Sunday, December 28, 2014

The Peril of the Imperfect Candidate

It's all but a done deal that Jeb Bush is going to run for president if he isn't running already. All the signs are there. To pure conservatives, if there is such a thing, the sight of Jeb running is enough to cause convulsions. The big reason of course is that Jeb is not quite right. He has his good qualities, his conservative elements, but he is noticeably flawed. He supports Common Core and is far too lenient on immigration issues. Simply put, Jeb is imperfect.

I too am no fan of either Common Core or a weak immigration policy. But at the risk of calling down all sorts of thunder on my head, I have to raise a question. Since no candidate among the oodles of possibilities is perfect, which set of imperfections would you rather have?

For example, Jeb Bush is pro-Common Core, but he is also pro-life and very much against partial birth abortion. Given a choice, which of those positions would you rather have? Likewise, Bush is very pro business and low tax. If you had to choose between a more traditional education standard and lower taxes, which would you prefer?

This is not a campaign ad for Jeb Bush, but the reality is that conservatives are going to be faced with choices like these. Republicans - conservatives in particular - are not going to get a candidate who agrees with them on every position. There are too many of us and too many positions. So we are going to be faced with choices; choosing the candidate who offers us most of what we are looking for. Determining what we absolutely have to have in a president verses what we can tolerate.

Specifically, the question is: Is Jeb Bush good enough to vote for? Because, you see, he just might be the nominee. And if he is, Republicans can hardly afford to have a stay-at-home attitude on election day, unless they really want another four years of an Obama-like presidency. Because, dear brothers, that is what you are bound to have,

Unless you are willing to suck it up and vote for a less than perfect candidate. And that is the one thing you can be sure of. All the possibilities are flawed. How much imperfection are we willing to tolerate in order to have a better government?

Monday, April 14, 2014

The Best of Times, the Worst of Times

Someone once asked comedian Johnny Carson how life was going in California. "Great!" he said, "The mudslides are putting out the forest fires."  So how do we define when we are living under the blessing of God?

At this particular time, we are facing some terrific challenges in our family. Just when we are having to adjust to life under Obama care (and our "family" deductible currently stands at a whopping $12,000), we have been hit with a flurry of medical bills. None of them will be covered by the new government mandated insurance. With any luck, we will be so overwhelmingly in debt that insurance may actually kick in, say, by December. Just in time to do us no good.

Add to that, our church has lost one of our founding members. I'm tired of funerals and the more I have to do them, the harder they are. I'm tired of burying my friends. Watching a husband say goodbye to his wife of sixty years is excruciating. Reading the family's last tearful farewells was too much to take. Except for the grace of God, I couldn't have gotten through it.

Yet in the midst of all this, our church has experienced perhaps the most fruitful period of growth in our history. It seems to be literally true that we had to lose people in order to grow. We're looking forward to Easter this coming Sunday, and for the first time in many years, church life is truly looking up.

How can I explain this? I can't except to point out a truth everywhere evident in Scripture. God moves when He wants to, and not until then. And God moves under circumstances He dictates and under which only He can understand.

All this means that with our nation collapsing under the onslaught of relentless communism and socialism driving our government; just at the time when we are losing our religious liberty like as never before; just when our culture seems to be the most anti-Christian ever, we may be in for some of the greatest work of God ever in the life of American evangelicalism.

Don't be surprised if the way up is down. If churches experience revival in the midst of persecution. If biblical Christianity experiences a rebirth in American culture. It's happened before when Christians were driven to seek God in the midst of the worst conditions.

But then, maybe seeking God is why He sends us through times like these.