Wednesday, November 29, 2006

The Intent of the Gay Marriage Debate

Most Coloradans are tired of the gay marriage debate. Its ski and snowboard season and the Broncos are entering the stretch run of the season.

Still ,with everything that has been said about the voters passage of Amendment 43 and similar rejection of Referendum I (civil union law), its important to remember the nexus of the issue.

The debate about gay marriage is not a debate over tolerance. Its a debate about the purpose of marriage.

Most of us dislike the idea that other Americans are being deprived of their rights. Most Americans oppose bigotry and disparagement. By and large, we are very tolerant, generous and kind towards strangers and those with other beliefs and values.

We can win the gay marriage debate if we remind our fellows Americans about the intent of marriage. But it will necessitate practice and not only words. What would be some good practices?....How about lowering the divorce rate, incentivizing premarital counseling, forming community church consortiums that promote marriage values and offering parenting and financial classes to married couples, issues that often lead to divorce.

The purpose of marriage is clear. But we need to remind Americans in word and deed.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

The Christian "End Game"

I spent a lot of time in this last election cycle promoting Amendment 43, the Colorado Marriage Amendment act. It was time well-spent. But I walked away with a sense of inner tension between my witness to my culture and world and my ultimate allegiance to the Kingdom of God.

So, I came away with these questions. What is the Christian "end game?" What should be our ultimate prize in view of eternity?

Scripture tells us to "set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect." (1 Peter 3:15)

This verse speaks to action in the public square but it also calls us to a higher plane.

Following the November election, there has been much teeth-gnashing among Christians. I assume that many of these believers had hitched their wagon to the success or failure of Republican candidates. Now there is some merit to these sentiments, I will grant you, but true Christianity does not require a political litmus test. Jesus never required a political statement of affirmation prior to his conduction of services. The "enemy" was not Democrats or Republicans, but Satan.

As believers we will find ourselves on tricky ground if we exclusively politicized our beliefs. I fear that many believers are caught up in this pursuit. Jesus taught that true faith was ultimately lived out through godly actions towards others. When Nicodemus visited Jesus, the conversation was not about politics advancing the Kingdom of God but faith and ultimately faithful people. Jesus could have shifted the focus of his ministry and rubbed elbows with the politicians of his time. But he didn't. He equally called all-great and small- to a life-changing faith.

So what's the end game? American Christianity is drifting a bit. I understand the desire of faithful believers to live in a better world free of the sins which are so rampant today. I know too that many believers are legitimately motivated by speaking out for godly values in the public square. But this passion cannot be our first love. We need to return to the basics of faith- caring for the sick, feeding the hungry, provisioning the needy and caring for the widow and orphan. Our prize is the advancement of the Kingdom of God not a political agenda.

Few have ever been argued into the Kingdom of God. Most have been loved into it.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Enter His Gates with Thanksgiving

I love Thanksgiving.

But I must admit that I fall into the traditional "American" practice of Thanksgiving more than I should. Most Americans see Thanksgiving as "the" day to give thanks-sort of. Let's be honest, for most of us its a day consumed with feasting, fellowshipping and football. As a kid my cousins would come over every year. There was always the pre-requisite football game in the street which meant dodging cars and getting your knees torn up. Afterwards, the turkey would be carved, piles of stuffing, mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie would be heaped onto huge plates. Everyone cleaned their plates. And then of course, there was the post-feast nap. What a great day!

But as Thanksgiving 2006 marches closer, I am searching this year for a different meaning. I am not looking for a more sublime or esoteric sense of the day, but a deeper appreciation as to who God is and His work in my life. In this pursuit, I came across a favored Psalm, Psalm 100:4 which states that we are to "enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name."

Compared to the modern American practice of Thanksgiving, this is an unfamiliar. I think what David was trying to suggest in this Psalm is that we are to actively enter into God's presence with one goal in mind- praise. Why? Not for all that He has done for us but for all that He is. And that is a radical change of view. Its really easy to praise and thank God when the Thanksgiving table groans with food. But would I praise Him if I was destitute?

Am I going to feast, nap and play football with my kids on Thanksgiving? You bet. But beforehand, I want to savor and praise God for who He is before I thank him for all of the blessings.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Christian Clubs a Great Idea for Your Kid's School

Do you want your school to be a more godly place? For years Christians have argued for equal access for Christian bible clubs on public school campuses. For the most part, public school officials, fearful of lawsuits from the ACLU or personal bias', have rejected these requests.

You might be interested to know that in 2001, the United States Supreme Court in a 6-3 decision (Good News Bible Club vs Milford), affirmed the rights of Christian bible clubs to meet on public school campus after regular school hours. Public schools were prohibited from discriminating against these groups because of their Christian viewpoint.

Nationwide a thaw is beginning. Read more about it here

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Colorado's Bi-Polar Voters

It's E-Day plus seven, that is election day one week later. Republicans are licking their wounds while Democrats are jubilant.

Fact is, that Coloradans have never been straight party-line voters. This year was no exception. Riding a wave of blue, Democrats captured the governor's mansion, increased their legislative margins and elected record numbers of county and local officials. Its heady times to be a Democrat in Colorado.

Yet, there was good news when it comes to conservative issues such as Amendment 43, the definition of marriage. Many voters voted for Democratic candidates but agreed with conservative ideas. This was reflected in the marriage amendment, which passed overwhelmingly with 56-44 percent. Fifty-four of the state's sixty-four counties passed it. On the other hand, the liberal measure, Referendum I, granting homosexual unions equivalent, failed by a 53 to 47 percent.

It will be interesting to see if the folks elected will represent the ideas of the people.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Chicken Little-Is the Sky Falling?

You know of the story of Chicken Little?

Some are already predicting that the sky will fall under the Colorado Democratic monopoly.

Maybe. But we believe that there will be legislative action taken on a host of issues which are harmful to life, marriage and family values.

Here's our list of troublesome predictions based on the actions and words of elected Democrats in our legislature in previous years:

*Planned Parenthood will be refunded with tax payer dollars. Watch this one. We believe that a woman's "private choice" need to be paid for privately. Additionally, using public dollars to promote abortion services should be funded privately. This will be an early test of Governor Ritter's pro-life beliefs.

*CSAP will be either eliminated or marginalized until it dies its own death. The teacher unions are gunning to gut CSAP. Yet, educational accountability is good. Aferall, it is the largest piece of our annual state budget.

*Domestic partnerships will be legalized at some point. And you thought "REF I" was dead? Governor-elect Ritter has already disavowed his support for civil unions. But, but, but...Gay activists who are part of the Democratic monopoly will demand payback for their support of Ritter's victory. Also,look for legislation requiring businesses to accept transgendered employees irregardless of their personal behavior or dress.

*Colorado government will expand services and programs with near blank checks given to social services, education, tort and transportation. More government services means higher "investments. In simple language, more taxes.

*School choice will fade. More accountability is coming for home schoolers and alternative public education alternatives. The government school system main not remain tolerant of educational efforts outside their purview.

*Colorado businesses will sag under a new government based health care effort. We are for universal quality health care for Coloradans. We have a simple question. Who will pay for it?

It's Back to the Drawing Board for Republicans

In 1994, Republicans turned over the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives, capturing more than 50 seats. After almost 40 years of control, Democrats were swept away. Their sins-lack of ideas, corruption and malaise that often accompanies political power. Republicans captured the 1994 electorate hope for a better nation with their "Contract with America"...

Today that seems to be a distant memory. Good ideas will capture the minds of voters. Thus, good people with good ideas and good campaigns will win elections.

In 2006, Republicans found themselves in a similar predictment as the 1994 Democrats-lack of ideas, corruption and malaise. Granted, the media and other institutional forces conspired against Republican success, but the fact remains that Republicans need a fresh wind of ideas and leadership.

Case in point is Iraq. President Bush has not done a good job constantly telling the American people why Iraq is important. Most Americans cannot even find it on a world map. And yet, many families are sacrificing their most valuable human assets-their sons and daughters for a nebulous distant cause. Most Americans have memory-fatigue in today's information-saturated culture. The moral high ground for the War in Iraq has been seized by the anti-war proponents. This should not be the case. But, if unclear reasons for our acts in Iraq are not offered, then the effort can be easily dismissed.

Unlike 1994, Democrats did not win this election because of ideas. At this point, they seem to have few ideas as to what they want to do.

So, there's an opportunity now for Republicans to roll up their sleeves and begin to win again the battle of ideas. That's how you win elections.

How About Some Good News?

There's good news out there tonight. The nearly final numbers for Amendment 43 are in and they show it pulling away to a great 56-44 percent victory.

Sadly, the media is giving its passage very little coverage, choosing instead to spotlight gay activist Tim Gill's work.

But, God sees our work. Kudos to all of the marriage-believing Coloradans who stood tall for this effort.

The other good news is the demise of Referendum I. It's loss is good for Colorado. Fortunately, voters did not fall for its disingenuous premises. However, we are worried that its death is only temporary and that a Democratic legislative coalition will pass it shortly after the convention of the 2007 state legislature. Their rationale- that Colorado voters are misguided and this horrible injustice needs to be remedied!

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

A Great Story-Wounded Army Chaplain Speaks for the First Time

This story speaks for itself for faith, hope and perseverance. Enjoy.

Hypocrisy Versus Grace- The Saga of Recovery

The saga of Ted Haggard continues to dominate the news. Here's what folks are saying.

Rocky Mountain News editorialist Mike Littwin weigh in too.

Some will use this issue to attempt to advance the cause of homosexual rights and the politics associated with it. For others it will be a "aha!" moment, desiring to chastise anyone who claims faith in Christ. Guess what? The issue here is not about furthering gay rights or the supposed levels of "Christian" hypocrisy.

No, the final chapter of this story will be about God's forgiveness to all of the Ted Haggard's of the world, who genuinely repent and seek him.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Pastor Ted Haggard Steps Aside

On Thursday, Pastor Ted Haggard of New Life Church in Colorado Springs took a leave of absence from his church and resigned his post as President of the National Association of Evangelicals. This comes in the wake of accusations made against him by a male homosexual who charged that they had been in a gay sex relationship.

Pray for Pastor Haggard and his church. Pray that the truth will surface.

You can track the latest on this story here.

Thanks for the "Compliment" Senator Kerry

At RMFC and with the posts in this blog, we try to focus on our mission-promoting God's design for the family.

However, every once in a while, something comes along which is outrageous and deserves a comment. This is such a time.

As many of you may know, I have been a naval officer, chaplain and veteran of Desert Storm and Operation Iraqi Freedom, for nearly 20 years.

I am outraged by Senator John Kerry's comments several days ago. Bad joke or not, this type of juvenile "humor" is egregious on the part of a United States senator.

We are at war. Every day, young Americans of all ethnicities, age and educational levels (yes, we have Ph.d's in Iraq) are putting their flesh and blood on the line. To be insulted like this is not only a morale-buster but undermines our war effort.

Senator Kerry, wake up. I am stunned that such an obtuse statement would be made. This is not Vietnam. Despite your comments and voting record, our nation's military is made up of some of our brightest and smartest young people.