Love Never Fails

As a Christ-follower, I love everyone. And I believe there is a Truth that is greater than all of us, and a way to Life which we are all invited to follow.

As a sinner, I am profoundly grateful for Grace, and I don’t hold myself in higher regard than anyone else.

As an American, I’m grateful for the liberties protected by the Constitution, and the freedom to worship God in the way I please.

As a libertarian, I don’t care what you do as long as it neither breaks my leg nor picks my pocket.

As a human, I will always respect and tolerate my fellow man, and do my best to live in a manner worthy of the respect of others.

As a free person, I’m deeply disturbed by the Supreme Court’s recent decision to take power from the people and their representatives and to legislate new rights.

As a Christ-following American libertarian, my opinion is a little more nuanced than the caricatures often presented by others as my beliefs. And I bet the same can be said about people of all political, moral and theological beliefs.

Let’s love one another, even when we disagree about the ruling of nine judges who have their own sets of beliefs, opinions and standards.

Because in the end, #LoveWins

“And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”
1 Corinthians 13:13

Day of Deliverance

There is a lot of turmoil in the United States and around the world today. Stateside politics and Supreme Court decisions have us divided as a nation. People in countries all over Europe, Africa, Asia and South America are rising up in revolt, leading to unrest all over the globe.

But despite our troubles and the tumult all around us, today remains a dichotomous day of solemn reflection, and of celebration. I think our second President, John Adams, said it best:

I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated, by succeeding Generations, as the great anniversary Festival. It ought to be commemorated, as the Day of Deliverance by solemn Acts of Devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with Pomp and Parade, with Shews, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other from this Time forward forever more. You will think me transported with Enthusiasm but I am not. I am well aware of the Toil and Blood and Treasure, that it will cost Us to maintain this Declaration, and support and defend these States. Yet through all the Gloom I can see the Rays of ravishing Light and Glory. I can see that the End is more than worth all the Means. And that Posterity will tryumph in that Days Transaction, even altho We should rue it, which I trust in God We shall not. (The Book of Abigail and John: Selected Letters of the Adams Family, 1762-1784, Harvard University Press, 1975, 142).

Americans have come a long way in our 237 years together. We have had turmoil and trouble throughout our history. But I believe it’s the pursuit and protection of freedom, and the “firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence” which have allowed this fledgling nation to rise to such prosperity that the entire world benefits from its existence.

Today let’s eat a burger, watch some fireworks, and celebrate. Let’s also pause to give thanks for our freedom—given by God, enshrined in our founding documents, and protected by the men and women of our military. We are truly blessed.

Happy Independence Day!

Happy Independence Day!

Enjoy and celebrate this day off of work. It’s a great day for friends and family, grilling, beer, great movies, and fireworks at night. I love that stuff, and believe times of joy and celebration are much needed in a culture where we work more and more and seem to spend less and less time with the people who matter most.

While celebrating this year, I think we should take some time to remember what this day is all about. The day we often refer to as the “Fourth of July” has a lot more significance when it goes by the name which gave it its reason for existence: Independence Day.

Just as Christmas is celebrated with presents, but we remember its meaning by reading the story of Jesus’ birth, this day ought to be remembered for its true meaning.

On this day, 236 years ago, representatives from this continent declared that they knew where our rights come from. They declared that since we were all created by God, and since we are all equal in His eyes, and since our fundamental rights come from Him, we ought not let men take our rights from us. If God desires us to be free, why should we give our freedoms to a tyrant king who, in the eyes of our Creator, is equal to every other human being?

After establishing the Source of our Rights and the role of Government, they went on to list the crimes committed by the King of Great Britain against the people of these young States. These “injuries and usurpations” were recorded and made known not only to the people of both continents at that time, but they are now recorded in history, and every generation since can read for themselves exactly the kinds of encroachments this tyrant made. This was important for them to do, as now no one can call into question the motives of a people who reclaimed their Freedom.

Finally, as they appealed to the “Supreme Judge of the world” for the integrity of their intentions, they declared their freedom and absolved their loyalty to the Crown. Then they declared the new subject of their allegiance. In taking on the British empire and risking everything they had to go to war with the best Navy in the world, they said to each other and the universe:

And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.

Wow. Everything they had. They knew they could lose it all. Yet they firmly trusted God for protection and they pledged everything to each other for the sake of the greatest cause their lives would ever know.

That’s worth celebrating. And it’s worth remembering.

To help us all remember what this day is about, even as we celebrate, I’ve created an Independence Day playlist. It has songs about freedom, rebelling against oppression, and just some classic American songs. It’s no substitute for reading the Declaration again this year, but it’s another way to remind us today. You can Subscribe to it, share it, or take it with you to play at parties. While you’re relaxing with friends and family, remember where we came from. Remember why we are so free. Remember where our rights come from and how blessed we are to live in a land where those rights are protected.

Happy Independence Day!

Is the Supreme Court’s ruling good for America?

After some crying and pouting and depression yesterday (I’m slightly exaggerating), I’m actually very happy and inspired today with the Supreme Court’s ruling on the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act (AKA—Obamacare).

No, I’m not in favor of the largest middle-class tax increase our nation has ever seen.

No, I don’t think anyone quite knows yet how far-reaching the 2,700 page bill actually is or how severely it will impact our economy, our health or our liberty.

And no, I certainly don’t think the justices in the United States Supreme Court made the right decision—I agree with them that the Constitution’s Commerce Clause does not give Congress the authority to compel individuals to enter a market in addition to regulating that market, but I disagree that classifying this as a tax makes it okay to require people to purchase a product as a condition of citizenship in the United States.

And I absolutely agree with Justice Kennedy and the other three dissenting justices that the entire bill is “invalid in its entirety” and that this ruling is “a vast judicial overreaching.” And, since they decided the individual mandate is essentially a tax (despite President Obama insisting it’s not), I’m not in favor of the power the IRS now holds over my health insurance and yours.

And yet, I’m still very satisfied with yesterday’s ruling. I know that seems crazy. And I may be, at times, more optimistic than others think reasonable or sane. But I think I’m still in the realm of sanity this time.

Here’s why I think this could be a good thing:
The Supreme Court just handed the fate of Obamacare back to the American people. In actuality, this bill is now upheld and ready to be enacted and the ball is rolling. In 2014 it will be fully implemented. If we do nothing, this bill and the unprecedented, unconstitutional extension of power it grants our government will move forward. Unless you and I act. I would submit that this battle for Man’s Freedom is not over. I would submit that this is only Act Two in the story of this struggle for our rights and individual liberty:

  • Act One was the passing of a bill through every means necessary—You may recall the kickbacks and sweetheart deals given to Democrats who opposed the bill. Then there was the deliberate distortion of the facts to the public. Finally, when the voters of Massachusetts filled the late Ted Kennedy’s Senate seat with a Republican (removing the Democratic majority’s filibuster-proof 60th seat) the House used the Constitutionally questionable process of reconciliation, usually reserved for budgetary bills, to avoid the “speed-bump” known as the will of the American People and a potential block in the Senate.
  • Act Two is where the Supreme Court barely upholds the bill’s constitutionality, by the narrowest margin possible. This is where we stand today. This is where President Obama and Congressmen Pelosi and Reid would like the story to end. But not so fast…
  • Act Three, I predict, is when the American People, by way of taking a stand at the voting booths, will send a loud and clear message to Congress and our new President: “Government derives its powers from the consent of the governed. You do not have our consent to take away our liberties and our rights. If you do not repeal and replace this bill, your job will be repealed and you will be replaced as our representatives.” In response, both chambers of Congress will send a bill to the President, and on January 21, 2013, he will immediately sign it into law on his first day as the new executive.

Check back tomorrow for how we can make Act Three a reality…

How Big IS the Super Bowl?

This chart pretty much says it all.  In my home-state of Indiana, we are overwhelmed with the NFL and its biggest event of each year, the Super Bowl.  I really don’t know what small, tiny, incremental step needs to be taken for this to go from just a HUGE, colossal event to a National Holiday.  Around here, everyone gathers with friends and family around a large TV with lots of food-from burgers, wings and nachos to steak, salmon and fancy hors d’oeuvres.  Many people take a day off of work the following Monday to recover from all the celebrating (…and all the beer).  Those who still go to work often spend the first hour or two of the morning rehashing the most exciting or controversial plays of the game and settling money from the office pool.  It really is a celebration and a uniting event like no other.  This year we even have two massive celebrities from opposing sides of the political spectrum sitting down for an interview as part of the pregame festivities.  Outside of Indiana the “big game” must be pretty enormous too-last year’s Super Bowl was the most-watched American television event in history!

We watch it for plays like this:

(skip to 4:55)

and this:

skip to 7:53

and a growing number of people who couldn’t care less about football now just watch for commercials like these. (Spoiler alert!)

Personally, I’m a pretty big football fan and try to watch my beloved Chicago Bears whenever they take the field.  I love the fun of the massive gatherings and the real “holiday” atmosphere of the Super Bowl.

But I wonder about a few things, since I apparently live in the part of the world where this game is the most celebrated: Is it like this everywhere else?  If you live in another state or another country, is the NFL’s Super Bowl a must-watch event like it is in Indiana?  Is the chart at the top even accurate?  Are we the most fanatic?  Is your state more over-the-top? If not, is there a different sport or game that is this big where you live?