Politics

Should the banks be nationalized?

Posted on February 4, 2009. Filed under: Money, Politics | Tags: , , |

My good friend Mark and I were talking last week about a very controversial issue that not a lot of people aren’t really talking about, and haven’t really thought of. The banks have done a terrible job managing money. We bail them out (again) and then they give 14 billion in bonuses to top executives. Great plan, right? So here is a concept that I think is crazy. Only some people are held accountable. For example, last week in atlanta, a man steels some bubble gum from a store. He is caught on video tape, then goes to jail, over 35 cents! Yet we have no idea what the banks are doing, where there are no doubt some crooked things being done. Why can’t the banks be held accountable? What if the government took control for a while? They could put a limits on profits, control risk and spending, and monitor the big bonuses. I am a republican, and all about smaller government and deregulation, but what if we can’t handle the freedom? When I was teenager, I overstepped my boundaries and broke the rules. As a result, I was grounded and temporarily lost my freedom until I showed my parents that I could be trusted again. Do you think our freedoms should be taken away if we violate them, at least until we can show we can be trusted again? What if we applied this to the banks, and all the other political screw ups going on right now? What do you think?

Comment.

-Josh

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Old Testament Vs. New Testament- What do we believe?

Posted on January 28, 2009. Filed under: Church, Politics, Theology |

So if this is your first time reading this Blog, I’d like to welcome you to more than just a blog- It’s a conversation. People learning and growing in what they believe, why they believe it, and how current issues affect us, and out moral stances. Last week, I posted a blog post entitled “Abortion- a very sad debate,” in which I criticized some extreme anti-abortionists on their methods of protest and demonstration. I accompanied it by a video that showed these people holding their signs, and when questioned about the consequences of of the females who went through with abortion, they didn’t have very good answers. I mentioned in the post that my stance was pro-life, but asked the question of what we were doing to meet the needs of these women who were facing the choice of keeping a child or terminating a pregnancy. This article led to many comments followed by some debate about abortion, life, theology, absolute truth, science, and faith. In the most recent comments, the article has shifted fro abortion to some of the latter subjects previously mentioned. That being said, I have decided to start a new post shifting the conversation to the subject of the Bible. 

Cara, a friend from high school, has chimed in on our conversation. She mentioned earlier that she was glad that she hadn’t been pushed to the side or alienated from the discussion because her beliefs are different. So Cara, if you are reading this, you are welcome! I always welcome the opportunity to have these conversations. I feel like it educates me, and also helps me to understand that if I believe what I say I believe, and truly follow the teachings of Jesus Christ, I will “love my neighbor as myself” which in a practical way in the situation of these conversations means that I am going to love other people, and engage in conversation with them, even if I do not totally agree with them. So here is the deal. If you are Protestant, Catholic, Muslim, hindu, Agnostic, New age or whatever. You are welcome to read this site, comment on what you see, and join in the conversation about faith, the Bible, and the supernatural. 

Before I present the next questions, it is important for any new readers to understand where I stand on these issues. Hopefully in knowing this, it will help you understand the reason behind the answer. Put quite simply, I believe in the literal person of Jesus Christ. I belief he came to Earth, was born of a virgin, lived a perfect sinless life, faced the same temptation that you and I face, died on a cross, rose from the dead three days later, and ascended to heaven. I believe that he is coming again one day, and that through the holy spirit, I have a relationship with him that can never be severed. Yea, this is all based on faith, and  what I believe to be truth through God’s word, the holy bible.

So here are the questions. Is it true that there are some things in the Old Testament of the Bible that no longer apply, or, that still do apply? Is everything in the New Testament applicable? What reasons to people have to believe that the Bible is the literal, inherent word of God if they are not Christians? I have been asked to give clarity to these issues. Because I am not nearly as trained biblically as I would like to be on this subject, I am going to invite my friends Pastor Dennis Thurman, Michael Seay (BA Moody Bible Institute) and Jonathan Blaylock (In school at Fruitland Baptist Bible Institute and Liberty University) to help answer these tough questions. 

Chime in fellas! For all those who had questions, enjoy. I will be commenting and moderating.

One final note to all who read and comment on this blog- Please remember that we are all human beings, and being such, we have feelings. And don’t give me that bit about the Gospel is offensive. I realize that. That is used to many times to excuse our harsh tones and arrogant attitudes. Please be civil. To all those who aren’t Christians, yes, I know that we seem like close minded jerks. I know you’ve had bad experiences at church and with mean people who don’t even know why they believe what they believe. However, I would like to think that my fellow Christians who read and comment on this blog would do so in love and for the purpose of bringing glory to our God, not self promoting or anything else, so if possible, try and stick around! Bottom line guys- just be nice, and everybody will have a great time!

Blessings and peace,

Josh

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Best video of the week. Thanks Los

Posted on January 26, 2009. Filed under: Politics |

What brought a tear to YOUR eye this week?

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Abortion: A very sad debate

Posted on January 22, 2009. Filed under: Politics, Theology |

I started this blog a while back as a way to share my lighthearted thoughts on many different issues. With the inauguration of our new president, Barrack Obama, there has been an uprising of many liberal points of view, many of which have come to be considered mainstream pop psychology. This saddens me, because many people, especially in my generation adopt viewpoints without giving a second thought to what their point of view means. 

Before I continue writing, I would like to say that I am basically pro-life. To be more exact, I am 97% pro-life, and 3% pro-choice. Let me explain. 97% of the time, abortion is the result of an inconvenience. 3% of the time, it is something that is medically necessary to save the life of the mother, and this is where I believe that the choice of whether to terminate the pregnancy comes down to the mother or whomever is next in line. (Come on, if you disagree with that, I would question your motives in general.)

Today as I write, I would like to challenge the anti-abortionists. First of all, let me say that I agree with your cause, and I am on board with that. I am against, however, your less than appropriate graphics that you use to get your message across. I viewed an anti-abortion website today that had very graphic pictures of what a baby looks like after the abortion process. I was very disturbed. I was mortified. Even more, I was blown away that you would stoop to a level to manipulate someone into your decision using such tasteless graphics. This is terribly offensive, and I would encourage you to re-evaluate not only your methods, but our motives. 

The questions that conservatives and some moderates should be asking themselves is not how do we beat the liberals, but how can we educate people on the subject of morals and ethics while at the same time showing grace and love. Many women in this nation are tormented by their decision to terminate a pregnancy. What do you think showing them these graphic pictures does to them? Imagine the pain they go through!!! Are we dumb enough to think that these women experience no emotional toll? Are we that ignorant that we think when they leave the clinic they say to themselves “Oh well, that was fun… Well, off to get my nails done?” I hate that abortion was even invented and legalized, and  I’m not by any means defending them, their decisions, or the act of abortion, I am simply asking if we can be humble enough as Christians and conservatives to evaluate our motives and our methods. Could there be a better way? Are we doing this out of overflow from the love God has given us, with a caring attitude towards the broken hearted, or are we attacking violently because we got a fire in our rear-end from some James Dobson broadcast, where he was no doubt leading the charge of some lackluster, thoughtless plan of action that would continue to tarnish the name of Jesus and his church?

I would like you to watch the following video. Recently posted by a not only a pro-choice, but a pro-abortionists blogger, This video simply broke my heart. Listen to the question. What would YOU say? Why? Could you take part in these protests and show love? What are we doing to minister to the girls who are today faced with the choice of “Do I have the baby, or have an abortion?

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A fairer verdict on Dubya.

Posted on January 21, 2009. Filed under: Money, Politics |

bush1

As Dubya is leaving office, it is a time where Americans can look back on the great achievements of G.W., and even began to give him the benefit of the doubt. Sure, I do not agree with some of what he has done, but all things considered, I think he did a great job. I had a friend remind me of all that he did in regard to the 9/11 attacks, and he told me that anytime anyone had a negative comment to say about George Bush, it should be stated as follows: “In light of what happened on 9/11 and all that bush has to deal with,_________________.” People forget that the man still had the highest approval rating in history after 9/11. People quickly forget about the good things people do. Bad news make for good stories. I would invite you to read this article by Victor Davis Hanson from Forbes.com Victor is the Martin and Illie Anderson Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University. Enjoy:

 

Critics are tallying the Bush administration’s pluses and minuses, and some consensus is emerging that in time George W. Bush, like Harry Truman, will be seen in a far more favorable light than his current low poll ratings reflect.

Three great crises marked the Bush administration: Iraq; the “war on terror” following 9/11; and the mid-September 2008 financial meltdown. Yet as critics debate his performance amid these ordeals, lost in the controversies are a number of other lasting achievements.

 

Supreme Court Justices Roberts and Alito have proved superior appointments–far more inspired than any made by Ronald Reagan or George H.W. Bush. The HIV-relief package of some $15 billion to Africa saved millions of lives and exceeded any AIDs effort by any past president,Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton included.

While Bush the caricatured cowboy remains unpopular abroad, the governments of most key allies and neutrals–Australia, Britain, Canada, China, France, Germany and India–remain pro-American and appreciate Bush’s stance on free trade, collective security and multilateral efforts post-Iraq.

What then about Iraq, the war and the economy? Bush–in the uncertainty of a post-9/11 landscape–completed the earlier efforts of Bill Clinton to halt the Hussein Regime. He inherited no-fly zones and legislation calling for regime change, but then got a majority of the Congress to authorize the military removal of Saddam.

Most of Congress subsequently canonized him after the brilliant three-week victory over Saddam, abandoned him when the insurgency took more than 4,000 American lives, and ignored him when–against the advice of the Iraq Study Group, most of the joint chiefs and grandees of his own party–he gave the go-ahead to David Petraeus and the surge.

Millions in Iraq today enjoy the opportunity of consensual government unimaginable in the era of Saddam. Iraq, in short, is Bush’s Korea: a messy and controversial war against authoritarian evil that in time will be vindicated by the growth of a constitutional society in place of a monstrosity.

There remain three great truths about Bush’s so-called “war on terror.” First, the American mainland has not been hit by a major terrorist attack in the last seven years, when almost every expert warned us that it most assuredly would be.

 

Second, our enemy, al-Qaida, is depleted and scattered, now largely isolated to the wild lands of Waziristan. Bin Laden’s popularity and support for suicide bombings have plummeted throughout the Middle East.

Third, reforms in the CIA and FBI, changes in the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act’s wiretaps accords, and the Guantanamo detention facility were derided as a veritable shredding of the Constitution. That slur ceased with the election of Barack Obama, who apparently thinks such measures were efficacious rather than unconstitutional, and the media has reacted similarly, seeing such decisions as complex and problematic rather than fascistic.

And the debits? The Bush administration spent too much money during the first term, running up deficits and discrediting the revenue enhancements that accrued from his tax cuts. That said, Bush’s instinctual worries about closer monitoring of Fannie Mae (nyse: FNM – news – people ) andFreddie Mac (nyse: FRE – news – people ) were right; their defenders in Congress were wrong.

His rapid federal infusions of capital to shore up tottering financial institutions probably helped stave off a general collapse. He was about as culpable for the American banking and stock crises as are the leaders in Europe for their own economies, presiding over even greater and more unforeseen economic disruption.

For all the talk of the dismal world that awaits Barack Obama, Iraq is quiet, a policy of containment of, and victory over, radical Islam is in play and federal intervention to restore financial credit and trust has already begun.

Why then such Bush vitriol? The contested election of 2000 for the first time in history required the Supreme Court to adjudicate the outcome, giving the victory to a candidate who did not receive the popular vote. In reaction, Bush was easily caricatured by our influential cultural elite as a bible-thumping, Texas-twanged, inarticulate incompetent. In the euphoria of brilliant victories in Afghanistan and over Saddam Hussein, he strutted and accentuated such stereotypes instead of, as was true later, nuancing them with reflection and humility.

Finally, Bush placed an inordinate amount of faith in less than competent loyalists. A Michael Brown or Scott McClellan would have been over their heads as small-town bureaucrats. Others such as Alberto Gonzales, Harriet Meyers and Karen Hughes were simply unable to overcome media charges that they were mediocrities.

Unmentioned has been Bush’s character of both honesty and resoluteness. He ran one of the most corruption-free administrations in memory, something we are already beginning to appreciate as we compare the prior scandal-ridden Clintons and the Chicagoesque ambiguities that already swirl around Barack Obama and his cabinet appointments.

In time, historians will come to a fairer verdict of George W. Bush; in the meantime such a favorable reassessment has already begun.

 

What are YOUR thoughts on Bush’s 8 year tenure in the Whitehouse?

Josh

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My aggression towards the bailout.

Posted on January 13, 2009. Filed under: Dave Ramsey, Money, Politics, Theology |

Recently, someone forwarded me an email that someone sent them that was in favor of the bailout. The following were my thoughts on the bailout, specifically regarding the “big 3” automakers. The basic mantra of the email was that the patriotic thing to do in this time of crisis in our economy is to go get a new car from one of the big three automakers, and finance it, or even lease it! Also, the email stated that they contributed a total of 30 million between the three of them, to charity. Here’s what I had to say:

 

We’ll call him Jim

Dear Jim,

I feel like I should blog about this. I completely disagree with giving the automakers ANY money whatsoever. Actions require consequences. Period. Many people do not know this about me, but in march of 07, my Toyota Truck was nearly re-possessed. I was behind two payments when I was sent a letter stating that if I did not pay the full balance of 4,250 in ten days, the truck would be picked up because of defaulting on the loan. I called back, begged and pleaded, and worked out a bargain with them where if I paid the to payments that I owed, plus the current months payment, and the next month (a total of four payments) they would let me continue paying on the loan. I paid up, and they reneged on on taking the truck and graciously allowed me to continue paying on the truck for the planned life of the loan. I borrowed money from no one even though this put us in a very hard place financially. We had to make dozens of sacrifices. 

This showed me the harsh reality of where my lack of discipline with money, frivolous spending, and carelessness has landed me: a deficit of nearly 800 dollars a month, hardly any groceries, and some $100 pair of designer jeans. Not to mention the toll that this could have taken on our marriage. I called NO ONE to bail me out. (Keep in mind that there has not been one time in our marriage that Susan and I did not tithe at least ten percent. This was the beginning of the realization that Gods financial provision as promised in Malachi 3 never supercedes bad money management.) We sought financial counseling and it was recommended that we start the Dave Ramsey Plan. We jumped in head first selling the truck, nearly 1/4 of everything else we owned in a yard sale, started delivering pizza, and started knocking away debt tremendously very quickly. We are now closer than ever to being debt free, and even though I have not been hired for the position I have applied for yet, we are living on about $1750 a month, have $500 in savings, have food in the fridge. God honors us when we honor him with HIS resources that he has allowed us to be stewards over. 

Furthermore, the auto industry is the root cause of what I believe is the financial ruin of millions of people through the last 50 years. Practically anyone can get a loan no matter what their credit score is, or income to debt ratio for that matter. People get cars they cant afford, filling them with gas they cant afford, paying insurance premiums they cant afford. Add this to the fact that ANY car you drive of the lot that is less than 5 years old immediately depreciates 10-15 percent, not to mention the new cars that depreciate up to 40% even with all the fancy rebates. I would say that if you asked 100 people who faced some sort of financial difficulty, 90% or more would say that they had an automobile that was too much money for them.

To address the donations that the big 3 gave, which between the three of them add up to 30 million, doesnt even equal 1% of their entire profits from last year. This is sort of like the Pharisees who were praised for their large donations but looking over the woman who gave ten sheckles, I think. What was that for her, as I recall?  It was- one years salary! No ones any more impressed with this than with tiger woods donating 1 million to an orphanage. It is needed? Yes. It is generous? I dont think so. So, I do not praise the auto industry for their giving. I think its nice, but hardly sacrificial. I praise the family who doesnt know how they are going to make it the next week, with 4 kids, that joyfully gives 10% trusting God for the provision. 

If the big 3 didnt crank out another car for ten years, America would have an excess of automobiles to drive. This country became socialist when we did the bailout that 78% of Americans were not for. Ill never encourage bailing out someone for their repeated poor financial management, and for failing to release technology that would save our non-renewable energy. There charitable donations that the big 3 gave dont even come close to the amount of money that they recieved from big oil companies to hold back the current hybrid technology. 

This country needs to learn the value of a dollar. We as a society need to learn to live BELOW our means. If the big three fail, so be it. Maybe it would be a good time or self-examination, and returning, (or coming to, in may cases) to God. What a great opportunity for the church. The Bible is very serious when it says that The rich rule over the poor. The borrower is slave to the lender. Proverbs 22:7. How much longer are we going to allow culture to tell us that in order to be accepted, we must drive the best? I will never be a slave again, God willing! Ill drive my car with nearly 200,000 miles on it that my friends shake their heads at. They ask why would anyone drive a vehicle like that? One of the most hurtful statements that I can remember someone saying to me in my adult life was when I was at my uncle Jeans house in Canton, and his rich arrogant friend looked at me with Susan standing there and he said If thats not a buy-here, pay-here car, Ill kiss your ass! At that moment, I wanted to key his new chevy, and then take a 2×4 to his knee caps. Of course I didnt do that. I told him that when am as old as he is, I wont have all the grey hair he has because I wont be in debt! Ill drive my piece of junk till the wheels fall off!

Jim, on this one I have to disagree. Giving to our country shouldnt be defined as buying a new automobile. Please dont give into the wave of culture that says it is the duty of the taxpayer to bailout big companies for their bad money management. 

Hope this didnt come across too strong, because I dont mean it ill-willed. However, this is something that I am very passionate about. I would love to know your personal thoughts on this.

Josh

 

So, what struck a NERVE with you this week?

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