Journeyman Project Dispatches from the Life of Patrick Fowler: Christianity Explored

29Mar/110

Newt for President?

I anticipate a very tumultuous political season ahead. Probably the first one where women will have a legitimate opportunity to run for president, where the presidency may be represented by a passionate religious leader who is not a Christian. We may even witness a television celebrity running for president!

In the midst of the turmoil, I find another unique leader worth consideration, and not because he could be the first _____ president…but because he’s a good leader. And I would ask you to put away your presuppositions and allow me to make a short, four-point argument for Newt Gingrich. Then, if you’re not convinced to consider him, please comment and tell me why!

Firm Fact: Newt is capable of making change happen. He is a proven leader in government.

Newt Gingrich has influence--in the government and in the public eye. Wherever this man goes, the people gather to hear his ideas. In his congressional career, he won the attention of Congress and got them to work together…but that is not his MAIN argument for influence. Since then until the present day, he continues to do it in the areas of medicine, energy, and current issues. People read his books, attend his rallies, respond to his surveys, peruse his websites, and listen to his commentary.

Firm Fact: Newt’s political agenda is crystal clear.

Rather than having a presidential candidate who’s political agenda is full of vague promises, we could have a president who’s political ideas are crystal clear. For DECADES, Newt has been writing with the agenda to shape the way people think about and approach politics. Perhaps he will be a presidential first: the first president to be a successful author BEFORE taking office.

Moreso however, we will have a candidate who will require the American people to do a lot of thinking and truly consider his ideas for government reform. They will need to evaluate his plans, and we will find out: do the American people want a candidate who can motivate, or one who truly proposes concrete change?

One other thing is for sure, any competitor for the presidency will have to be equally explicit about their goals, or face some harsh criticism from interviewers.

Key Question: How has Newt’s character changed?

The major thought the most people have when it comes to Newt concerns his character. He has had 2 affairs, leading to two divorces and his remarriage to the woman he was having his affair with. Those are major events that should be considered well. But be sure to consider all the facts: consider the silence of his former wives and the testimony of his two daughters from the first marriage—daughters who work alongside their father in his current career. Those things speak to his character and his willingness to reconcile with those closest to him. Consider his resignation as speaker during the affair—did he do this as a form of repentance, or to hide his actions. One thing is for certain, he was not the leader blatantly lying to the American people from Washington—that was our former president. 

God has raised up other characters with character issues to rule in similar places. David was a lustful man—he had far more than 3 wives and murdered a man to get one wife in particular. Moses was a murderer too. The question is not, “what has he done?” The questions are, “Has he changed?” “Faults included, can he lead?” “Can we trust him?”

Key Question: Is Newt genuinely a Christian?

The major reservation I have with Newt is his belief system. Newt has always been a church-goer, but I can’t find any clear sources explaining what he believes. Does he have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ? I don’t know, and I believe that is incredibly important! I want a leader who is open to the influence of the Holy Spirit and guarded against the influence of other spiritual influences. I want a president that will prompt the citizens of the United States to think about their own faith because he speaks of faith when he makes decisions.

Let me be clear: Religion makes a bigger difference to me than past character defects. I will vote first for religion, and second for proven character. And a a pastor and a friend, I hope I can convince you to do the same. If you read the books of Kings and Chronicles you’ll see God’s evaluation of national leaders. He doesn’t judge their character as much as he judges them on a single criteria: did they follow the Lord? (and did they lead their nation to seek the Lord?).

While I’ll address this further in my next post, let me make one other important comment: Mormons are NOT, NOT, NOT Christians. I cannot trust a Mormon as a person who has a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and is led by the Holy Spirit—Mormonism may produce good character and strong families—but their beliefs do not follow the Bible, they follow the book of Mormon. They are worshipping a different Jesus, his name just happens to be the same as ours.

14Feb/110

Should We Filter the Internet for Everyone?

With churches hosting protest events like “porn sunday” and supporting the anti-porn efforts of ministries like xxxchurch.com the question arises: Should we force the internet to abide by standards of decency? Some people are pushing for standards to be enforced—apparently they already exist in our Federal system, but have not been enforced.

Others point to the abolition movement of the past century, where zealous protesters fought for a ban on alcohol only to have it remitted years later. They consider legislating morality to be too extreme in this case, and they flaunt the freedom of speech as if grants them a right to offend, enslave, and expose everyone around them to anything they want.

Our democracy is built on a balanced tension between two extremes, and often that balance can be difficult to identify from a single standpoint, but on this issue, I am happy to be found on the side of the extremists. I would be happy to see a hard crackdown on all media: internet, TV, and advertising in the U.S. I believe we need to go beyond explicitly sexual content and start banning the sexual innuendo that is used to sell everything from hummers to rice.

Do we really need 3 movies in 12 months that flaunt the theme of “friendship with benefits”? REALLY? Should these really only be rated R?

Should a child really be able to go to a public computer somewhere, or to their phone, and surf pornographic content without any age verification or warning?

Relationships are so much more than passionate moments.

Sex is so much more than a recreational activity.

Love is so much more than what develops on television and the movies these days…

 

I crave a better presentation of life from television, movies, and media. I crave a safer environment to allow my children to play in. I fear the perceptions, habits, and addictions that our unsafe world develops all too quickly.

Read more about the censorship movement here…

5Jan/100

China’s Internet Filtering Policy

China has an internet filtering policy in place that has led to the arrest of a few thousand people for hosting or posting malicious content in 2009. While I don't know the numbers or the effectiveness of their policies, I am incredibly amazed at the recognition of the dangerous influence of porn and other online content by their government leaders. I do wish the U.S. would consider limited our freedom in this respect as well, in order to save millions of people from being exposed to and later addicted to content that their parents are too ignorant or uncaring to shield them from.(Read the AP news article here)

I'm a bit extreme in this area, and I'll save you from a long speech on the subject, but I do wish we could ban adult entertainment/pornography, gambling, and hard alcohol in the U.S., for the good of our citizens. I do not see any noteworthy contributions that these things make to our society, and I am sometimes physically sick from their effects on relationships, careers, and ministries.

Build a fence on our borders to keep illegal immigrants out? Sure.

How about killing some industries and banning some content in our country for everyone's good?

19Oct/090

Ronald Reagan’s opinion of Govenment-Sponsored Healthcare

It was shocking for me to discover recently that Ronald Reagan was recorded in an LP discussing the dangers of a socialized system of medicine. I looked for a transcript of this talk, but was unable to come up with one. Instead, I've chosen to link to an excerpt from the LP, that I think is just as relevant for today as it was on the day it was recorded.

If you would like some more perspective on socialized healthcare, please see my previous video post on the subject, along with this post, by Jeremiah Krieger.