Tag Archives: election 2012

Reader’s Choice ’12: Chicago Songs

Lisen Stromberg

Lisen Stromberg

Lisen Stromberg and Anissa Ward Hutchins are worlds apart. 

Lisen is my co-blogger on Finding (Un)Common Ground. She and I met this year at the BlogHer Conference in New York. Lisen is a self-described progressive humanist living on the Left Coast with her family. Her writing has been featured in countless major media outlets. Steve Jobs was her neighbor.

Anissa Hutchins

Anissa Hutchins

Anissa is my childhood friend. She and I went to the same schools, cheered on the same squads, and ran in the same circles. This year, I was tickled to learn she was reading my blog. Anissa lives with her family near the town where we were raised in the most beautiful Old North State. She is a Christian.

Both women chose the same post for their Reader’s Choice. Normally, I would have asked one of them choose something different, but I was intrigued by their responses to this story. When it was first published on November 8, both women shared the story with their Facebook networks. Lisen wrote:

Please take a moment out of your crazy day to read this beautifully written post by my friend and co-blogger Aimee Whetstine. Her words are gracious salve to the “losing” side of this election. Her faith and her call to others to remember their faith in a time that might lead them to believe they have been forsaken speaks to her own wisdom. I may not come from her world, but I understand the beauty of her words.

At the same time, Anissa wrote:

When I woke up this morning I was feeling just a little anxious and nervous about what the future may hold for our country, but as I was going through my emails, this blog post came up. Aimee Whetstine is a friend from middle school and high school. Her wonderful post just soothed my soul, my nerves calmed, my anxiety diminished. Thank you, Aimee, for reminding me that my future holds promise. My hope is in my saviour JESUS and my stand is the Word of God.

Two women. One post. Lisen and Anissa’s Reader’s Choice is:

Chicago Songs

Moody Church entrance

click to read Chicago Songs

readers choice

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Reader’s Choice ’12: The Politics of Friendship

Eric Bostic may very well take over the city of Charlotte one day.

Eric Bostic

Eric Bostic (right) with his brothers Malcolm and Derek

I went to school with Eric. One thing I remember about him is that he always—always—had a beautiful, friendly smile on his face. Still does to this day.

Eric owns a merchant services company and his wife recently opened a medical supply business. Before that, Eric served as a Ranger and Green Beret. He knows the cost of freedom firsthand. He recognizes how important it is for a self-governed people to express their viewpoints. 

Eric’s Reader’s Choice is:

 The Politics of Friendship

seesaw

click to read The Politics of Friendship

readers choice

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Chicago Songs

When life takes the wind out of your sails, go to Chicago.

Chicago subway tile

Chicago

That’s what I did. In 1997, I was 26 and newlywed when my husband and I moved to the Windy City. My mother had died less than a year before. I was awash in grief, living 13 hours away from home, cloistered in a 35th-floor apartment, spending much of my time alone. Imagine a low-budget production of Lost in Translation set in America without Bill Murray.

I paced the streets. Trudged up and down Michigan Avenue, walking and waiting for something, anything, to strike me. Hit me. Wrestle me back to life.

Moody Church entrance

The Moody Church

One Sunday not long after we’d moved, my husband and I ventured into the historic Dwight L. Moody Memorial Church at Clark and LaSalle. That day I heard Dr. Erwin Lutzer talk about grief and heaven and what was to come when we died. He was preaching the sermon series that inspired the book One Minute After You Die.

Coincidence? I think not. This. This was where I needed to be. For our remaining 18 months in Chicago, we treasured our time at that church listening to that preacher. And we learned songs I hadn’t sung before.

A mighty fortress is our God. A bulwark never failing;

Yes, I know. It’s a textbook hymn of the faith written by Martin Luther. The churches where I was raised sang praise songs. Fine, scriptural praise songs. To my detriment, Luther and his brave, abiding words had been kicked to the curb.

Not in Chicago. There we sang Martin Luther and Charles Wesley, Walter Chalmers Smith, Samuel Trevor Francis, and Horatio Spafford. And we began to learn how to stand. When you’ve done all you can do, when there’s nothing left, when no one seems able to help—to stand. It’s a lesson I’m still learning today.

Our Helper He amid the flood of mortal ills prevailing.

Barack Obama was in Chicago the same time I lived there. We must have walked the same streets, felt the same icy wind blow across Lake Michigan. I wonder, did we eat in the same restaurants? Unknowingly, did our paths cross at the Harold Washington Library stop in the Loop? What different experiences we must have had in the City of Big Shoulders. How much has changed since then.

Fast forward to this week. The status updates on my Facebook feed tell the tale. So many people are hurting from the results of this past Tuesday’s election. They’re afraid. Disappointed. Confused. Awash in grief. Unable to understand the bent of the electorate and the heart of the President.

Did God forget the unborn Tuesday? Does He no longer care about them or their parents? Did He change His mind about stealing? Is taking something that belongs to someone else now fair and just in His eyes? Perhaps He is disappointed with His flock. In anger, has He disowned American believers struggling in a culture that careens toward destruction?

Let goods and kindred go, this mortal life also—

There were calls to move to the middle. Move to the right. Establish a third party. Ban evangelicals. And then there was this from a pastor friend:

“Whether the election results leave you euphoric or stricken, let’s remember that whoever holds political power in America, the Lord holds sovereign power everywhere. He says, ‘By me kings reign and rulers decree what is just.’ Again, ‘The king’s heart is in the hand of the LORD; he directs it wherever he pleases.’ (Prov. 8:15, 21:1)”

Hancock building in clouds

Hancock building

Today the wind rushes across the Kansas prairie as powerfully as it whips through the concrete canyons of Chicago. It caresses the waters of Savannah just like it rocks the waves off Santa Barbara. It flies over the hill country of Texas with the same intensity it batters the ravaged and bustling streets of New York. We cannot tell where it comes from or where it’s going. But God knows.

This is a time to stand. Actively trust God and rest in Him. Examine ourselves, confess sin, and be restored. Return to the certainty of the Word that does not change with political pressure.

March fearlessly into the future of America, knowing that come judgment or prosperity, God Himself has ordained it. He will not desert His own.

The body they may kill; God’s truth abideth still: His kingdom is forever!

Our fight is not with people. It is against the leaders and the powers and the spirits of darkness in this world. It is against the demon world that works in the heavens. Because of this, put on all the things God gives you to fight with. Then you will be able to stand in that sinful day. When it is all over, you will still be standing. Ephesians 6:12-13 NLV

 What helps you to stand?

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Tadesse’s Taxi

The end of a weekend trip with friends had come to an end. I hailed a taxi and headed to the airport alone.

taxi sign

this way for taxi

Couldn’t help but notice the taxi driver beamed from ear to ear. His bright smile spread across his face in vivid contrast to his dark chocolate skin.

Not sure how our conversation began. His name was Tadesse. He’d immigrated legally to America five years ago. His homeland was Ethiopia, though he had lived in several countries in Africa.

“How do you like America?” I said.

Tadesse told me about his apartment, his family, his job driving his taxi cab. Smiling all the way.

“I like the freedom,” he said, then continued in broken English, “For human being, freedom is the most important.”

Said he wanted to become a citizen. He wanted to vote.

“Here, when no elected,” he said, “there are no guns.”

American flags stars and stripes

stars and stripes

We Americans think our elections are stressful, contentious, raucous, and uncivilized. We take for granted that the challenges we make to power and the changes we turn in our elected leadership usually take place without violence.

Our democratic process, imperfect as it may be, grants us peace.

I said good-bye to Tadesse at the airport. Wished him the best.

One day he will officially become an American. In his heart, he already is.

The Lord gives strength to His people;
the Lord blesses His people with peace. Psalm 29:11 NIV

God is not dead nor does He sleep.

Courage, friends. Please vote on November 6th.

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Faster Than a French Fry

french fries

faster than a french fry

Posts have been flying out of here faster than a french fry out of a Happy Meal. Here’s a recap of what’s been published where, including links you may have missed.

Back on BlogHer
Lisen and I are on BlogHer this week, fearlessly discussing biotech foods (GMOs, genetically modified organisms) and California’s Prop 37. Whether you live in CA or not, this measure has huge repercussions for food, farm, and those of us who buy groceries. Please drop by to read the point-counterpoint post and add to the conversation.

Carolina on My Mind
“The number one reason I’m voting for Mitt Romney can be summed up in two words: North Carolina.” That’s the opening line to my post Why Mitt Romney Has My Vote, featured today on Project Underblog. Earlier this week, Project Underblog featured my letter to Facebook founder, Dear Mr. Zuckerberg.

Mobilizing Moms
mastering mommy brainYesterday my guest post The Mommy Vote Counts appeared on Mastering Mommy Brain. I was honored to write this nonpartisan post encouraging moms to vote. Often we don’t recognize our own strength. “Mommy, your vote is wanted and it counts. Your voice needs to be heard in this conversation.” Read more in The Mommy Vote Counts.

Yum-O
Our recipe series of what to eat instead of hot dogs continues. We’ve cooked up two delicious meals so far, Tex Mex Lasagna and Crockpot Southern Greens. Expect more to come.

Katie Pinke, The Pinke Post

Katie Pinke, The Pinke Post

Love to North Dakota
My blogging sister Katie Pinke had a little surprise this past week. Her blog’s URL was mistakenly listed as expired and sold to someone else! Her blog of five years disappeared. Fifty hours and mountains of frustration later, her blog was restored with a new URL—just in time to launch a new series North Dakota November. Please go by and give Katie some blogging love at ThePinkePost.com. I’m so glad she’s back online.

keep calm and vote for rom

keep calm

Polar Opposites
A special thank you to those of you who subscribe. I appreciate you sticking with me through a WordPress glitch that temporarily stopped email updates. For those of you who don’t subscribe yet, it’s easy and free. As a bonus, you get to catch my misspells and typos before I do. For example, the emailed version of Should Christians Vote? instructed voters to go to the poles on November 6th rather than to the polls… Now wouldn’t that be a hoot?

That’s all the news that’s fit to blog today. Rest up this weekend. Next week promises to be a doozie!

The Lord gives strength to His people;
the Lord blesses His people with peace. Psalm 29:11 NIV

Love Me Good by Michael W. Smith.

Have a great weekend!

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When Carrots Expire

Consider the humble bag of carrots.

bag of carrots

humble bag of carrots

There it goes down the conveyor.

down the conveyor

there it goes

Whoosh!

down the conveyor

whoosh!

But wait! Look at the date on the package.

date on the bag of carrots

11.09.12

Best if used by 11.09.12. 

By then, the election will be over. We hope.

If the carrots can make it, so can you.

Hang on. It may come down to the wire.

But don’t give up!

Smile and think of the day when carrots expire.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before Him He endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider Him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. Hebrews 12:1-3 NIV

Don’t Give Up by Peter Gabriel and Kate Bush. A little melodrama goes nicely with beta carotene.

Name a root vegetable without repeating any named in the comments before yours.

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Should Christians Vote?

If you are an American citizen, you should vote. 

washington monument

Washington Monument

I don’t care who you vote for. Well, I do care, but it’s more important that you vote, no matter what your convictions may be. That’s the way the republic works. Use it or lose it.

This post, however, is specifically for my Christian brothers and sisters in America. Not only do we have the responsibility as citizens of the United States to vote; if we follow Christ, we have the responsibility as Christians to vote.

The Bible directs us to be good stewards of all God has given us.

If you live in America, you have been given a representative form of government and a Constitution that protects your freedom to worship as you choose. This is a gift many Christians in the world do not enjoy. You demonstrate good stewardship of this gift when you fulfill your responsibility to vote.

Pastor Perry Noble of NewSpring Church in South Carolina recently wrote a post, The Church & Politics = A MESS!. Noble correctly ascertains Christians are to be about pointing people to Jesus. Our political leaders cannot save us and will ultimately disappoint us. Politics are not the answer; Jesus is.

When Christians receive statements like this from Christian leaders, I wonder if some get the idea they should shun politics all together. It doesn’t matter how they vote or even if they vote. They now have an official excuse from the pulpit not to participate in an imperfect democratic process, not to engage the carnal culture, and instead to isolate themselves in the name of Christ.

But our faith does not operate in isolation from the rest of our lives. What good is it if it did?

Our convictions as Christians will influence and inform the decisions we make, including political choices. Dr. Erwin Lutzer of the Dwight L. Moody Memorial Church in Chicago writes of the same calling to the Gospel as Noble does:

“We are to be agents of grace, mercy and forgiveness in a harsh and cruel world. We cannot let our cultural revolution obscure our primary calling. We must exercise that calling within the context of our cultural debate.” (from The Truth About Same-Sex Marriage, p. 98, 2004)

Our current presidential election raises new challenges for Christians, especially conservative evangelicals. One candidate says he follows Christ while at the same moves to restrict the religious liberty of Christians. The other candidate says he’s a Mormon, which is doctrinally quite different from an evangelical Christian. There are independent and third-party choices. But when it comes down to who will most likely be elected, what are we to do?

Are evangelical Christians to choose the lesser of two evils? 

A wise friend reminded me only God knows the hearts  of the candidates. We do not know what they believe only what they say and do. Still we have to choose.

While neither candidate is ideal (will any ever be ideal?), they do have some philosophical and policy differences. I Side With offers a comparison of their views. Think through what you value most as a Christian and choose the candidate who lines up better with that. Not perfectly, but better. And I’m not telling you who that is; it’s your decision.

American Christians are a diverse lot. We have different opinions about what the most important issues are and how best to address them. Some of us will prioritize the social welfare of the poor. Others the protection of the unborn. Others the preservation of Constitutional rights. There is Biblical evidence that all of these issues and more matter to God. Prayerfully consider the choices and vote your convictions.

One more thing.

flag Christmas ornament

flag Christmas ornament, as seen at Walmart

If we are displeased with the candidates this round, there’s nothing stopping us from raising up better candidates for the future. That’s another gift of a representative government. Involvement in politics at a local, state, or national level is an honorable service. We need Christian people to take active roles of leadership in government, same as we need them to lead in education, medicine, law, social services, the arts, business, media, and commerce.

The notion that Christians should not express political viewpoints or participate in politics is destructive. Please don’t sit out the election.

Pray. Get to the polls on November 6th. Vote your conscience fearlessly and with thanksgiving as directed by Christ. Then trust Him with the care of our country.

Therefore, let all the godly pray to You while there is still time,
that they may not drown in the floodwaters of judgment.
For You are my hiding place;
You protect me from trouble.
You surround me with songs of victory. Psalm 32:6-7 NLT

Woke Up in America by Matt Maher.

How will you exercise your calling within the context of our cultural debate?

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