Wednesday, November 9, 2016

fb the day after

I am so tired of all the anger, accusations, outrage, contrived victim-hood, and more.  I thought it was just the election bringing out the worst in us.  Now the election is over, but it is continuing.   Now I am beginning to see that it is not the election, it is us.

What is the source of all the filth we see and hear?  Jesus said, "For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks" (Mt 12:34).  The problem with America isn't the media, the candidates,  the President, the President-elect, or those in Washington.  It is us.  We are merely seeing some evidence, the tip of the iceberg, the overflow of the reservoir of filth within us.

This is not the way to act after an election.  It is destructive to a democratic society.  It is not only rude, but unpatriotic and un-American.  "If we can't begin to treat each other in a more human way, this thing is going to go from bad to horrible."

"I'm Bob Blewett and I approve this message."

Monday, November 7, 2016

Voting for evil or voting for what American can be

The following quote is from a video I just watched:

I will vote to oppose the loss of freedom.  I will vote to oppose the loss of life.  And I will vote to oppose the loss of the traditional family.”
 ~ Tommy Nelson, The Continental Divide 

After some reflection I realize that the sentences above are each negative votes  They are votes of opposition, even votes of fear.  They are defensive.  They are truly votes of protest rather than affirmations of what America can be as a country.  

Maybe we should take a different approach to voting.

As for me, I will vote for one who will support and defend the Constitution.  I will vote for one who will submit to the Constitution as written and to the rule of law.  I will vote for one who does not wink at political corruption as the art of a deal or as a convenient means to an end.
Thereby I will vote to support freedom.

As for me, I will vote for one who values all human life since all human life is made in the image of God.  I will vote for one who respects the human rights of all citizens and residents regardless of their race, ethnicity, or national origin, as well as regardless of their religious, political, or social views and beliefs.

Thereby, I will vote to value life and the dignity of people.

As for me, I will vote for a person of competence and character to have the job of President.  I will vote for one competent to deal with Congress, to be commander-in-chief of the military, to be effective in both domestic and foreign affairs.  I will vote for someone I can best trust to lead us through still dangerous times.

Thereby, I will vote to support a better America and a safer world.

After reading the above, you may think me an incredibly self-righteous ass.  Be that as it may, I still have the problem of deciding for whom to vote.  I want my vote to count, to be tallied or enumerated, as well as to count for something important, something positive, something bigger than myself.

Neither of the two leading candidates meet, neither fails to meet, all my criteria.  All candidates are flawed human beings, but I sincerely believe those two are particularly appalling and clearly unfit for the office.  Neither is someone for whom I could vote in good conscience.  Neither am I constrained by the false dilemma of either Clinton or Trump.  In my state I have the option of voting for one out of a total of 36 candidates (four on the ballot, 32 certified for write-ins).

There is one of the 36 that I think is fit for office.  Evan McMullin appears to meet my criteria:  

I am not throwing my vote away voting for McMullin.  Throwing my vote away, as well as selling out my moral values, would be voting for Clinton or Trump.

This is not a “protest” vote.  A protest vote is voting for Trump because you don’t like Clinton or vice versa.  I do not have to vote for the lessor of two evils.  I do not need to settle for voting for evil.  I can vote for Evan McMullin without feeling degraded and ashamed.

In 2016 I do not have to vote for evil, incompetence, or corruption.  I can and will vote for affirmation of what America can be as a country.  I'm voting for Evan McMullin.

Be blessed!

Special NYS Rules for Write-in Votes for President

What to do if you do not want to vote for one of the four candidates for President listed on the ballot in New York?  Of course you can do a write-in vote.  However it must be done correctly or the vote will not count.  Since the President is not elected directly but by electors, rules are different for Presidential write-ins than they are for other offices.

"In order to run as a write-in candidate for President, a person must file a certificate with the State Board of Elections, in which they declare themselves to be a write-in candidate for the office of President" (NYS Board of Election).  If you write-in another name, even a name already on the ballot's list of candidates, the write-in vote will not count.

Here is how it works. "As you sign in to vote, you will be handed a voting card that contains the various offices that you will be voting for.... You will then take this card over to a table that has partitions on it which helps to keep your choices secret. Upon looking at the card, you'll note that each office being contested has the list of the authorized candidates along with a circle next to each name. At the bottom of each list of candidates will be printed the word "Other" with a blank line next to it. Take the marking instrument provided and fill in the circle next to the word "Other". Then write in the name of the person that you wish to vote for. When you are finished, take the card up to the election inspector near the voting machine and give your card to him/her. They will run your card through the machine which will record your vote" (source).

Here is a list of the 32 NYS certified write-in candidates for President:

Arantxa Aranja 725 Ninth Avenue, #2A, New York, NY 10019
Neer R. Asherie 121 Reade Street, PH-H, New York, NY 10013
Mark Blickley 2728 Thomson Avenue, #202, Long Island City, NY 11101
Robert L. Buchanan P. O. Box 6151, Fredericksburg, VA 22403
Gary S. Canns 145 East 23rd Street, #5-D, New York, NY 10010
Willie Carter 5100 Turner Street, Fort Worth, TX 76105
Darrell Castle 2586 Hocksett Cove, Germantown, TN 38139
Ariel Cohen 449 Roy Street, West Hempstead, NY 11552
William J. Connolly 10953 State Route 32, Greenville, NY 12083
“Rocky” Roque De La Fuente 121 Nurmi Drive, Ft. Lauderdale, FL 33301
Jason Fried 757 Jefferson Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11221
Zoltan Istvan Gyurko 35 Miller Avenue, #102, Mill Valley, CA 94941
Ben Hartnell 1025 Autumn Lake Court, Westerville, OH 43081
Tom Hoefling 101 Third Street, Lohrville, IA 51453
Michael Frederick Ingbar 174 Spring Street, #20, New York, NY 10012
Lynn Kahn 18 Lakeview Way, PO Box 562, Schroon Lake, NY 12870
Chris Keniston 2329 15th Street, Vernon, TX 76384
Gloria La Riva 3207 Mission Street, Apt. 9, San Francisco, CA 94110
Jeffrey Mackler 33 Mandana Circle, Oakland, CA 94610
Michael A. Maturen 3296 East Clemens Road, Harrisville, MI 48740
Evan McMullin 333 Second Street, NE, Washington, DC 20002
Monica Moorehead 37 Bentley Avenue, Jersey City, NJ 07304
Jason Mutford 912 Washington Avenue, Albany, NY 12203
Clifton Roberts 9382 Willow Pond Circle, Elk Grove, CA 95624
Marshall Schoenke 21924 W. Linden Avenue, Lake Villa, IL 60046
Ryan Alan Scott 194 Vincent Circle, Middletown, DE 19709
Emidio Soltysik 11713 Avon Way, #15, Los Angeles, CA 90066
Tony Valdivia 11306 Candle Park, San Antonia, TX 78249
J. J. Vogel-Walcutt 1329 Tall Maple Loop, Oviedo, FL 32765
Esther Welsh 95-20 67th Avenue, Rego Park, NY 11374
Barbara Whitaker 149 West Fourth Street, Apt. 4B, New York, NY 10912
Robert M. Wolff 627 Willoughby Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11206
 (NYS Board of Election).

Friday, August 26, 2016

The Silence Is Deafening: Zero Support for Trump Among Former Presidential Economic Advisers

Today's Wall Street Journal (Friday 26 August 2016, p. A5) published a survey of all former members of the Council of Economic Advisers (CEA) going back to the Nixon administration.  The CEA was created by the Employment Act of 1946 to advise the President on economic policy and consists of three members appointed by the President.

None of the 45 living former members are willing publicly support Donald Trump.  That is NONE as in ZERO, as in NADA, as in ZILCH. (The results do not indicate whether the non-living former CEA members are, or are not, rolling over in their graves at the prospect of a Trump presidency.)  

While no former member supported the opposition party's candidate, the silence on Trump by economists serving under Republicans is deafening.  Among the Republican-appointed CEA members, all were silent except six, who all opposed Trump.  These six included former CEA chairs who served under Reagan (Martin Feldstein) and Bush #43 (Greg Mankiw).  It is very unusual for advisers to state opposition to the candidate of the party whose President appointed them.

“I have known personally every Republican president since Richard Nixon,” said Harvard University economist Martin Feldstein, who chaired the council under President Ronald Reagan. “They all showed a real understanding of economics and international affairs….Donald Trump does not have that understanding and does not seem to be concerned about it. That alone disqualifies him in my judgment.”  


Sunday, March 13, 2016

The Groundhog Day Gospel

The Gospel of Christ is not a gospel of second chances.  Yes, God gives second chances.  However, we do not have a gospel of second chances.  Let me explain.  Many of us think to ourselves, “I have sinned and failed.”  We come to Christ and he forgives our sin and failure.  This gives us a clean slate.  We have another chance.  We go out and purpose to try to do better.  When we eventually stumble then we have Christ to again forgive us, pick us up, and maybe give some coaching or teaching so we can live better lives.  We go out clean, then stumble again, and then repeat the process.  And then repeat the process.  Again.  And again. 

We hope we have been improving, getting better, and becoming a better person.  Maybe we are getting to be a better imitation of Christ?  Maybe we can get closer to God?  What else can a person do?

The above is not the Gospel.  The above is a spiritual application of the movie Groundhog Day.

We don’t have a Gospel of Second Chances.  Why not?  Because we never had a first chance. Without the first chance, then how can there be a second, a third, or even a seven-times-seventieth chance?

Why no first chance?  We were all born into a broken world, a world broken and dysfunctional since the Fall in the Garden.  We were not only born into a fallen, broken world, we ourselves were born broken, born with a sinful disposition. This was not God’s desire, not at all what he intended, but we and all before us have been broken and have contributed to the vicious, downward cycle of dysfunction and brokenness in this world.

We never had a first chance because we never had a chance to live holy, righteous lives in the first place.  Yes, God gave Moses the Law but the purpose was not to give us a manual showing us how to live lives pleasing to God.  The Apostle Paul wrote that the purpose of the Law was to show us we do not, and will not, live sinless lives.  The purpose was to show the world that we cannot fulfil the Law, to show that we can never, no matter how hard we try, never be holy, never be righteous, never be sanctified, and thus never be acceptable to God (Romans 3:19-20).  We are guilty and already condemned.  Showing us this is a good thing since the Law shows us the absolute necessity of God’s mercy. The penalty is death and without the Blood of the Lamb to pay that price for our freedom we have no chance.

The Gospel of Christ is that God through Christ Jesus came not to give a second chance to you or me, but to bring death to the old man and to bring to life a new creation in us.  This new man, this new creation, this new person has the Holiness, Righteousness, and Sanctification of Christ.  It is through the efforts of God, not the efforts of man; it is Christ in you or me, not you or me, that makes us a new creation.

Yes, we can act holy, but without Christ we cannot be holy.  We can do righteous works, but without Christ we cannot be righteous.  We can act sanctified, do the works of one who is sanctified, but only Christ can make us sanctified.  Yes, in our own efforts we can act sanctified, righteous and holy, but we can’t keep it up.  We can’t keep it up through our own efforts because it is only an act.  I do not mean we are phonies or hypocrites; I mean these are merely acts, not who we are.

The Groundhog Day Gospel is a gospel of bondage, of endless repetition, of continual frustration.  A gospel that does not bring us closer to God but lets us cling to the delusion that we can do better next time; the delusional that it is all about becoming better people.  The message of the Groundhog Day Gospel is, “Not good enough” with the subtext, “Try harder, fail better.”  Like the movie, each day we repeat the cycle.  Unlike the movie, we never escape the cycle.  Being better is not good enough.  The word gospel literally means “good news.”  This Groundhog Day Gospel is bad news.  It is a false gospel.  While this false gospel will not keep us from having our names written in the Book of Life, it can rob us of a lot of joy that God wants us to have in Christ. 

What to do?  How can we be freed from the slavery of this false gospel?  How can we escape the living hell of not good enough and try harder, fail better?  Christ suffered death on the Cross to free us; he never intended to settle for us just being better people.  What God wants is more than we can give him though our own efforts.  He died and rose again to make us sons and daughters of the living God.  “Because of what God has done, you belong to Christ Jesus.  He has become God’s wisdom for us.  He makes us right with God.  He makes us holy and sets us free” (I Cor 1:30 NIRV).

What to do?  Jesus was asked by the people, “What must we do to do the works God requires?”  Jesus answered, “The work of God is this:  to believe in the one he has sent” (John 6: 28-29).  Believe we are each a child of God if we have come to faith in Christ Jesus.  Believe Christ did it all and that our standing as such is settled and will not change.  God wants a close relationship with his children. How close?  God wants to abide in us, to live in and with us, through the person of the Holy Spirit.  Accept that the efforts of Christ brings this about, not our own efforts.  So rest, take a Sabbath, take a permanent vacation from your own efforts.  Rather than look to the efforts of our flesh, our human nature, look to God. (Romans 8:5-8).  Follow God and let the Holy Spirit work in you and through you. 

Rest from your efforts; abide in Christ; let the Holy Spirit do the work that he was given to do.  You may be surprised when you realize your acts, your behavior, your inclinations will be changing, moving toward godliness.  That God is working in you.  You will find that being changed by God, by abiding in him, brings permanent change that could never be obtained by your own efforts.

Be blessed!