Sunday, December 21, 2008

Away ... and a manger

"...See Tighe, that's just like Jesus' manger..."

Now I KNOW I've read the Christmas story to my kids. We've talked at length about the real meaning of Christmas (that's a phrase used so much it needs its own acronym, "trmoc").

So it shocked me when my friend Connie said something to my youngest about a manger and he said, "What's a manger?"

I felt devastated. I felt like I'd absolutely let my kids down. Like they had been given no Christian training by me at all. Like I was a heathen of a parent.

If you've followed my irregular posts, you know I've said how surprised I am at times at the shape of my life. There was always a picture in my mind of a sweet Christian family gathered around a table and praying. Learning. Drinking in Jesus.

I don't mean to demean that picture, it's a beautiful one. I wish it for my kids.

But God had work to do first. And it all kind of crystallized today, Sunday.

What a wonderful church God has blessed us with. During this advent service, our amazing worship team has been encouraged by our pastor to cut loose after the benediction with any appropriate Christmas song they want...

They've rocked us out to fellowship time to Rudolph. They've done the Eagles Please Be Home for Christmas. Today they left us with Jingle Bell Rock.

I grabbed a coffee and boogied back to Connie and Rand. Yes, I was... GASP... dancing! I passed the wife of one of our elders... I honestly don't know her well but her husband, Darryl Erickson, is from Montana I believe and has a background in the Evangelical (Swedish) Covenant Church as have I. Darryl is one of my favorite people, though I know him far too little as well.

As I passed Darryl's wife I said, "I suppose I shouldn't be dancing... I went to Seattle Pacific". She laughed and said, I want to dance to, and I went to Wheaton.

We stood there swapping stories of restrictions on activities... hers more extreme from being in the Christian College movement a few years before I was.

And tonight as our worship bands absolutely rocked the house it hit me... ALL of this I've gone through... Tighe not knowing the manger story well (though he DOES know Jesus), my kids not having been in church for years (there's a story behind that)... but all of that... has been a grace.

So much of the legalistic crud I had woven into the heart of my worship is gone... and none of it is in them. They come to Jesus free of the idea that their works will make them whole. They are moving joyously (finally) into a church relationship and a knowledge of the Bible free of the idea that some kinds of thinking about God might damn them... didn't we who grew up like that have to cross every theological "I" and get it right? I did! God forbid I should think an Arminian thought or a Charismatic one.

THANK GOD for the freedom we have in Christ. Thank God for the hard, painful path that has flushed this OUT of my family.

As the psalmist said in Psalm 16...

The lines are fallen unto me in pleasant places; yea, I have a goodly heritage. Psalm 16:6

Praise you God, for although the road be rough, the destination is gold.


Tuesday, February 12, 2008

.... and now, an important announcement ...

To my vast reading audience (all 7 of you!) I have reserved Internet domain names for this blog. You can now get here with any of the following:


Monday, February 11, 2008

Plea to Huckabee Supporters...

I hear many say that Huckabee is just in this for the VP spot. I don't think so. I think they still believe they have a shot. Maybe I'm naive.

Regardless, phone calls into Virginia are vitally important! If you have never phone-banked for a candidate, it's gotten SO much easier. It all happens right here on your computer, and on your cell or home phone.

The campaign will give you numbers right on a web page and you make the calls.

If you're not already a "Huckabee Ranger" then start here:

Phone calls for Huckabee sign-in

Good luck and have fun!


Wow, what a weekend... and other ramblings...

Doncha just love this political year? It's almost like watching the Superbowl as a Pats fan... nothing is coming out as it's supposed to!

That tickles me for so many reasons. The biggest is, I see people becoming INVOLVED. I see us as a people CARING about the political process. HOPE replaces hopelessness when that happens.

HOPE might be the theme for this political season. And it almost looks like SOME of the candidates can keep that going even for those that vote against them... It almost seems as if there are SOME candidates who will open their arms (at least some) and pull in those who don't agree. Who will listen and not reject out of hand.

Wouldn't it be great if this continues through the general election?

But Washington, my Washington state... HOW in the world could the GOP there STOP counting ballots? Their defense is ... it doesn't matter. That they took essentially a "straw poll".

While that's not the way my memory has it, it might have changed. Even so, what a black eye to simply throw away a bunch of votes. It makes it look like the fix is in.

And does it tickle you like it does me to see this race reshape? Huckabee is finally getting props as a Conservative. Read his speech to the Conservative Political Action Convention in 2007 (CPAC) here (Haven't seen his Saturday speech post yet):

Gov. Huckabee's CPAC 2008 Speech

For those of us who LOVE politics, who follow it like many follow sports, this is like having a year long World Series!

The only way this could get better is if BOTH conventions are brokered.



Tuesday, February 05, 2008

View from the trenches ...

How is it that Romney is so desperate to get Huckabee out of the race? He calls Huckabee a "Tax and Spend Liberal." Then says that Huckabee is robbing his rightful votes.

Hmmmmmmm. Let's think about that one for a minute.

Yup. It's muddy out here. The footing is slippery and folks are fallin all over the place, sayin' all sorts of silly things.


Friday, January 25, 2008

Huckabee is THE Conservative ...

I am a Huck-a-Fan. I've made that clear. I'm still working for the campaign, making phone calls whenever I can.

Huckabee won me over with his fresh application of Conservatism. I've been reviled as a Liberal in my own town because I supported teacher salary increases. I've written in support of tax increases.

And I stand by my tax increase stands. OVERALL taxes need to decrease. But when roads are deteriorating, when schools are falling apart, it takes MONEY to fix those things. SOMETIMES CONSERVATIVES ARE MOST CONSERVATIVE WHEN THEY SUPPORT A TAX INCREASE.

After all, Conservatives are not anarchists. We believe in less intrusion and less government. But most Conservatives SUPPORT good roads and bridges as indispensable to the Free Market Economy. And MOST Conservatives believe ONLY government is in a position to do this kind of building.

I AM a Conservative. The guiding principles in my political world view are self-sufficiency and small government. But as in anything, the Conservatives of the past believe THEIR conservatism is the only way.

Like the Princess and the Pea, the only thing that underlying principle works its way out into real living. Being hidebound to the past, rigid and inflexible, loses elections, stifles economies, locks out good ideas, strips the political discourse of the value of the underlying principles.

This is why I support Huckabee even through the complaints that he is a Liberal in Sheep's Clothing. He isn't, I'm convinced of it, and here's an article from The Conservative Voicethat states it just the same way... Please take a look and see what you think:

Huckabee: The New Face of Conservatism?


This one made me cry...

Followed a link and saw this video on CNN. It's from KOMO TV4... From my hometown, Seattle.

Lyman, WA where this takes place is on the North Cascades Highway, one of the most beautiful roads in America... I don't know if I've ever been through Lyman, I had to look it up on the map.

Homecomings are always sweet, but please, look at this one and remember how much is given by some.

A Homecoming


Comments PLEASE!! ...

Friends, Romans, Countrymen...

Take a look at this video of Jim Wallis on Comedy Central's The Daily Show. Wallis is founder of Sojourners, a left-side Evangelical political and social action group. His viewpoints represent the majority view I came up against daily in my Christian University (Seattle Pacific) days.

Don't dismiss this out of hand, or too readily embrace it either. Chew on it, and then react here, if you would be so kind.

I'm still chewing on this myself, and I'm not ready with my own thoughts... But you can guess I soon will be.


Thursday, January 17, 2008

Judicial Restraint???...

There have been several news stories lately where judges have held defendants in their courts in contempt for some unusual reasons. The ones I most remember are where folks wrote something in the notation section of a check. In one case it was profane. In the other, I believe it was on the order of, "the judge is an idiot...".

In both cases, there were extra punishments... fines and maybe even jail time.

I squirmed a bit at that. Seems to me that if the defendant is paying the bill they can write just about anything except a threat on that check. No matter what the Supreme Court might rule on that, it just seems to me that it's simply an exercise of free speech.

What's next? If they don't like the check image I've used -- maybe I favor a rock band they find offensive, or I have a Christian theme -- can they hold me in contempt for that?

What's next?

I'll tell you what's next. No reading in the courtroom!

I had occasion to visit court today. I didn't do anything bad, I'm just trying to dig out of a financial mess and sometimes that means court. Today it did.

Knowing that the courtroom here in my town can be very slow, I took a good book. A book on making ideas "Sticky". It's a great read.

As I was unloading my pockets for the metal detector, the guard warned me, "Don't read that book in the courtroom."

I was shocked, and told him so. He told me it was the opinion of the main judge that reading a book in his courtroom is contempt.

"You can take that book in, but if Judge K******N sees you reading it, he'll hold you in contempt."

I wanted to say that I already hold that particular judge in contempt myself, but I didn't. I did say, "If he did that, I'd just have to fight it."

The guard raised himself up and said, "What did you say?"

I got ahold of myself and said, "Oh, nothing, I'm biting my tongue now."

So let me get this straight. An attorney can read a brief in court. A police officer can read and review notes for a trial he's waiting on. But I can't read a book?


Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Ronald Reagan...

I suppose I'm not a good Conservative. I don't think Ronald Reagan was a full-blown Conservative.

In some ways, I'm not sure he was effective as a governing President.


When I run for office, this blog is going to haunt me! My politically/academically trained daughter tells me a politician must avoid thoughts that can't be expressed in a few words or less. This is that kind of thought. So here goes!

Reagan did an incredible job shifting the political center. The Left had moved the perceived center a good deal to the left from Roosevelt to Carter.

Reagan WAS the GREAT COMMUNICATOR. His articulation of Supply Side Economics (aka Voodoo Economics) made it a de facto understanding in the American thought process. More revenue WAS brought in by cutting taxes and rewarding economic growth.

BUT Reagan accepted huge deficits. The Left was right about that. He did not use his bully pulpit to argue against Big Government. That has always seemed his lazy legacy.

Perhaps he did not think he could argue against Communism, argue to cut taxes AND argue to cut government. Actually cutting government is the touchiest of all of those. It's where you make liars of most any screaming Conservative.

And so Reagan ended up talking the talk but not much walking the walk, in this observer's opinion.

The consequence is we still have huge government. Clinton actually did more to cut entitlements than Reagan did.


Monday, January 14, 2008

Shaking off the "L" word...

Well, that's it. Mike Huckabee isn't a real Conservative. Fred Thompson told me so.

Funny how these things work. Back when Thompson was weighing his options an independent analysis mentioned he might well have trouble with "real" conservatives. That author declared him a southern moderate.

Now he's the real-deal -- according to Fred.

Huckabee is now a Liberal -- according to Fred.

Why? He questioned our foreign policy a couple of weeks ago. Huckabee said we were arrogant in some ways.

Actually, Huckabee is the Conservative on this... The world has shifted.

As much as I'm a Bush supporter, the truth is that the Bush White House has adopted in many ways a Liberal Wilsonian foreign policy -- Nation Building, making the Middle East a place of Democracy.

It's called "Wilsonian" hearkening back to the First World War. Remember the cry, "Make the world safe for democracy!"?

Here's the shift: Liberals are arguing for a more isolationist less intrusive foreign policy.

It's not the first time. In a sense the Conservative push to attack Communism was Wilsonian. The Liberal response was Conservative isolationism.

It can be argued that Iraq AND the war against Communism in South Korea and Vietnam all had clear and compelling national interests. In that way, the nation-building, Wilsonian policy becomes a Conservative policy. These things just aren't pure.

And that's EXACTLY the point!!! Conservative and Liberal are shifty labels. I've been called both. Any thinking person will be.

As an aside, this, I believe, is the problem with Ron Paul... He's so incredibly doctrinaire that he ceases to make sense.

I come back to my undergrad Math degree. In math theory there's a proven principle that has VERY broad application.

In systems -- descriptions how things actually work -- any system is contradictory. A closed system (a system that claims to be the ONLY system with ALL the right answers) is shaky, falls apart, doesn't work.

An open system (one which understands that there is no absolutely PURE answer) is strong, consistent, resilient, effective.

That's what drew me to Huckabee... exactly because there are places where he understands a rigid adherence to an ideology falls in dust under pressure. But at the same time, holds strongly to central tenants as a guiding star.


Thursday, January 10, 2008

Just a bit down...

Primary Day was completely amazing. The Primary party, I even donned a suit. And the boys and I wound up in the slush directing traffic. And it was great.

It's back to work, back to things that aren't near as fun. But they DO pay the bills.

I made some efforts to get involved with the SC campaign. We'll see where that goes. There's a part of me -- and I wonder if it's a responsible part or a part that just loves adventure too much -- that wants to run away and join this circus called politics.

Regardless, for those who believe with me that Gov. Huckabee is our best choice for President, volunteer your phone, your voice and a couple of hours on your weekend. Check out this link:

Phone Calls for Huckabee

Then check out THIS link:

Huck's Army

There's more out there... some sane, some not ... ah well, that's Politics!


Tuesday, January 08, 2008


It's Primary day here in sunny New Hampshire. Polls say McCain should take it, Huckabee a distant third. That's not bad considering where most placed him just a couple of weeks ago.

It's been an incredible experience to answer the phones over the last few days. Most calls are great. I can't count the number of times people said they were praying for the campaign.

The ... um ... oddballs are out too. Numerous calls with "dirt" on various candidates that the caller was sure we'd want to have. Calls too complaining that the Huckabee campaign was using "push" polls.

I HATE push polls. If you aren't familiar with them, they're when you get a call asking you for your candidate choice, then raising scurrilous accusations about a candidate and asking if it would change your mind if it's true. They're mean and nasty and the point is to throw out mud without throwing mud...

None of the 3 callers I spoke with who said they'd been push polled could give me a caller-id number, so it raises some questions. But it also makes me think the idea is to make Huckabee look bad, since he's said he would NOT push poll.

Politics is nasty.

Yesterday was so incredibly cool. I took the boys to downtown Manchester where it's a carnival. The world press is there. We dropped into the Red Arrow Diner for a light dinner and Channel 5 news' Ed Harding and crew were in there eating and interviewing. When we left, Channel 7 was doing the same thing.

On the street we saw Anderson Cooper at City Hall Plaza preparing for a show. ABC has the coolest studio... a trailer mounted on scissor lifts on an 18 wheeler. It's entirely glass on one side and lifted about 25 feet up... the view is out to the tree-lighted City Hall Plaza.... what a site.

Then on to the Radisson where we sat in on 96.9 WTKK Boston who is doing their talk shows live. We spent about 35-40 minutes listening and then I asked a question at the mic. G-Dawg walked behind a window where C-Span was broadcasting ... it looked like it was blacked out so we watched while he walked behind and waved animatedly... It wasn't blacked out ... :) OOPS.

Earlier I'd seen Tim Russert being interviewed by C-Span...

There's nothin' finer than New Hampshire at the Primaries!

At the polls today, the big crowds holding signs in M-Town were McCain and Obama. Looks like they'll be the big winners.

It's back to work for me and then off to the party tonight... Election night parties are great when your candidate does well, and a 3rd place finish is good for Huckabee...

What is fascinating is how our two campaigns seem to honestly like each other, at least at this point. Maybe a good ticket... Huckabee/McCain or McCain/Huckabee ...


Friday, January 04, 2008

Primary education...

What a day! I'm wiped out.

I spent my free moments between work assignments this morning phoning folks near Gov. Huckabee's event in Henniker, NH.

I've done phone banks before and this was really amazing. The first 3 days of calling in spare minutes was eye-opening. In past calling I've done, the response has been cool. But the number of excited people surprised me... Maybe 1 or 2 in 10 WANTED to go to the event.

The response was even more outstanding today after the Iowa results last night. It's fun to be a part of a happening.

And then this late afternoon I answered phones at the very busy NH headquarters.

The NH efforts have been a good deal less extensive than Iowa just because the resources were needed for the first state out of the gate. The thinking has been that Iowa is critical to Gov. Huckabee's efforts. He's been here in NH quite regularly, but on a shoestring.

So now the storm waves of success are crashing on a pretty sparsely populated beach. I was going to make outbound calls but the phones were ringing off the hook. I ended up fielding incoming calls.

The great fun was in handling the press calls. Reporters called for credentialing. The media advance guy in the caravan called in desperate for details as they neared the event in Henniker. He didn't think he'd gotten his point across and started to explain what press advance is... I told him I understood. he couldn't know that my daughter does advance in DC.

It was fun feeling a bit like I was watching HER job unfold.

Tomorrow I'm manning phones again, and then rallying and going to a debate party. It should be a blast!!!!

I like New Hampshire, but this political junkie thanks God for this posting in a special way every 4 years when it just gets fun beyond belief.