Thursday, November 6, 2008

Hail to the Cheif?

Well, the elections are finally over, and Barack Obama will be our 44th president.

Since Tuesday evening, some backers of John McCain have begun to complain when conservative leaders congratulate Sen. Obama on his election. Comments such as 'traitor', 'idiot', and other unmentionables have been thrown at those who are graciously accepting the reality that Sen. Obama will lead this country for the next four years.

I commend and applaud those who are wishing Sen. Obama well on his presidency. Why should we not? We have many reasons to not like the policies that Sen. Obama has claimed to support, but we also do not have any record of his presidency at this point. Give the man a chance to lead before he is condemned for his poor leadership.

In his victory speech, Sen. Obama set many ambitious goals. I was looking for one line in particular, and was not left wanting: "And to those Americans whose support I have yet to earn - I may not have won your vote, but I hear your voices, I need your help, and I will be your President too." This is a very admirable statement, and one that I sincerely hope he means. He deserves the opportunity to earn our support.

Yes, Senator, you will be our president. Like it or not, that is a reality. It never appealing to grouch about the fact that your candidate was not victorious and it does not help the cause of conservatives to bemoan the fact. It damages our reputation to stand up and declare that we will not accept him as the president. Rumor has it that a similar tactic was tried by certain democrats when George W. Bush was elected. It leads to a dividing of the country and a weakening of us as the American people. That divide is also seen by the rest of the world, which, I believe, leads to some of their dislike of our country. We are grown-ups, our United States are heralded as the leader of the free world, and we should act as such.

In this respect, George Bush himself should be looked to for our example; offering to help the Obamas in their transition to the White House and keeping our president-to-be in the loop in all important decisions. Make no mistake, the man who has been most condemned and mocked by Sen. Obama stands ready, as a leader, to train his successor, the very person he has every right to hold in great disdain. President Bush has been called every name imaginable over the past eight years, most of those titles are not deserved. Yet, he is ready to bear, gracefully, the duty of handing over his job to someone he greatly disagrees with, because the citizens have directed him to do so. If that is not someone concerned with putting country first, I do not know what is.

Note that this does not mean that we abandon our principles and lie in wait of whatever comes. Conservative values will certainly be under attack, as they always have been and always will be. We must accept Barack Obama as our president, but that does not mean that we must idly let him or anyone else tear down or dismiss what is dear to us. A popular phrase among Christians is "hate the sin, not the sinner." Likewise, we should defend our president, regardless of party, against undeserved attack, but also be ready to fiercely defend our values, even against that president. I most certainly will.

Senator, I congratulate you on your victory. I do not know what you will do, or attempt during your term as leader of our great country. That path has not been walked yet. I do believe that you are sincere in your effort to lead well. I will pray that God guide you and give you the wisdom to not divide us as a nation. United we must stand; divided, we will fall.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

I'm gonna go to the place that's the best

I read a book over the weekend by C.S. Lewis titled "The Great Divorce." It is written in the style of a novella and is thoughts on Heaven and Hell. The story is masterfully done (Lewis always is, in my experience), with the reader able to clearly pick out key arguments about the existence of a Heaven or Hell, as well as why people end up in one or the other.

One thing stuck out for me as I read the story, and has stayed in my mind since. In the story, there are many characters, each of which has their own hangup about something with the afterlife. Some are upset that a certain individual made it into Heaven. Others are frightened. Others attempt to seduce those in Heaven. Some are unwilling to forgive past transgressions. What struck me was, though each character had their own reason for being wary of Heaven, all were tied by a single thread: inability to put God (or anyone) before themselves.

After I finished the book, I pondered on it for a long time. The idea that people condemn themselves to Hell because they are incapable of accepting that something is more important than them is a very powerful one. Take a look at the so-called "seven deadly sins":
Lust - "I want that person for my own gratification";
Gluttony - "I don't have to control myself. I can consume whatever I want";
Greed - "I want more";
Sloth - "I don't have to work, others will do it";
Wrath - "How dare you! I am right!";
Envy - "I want what you have";
Pride - "I am more important"

If we go into Christian doctrine, time and time again, we see that we must abandon the self in order to recognize that God must come first. When Jesus is asked what is the greatest commandment, his response is the core of the faith: "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments" (Matthew 22:37-40 NIV). Browse through the Ten Commandments, and you will find the same sentiments. Go to 1 Corinthians 13:4-7, the "Love Chapter" in the Bible and you'll see it there too. We are told to love our enemies and to forgive those who sin against us, because in doing so, we are letting go of our pride and anger and whatever else. Forgiveness, therefore, is a willingness to put aside our selfishness to gain something greater.

While the story points out in the beginning and again at the end that one should not take its view of Heaven and Hell literally, I believe that the points it makes are still valid for determining how one would attain Heaven. Essentially, our lives here are to gain experiences and build ourselves. Once we die, we do not gather more experiences, so we must rely on what we know. If all we know of in our lives is selfishness, then we cannot enter Heaven, because we don't know how to love God above ourselves. However, if in this life we can learn how to remove ourselves from the position of ultimate authority, and instead trust God, we are already preparing ourselves for eternal life.

Note that, if this observation is true, Christians are not given a free pass. We, too, must continually be reminded that we are not to live selfish lives. Becoming Christian is not enough, you must live it. Proclaiming that Jesus is Lord is not enough, you must follow Him.

Thursday, October 9, 2008


Welcome to my little experiment in blogging. To those that do not know me, I hope that my thoughts are presented clearly. To those that do, I ask that you keep an open mind.

I've started this blog as an outlet to the thoughts that rush through my head during much of the day. I get very passionate about the issues important to me and this seemed a good way to keep my thoughts in order and see how they grow over time.

I want everything that I post here to be factually accurate. I truly detest lies, because if I can't trust someone, there is no basis for a friendship or even a good debate. If I should post something that is not true, please inform me and I will correct it. Please note that this condition only applies to factual information. I make no apologies for my opinions, though if you wish to discuss the point, I am willing to listen to well-reasoned arguments.

I will range through a number of things, though it will center around what I consider are important current events and my hobbies of writing and programming.

Again, welcome. Here's hoping that you and I find Three-Cycle Thoughts to be a ponderous adventure.