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Archive for January, 2008

I Love That…

…when I heard Christie today mention, “Oh. It’s snowing again,” that the responses I immediately heard from around the house were, in order:

Lincoln (2): “God did it.”

Karsten (5): “Be thou on the earth.”

Haddon (4): “I’m going to go stand on what God made.”

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OK.  I’m raising my hand acknowledging that I’m not going to refuse to cash this potential tax relief check that President Bush is recommending.  I think government hand-outs are unconstitutional and that charity is instead the duty of the private citizen.  But I don’t think that’s what this is.

In fact, I’m going to pretend that this is a refund for some of the money that I’ve been plugging into my local public school system through my property taxes.  The common school hasn’t quite eradicated all the crime like Horace Mann envisioned it would.

Leave a comment.  Tell us how are you going to spend your returned $1,600?

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Are we a republic or a democracy?

- Walter E. Williams / World Net Daily – A Minority View / January 2005

We often hear the claim that our nation is a democracy. That wasn’t the vision of the founders. They saw democracy as another form of tyranny. If we’ve become a democracy, I guarantee you that the founders would be deeply disappointed by our betrayal of their vision. The founders intended, and laid out the ground rules, for our nation to be a republic.

The word “democracy” appears nowhere in the Declaration of Independence or the Constitution – two most fundamental documents of our nation. Instead of a democracy, the Constitution’s Article IV, Section 4, guarantees “to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government.” Moreover, let’s ask ourselves: Does our pledge of allegiance to the flag say to “the democracy for which it stands,” or does it say to “the republic for which it stands”? Or do we sing “The Battle Hymn of the Democracy” or “The Battle Hymn of the Republic”?

So what’s the difference between republican and democratic forms of government? John Adams captured the essence of the difference when he said, “You have rights antecedent to all earthly governments; rights that cannot be repealed or restrained by human laws; rights derived from the Great Legislator of the Universe.” Nothing in our Constitution suggests that government is a grantor of rights. Instead, government is a protector of rights.

In recognition that it’s Congress that poses the greatest threat to our liberties, the framers used negative phrases against Congress throughout the Constitution such as: shall not abridge, infringe, deny, disparage, and shall not be violated, nor be denied. In a republican form of government, there is rule of law. All citizens, including government officials, are accountable to the same laws. Government power is limited and decentralized through a system of checks and balances. Government intervenes in civil society to protect its citizens against force and fraud but does not intervene in the cases of peaceable, voluntary exchange.

Contrast the framers’ vision of a republic with that of a democracy. In a democracy, the majority rules either directly or through its elected representatives. As in a monarchy, the law is whatever the government determines it to be. Laws do not represent reason. They represent power. The restraint is upon the individual instead of government. Unlike that envisioned under a republican form of government, rights are seen as privileges and permissions that are granted by government and can be rescinded by government.

(more…)

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I eagerly wait.

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George Marsden at the end of his biography on Jonathan Edwards…

“In the Edwardses’ world, the meaning of life was found in intense loves, including earthly loves.”

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E.B. Browning…

“God’s gifts put man’s best dreams to shame.”

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20 Reasons to Read (Good Christian Books)…

1. You will grow in your knowledge of God, yourself and the world around you
2. You will gain a better understanding of the Bible, the book of books
3. You will broaden your English vocabulary, helping you to express similar truths to your congregation in fresh ways
4. You will have an improved imagination and actively engage your mind in a way that probably won’t occur when watching TV
5. You will be able to sit at the feet of some of the great Christian teachers and minds over the centuries (even if you have few ‘living’ teachers to assist you)
6. You will be forced to cease from incessant activity and think
7. You will receive a historical perspective on current problems and spot present day blind-spots
8. You will have some of your questions answered and confront other questions you hadn’t even thought of
9. You will be able to practically apply Paul’s command to think upon “wholesome” things
10. You will develop a sense of how arguments are constructed and be able to weigh both strong and weak arguments
11. You will enjoy spiritual input during the week, not just on a Sunday (if not a pastor)
12. You will (if a pastor) be able to engage with other issues beyond this week’s text, thus broadening your perspective.
13. You will be able to mull over a subject. You will be able to put the book down to think, chew over a sentence or re-read a paragraph. You will be able to exploring an issue at length, rather than brush over a topic too quickly
14. You will be better prepared for the task of evangelism, after reading clear presentations of the gospel by great communicators
15. You will be better prepared for the task of discipleship, having a good way to open up discussion about Christian life issues (what are you reading?)
16. You will be made aware of how Christians interpret and apply Scripture differently in various cultural contexts
17. You will gain information for your ignorance, inspiration for your weariness, and insight for complex problems
18. You will be better equipped to lead in your church, marriage and family
19. You will be stimulated, as in a good conversation, to new lines of thinking
20. You will be drawn to worship God, especially when the book centres on God not man

from http://unashamedworkman.wordpress.com

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SHINING is always costly. Light comes only at the cost of that which produces it. An unlit candle does no shining. Burning must come before shining. We can-not be of great use to others without cost to ourselves. Burning suggests suffering. We shrink from pain.

We are apt to feel that we are doing the greatest good in the world when we are strong, and able for active duty, and when the heart and hands are full of kindly service.

When we are called aside and can only suffer; when we are sick; when we are consumed with pain; when all our activities have been dropped, we feel that we are no longer of use, that we are not doing anything.

But, if we are patient and submissive, it is almost certain that we are a greater blessing to the world in our time of suffering and pain than we were in the days when we thought we were doing the most of our work. We are burning now, and shining because we are burning.

– Evening Thoughts

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Here is some interesting insight into the Narnian movies.

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Quote of the Day

Franklin D. Roosevelt had an immensely close bond with Winston Churchill.  In the hours before his death, Roosevelt wrote this for a planned Jefferson Day speech in 1945.  It counters the notion that getting things done means getting through my list and sending off these emails.

“Today we are faced with the pre-eminent fact that, if civilization is to survive, we must cultivate the science of human relationships.”

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