Creating pensions that offer generous retirement benefits wins votes in the present by promising spending in the future. Promises cost nothing in the short run — and elections are held in the short run, long before the pensions are due.

Guns and Pensions – Thomas Sowell http://m.townhall.com/columnists/thomassowell/2013/02/19/guns-and-pensions-n1513748?utm_source=thdaily&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=nl

…that is a lame question (with apologies to Shakespeare).

So, I don’t blog much anymore. There are mostly practical reasons for not blogging. Chief among them is that I use my phone for internet and composing a well-thought, well-written blog post is very time consuming on the phone and time is something I don’t have much of to spare.

There are a few topics about which I am passionate and in which I would like to engage the culture around me. Unfortunately, two of the topics are the very things we are told not to talk about in mixed company: politics and religion. Well, for the three or so people who read this blog maybe there isn’t much mixed company to speak of and they certainly have the choice not to continue reading something if they so choose.

The other element to blogging (or clogging as my phone’s auto correct would suggest) is it would be far more meaningful if I shared my thoughts in person. You know, face to face, like they used to do in an age gone by. In fact both topics, but especially the religious topic, would benefit from a gentle but thought provoking discussion with people in a give and take exchange of a face to face encounter. 

However, I am not given to gentleness in discussions on these two topics. It’s not because I don’t want to be gentle, but because my nature threatens to take over and I run the risk of getting too fired up. And while my spirit heats up inside me, it becomes increasingly difficult to remain calm and keep my thoughts in order. I know that practice would be the way to fix this problem, but my opportunities to practice are limited and very few and far between.

So, what’s a guy to do? Probably finish this post, publish it, think about writing the next one, and get around to writing again in about three months. (Update: and then check for grammatical errors and fix them before anyone else reads it.)

Until next time, I hope you’re day is relevant and meaningful.

I just read a commentary (at least I think it was commentary and not a news article) on the Huffington Post. There is so much to say about the article that I decided just to say: Are you kidding?

What bugs me about the debate over the debt ceiling (and most other political issues) is that we aren’t talking about the differences at the root (or at least not in a way that is helpful for discussion). When we focus too much on the symptoms, we ignore the disease. That is why Republicans, as the de facto representatives of conservatives, keep losing the debate and losing ground in the fight to shape America as it was envisioned. Republicans would do well to push past the hyperventilation about the debt ceiling “details” and keep hammering at the causes of it (that is if they really do care about the country and the people who live here).

A debtor is a slave to the lender, and raising the debt ceiling only serves to submit more of our freedoms to our lenders.

I am wading in to waters that have already been stirred countless times over the ages by men and women far more knowledgeable than me, but permit me to share my thoughts (or just quietly ignore me…all two and a half of you). This is certainly not an exhaustive, or comprehensive, musing on the matter of faith and good works. Rather, it is just one morning’s worth of meditation on the subject.

A lot of energy seems to go into this debate, particularly among various groups that profess to be Christian. My casual observation is that Christians are split into two generic camps (with obviously a lot more distinctions as you look closer): the Good Works Christians and the Faith Alone Christians.

The Good Works group claims that faith means little if you don’t have good works, or you aren’t doing good deeds. The Faith Alone group asserts that your good works amount to nothing if you don’t have faith as the impetus for your good works.

On the surface neither group has it wrong, so to speak, but as philosophy gets put into practice both of these groups seem to miss out on what really matters: glorifying God.

The Good Works group looks with contempt at the navel-gazing Faith Alone folks because they aren’t doing as much as they are to feed the hungry and clothe the naked. The Faith Alone group scoffs at the Good Works group because their theology is a convoluted mess of feel-good self-help manuals that miss the establishment of a proper attitude toward God. (The best part of all of this is, in America, we take it out on each other on the battlefield of politics.)

Maybe that’s all an over simplification, but that’s basically my observation.

Why not be both? Well, that sounds nice but then we start to argue over which should be first, which is more important, etc. Again, it strikes me all as moot unless you keep one thing in mind: glorify God!

If the purpose of your good works is to bring glory to God, amen. If the purpose of your faith is to give glory to God, amen.

Let me have Paul speak for a moment:

Titus 2:11-14 ESV

For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works.

In that passage he starts with people who have faith (the grace of God bringing salvation) and ends with people who are motivated to do good works. Not to mention all the good stuff in between.

In the next passage, he starts the same way, but takes care to exhort believers to live out their faith in a measurable way by doing good works.

Titus 3:4-8 ESV

But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life. The saying is trustworthy, and I want you to insist on these things, so that those who have believed in God may be careful to devote themselves to good works. These things are excellent and profitable for people.

So, have both. Do both. Or have one and do the other. Either way, faith and good works are not mutually exclusive and both are critical in order to call yourself a Christian. And keep in mind that we are Christ’s not because of our righteousness but because of God’s unsurpassable goodness and His unfathomable love for you.

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Ecclesiastes 10:2 ESV

A wise man’s heart inclines him to the right, but a fool’s heart to the left.

I couldn’t resist.

(Disclaimer: while I do believe that biblical authority should have influence in how we view contemporary politics, I am not suggesting that it actually favors one political party over another.)

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The American Spectator : AmSpecBlog : Year-Round Indoctrination

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“There’s something about August going into September where everybody in Washington gets all wee-weed up,” Obama told an audience at the Democratic National Committee headquarters. “I don’t know what it is. But that’s what happens.”

via White House: Obama’s ‘Wee-Weed Up’ Comment Refers to Bed-Wetting – Political News – FOXNews.com.

Ah…

Um…

Well…

…I just don’t know what to say.  I can’t believe the President of the United States said “wee-weed” to a well-covered event.  This guy really needs a vacation.

UPDATE (08-22-09 2:53pm)

Here is a video clip: