So What's This All About?

In case you didn't know, I'm in the multi-year-long process of posting a Christian devotional at the TAWG Blog. The TAWG Blog is, and always will be, mostly apolitical. For the most part, Bible-believing Christians will find little to disagree with there. But I also firmly believe that God's word can--and should--inform everything in life, and this should include politics and popular culture. How should we vote? How should we respond to hot topics such as abortion, capital punishment, taxes, and other issues? Which party, if either, is closer to the Biblical ideal? Tony Campolo and Ron Sider, Evangelicals whose political leanings are on the Left, have made the case in several of their writings that God wants his followers to vote politically on the Left more than on the Right. At times, some of them have gone so far as to equate voting on the Left with obedience to Christ, either subtly or not-so-subtly contending that the converse is true as well: If you vote Republican, you're sinning against the Savior.
I don't agree. I think that to the degree they actually resort to the Bible, they're misinterpreting it. With a whole bunch of caveats, I think politically conservative positions are a lot more compatible with the Scriptures than the Leftist positions.
Just to clarify, I would never accuse people who disagree with me--especially siblings in Christ--of what they accuse me of. I don't judge my own heart, much less anyone else's, and I don't equate political disagreement with theological fidelity to God. I have no reason to doubt their love for the Lord and "for the least of these," but I believe that they're sincerely wrong.
So there are two main purposes for this blog. One is to make a case for my political beliefs based on Scripture. The other is a bit more vague, basically to work out my political beliefs and figure out what's based on Scripture and what's based on my own biases. I certainly don't have all the answers. Some of this stuff I'm still figuring out. And I'm certainly open to correction. As long as you make your case civilly and based on Scripture, feel free to make a comment, and I promise I'll post it and consider your arguments thoughtfully and prayerfully. Who knows? Maybe we'll learn a little something from each other.
May God bless our common striving together towards both the "little t" truth and "Big T" Truth. Our watchword here is a line from C. S. Lewis's The Last Battle: "Further up and further in!"

P.S. -- Below on the left is "Topics I've Covered" which lists everything I've posted topically. It's come to my attention that some people would like to see everything just listed for them. If that's you, you can get it here. Thanks to my friend Stephen Young for the tip!

Monday, November 19, 2018

The Gettysburg Address

From Bill Bennett's American Patriot's Almanac:

In the autumn of 1863, President Abraham Lincoln received an invitation to give a speech at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, where a few months earlier Americans had fought one of the bloodiest battles of the Civil War. The battlefield was being dedicated as a cemetery for soldiers who had died there. Would Lincoln come help honor the dead? The president accepted the invitation.

In the following weeks, Lincoln worked on his speech but did not get a chance to write it all down before the time came to travel to Gettysburg. He finished it there the night before the ceremony. The next morning, November 19, he made a few final changes and a clean copy.

A short time later, the president mounted a horse, joined a procession to the burial ground, and took his place on a wooden platform for the dedication. Thousands of people had gathered on the battlefield. The main speaker of the day, Edward Everett, spoke for two hours. When Everett was through, the president unfolded his single-page manuscript and approached the podium. He spoke for only two minutes. Many in the audience thought he was just getting going when he suddenly finished. Lincoln himself was unsure of the oration’s success. (“Lamon, that speech won’t scour!” he reportedly told a friend.) But with fewer than 300 words, Abraham Lincoln had given the greatest address ever delivered on American soil.

The Gettysburg Address still reminds us that thousands have died defending an ideal on which our country was founded—that all people are created equal. The dead can be honored only if the nation lives up to that ideal, Lincoln asserted. By devoting ourselves to it, and by defending it when necessary, Americans ensure that “government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”

Every day, Bill Bennett provides via email--for free--a reading from his American Patriot's Almanac. You’ll read about heroes, their achievements, and key events that took place “On This Day” in American history. Click here to subscribe.

And of course I can't leave this subject without reproducing the speech:

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battlefield of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate, we can not consecrate, we can not hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

Wow.


Sunday, November 18, 2018

Thought for the week

To be happy at home, said Johnson, is the end of all human endeavour. As long as we are thinking only of natural values we must say that the sun looks down on nothing half so good as a household laughing together over a meal, or two friends talking over a pint of beer, or a man alone reading a book that interests him, and that all economies, politics, laws, armies, and institutions, save insofar as they prolong and multiply such scenes, are a mere ploughing the sand and sowing the ocean, a meaningless vanity and vexation of spirit. Collective activities are, of course, necessary, but this is the end to which they are necessary. 

--C.S. Lewis