Tag Archives: voting

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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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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Filed under America, food & farm, humor

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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Filed under America, faith

Things That Matter

Warning: conviction crossing ahead.

our lives begin to end

Do not be silent. Live and let your voice be heard.

How will you “speak” for things that matter?

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Filed under America, words to remember

Are You Smarter Than a Broadcast Journalist?

If you’re reading this, I know at least two things about you. First, you can read. Second, you have internet access.

i support the liberal agenda

as seen at Target

Another thing I know is that you’re smart. Very smart.

You can think for yourself. You don’t need someone to tell you what the definition of “is” is. You don’t want to be introduced to more spin-doctored phraseology, conspiracy theories, and opinions, all paraded as facts on network, radio, and 24-hour cable news.

Whether liberal or conservative, you know what you believe and what’s important to you. Sadly, you realize your values and experiences are insignificant to the experts in the media.

You may, like the majority of Americans, distrust the media.

Last month, Gallup reported 60 percent of Americans say they have little or no trust in the mass media to report the news fully, accurately, and fairly. That’s a new record high. And more perceive media bias to be liberal than conservative.

Now before you media mavens get your AP Stylebooks in an uproar, let me state I believe there are good, talented, honest journalists out there who do their best to be true to the craft. They respect the intelligence of their readers enough to go to the extra trouble of checking their biases at the door.

Back in the day when I was in journalism school, the powers that be insisted the media was unbiased. Today the powers that be not only admit media bias exists, they embrace it. The pendulum has swung from denial to excess. Consider this from a story in Mashable last month about the loosening of journalists’ social media etiquette :

“If you asked me two years ago, I would [have] said, ‘No, a journalist should not have an opinion on Twitter,’ ” said Niketa Patel, social media product manager for CNNMoney. But now her thinking has changed. “We are humans, too. We do have opinions. I think as long as you’re not controversial about it, or you’re not overly trying to make a statement, then I think it’s OK…to have somewhat of an opinion,” she said.

For Liz Heron, social media director at The Wall Street Journal, journalists are at their best on social media when they offer analysis and context instead of just the straight story.

i heart mitt

as seen at Target

What? Who said we want journalists to offer anything but the straight story? Are we more concerned with the reporter’s need to express his or her personal narrative than with the audience’s need for facts?

That’s not news reporting. That’s opinion-editorial. That’s creative nonfiction. That’s celebrity in the making. That’s personal blogging!

If you’re still reading this (God love you), I know you care about our country and the upcoming election. You’re concerned. You may even be afraid.

You want to be informed, watch the debates, that sort of thing. But politics can get so mean-spirited and ugly. When you try to keep up with the election news, you end up more discouraged.

Take heart. Embrace your power as a media literate citizen. 

Watch the presidential debate tomorrow night. But watch in a forum free of the biased reporting and analysis that often passes for journalism these days.

large American flag

Old Glory

C-SPAN will air the debates without interruption. Watch the first debate tomorrow live at 9 p.m. EST or re-aired at 11:30 p.m., 2 a.m., 4 a.m., and 5:30 a.m. Or watch it livestreaming online at C-SPAN’s Campaign 2012 Debate Hub.

PBS is another good option. Both C-SPAN and PBS offer analysis before and after the debates, but you’re less likely to see superstar journalists talk over the coverage or break in to narrate like we saw on other channels during the conventions.

Watch the debates free of outside opinion, so you have a chance to form the one opinion that matters first—your own.

He changes times and seasons;
He deposes kings and raises up others.
He gives wisdom to the wise
and knowledge to the discerning. Daniel 2:21 NIV

More new music today: The Wallflowers and Reboot the Mission from their album Glad All Over available in stores today. How’s that for timing?

Do you believe media bias exists? What are your plans for watching the debates?

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Filed under America, writing & reading

Susan’s Right

Forty-two days until the election.

suffrage is the pivotal right Susan B. Anthony

Get your vote on.

American citizens, are you registered to vote?

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Filed under America, women's studies, words to remember

A Most Exciting Thing About the Election

This is not a political blog. If you want to know how to vote, there are plenty of other websites that will be more than happy to tell you.

red state vote 2012

Am I thrilled with either of the presidential candidates? Not really. Does that change my responsibility? Not really.

The larger question is, am I an American citizen who cares about my country? The answer is yes and the mission is clear: VOTE.

As ugly as campaigns get, the vote is sacred. Your ballot is secret, between you and God.

You could go from here to November without revealing your opinion about the issues or publicly throwing your support behind a candidate. Or you could shout your convictions from the rooftops. Doesn’t matter. When you cast your ballot on November 6, 2012, your vote will speak as loudly as Bill Maher’s, Rush Limbaugh’s, Rachel Maddow’s, or Ann Coulter’s.

blue state vote 2012

To me, that’s something to be excited about.

Friends, Romans, countrymen, use these months before election day to prepare. Get registered. Get informed. Get ready.

With courage for the process and respect for the privilege—without getting wrapped up in the histrionics—prayerfully, politely, powerfully, prepare to VOTE.

Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of Him to whom we must give account. Hebrews 4:13 NIV

I can’t choose just one favorite Schoolhouse Rock song, but Shot Heard ‘Round the World comes close. “The continental rabble took the day!”

Please feel free to use the VOTE 2012 images from this post in your social media.

What does voting mean to you? Are you excited about it? Why or why not? If you are raising children, how will you talk with them about the election and voting?

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Filed under America