A Lesson from Ralphie for Obama

COPING WITH A BULLY

Justifiably, President Obama is being heavily criticized for lacking a strategy to deal with the menacing reality represented by ISIL. Certainly, a thorough and well thought out strategy is needed to address this overwhelmingly daunting and extremely complex challenge. However, the sorely needed first step in this process is a very simple one that most learn in grade school – i.e. The only way to effectively cope with a bully is to confront him head on.

A CLEAR ILLUSTRATION

Arguably, the most well-known illustration of this is found in the Holiday classic movie, A Christmas Story, when the movie’s central character, Ralphie, deals with his nemesis, Scut Farkus and his “toadie”, Grover Dill. I recognize the element of absurdity in comparing a wonderfully amusing story to a deadly serious reality but, that aside, I believe it offers a clear illustration.

“Hey, ISIL! King’s X, OK?!”

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President Obama’s Mythical 21st Century

By: Trevin Wax

Cross-Posted From: KINGDOM PEOPLETHE GOSPEL COALITION

president-obamaThe beheading of journalist James Foley has shocked the world and elicited outrage from virtually every corner of civilized society.

Unfortunately, this kind of brutality is no longer uncommon. The ISIS rampage has delivered grisly videos of executions, reports of religious minorities being maimed and killed, and beheadings in the Middle East, all designed to draw attention to the bloodthirsty antics of terrorism’s most recent villains.

Foley was not an outlier. He was the public victim of Islamic militancy’s newest wave of terror.

The threat of ISIS should concern anyone who loves freedom and justice. But I fear that the moral convictions needed to confront such unspeakable evil may be missing in the United States today. We seem to be gaining our moral bearings from an overly optimistic vision of the world’s future and human nature.

President Obama’s remarks on the Foley incident included a theme that surfaces frequently in political discourse today. It is the theme of progress, the future, and what it means to live in the 21st century. Obama sounded the note of hope by appealing to the future:

People like [ISIS] ultimately fail. They fail, because the future is won by those who build and not destroy and the world is shaped by people like Jim Foley, and the overwhelming majority of humanity who are appalled by those who killed him.

The president’s comment about the future may be powerful rhetoric, but it is not reality. If history shows us anything, it is that “the future” has often belonged to those who are passionate enough about their cause to destroy anything in their way in order to build something different.

It was “building” a society that inspired Adolph Hitler to exterminate Jews, Gypsies, and homosexuals. It is the “rebuilding” of Russia that led Vladimir Putin across the borders into Crimea, a conflict which has resulted in the destruction of a plane full of civilians.

ISIS does not see itself as destroying; these thugs see themselves as building an Islamic Caliphate. They have an apocalyptic worldview; they are for “progress,” only their definition of progress is radically different than ours. They are righteous; we are evil. Therefore, they can pillage, rape, execute and behead with impunity. They see themselves as the future.

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Ferguson – An SOS for Americans of Every Ethnic Descent

Sharpton-Race-Card

Al Sharpton, Racial Ambulance Chaser

AMERICA ON TRIAL

In a Los Angeles Times article, entitled “In Ferguson, a race to be wrong”, Jonah Goldberg writes:

“The events in Ferguson, Mo., have launched a familiar spectacle: the race to be wrong first. … (L)egions of too-often interchangeable activists, commentators and reporters … have convinced themselves that we know exactly what happened, or at least all we need to know. Al Sharpton, with decades of racial ambulance chasing under his belt, insists that ‘America is on trial’ in Ferguson.”

Although I think Goldberg is dead right here, including his characterization of Sharpton, in a way, I agree with Sharpton’s statement. However, I think it’s more accurate to say “Americans are on trial in Ferguson”. No doubt, the implication of Sharpton’s statement is that America is on trial regarding how one ethnic group or members of that group, namely African-Americans, are treated by the rest of the nation. To the contrary, I see Ferguson as a trial; maybe even a final exam, to determine our willingness and thus our ability, to stand together as Americans, regardless of ethnic descent.

CLOSING OLD WOUNDS
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Keeping Our Eyes Above The Waves

AN EXCEPTIONAL LEADER

Over the past few days, as we’ve watched Missouri State Highway Patrol Captain Ronald S. Johnson step in to take over security operations in the midst of this past week’s civil unrest in Ferguson, MO, it’s become obvious that he is a truly exceptional person. The immediate good news in this, as reported in a related Washington Post article, is that Johnson’s first day on the job resulted in “Hugs, kisses and a night of peace (replacing) tear gas and unrest.” The more long-term and more challenging part of this is that Captain Johnson is, in fact, exceptional. If all of our nation’s leaders would emulate Johnson’s conduct, thus making him the rule rather than the exception, our country could be vastly improved.

AN EXEMPLARY LEADER

A great way to begin learning how to go about this emulation would be by looking at statements Captain Johnson made in Friday’s (August 14, 2014) press conference and most importantly, by looking at his responses to the questions he received. The comments that I found to be most meaningful in this regard are outlined as follows: Continue reading

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Single Moms – Mapping Their Son’s Masculine Journey

THE MASCULINE HEART

Wild HeartOn a recent vacation, while driving round trip from Southwest Washington to Northwest Wyoming, I finally managed to finish a book a friend had loaned me this past winter. It was The Way of the Wild Heart, by John Eldredge. It’s a follow-up to another of Eldredge’s best-sellers, Wild at Heart.

The subtitle of Wild at Heart is: Discovering the Secret of a Man’s Soul. Its back cover expands on that by saying: “In Wild at Heart, John Eldredge invites men to recover their masculine heart, defined in the image of a passionate God.” In the book, Eldredge lays out three main longings of every male on their journey in life. Each man longs for: A battle to fight, An adventure to live and A beauty to rescue. In The Way of the Wild Heart, Eldredge expands on this theme by noting six major phases of a man’s life: Beloved Son, Cowboy (or Ranger), Warrior, Lover, King and Sage. This book’s main point is that God wants to come and father us through each of these stages. The key underlying theme, though, is the vital role earthly fathers and male mentors are meant to play in accomplishing this.

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Dr. Ben Carson – My Absurd Concerns

MY SKEPTICISM

When I first heard that Dr. Ben Carson might run for President in 2016, I have to admit that my immediate reaction was one of skepticism. It’s not that I don’t have a high regard for Dr. Carson or that I don’t see him as a good choice for President. It’s just that far too many times in the past I’ve seen the sudden popularity of an admirable person lead to many placing their hope in that person, as a likely candidate for higher office and then seeing that lead to disappointment. In Dr. Carson’s case, my skepticism came from a sense that placing hope in him as a political candidate would result in disappointment due to his lack of experience in that role.

MY ABSURDITY

As I’ve come to know more about Dr. Carson, I’ve come to realize that my initial concerns about him, as a potential presidential candidate, were absurd. I recognized that I was really only worried about his ability to campaign. With that recognition, I thought, “Our current President is arguably the best campaigner I’ve ever seen and yet, to me, he is clearly the worst President in my lifetime.” From that, the absurdity of my initial concerns about Dr. Carson became evident and as I’ve learned more and more about him, I’ve come to believe that he has all of the talents that are necessary to be the successful leader that we’re lacking in our current President.

THE REAL BEN CARSON Continue reading

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Vantucky?!

Vancouver

FROM RED TO BLUE

A little over nine years ago, we chose to leave the home we loved in Southern California to settle in an area we found to be even more desirable, Southwest Washington. Specifically, we moved to Vancouver, WA, just across the Columbia River, north of Portland, OR. Our home in SoCal was in Orange County, known politically as Red County. Since Portland is notoriously Blue, one of the biggest adjustments we found ourselves making in moving to this area was due to its very different political environment. An aspect of this that continues to elude my acclimation, however, is the prevailing attitude of intolerance by liberals towards conservatives.

TO BLACK AND BLUE

One of the most blatant examples of this prejudice has been hearing liberals call our selected home, Vancouver, Vantucky. Recently, I’ve also heard the county we live in, Clark County, referred to as Clarkabama. Of course, I have no way of knowing all the intended implications by users of these terms but it seems pretty clear the general aim is to disparage. That sense is reinforced by the fact that these terms are typically used in phrases like “… the morons in Clarkabama.” Some may view this as being amusing or, at least, as being relatively harmless. I don’t. In fact, I see this sort of sophomoric denigration as being quite harmful. Continue reading

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