Interactive Sermon

"Those who have the disease called Jesus will never be cured" ~Old Russian Proverb

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Stop Global Whining!

Oops! Ran across this on Snopes today. Very interesting. Wasn't it the former Vice President who just won an Academy Award for a film calling on us all to live more enviro-friendly lives? Seems the present President is doing his part.

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Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Preachin' Politics

Taking a quick break from my 'Candidate Quickies', where Rudy Giuliani is next in line, I thought I'd bring you a quick hit on presidential politics in general - and this with a noted 'Christian' perspective for us to discuss.

Focus On The Family's James Dobson offers insight regarding some of the Republican candidates. Give the article a read here.

I'm a little uncomfortable as I read this piece. It seems to me that Mr. Dobson is implying that when we vote for President, we ought to vote for the candidate who most clearly displays that they are a Christian, even above where they stand on issues. For instance, note the last few lines about Mitt Romney - and Dobson's assertion that Evangelicals will have trouble supporting him because he is a Mormon.

By the way, while I won't be able to officially endorse a candidate as 'Pastor Darin', know that as 'Citizen Darin', I am watching very closely this actor/Senator from Tennessee. Reminds me a bit of an actor/Governor hero of mine from California.

How do you feel about this? Should Christians only vote for Christians? Should a candidate's faith be the most important criteria? Should how vocal or outward appearing they are about their faith be a litmus?

And, just in case you happen to be keeping track, at this early juncture of the Presidential campaign process, the two candidates speaking most in churches and of their faith... Hillary Clinton and Barak Obama! Back next time with Rudi.

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Thursday, March 22, 2007

Hour Upon Hour Of Bore... I Mean Gore

Well, I should have stuck with the Old Time Radio Classics for another day. Instead, I dialed in coverage of former Senator and Presidential hopeful Al Gore's 'testimony' before Congress on Global Warming. If that wasn't enough to make me angry, then I listened to a few hours of pundits talking about Gore's rant. Here are some highlights from the exchange:

Gore: "If the crib is on fire, you don't that the baby is flame retardant. You take action." Gee, and we missed out on this guy being our President?

Texas Rep Joe Barton: "You're not just a little off. You're totally wrong!" Who is this Joe guy? Is he available to campaign for the White House?

Here are some interesting facts about the man urging me to cut my energy use and to slow my production of carbon dioxide. In each of his four homes, Al Gore used 22 times more energy than the average American family. With each of his four SUV's Al's staff daily creates 4 times more enviro-carbon than the average American soccer mom - she only has one SUV. Shall we calculate his miles aboard private jets? And one more thing that I felt was very interesting: President Bush's ranch in Crawford Texas, compared with the Gore primary residence outside of Nashville Tennessee - Bush's ranch rated four times more 'environmentally friendly' that Gore's home. Got to love it!

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Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Preachin' Politics pt. 3

Several weeks ago I began a rather light-hearted jaunt through the growing list of political candidates who are vying to be our next President. It is not my intention to endorse any candidate or party (I'll try to be an equal opportunity critic), but rather to dialogue a bit on politics - not as Pastor Darin, but as Citizen Darin.

Hillary Rodham-Clinton. Hillary Clinton. Hillary. You have some serious name recognition when people everywhere recognize you by three names, two names, or just one. Hillary (she prefers to use the one) doesn't care what you call her, as long as the prefix President comes before it! Have you not heard? She's "in it to win it" where the race for the White House in 2008 is concerned.

Not everyone is so thrilled with her fancy to be known by the brief moniker. Poking around her website (going by the two names there) I found this comment left by a potential voter:

by Karing
2/23/2007 9:44:48 AM So I got in a discussion yesterday with a few of my girlfriends, and they were really upset by the way Hillary was using her first name and not her last name. They thought it was to girly and unprofessional. I said it didn't bother me, but how do you respond to this? When people voice their feelings ('I think its not professional', you can't say 'you're wrong it is professional'. You can't tell people what they think is wrong. Any ideas?

Karing... I'd advise your friends to be careful for characterizing someone who uses their first name as 'girly'. Perhaps they've heard of California's Governor, 'Ahhhnold'?

Back to Hillary... I mean Hillary Clinton. At her website you do find some information about where she stands on issues. I find that admirable in a day when so many politicians are waiting for polls to tell them what they should think. It's in the bio section there where she describes her Christian faith as 'faith in action'. She speaks of the spiritual influence of her mother and a youth minister in her formative years.

There are some parting shots I would take at Hillary for President. First, by now everyone has heard about the war of words launched by David Geffin where the Clintons and honesty are concerned. Rather than ignoring the statements, Hillary responded by dragging Barrack Obama into the melee. I feel like where Hillary is concerned, everything is a conspiracy. That would worry me. I'd love to see her disagree with someone without branding them 'an enemy' along the way. Additionally, it seems that in a handful of questionable settings over the years, Hillary has been eager to portray herself as having been 'duped' - the Whitewater scandal and the war in Iraq for instance. Rather than owning any possible mistake on her part, she has implies that others pulled the wool over her eyes, and she was totally oblivious. My concern? If a bunch of her business partners and George W. Bush can trick her, what awaits her with the likes of Hugo Chavez, Mahmaud Ahmadinejad and Osama bin Laden? Questions I'm waiting to see her answer.

By the way, I am so hip - I don't care whether she goes by one, two, or a hyphenated 3 names!

Next up: The Republican known by one name... Rudy.

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Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Preachin' Politics pt. 2

Mike Huckabee. Who? The 'other' Republican. You know, the one not named McCain or Giuliani.

Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, not to be confused with Huckleberry Hound, though there is some resemblance, launched a 'Presidential Campaign Exploritory Committee' last month. They may as well be exploring if anyone outside of Arkansas has ever heard of the man.

Poking around his website you learn quite a bit about him (contrasting that with the website of Barrack Obama I searched last week - where I failed to learn anything about the man or what he's passionate about).

He gives a very clear statement on his site, for instance, concerning his view of abortion and Roe v. Wade. Then he makes sure to include that the rest of the possible Republican candidates are waffling on that issue. He also includes a strong statement of his position on the Second Ammendment, complete with a picture of him killing something. PETA members won't be voting for him - but then again, doesn't everyone who lives in Arkansas kill their supper?

Huckabee is a Baptist minister. He speaks freely of his faith in Jesus Christ. He has deep ties with Evangelical groups and causes. He speaks very clearly of family values, "We've gone from 'Leave It To Beaver' to 'Beavis & Butthead'."

I'm afraid that Arkansas Mike has about as much a chance of becoming President as Huckleberry Hound. He's got the big three strikes against him: (1) no name-recognition; (2) speaks what he believes - rather than what polls tell him he should believe; (3) he's a real friend of Jesus Christ.

But wait, this just in... the former Governor from Arkansas plays music! Hasn't that been successful in the past? Now that might just help his cause. Look for the Huckster to show up on SNL or David Lettermen, sitting in and slapping his bass, and you just might have a darkhorse contender.

Next up: Hillary (so cool when a candidate really only needs one name)

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Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Preachin' Politics?

Of course, in my official capacity as the Pastor of a local church, I am not allowed to stump for any particular party or candidate. They call what I have an ‘unfair advantage’ in politics – a bully pulpit with influence and sway over people’s thoughts. Scary. From my vantage point, it seems actors like Alec Baldwin and Sean Penn, celebrities like the Dixie Chicks and Bruce Springsteen and personalities like Oprah Winfrey have far more influence and sway, but no law serves to stifle their political rhetoric.

If I manage not to endorse a candidate, I can share my thoughts in general. So, here's some fun! I’ll try to make my way through the swelling ranks of Presidential hopefuls over the next several weeks, sharing my thoughts. First up: Illinois Senator Barack Obama.

Perhaps you’ve heard the sound byte of Senator Ted Kennedy’s 2005 guffaw, referring to the Illinois Senator as Osama Obama. Rush Limbaugh’s creative people were so tickled by that they created a parody song to the tune of ‘La Bamba’ that is sure to be played over and over as election season approaches.

People may not know how to say his name, but they know his face. That is thanks to the daily press coverage that follows this media darling. Consider for a moment how many times you’ve seen his face or heard his words on CNN in that last month. Now ask yourself, how many times have you seen or heard Mike Huckabee (Arkansas Governor also tossing his hat in the ring)? I rest my case. The media loves Obama. For the moment.

Obama identifies himself as a liberal Democrat. He continues to strongly voice his opposition to the war in Iraq, calling it “a botched and ill-advised military incursion into a Muslim country”. He also continues to court very liberal groups that bring with them serious electoral clout. But, interestingly, most of the African American politicos have not aligned as soundly behind Obama, some (Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton, for instance) have hinted that he is not as vocal on Civil Rights issues where African Americans are concerned as he should be. They have noted, while Obama hasn’t worked hard enough in Civil Rights to satisfy many African American voters, his Senate record shows that he has worked tirelessly for the rights of Muslims in America. Oops.

Where his faith is concerned, Barack Obama identifies himself as a Christian. He says of his faith: “It came about as a choice and not an epiphany; the questions I had did not magically disappear,” he explained. “But kneeling beneath that cross on the South Side of Chicago, I felt God’s spirit beckoning me. I submitted myself to His will, and dedicated myself to discovering His truth.” Sounds good to me. Still, in recent weeks he has been facing tough questions about his Muslim heritage – his father and grandfather, the two men after whom he was named, were devout Muslims. Obama speaks of a respect for all religions, and a desire to see an “America that is not considered a Christian nation, but a tolerant nation.”

They say you can find out more about Barack Obama at his website although when I poked around I couldn’t find much content. It’s early in the political season. My suspicion is that, like all the other Presidential hopefuls, he’s waiting to see what polls say he should be passionate about.

Returning to the man's name, if I were a betting man, I’d bet the name Barack Hussein Obama would be a long-shot to win the Presidency. To people in the South especially, and for those who don’t see the War on Terror as ill-conceived, electing a man named Barack Hussein Obama to be President would be akin (good Southern word) to electing someone named Scooby-Doo to be dog-catcher. Then again, in politics stranger things have happened – say Ted Kennedy as the Chair of a Senate Ethics Committee.

What do you think?

Next up… Republican Governor Mike Huckabee. Who?

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