In God We Trust

President Obama will take the oath of office on a Bible as is customary. There will be prayers at the swearing in as has always been done and he will ask for God’s help in doing so. He is right to do so.

His actions are only controversial amongst the sad souls who are so sheltered and delicate that the actual costumes and beliefs of the nation shock them out of their bubble. Of course, one tries to be polite, but they are very easily offended. The mere sight of a Christmas crèche on public land can ruin their day. Since we are not willing to flush traditional American patriotic songs from our ceremonies, it really will be impossible to do.

Should we stop singing God Bless America? Should America stop asking God to shed His grace on us? Will the Battle Hymn get rid of the “hallelujah?”

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Thoughts at the End of the Bush Era

When George W. Bush won the 2000 presidential election and took office eight years ago, I was a senior in high school. I was naïve, an ambitious go-getter on the cusp of college and newness and a world of glorious uncertainty. Eight months after Bush’s inauguration, I went to Wheaton College to start my freshman year. I said goodbye to my parents, hello to my new roommate, and jumped right into the exciting new chapter in my life. The second week of school, 9/11 happened, and the world changed.

Eight years have passed since then. I have an undergraduate and graduate degree now. Some people I loved are now gone. Four Olympics have happened. I went to a few other continents. Our spirits have soared and been crushed. Some wars have started. Many babies have been born.

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Is Gay The New Black?

 

Who's ready to be called a biggot?

That seems to be a growing sentiment towards people who aren't supporting gay marriage.  Obama's choice of Rick Warren to deliver the prayer at his inaguration has now given some gay and lesbian supporters a common enemy, and the uproar is loud. It's a move that could be seen as a unifying nod to the Christian community, and yet the result seems to be further division.  People are outraged that Obama would choose someone who opposed Prop 8 to pray for the evening, and that this choice is "legitimizing bigotry".  My husband and I turned on the tv last night and were shocked at the arguments against this popular pastor, and then further dismayed that this character assassination is really going to affect anyone who is not a proponent of gay marriage.  What struck me most, though, is the growing implication that anyone not wanting equal rights for homosexuals is on par with the racist extremists of the 1960's. Apparently, Prop 8 is the new Jim Crow.

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A Shoe?

What is there to say about a video like this one? Well, a lot! I'm curious what your initial gut reaction to this video was when you first saw it. Did it make you mad? Did you think it was funny? Did you understand? I'd love to hear your thoughts and then I'll post mine.

ANOTHER PRESIDENTIAL INAUGURATION

I’m in Washington, DC this week. I had the privilege of taking my kids to see George and Martha Washington’s Mount Vernon estate. Their home features a commanding view overlooking the Potomac. Yet, that dramatic setting pales in comparison to the dramatic events in American History swirling throughout their lifetime. Our tour took on added resonance during this tumultuous election year. 

George Washington learned many valuable military lessons while serving under the British during the French and Indian War. He suffered a stinging defeat at Ft. Necessity outside Pittsburgh. When British General Braddock refused to heed Washington’s advice, the General and his troops were dealt a crushing blow. These “failures” during the French and Indian War sharpened Washington’s strategy and resolve during the Revolutionary War against the British. A short film at Mt. Vernon’s museum recreated Washington’s daring Christmas crossing of the Delaware River in 1776. Under cover of darkness, the revolutionary army was able to surprise the British redcoats the next morning in New Jersey. 

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Aliens and Citizens

If you didn’t see it, I recommend reading the article “Aliens and Citizens: In the Body of Christ, We Learn to be Both,” by Jordan Hylden, Christianity Today, November 2008.

He explores and articulates a struggle I really feel, and I suspect many of you do. I am not aligned cleanly with the "right" or with the "left." I feel very strongly about issues that seem to be represented (or dismissed) by both conservative and liberal politics, and I confess to being a bit resentful about being labeled conservative or liberal by whichever side I'm not - well - siding with.

That, incidentally, was why I had a very difficult time deciding which presidential candidate to vote for in the Nov. 4 election. Neither one fully represented good solutions to the issues I feel most strongly about.

This paragraph in Jordan's article particularly resonated with me:

“What, for instance, should make the protection of unborn life and the promotion of stable families necessarily “conservative” issues? Shouldn’t all Christians have an interest in saving unborn lives and in strengthening marriage in a country where nearly four out of ten children are born out of wedlock? And what, to take another example, should make environmental stewardship and the plight of migrant farm workers the sole preserve of the Left? Don’t all Christians have an obligation to care for the earth and for the alien and stranger in our midst? Yet only rarely does one year a pro-life call from the Left, and any mention of fair-trade foods tends to earn automatic derision and skepticism from the Right. Before we are Christians, it would seem, many of us remain Americans.”

How about you, dear reader? Am I right? Do you struggle with this as much as I do?

Dr. James Dobson's Letter - Letter From 2012 in Obama's America

I don't know if you happened to see the fictional letter that Dr. James Dobson wrote regarding what an Obama Presidency would look like in 2012. I found it pretty low to speculate with such little hope. I also resonated with the response letter from Jim Wallis to Dr. James Dobson. I think as Christian leaders we need to be smart as we play in the political realm. I think to be Dr. Dobson and to have his level of potential influence on the office of the Presidency and to then forfeit that possibility by writing the letter that he wrote is a sad day. But, maybe that's spineless Christianity, not to speculate the worst?! I had a guy recently tell me that I'm spineless in my faith because I won't bash Obama. This is what we relegate following Jesus too?!

What are your thoughts?! Here is the letter to Dr. Dobson from Jim Wallis and in it you can find a link to read the fictional letter that Dobson wrote:

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An Disconcerting Conversation That Occurred While Waiting to Vote

So, last Tuesday, while waiting in line to vote at the local church where we vote, I struck up a conversation with the gentleman directly behind me.  One of the first questions that came up, as usually does in this sort of conversation, was that of occupation.  I told him that I am a pastor on staff at a local church, and that I lived nearby.  He then said that he believed that we "follow the same carpenter" with a sort of "nudge, nudge, wink, wink" in his voice.  A bit cheesy of a line, but I understood what he meant.

He then went on to tell me he was a financial advisor and that his business was to tell Christians how to manage their finances according to God's plans, etc.  This all sounded pretty fair and good.  He then began to tell me about his kids.  He had three, and two were currently attending High School.  When he told me which one, I quickly thought, "wait a minute, that school is not in our district, what is up?"  So I asked him about why his kids were not in our district (I am intentionally keeping specific names out of this blog), seeing as I knew he had to live only a block or two from my house to be voting where I voted.

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Obama, Bi?

No, no, I’m not referring to Obama’s sexual orientation!! Don’t get it twisted yo! However, I am referring to Obama’s ethnic background: Bi-racial. Or, as many would call it, “Mixed.” Black and White. Hmmm. African American & Euro-American. Hmmm. Or is he just Black as many people, including myself, have summarized him down to? It’s hard being mixed. Trust me, I know, I’m half Black and half Mexican. My mom is Mexican and my dad was African American. I’ve struggled my entire life trying to “fit in” with one or the other. But to have a “mixed” president, is a new and uplifting thing for me.

 

Back in the day Tiger Woods got a lot of slack for not identifying with his “roots.” In other words, Tiger was slammed by many in the Black community for not claiming his Black side. Tiger simply said that if he only paid attention to the Black side of him, he would be denying his mother. A lot of folk could not understand that, yet, I could. I’ve been forced to choose many times. And not just by “friends.” Take a notice on any type of professional application you fill out, there will inevitably be a section there to fill in your “race.” If it’s electronic it will typically only let you choose one box and they’ll make it clear: African American (non-Hispanic), Latino (Non-African American), etc. America does not do well with “multi racial people.” In most cases you are asked to choose between the two. When I’m with my Latino friends, it’s hard to have the Black in me come out because of the racial tensions. When I’m with my Black friends, those Brown tensions run deep too. Growing up, I was never called a spic, wetback, or greaser. I was called a coon, nigger, and a colored; I therefore began identifying with the Black side of me. Having a mom that loved Black culture didn’t help either!

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Fear Not

It's election night. The internet is abuzz with people leaving their commentary on Obama's win, and here are some quotes from my own friends who were obviously looking for a different outcome:

"I am moving out of the country"
"I am about to drive off a cliff"
"Come quickly, Lord Jesus"
"I feel like the floodgates of war have just been unlocked"
"I am buying a gun tomorrow"
"I hope American doesn't implode"
"I am fearful of things to come"

Oh boy.  Sorry to call you out, my dear social networking friends.

I am annoyed by these comments not because I am a Democrat. ('cause I'm not). I am annoyed by these comments as a Christian and as an American. I realize that some people are disappointed, and that may prone them towards a little dramatic license right now. But this is ridiculous.Help!!
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