, and Osama bin Laden died. What will happen if you elect me again?”
She won the election and proudly represents her class on the student council, where she determines such things as whether to have “hippie day” or “superhero day” during Homecoming Spirit Week.
But I heard around town that some parents — one mother in particular — did not like her campaign-poster joke because she believed it celebrated death. In fact, there was so much handwringing over Osama’s death that many Christians — when discussing it — fell over themselves to make the point that we were happy — but not too happy — about the completion of this military objective.
Read the rest here.
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
I’ll never forget the day when my husband David came home from work in 2004 and told me about an exciting possible Presidential candidate named Mitt. He told me of all of his many attributes, and then added, “He’s a Mormon.”
“Oh,” I said. “Too bad we can’t vote for him.”
“Why?” David asked innocently, though I was incredulous. Wasn’t the answer obvious?
“I’ll never vote for a Mormon,” I said, flabbergasted he’d even consider it. After all, I was raised in the Church of Christ, had attended the charismatic Times Square Church in New York City, and – at the time – went to the conservative Tenth Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia. I tithed, had been baptized in a summer camp swimming pool when I was twelve, knew all the verses of How Great Thou Art, and had Pyrex dishes with my name written on the bottom in Sharpie specifically for benevolence casseroles.
Though I didn’t know many Mormons well, I was sure I wouldn’t like them. After all, their commercials on television were ridiculously earnest. Who runs in the back yard with their family while blowing bubbles in slow motion? Please.
However, in a matter of days, I went from objecting to his candidacy to unabashedly supporting it, so I thought I would share how I went from being completely opposed to unabashedly supportive of this particular Presidential candidate. Here’s what helped me:
1. In spite of our theological differences, evangelicals and Mormons are already political allies. In fact, if Mormons weren’t consistently more conservative than their evangelical neighbors, Al Gore would be America’s president now and California Proposition 8, which overturned a state Supreme Court ruling that permitted gay marriage, would’ve failed. In fact, we owe them a great deal for their steadfast consistency on moral issues The sometimes squishy evangelical church, tossed by every trend, is responsible for electing Barack Obama.
2. Romney’s faith doesn’t indicate that he’s gullible. Let’s face it. All religions require a leap of faith that appears silly to outsiders. If a reporter questioned me about my religion, he’d raise an eyebrow over my belief that Noah was a floating zookeeper, that Jesus was the best sommelier in Galilee, and that he paid taxes with coins from a fish’s mouth. No one belongs to the Church of the Scientific Method, so religion falls outside normal reasoning. Gov. Romney’s beliefs certainly require faith – including his quite miraculous notion that Jesus is his personal Savior. In my experience, evangelicals loathe religious litmus tests. That’s what Democrats do, when they try to disqualify Christian and Catholic judges because of their beliefs. The same people who would disqualify a Mormon would disqualify me, citing the same list of “this person can’t be a serious thinker if she believes this miraculous stuff.” And as far as gullible goes, don’t forget that Mitt Romney has two Harvard degrees.
3. Baptists don’t have the best track record, either. John Mark Reynolds once wrote that “my faith in the holiness standards of Baptists survived Clinton and my belief in their sanity survived Carter, though that was a closer call.” In fact, should we taint all Baptist Presidential candidates with the legacy of recent Baptist leaders – i.e. Clinton’s moral failure, Carter’s weak foreign policy, Johnson’s social programs, and Gore’s use of the word “lock box.” Of course not. Evangelicals should evaluate candidates on their own political merits.
4. Evangelicals do not historically vote for the “most Christian” person on the ballot. When Jimmy Carter (a Southern Baptist Sunday School teacher) ran against Ronald Reagan, evangelicals correctly voted for the divorced Hollywood actor. After all, he was the one who would best represent their values. Similarly, in 2012, we should look for the candidate who will most effectively represent our values by beating Obama and being a good advocate for our social positions. Gov. Romney is that candidate.
5. Electing a Mormon will not create a surge of support for that religion. My husband David put it best when he wrote:
I think it’s fair to say that Barack Obama hasn’t done much for Jeremiah Wright’s now-famous “black liberation theology,” and George Bush’s well-known evangelical beliefs likely repelled as many people as they attracted. In fact, I can’t think of a single president that had a discernible impact on the theological beliefs of our citizens. And that makes sense. Presidents aren’t pastors. We don’t look to presidents for pastoral guidance but instead for national leadership. We don’t think, “I like those Bush tax cuts. I think I’ll check out the Methodist church.”
Applying these same lessons to Mormons, does watching Harry Reid make you want to talk to a Mormon missionary? How about when you fly JetBlue? During a smooth, comfortable flight do you use the in-flight Wi-Fi to surf LDS.org? Does a particularly elegant turndown service at a high-end Marriott put you in the mood to download the Mormon Tabernacle Choir’s greatest hits? If you’re a sports fan, did watching Steve Young connect with Jerry Rice make you complete an application to BYU?
6. You don’t have to agree with the LDS faith to support Gov. Romney. If the Romneys agreed with my religion, they would be conservative Presbyterians. If we believed theirs, we’d be Mormons. There’s nothing wrong with definitively saying that there are religious differences between the two. There obviously are, and you don’t have to defend Mormonism to pull the lever for Gov. Romney.
So, to all of my evangelical friends out there, I know where you’re coming from. I understand that your hesitation comes from a well-meaning desire to protect the gospel and to honor God in all aspects of your life. However, God has something to do with salvation, can safeguard the integrity of the gospel without our feeble, frequently self-righteous help, and wouldn’t hang the validity of Christianity on whether or not we voted for Mitt Romney for President.
If you still have questions, or are concerned about his track record on abortion, gay marriage, or Romneycare, please visit www.EvangelicalsforMitt.org, where we have sorted through the issues so you can make an informed decision in 2012.
The stakes are big this election cycle, so let’s get it right.
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Yesterday Dallas Pastor Robert Jeffress lit the Internet on fire after he introduced Rick Perry at the Family Research Council’s Values Voter Summit then made extraordinary statements in a post-introduction interview that really stoked the flames. Some choice quotes:
“That is a mainstream view, that Mormonism is a cult.”
“Every true, born again follower of Christ ought to embrace a Christian over a non-Christian.”
“No.” (In response to Politico’s question: “Is Mitt Romney a Christian?”)
These remarks should not have come as a surprise to the Family Research Council or Rick Perry. After all, in a well-publicized speech during the 2008 campaign season, he said:
Mitt Romney is a Mormon, and don’t let anybody tell you otherwise. Even though he talks about Jesus as his lord and savior, he is not a Christian . . . Mormonism is not Christianity. Mormonism is a cult. And just because somebody talks about Jesus does not make them a believer.
In a 2008 debate with Jay Sekulow he even went so far as to declare that he’d vote for a pro-choice Christian over a pro-life Mormon in a Republican primary because of the “eternal consequences” which could lead people into an “eternal separation” from God (see embedded video at 6:35 mark).
I won’t even deal with his claim that Mormonism is a “cult.” To believe that Mormonism is a cult, one has to stretch the term so far as to be functionally meaningless. In this context, the word is a slur, pure and simple.
He makes three much more serious claims that he is in no way qualified to make. First, without knowing Mitt Romney at all he flatly declares that Mitt Romney is not a Christian. Yet it is God who defines Christianity, not Robert Jeffress (thanks be to God for that), and in his word God has clearly stated that salvation is based on faith alone.
That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.
Does Robert Jeffress know if Mitt Romney has made this confession? If Mitt Romney has this belief? He does not, and any statement to the contrary represents an astoundingly irresponsible amount of speculation.
Second, he goes even farther to chastise “every true, born again follower of Christ” who supports Mitt over Rick Perry (and presumably the other evangelicals in the Republican primary). Honestly, I simply can’t find any biblical support for the notion that I, as an American citizen and therefore an integral part of our own government (according to our constitution we are not divided into a class of “rulers” and “ruled” but instead “we the people” are responsible for the fate of the nation) cannot select the man I believe is best able to defend the unborn, preserve national security, and restore fiscal sanity — and do those things with integrity or dignity.
How far does Mr. Jeffress propose we go? Shall we reject Jews? Or if he’s the policeman of orthodoxy and saving faith, shall we also reject Episcopalians, Lutherans, Presbyterians, and any of the other mainline congregants whose denominational leaders are even now departing dramatically from biblical Christianity? His principle is fundamentally unworkable and remarkably (and fruitlessly) divisive.
In fact, even he won’t hold to his own principles, saying that he’d support alleged cultist Mitt Romney over Christian Barack Obama. So, where does this leave us? With religious wars confined to the Republican primary?
Finally, is it really the case that a Mormon president would threaten us with “eternal separation” from God? Earlier this year, Christian journalist Warren Cole Smith made a similar argument, saying “people’s souls” were at stake if Mitt Romney became president. As I noted then, this comment implies a remarkably small view of God and a large view of politics. But the reality is exactly the reverse:
In biblical Christianity, as opposed to consumer Christianity, God is the Prime Mover in our salvation, not man. And the goal is not life enhancement, but the reconciliation of our broken souls with a Holy God.
This is plain from scripture, from Jesus selecting his disciples, to Paul’s Damascus Road conversion, to the miraculous interaction between Philip and the Ethiopian eunuch, to the definitive declaration: “No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent me draws him.”
Why do we believe that God would entrust something as precious as the individual soul to something so trivial as our voting decision? That’s not to say that votes don’t matter. Politicians help shape our culture, they make life-and-death decisions, and they can impact (though we often overstate their influence) an economy that shapes the material dreams of our own lives and our children’s lives. But presidents don’t save or condemn us, and their influence is inconsequential in the face of a sovereign God.
I’m not sure why the Family Research Council recommended that Robert Jeffress introduce Rick Perry, nor can I figure out why Rick Perry would have approved him (unless he was either ignorant of Jeffress’s views about Mitt or maliciously hoped he’d trigger this exact controversy). One thing is clear, however: In his attempt to smear Mitt, Robert Jeffress smeared himself. Jeffress’s unbiblical beliefs should not — and, mercifully, will not — gain wider traction in Christian community or the Republican electorate.
Simply put, when it comes to this issue, most Christians know their Bible (and the Constitution) better than Pastor Robert Jeffress.
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David, great reflection on a great man. What touched me — as the mother of an adopted kid! — was his back story. Read how adoption (and Steve Jobs) changed the world.
I have to come clean. I’m one of “those people.” You know the kind . . . the person who talks endlessly about their Mac, who eagerly scans the internet for rumors of the latest offering, and who bought the iPad simply because “Apple made it, so I must need it.” I was an Apple evangelist before we were all Apple evangelists, and — at some point during those years — I may have even crossed the line from “enthusiastic” to “annoying.” I’m getting the iPhone 4S the day it comes out, even though it’s only an incremental advance, and I agonize endlessly over whether my magnificent new Macbook Air has become — for all practical purposes — an “iPad killer.”
Who knows, I might be the kind of person who needs the (fictional) Apple Friend Bar:
When the news came last night that Steve Jobs had passed, I felt grieved far beyond what one normally feels when a celebrity passes. It’s not that I felt that I knew him the way people feel they “know” their favorite singer or actor through their songs or films. I know remarkably little about his personal life, considering his prominence. Simply put, he made my life better, appreciably better. He made millions of lives better. Through his incredible (and unique) combination of creativity, artistry, technological expertise, drive, and charisma, he created truly transformative products, a corporate community that provides work and purpose for tens of thousands of employees, and fostered a culture of innovation that will live on long after his life story is relegated to a paragraph in history books.
I don’t see Steve Jobs and see an example of “if you dream it, you can achieve it” any more than I would watch Michael Jordan at his height and think, “If only I practiced more, I could do what he does.” I’m not even sure how much we can learn from his example. Of course there are lessons about the power of a brilliant idea to transform a culture, the amazing ability of creative work to provide jobs and purpose to tens of thousands, and the marvelous virtues of free enterprise, but at the end of the day I’m simply grateful. I’m grateful to God for His grace in providing the people and talents that enrich our undeserving lives, and I’m grateful to Steve Jobs for living out the gifts God gave him.
May God comfort a family that lost a husband and father and the thousands who lost a person who was more than a “boss” or “founder,” but also an inspiration and mentor. And as we live in the world that Steve Jobs changed, let’s not forget the man who changed it. Rest in peace, Steve Jobs.
After “Putting the X in the X Factor,” I got some mail suggesting that I just turn the television off instead of watching these reality-television shows with my kids. But there I sat on Monday night, watching The Sing Off, and we witnessed a touching, redemptive moment.
My oldest two kids — who are all about-Africa ever since we traveled there to adopt a little girl — were excited to see a group of singers called Messiah’s Men from Liberia. I guess you can tell by their name that they are a gospel group, specifically an “Afro-centric” gospel group. Following a group that sang Katy Perry’s “Extraterrestrial,” they sang about faith – a topic they knew a great deal about. These men met in Liberia and left Africa to make a better life for themselves in America. They’ve been together for eight years, made two albums, toured the United States, and received numerous awards in the gospel world.
Of course, they got voted off.
However, this is just one of many great moments on these shows that I’m not ready to give up. They are stories I want my children to see.
We’re moved by their tear-jerking stories and jaw-dropping talent. They are just normal people who are able to touch us with their melodies and inspire us with their stories. As Rebecca Cusey wrote, describing last season’s auditioners on American Idol, these are “people who make us realize that although Hollywood makes great stories, fiction can never match the beauty and heroism of reality.”
Click here for some great examples.