Philippians 4:8, "Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things."

Saturday, October 26, 2002

A flurry of thoughts on the current political season:
1) Money, money, money. Hundreds of millions of dollars are being spent on campaigns nationwide. Tens of millions here in Colorado alone. All to get the "right" guy elected. I can certainly sympathize with the fervor and the desire to be ruled by those who are for the cause of freedom, and the need to vote for those who work from a biblical world view. However! Politics are not an agent for real change in our country. It is the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ that changes the hearts of Americans. The people of America are worried, so they're sending their money to politicians... this in fact worries me...

2) Talk radio. Here's one for the "wouldn't it be amazing if..." file. Wouldn't it be amazing if folks listened to Bible teaching as much as they do to talk radio? Okay. I listen to talk radio. I know it's a dirty habit that I absolutely have to stop. While I'm going through the 12 step program, here are my observations: Talk radio is a vehicle for the expression of worry. Talk radio is a way to hold hands in the dark. Talk radio is a means for the expression of frustration. Talk radio is a way to get approbation. Talk radio is a means for the dissemination of truth, and a good point of information on what the less than scrupulous political machines are trying to pull off. None of which matters a hill of beans if we don't effect change.

3) I keep saying this from the pulpit, but maybe it will help if I write it down. Change your nation by giving the gospel, by speaking of the plan of God! Get it? Don't throw money at politicians; don't whistle in the dark with Rush; look, change your nation with the gospel, with your spiritual growth, and all the rest becomes a moot point.

Okay, I have to breathe into a paper bag after I think about what's going on in the world of politics, but I'm better now.

Friday, October 25, 2002

Earlier this evening I had the privilege of conversation with Tom and Sandee Swanson. Tom is the brother, and Sandee the widow of Captain Jon Edward Swanson, United States Army. Although Captain Swanson died in battle more than 30 years ago, it was only in the past year that his remains were recovered from Cambodia, and he was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor. It has been a remarkable year for the family of Jon Swanson, and Tom and Sandee were kind enough to spend some time with us at the Miller's home in Boulder.

I am putting together a biography of Captain Swanson, and his co-pilot, Staff Sergeant Larry G. Harrison, for Veteran's Day. To say the least this is the story of an exceptional man and exceptional family.
Today I'd like to share the words of a song by Phillips, Craig, and Dean:

Freedom's Never Free from the Restoration CD
by Dan Dean, Shawn Craig, Dave Clark & Don Koch

Standing on a hillside
Where the river meets the sea
White crosses without number
Line the fields of peace
Each one a silent witness
Staring back at me
Every cross a story
Of another place in time
Where young men thought it worthy
To give their life for mine
And for the sake of honor
Left their dreams behind
And for the price they paid
I'm forever in their debt
Their memory will not die
'Cause I will not forget
I will stand and hold my head up high
I will dedicate my life
To the glory of the ones who had to die
I will live, live what I believe
I for no one else but me
I will remember
That freedom's never free
It was on another hillside
Outside the city gates
Battle lines were drawn
As soldiers took their place
The Father watched in silence
As a cross was raised
With freedom drawing closer
He took His final breath
He drank our cup of guilt
And took the sting from death
Heaven's Finest Soldier
clothed in human flesh
And for the price He paid
I'm forever in His debt
The cross will never die
'Cause I will not forget
repeat chorus
I will walk free
I will stay free
I will live free
I will die free

Thursday, October 24, 2002

Another purpose for this blog is to keep you informed about my current studies. You already know that I am teaching 2 Peter and a Christian Basics series. Here are the remaining topics for our Christian Basics:

- Prayer
- The Church
- Spiritual Gifts
- Christian Service
- Dispensations and Eschatology
- Divine Establishment and Nations

Furthermore, I am reading William Manchester's superb biography of Winston Churchill, The Last Lion, Plato's Apology (in the original Greek), and Voltaire's History of Charles XII.

Future studies include the following:
Sunday Mornings: The Doctrine of Marriage, then back to the Life of Christ series.
Weeknights: A brief detour to Jude, then the Epistle of James. I am thinking about Philippians after James, but that's way too far ahead to think about.

Wednesday, October 23, 2002

Today after lunch our family finished reading Ralph Moody's Man of the Family, the second in his very fine series on coming of age in Colorado during the early part of the 20th century. The first book, Little Britches, was a marvel of establishment virtues that I would recommend to anyone, but especially to young people. However, the ending of the second book was a sore disappointment. Ralph's mother (and if you haven't read the book, the following represents a major spoiler, so avert your eyes or something) has shown kindness to a German immigrant, teaching him to speak English. She notes, however, that he has taken a severe knock on the head at sometime in his life, and is very susceptible to the depravations of alcohol, with which he evidently struggles. An unscrupulous woman takes advantage of the poor immigrant, using alcohol to deceive him into becoming her accomplice in a horse-stealing scheme. He is caught, and Mrs. Moody receives a subpoena from a grand jury to testify concerning the matter. The man will hang if she testifies, so she decides to flee the state under cover of night. Since she is a widow, she makes this decision, selling all their few possessions and leaving without hardly saying goodbye. The children have to deceive their friends in order for their mother to satisfy her conscience. To say the least, I was outraged by her decision, and immediately it brought to mind another book, which forms the perfect reply to her deeds. On account of emotion Mrs. Moody has fled her responsibility before the law.

Owen Wister's The Virginian is a fine piece of Western literature. It has love, drama, and humor in equal and ample measure, and it is the antidote to Man of the Family. The Virginian is a drifter who has settled in Wyoming, and he is genuinely a man's man, which is evident from cover to cover. But alas, he falls in love with a woman who is an Easterner in all her ways, and this is the friction point of the plot. The final and great conflict in their love has to do with a gang of cattle rustlers. Now, I'm not sure what Westerners of the time thought worse, cattle rustlers or horse thieves, but I do know they hung them both. When the Virginian's Easterner gal discovers that he actively participates in bringing cattle rustlers to justice and even participates in their hanging, she is horrified. Her East Coast sensibilities are so greatly crushed that she is brought to the point of forsaking her love of this great man. There is a more direct point of comparison between our two books, though. One of the rustlers is a former acquaintance of the Virginian, a simple man who has been deceived by the villians of the drama. But still, he must hang for his crimes, and by golly the Virginian has the integrity to do the right thing. Even the man who is to be hanged knows it and acknowledges it. There is a happy ending: the woman lays aside her hypersensitivies and realizes that the Virginian has done the right thing according to the law.

It is a shame that a series that had such an incredible beginning in Little Britches comes screeching to a halt in the second book. Regardless, both Little Britches and The Virginian have my highest recommendation for virtuous literature. The former is better suited for young readers, while the latter is definitely for adults. However, it is acceptable reading for anyone, and is a terrific love story. How the Virginian deals with the legalistic itinerate preacher is worth the read alone.
I'm starting this blog as a posting place for general news and thoughts for the members and friends of Front Range Bible Church. Look here weekly for postings.