Best of Biblical Conservatism: Explaining the Conservative Abortion Stance

From Monday, July 30th to Friday, August 3rd, I'll be on my annual vacation. So this week, as we've done in the past, we'll be featuring the Best of Biblical Conservatism!

Today's post was originally published on March 14th, 2012.

Abortion is, of course, one of the biggest hot-buttons in the world. The Left has done a really good job of presenting their side of the issue in such a way that I regularly speak to people who tell me they absolutely never would have an abortion themselves but still consider themselves pro-choice.  The reason given by these individuals almost universally is either "I can't tell some other woman what to do with her body" or more generally "I can't tell other people what to do."

Conservatives as well as Pro-Life liberals and moderates (my childhood pastor, for example, is a staunchly Pro-Life liberal) are simply not explaining our argument simply and concisely. I'm going to attempt to do just that right now.

Simply stated, we believe that unborn child is a human being. Admittedly, this is a default perspective focused on being 100% sure that life is protected.  The fact is no human being knows when a fertilized human egg has become officially human.  One thing we can say with scientific certainty is this: It happens no sooner than the moment of conception.  That's why the vast majority of individuals have no issue with legitimate contraception.  (For the record, legitimate contraception is defined by something that stops a human egg cell from being fertilized by a human sperm cell, whether done via a barrier or medication.) 

If life begins no sooner than conception, stopping said conception from occuring is not destroying anything.  To give an analogy: Fire does not cause explosions on it's own. Neither does gunpowder.  Only when fire and gunpowder are combined do we get an explosion.  Similarly, a sperm cell on it's own does not create a human, nor does an egg cell on it's own.  Only when the sperm cell and egg cell are combined is a human being created.

Abortion, on the other hand, is quite different.  Abortion takes a human that has already been conceived and destroys it by removing it from the womb during development. What Pro-Life individuals say is this: you may stop the conception of a child, but once it is conceived it has a right to life that cannot be infringed upon by another person's right to liberty or pursue happiness.

The woman who is desiring to abort her unborn child has a right to pursue happiness, which in this case means not having a baby.  However, as I have stated so many times, I believe that Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness are a heirarchy.  I believe my right to Life outranks your right to Liberty (that is, to be free to do what you want), and that might right to Liberty outranks your right to Pursue Happiness. Your Right to Pursue Happiness ends at any danger to my Liberty and my Life; and your Liberty likewise ends at any danger to my Life.

So here it is, short and sweet, why conservatives and people of faith of all political ilks are opposed to abortion: We cannot abide by the either purposeful destruction of a human life.  There's actually a word for purposefully destroying a human life (except in cases of war, self defense, genuine accident, etc): Murder.  Yes, I know that's a harsh point.  But a human being does have a right to be alive.

Now, let me qualify that statement: One, the vast majority of people who have had abortions have done so in ignorance, believing they are simply removing "a mass of cells from their body." I do not think they ought to be tried for murder.  It's an act of ignorance 99% of the time and not malicious.  I want the practice stopped, not the individuals prosecuted.

Now it's time to ask you well meaning Neighborhood Liberals a question: Can you understand where we're coming from?  We see that child as human and having a right to life. We also see it as completely independent of the mother's body, albeit reliant on that mother.  Then again, my best friend and his wife have an almost 1 year old, and he's completely reliant on his parents the argument that the baby can't survive without the mother in utero becomes really silly.  (As a matter of fact, I think I was about 12 years old before I could even potentially care for myself in any real way, and even then I would have sucked at by the aforementioned logic killing a 9 year old isn't murder either.)

My point is that we are not going to put aside our beliefs on this...and frankly anybody who says we ought to deserves to be smacked.  We're talking about a human life, friends. We're not talking about a mass of cells and we're not talking about a "choice with one's own body." We're talking about destroying another person's body, that unborn child's.*  And that is something we cannot morally fathom.

*I know some atheist or another is going to send me that picture of a cracked egg and a caption that says "this is not a chicken." I'll spare you the trouble: Yes, actually, it is a chicken. I just have no issue with eating chickens.

a way of traveling

“wisdom is more a way of traveling than a particular journey or destination.”
- John F. Kilner

& that's something i've always wanted. Kilner just gave a beautiful way of thinking about this way of life we need so desperately called wisdom.

i know that we should do whatever it takes to live life with wisdom.

Jesus' brother actually had a little something to say about wisdom too:
"If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all..."
(James 1:5)

not a bad something to ask for. because it's a pretty big deal.

"Do not forsake wisdom, and she will protect you;
    love her, and she will watch over you.

The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom.
    Though it cost all you have, get understanding."

(Proverbs 4:6-7)

but it's not the destination or even a particular journey.

it's a way of traveling through life.  

Best of Biblical Conservatism: Comparing Obama's Debt to Past Presidents - Apples to Apples

From Monday, July 30th to Friday, August 3rd, I'll be on my annual vacation. So this week, as we've done in the past, we'll be featuring the Best of Biblical Conservatism!

Today's post was originally published on February 7th, 2012.

Recently, Nancy Pelosi's office has released a chart comparing President Obama's debt increases to past Presidents, attempting to say that Obama has increased the debt significantly less than George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George H.W. Bush and Ronald Reagan.  (See chart below.)

Unfortunately, Congresswoman Pelosi's office has used some severely flawed logic and showed you their argument in a very carefully constructed way to falsify the truth - Barack Obama has added more dollars of debt to our nation than our nation's first 41 Presidents COMBINED.

The Democrats fuzzy accounting starts with one of their favorite tricks: talking about percentages instead of actual dollars (adjusted for inflation), specifically, percentage increase of the national debt.  To put it simply, using this logic, if the national debt was $1, and a President borrowed an additional $5, that President's critics could lambast him for "increasing the National Debt by 500%" and then compare it to Barrack Obama, who, according to Pelosi, only raised the debt 16% and say Obama has been far more responsible.  Actually, Obama has raised the debt by 34% according to PolitiFact.  Either way, 16% or 34% sounds like a whole lot less than 500%, right?  Except our fictional President raised the debt by only $5 (that's one five dollar bill), while Obama has increased the debt by $4.6 TRILLION. 

So how is Obama's number so much lower?  Simple: His debt increase was set as a percentage of $10 Trillion, not a percentage of $1 (in the case of our fictional President), or as a percentage of $5.7 Trillion (in the case of George W. Bush) or as a percentage of $4.1 Trillion (in the case of Clinton) or as a percentage of $2.9 Trillion (in the case of George H.W. Bush) or as a percentage of $1.01 Trillion (in the case of Reagan).  

So let's talk Apples to Apples, shall we?  All data is based on adjusting the final debt total from a President based on it's value in the last year of his Presidency to 2010 levels (that is the lastest inflation calculator available). To see National Debt by Presidential term, click here.

- Ronald Reagan raised the debt by $1.656 Trillion (based on year 1988 dollars) in eight years.  Adjusted for inflation, that is $888 Billion.

- George H.W. Bush raised the debt $1.583 Trillion (based on year 1992 dollars) in four years.  Adjusted for inflation, that is $2.428 Trillion.

- Bill Clinton raised the debt $1.412 Trillion (based on year 2000 dollars). Adjusted for inflation that is $1.412 Trillion.

- George W. Bush raised the debt $4.746 Trillion (based on year 2008 dollars).  Adjusted for inflation that is $4.812 Trillion.

- Barack Obama has raised the debt $4.42 Trillion (based on current dollar value).

So, adjusted for inflation, in eight years Reagan increased the debt 22% of what Obama has raised the debt in three years; in four years George H.W. Bush increased the debt 54% of what Obama has raised the debt in three years; in eight years, and Bill Clinton raised the debt 25% of what Obama has raised the debt in three years; and in eight years.

In eight years, George W. Bush has raised the debt 107% as much as as Obama has in three years.  In other words, by the end of Obama's four year as President, he will have exceeded the new debt that George W. Bush did in eight years.

So, the harsh reality is that the only reason Obama's percentage rate is lower is because he was raising the debt as a percentage of a larger amount.  The fact remains, President Obama has raised the debt in real dollars by more than any President in recent memory.  And that, my friends, is Obama's real debt, apples to apples.

is this still necessary?

(i originally wrote and posted this to renown on July 15, 2010.)

really? these still exist in America? are these really necessary?

i think we would all agree phone booths are a thing of a past. they were for another generation, another time, another culture, another context. And ones like this were created to serve a culture that no longer exists!

i'm not against phone booths. they're just irrelevant pieces of history and changing rooms for Superman.

Obama's Numbers Drop...Quick, Cook a Poll!

This time it's NBC/Wall Street Journal. (I know, I can't wait for someone to argue that it can't be biased because the Journal is fairly conservative.) The poll of Registered Voters (a surefire way to get a Democrat a couple extra points, as we've discussed before) claims that if the election was held today, President Obama would receive 49% of the vote while Governor Mitt Romney would get 43% of the vote.

This is questionable if only based on the rest of the Real Clear Politics average, minus the poll we're analyzing, shows a tie of 46% each; a straight average of the four registered voters polls minus the poll we're analyzing shows Obama at 46% and Romney at 45%; and a straight average of the two likely voters polls shows Romney at 47% and Obama at 46%. So a 6% swing in Obama's favor begs the question of the poll's sample.

And well it should, because this poll's sample is as follows:

Including Independent leaners, 45% Democrat, 35% Republican and (presumably) 20% true independents.  This includes 24% of those polled who consider themselves "Strong Democrats" and only 16% who consider themselves "Strong Republicans." Considering the poll asked people about their personal affiliation and not their party registration, this is absolutely outrageous.

I've had people ask me how I can call this outrageous, because it's "just a difference in the way they create their samples...but valid to the voting block in one way or another." This claim does not hold water for one reason: NBC is trying to give a prediction of the 2012 Election, which means they ought to be using a sample that will closely line up with the actual electorate.

To claim that only 35% of the voters who will turn out in November will be Republican is simply ridiculous. This is an election where Republicans are fired up, but NBC wants you to believe these voters will stay home and just let Obama win? That goes against every ounce of logic in this election. It simply does not add up. Especially when you consider that, according to my favorite statistical poll, 40% of Americans consider themselves conservative and that doesn't include the very reasonable assumption that at least a goodly amount of the 35% of Americans who consider themselves moderate are also Republicans. So to assume that Republican voters are just going to stay home is preposterous.

The reality is the same as always: Obama's poll numbers look bad when you look at a sample that actually reflects the electorate, so let's make up a phantom electorate that we WISH was the electorate (even though not even the big victories in 2008 present that low of a Republican turnout, and 2010 of course is a far more accurate sample given that it was more recent than 2008).  So if I was Mitt Romney, I'd see this poll and be in a very good mood.

On a final note: I will be on vacation the entirety of next week, so I will be posting "Best of Biblical Conservatism posts for the week. Enjoy!"

After CO Massacre, We Do Not Need More Gun Control

As a matter of fact, my friends, we need less. Now I know there are both Neighborhood and Activist Liberals alike are taken aback...after all, didn't guns cause this problem? No. James Holmes, the alleged shooter, caused this problem.

What could have made it less of a tragedy, however, would have been a law-abiding citizen with a legal, licensed, concealed gun in that theater who could have dropped Holmes before more people were hurt or killed. That would have made a difference.
I saw two images online recently that perfectly stated the ridiculousness of gun control laws stopping gun violence:

The second cartoon is what I sometimes think liberals believe actually happens. Criminals totally follow laws, right? Oh, and guns are only obtained legally, right?  Ridiculous.

The fact is that gun control laws in the vast majority of cases only hinders law abiding citizens from purchasing guns. Am I saying that if the gun control laws in Colorado weren't some of the strictest in the nation that somebody would've clearly had a firearm and would've disarmed Holmes as he (allegedly) started firing shots on innocents? No, I'm not saying that. I am saying that if there was a law abiding citizen exercising their 2nd Amendment rights and carrying a legal concealed firearm that there would likely have been a significantly less casualties. Because when the criminals have guns, the best defense is for the law abiding citizens to be able to respond in kind.

doesn't the fact that i want to please you... please you?

i read this prayer yesterday - from a dead guy.

i dig it so i thought i would post it.

"My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going. 

I do not see the road ahead of me. 
I cannot know for certain where it will end. 
Nor do I really know myself, 
and the fact that I think I am following your will 
does not mean that I am actually doing so.
But I believe that my desire to please you does in fact please you. 

And I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire. 
And I know that if I do this, 
you will lead me by the right road 
though I may know nothing about it. 

Therefore will I trust you always, 
though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death. 
I will not fear, for you are ever with me, 
and you will never leave me to face my struggles alone.”

- Thomas Merton (1915-1968)

yeah... i think our desire to please Him does please Him. of course we can try in some pretty messed up ways -- think up our own things that might please Him -- like the Crusades, etc... & no, He doesn't dig that.

but the genuine desire in us does please Him, i think.
Thomas thought so too.

Shock of Shocks! Obama Campaign Deficit Spending!

For those of you who aren't paying attention, the 2012 Federal Budget deficit is projected to be $1.8 Trillion of a $4.05 Trillion budget (just shy of a 27% deficit). So it shouldn't be a shock that the President's campaign in June spent nearly 21% more than he took in.

Shocking, right? Especially for a President who we're told at every turn is a strong re-election candidate...and one who was supposed to run a $1 Billion campaign.  (I hope you're picking up my sarcasm...because I'm laying it on pretty thick.)

So what about the President's opponent, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney? Well, Governor Romney has out fundraised President Obama now two months in a row. In May, he raised more than $17 million than the President, and in June, he raised more that TWICE AS MUCH as President Obama, raising $60 Million more than the President.

Nobody should be particularly shocked that President Obama is spending beyond his income...his entire governmental premise is centered around spending more than exists. Perhaps he'll suggest next to force the wealthy to donate more money to him...calling it their "fair share" or something.
Democrats are also expressing concern at the way the President is burning through money in his re-election campaign.  Of specific note is the fact that the President spent $2.6 Million on polling alone! That should tell you something. President Obama is trying very hard to stick his finger in the air and say what you want to hear again, like he did in 2008. My guess (and this is just me hypothesizing folks) is he's also trying to find out if he can improve his private poll numbers, because I do not believe his private polls are showing him as strongly as what the published national polls are showing, because it would be foolish for any candidate to use the skewed samples that are commonplace amongst the Drive-By Media.

Bottom line, if the President can't even raise more money than Governor Romney, and if he's got to spend more than he has to get re-elected, rest assured, President Obama is in danger of being fired. Game on.

Understanding Infrastructure in Government Of, By, and For the People

Infrastructure: It's the central basis of Obama's "you didn't build that" argument toward least as he backtracks to sound like less of a socialist (unsuccessfully). I spent some time talking about this last week, but a conversation I had over Sunday lunch left me with one more thing to say.

Government is not a separate entity, existing on it's own, independent of citizens. This is why I continue to point out that government does not have it's own money, but rather it stewards our tax dollars to spend it as the people direct. Government IS some the people, elected by all of the people, spending the people's money for the people's better good.  We created government to do this because we all needed such things as roads and police protection, and it simply made more sense to caucus together as a whole to provide these services as one entity. That's what government "of the people, by the people and for the people" means.

So when President Obama stands up and says "you didn't build that, someone else helped you along the way" it's missing the point of America entirely. Let's pretend our old friend Mr. John Q. Taxpayer owns the Acme Widget Factory (maker of Widgets, Cogs and Sprockets for all your widget, cog and sprocket needs). Now, Mr. Taxpayer does ship his widgets, cogs and sprockets on public roads, that part is true. Mr. Taxpayer's business is protected by police, which is paid for by taxpayer money, this part is also true.

What President Obama fails to point out is that Mr. John Q. Taxpayer is, just as his name suggests, one of the tax payers who pays into that public fund that pays for roads, bridges, police departments, etc. As a matter of fact, since we have a progressive tax system in almost all types of taxes, he pays more taxes on his annual salary of $500,000 than his typical employee, who makes an average of $40,000 a year, both in terms of actual dollars and percentage. He also buys more products than his typical employee (since he earns a lot more than that employee) so he pays more in sales tax. He also has a bigger house, so he pays more in property taxes than his typical employee.

All around, Mr. John Q. Taxpayer is paying a larger portion of the tax burden that goes into the fund that pays for roads, bridges, and police protection for his business than his average employee.  So even if one can claim he somehow used those services more than the average consumer, he also paid more for those services than the average consumer!

The bottom line is this: Because we live in a nation with "government of the people, by the people, and for the people," it turns out Mr. Taxpayer DID take care of the roads, bridges, and police department himself, because he paid taxes into the public fund that paid for those services, and paid more than the average person. Mr. John Q. Taxpayer paid for those roads, those bridges, and that police protection. Yes, Mr. President, he did do that. Welcome to America.

Obama Claims He Didn't Say "You Didn't Build That"

President Obama's ridiculousness has risen to a new level, friends. Now he's running an ad where he claims that he never said "If you've got a successful business, you didn't build that!" Here's the absolutely ridiculous part of it: HE SHOWS IN THE VIDEO WHERE HE INDEED SAID THAT!

The ad, which you can see here claims specifically that President Obama did not say what Governor Romney quotes him as saying. Then, at the 36 second mark of the video, IT QUOTES OBAMA!

Honestly, friends, what is the President trying to pull? Does he think he's a Jedi now or something? "President Obama didn't say that...and those aren't the droids you're looking for." I'm taken aback at the blatant lie that is self-disproved within the very same video.

Yes, I know the President did explain himself somewhat in the same speech noting he spoke of bridges and roads. Yet the fact that the President continues to wilfully ignore the very obvious fact that the businesses that he continues to attack PAID INTO THE POT THAT BUILT ROADS AND BRIDGES! So it turns out...and this is at least the second most mind-numbing part of this statement: THOSE BUSINESS DID PAY FOR THE BRIDGES AND ROADS! We discussed that very reality last week on Thursday here at Biblical Conservatism. Government expenditure come from taxes. Taxes come from taxpayer. The wealthy pay the lions share of taxes. Not that complicated.

Friends, I know I'm ranting a bit in this post, and if that bothers you I'm truly sorry. But I think this commercial by the President deserves a rant. He sits there and tells you he didn't say something then seconds later shows us where he said it, verbatim. The fact that he calls Mitt Romney a liar while proving him to be truthful in the same video is just as maddening. Especially when the President proceeds to lie to our faces while calling someone a liar then prove to us that he's lying all in 30 seconds!

Enough is enough, friends. I'm asking you, I'm BEGGING you, to help me in electing Somebody Else in 2012. And that Somebody Else is Mitt Romney. He's not the perfect candidate, but he's certainly a better option than the President we have now.

what a stay-at-home Mom is worth

1st of all, a stay-at-home Mom is really priceless. My wife is an AMAZING MOM! wow. she blows me away!
we chose this stay-at-home Mom thing before Keira was born because we valued it. but we had NO IDEA how much we would actually value this.

of course, the stay-at-home Mom thing is not for everybody. some may not want to or simply can't.
but it definitely IS for us. and we're so thankful to be so blessed to make this work!

it has been absolutely amazing. i've heard my wife say on several occasions - "There is no amount of money anyone could pay me not to do this." [to stay home with Keira]
right on. i feel the same way.
and i've heard her say things like "I would rather sell our house and other stuff/downsize before I gave up staying home with her."

so yeah, we're pretty committed to this. i don't think this is something we'll ever regret either.

but just for fun, some people posed the question "what is a stay-at-home mom's WORK worth?"
of course all the intangibles are priceless, but what is the market value of the actual tangible work a stay-at-home mom does?

below is a fun little breakdown of that :)
i apologize i had to shrink it so small to fit on my screen, but if you click it you should be able to zoom and make it as big as you want - full screen even - to read all of it.

basically the average stay-at-home Mom works over 96 hours a week. Then taking into account all the different jobs they perform at home and the overtime they work, etc... their salary should be about $115K!

Feel free to high five a stay-at-home Mom today!

Obama Back Pedals as Romney Advances

Last week, Barack Obama made the claim "if you have a business, you didn't do it all on your own." Since then, the President has been back pedalling. He knows he stepped in a big, smelly pile of dog doo, friends. That's the bad news for the President, and it's telegraphed in liberal polls where the President's favorability numbers are dropping and the Drive-By Media is scrambling for an excuse.

In the mean time, Governor Mitt Romney found something he seemed to have lost since the primary season, his...errr, shall we say...marbles. Since becoming the presumptive GOP nominee, Governor Romney's marbles had seem to have disappeared under the sofa. Not sure where they went. He was busy saying how President Obama was just a nice guy who didn't have a clue in some misguided, marble-less attempt to win over the independent swing-voter.

Then, just as the President was placing his wing-tip directly in a smelly pile of dog doo, someone in the Romney house must've vacuumed under the sofa, because...(taa-daa!)...there's Mitt's marbles! Governor Romney went and shined those bad boys up and took them out for a spin, going right after President Obama as needed to be done, about his claim that "business owners don't deserve the credit for succeeding, government pay more taxes!"

This ad, which debuted Thursday online for Governor Romney, was one big marble-filled run at the President's absolutely ridiculous claim:

BAM! Mitt nailed it! It was about time Governor Romney found those marbles and went after President Obama. Believe me, the President will lie through his teeth to beat Governor Romney. He's already had a surrogate call Mitt a felon based on false and unproven claims then refused to apologize when he was hammered for his false claims. When facing a President who is going to lie to keep his office, it seems that it's wise for Governor Romney to go ahead and tell the truth, for crying out loud!

This ad, I hope, signals a big shift in the Romney campaign. One can only hope Mitt's marbles will stay out and in his pockets so he can fight the good fight and win. President Obama's certainly not done falsifying stories to suit his desire to keep his job. Governor Romney needs to stay on the attack. There's plenty of completely true things to attack with President Obama. Do that, Mitt...keep those marbles shined up and in your pocket at all times...and you will be our nation's 44th President.

Dissecting the Liberal Talking Points: The Wealthy Pay for the Infrastructure Already!

It's been a favorite liberal point for a while now: "It's justified to raise taxes on the wealthy because they benefit most from government paid for infrastructure, etc. with their businesses." President Obama made a similar claim recently when he said that businesses who succeeded didn't really deserve the credit, because they used public roads, bridges, etc.

I touched on the gaping hole in this logic yesterday, but let's dive into it more. Here's the problem:


Let's look at some of the primary types of taxes, shall we? First of all, there are income taxes. People who make more income, whether under a flat tax system or a graduated income tax system pay more money in taxes. Under a flat tax (for the sake of argument let's say 15%) a person who makes $20,000 in income pays $3000 in taxes before deductions and credits. A person who earns $200,000 per year in income pays $30,000 in taxes before deductions and credits. (For those of you from Palm Beach County, FL, $30,000 is more than $3,000.)

Then we could consider our national graduated income taxes. The person making $20,000 per year is in the 10% tax bracket. That means they are paying, before deductions and credits, $2000 in taxes. The Person making $20,000 per year is in the 35% federal tax bracket. They are paying $75,000 in taxes before before deductions and credits. (For those of you from Palm Beach County, FL, $75,000 is more than $20,000.)

So, even if we except your erroneous logic, that evil, wealthy business owner is already paying a significantly larger amount of money into the community infrastructure pot.

Then there are the other two main sorts of taxes that come into play when it comes to infrastructure: Sales Tax and Property Tax. Now if a person making $200,000 spends say 80% of their income and saves 20%, that means $160,000 is spent. The lion's share of purchases with that money will be subject to sales tax. Let's even pretend another 20% of that money is spent on products like food and clothing that are sales tax exempt. We're now at $120,000 of income being taxes on sales. So let's take the sales tax I pay here in New York State of 8%. That means this person is pay $9,600 per year in sales tax. (That's in addition to what they pay in state and federal income taxes).

Now let's pretend our $20,000 per year person similarly saves 20% of their income and spends an additional 20% on tax-exempt products like food and clothing. So that means $12,000 of their spending annually is subject to sales tax. Again, at the 8% rate I pay in New York, that person is paying $960 per year in sales tax.

(For those of you from Palm Beach County, FL, $9,600 a year is more than $960 a year.)

So again, this person is paying significantly more than his counterpart (ten times as much, to be specific) of his working class counterpart. Now property taxes. I hope I don't need to give an object lesson to explain that the property taxes are significantly higher on a ten bedroom mansion sitting on seven acres of lake-front property has higher property taxes than a 3 bedroom ranch on half an acre of land in a suburban neighborhood.

Here's the bottom line: These evil, horrible wealthy people who President Obama wants to see punished for their success are already paying their "fair share." Even if they are consuming more public works and services, they are also paying significantly more in taxes than their working class counterpart. No matter how you slice it, the stock liberal logic does not hold water. Ultimately, it comes back to this: the Left wants to confiscate more of other people's money so they can keep spending and spending, and they're trying to give you a road to rationalize it. End of story.

it shouldn't be this way

(i originally wrote & posted this to renown on July 12, 2010.)

Dan Kimball wrote a great book a while back called They Like Jesus But Not the Church. he probably could have written another one called "They Like Jesus But Not Christians". because that's true of A LOT of people.

here are just a few:
“I’m a big fan of Jesus. I’m not a big fan of those who work for Him.”Bill Maher (the guy from Politically Incorrect)

“If Jesus came back and saw what was being done in His name, He wouldn’t be able to stop throwing up.”Woody Allen, movie director
“Christians are hard to tolerate; I don’t know how Jesus does it.”Bono  

“I like your Christ. I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.”Mahatma Ghandi

i have no idea what's in someone's heart, but i'll go ahead and say that probably 1 out of 4 of those guys are/were believers in Jesus. but they all like Jesus! Christians are turning away thousands (maybe millions) of people from Jesus who actually like Jesus to begin with.

it shouldn't be this way. and that bad part is that i tend to agree with these 4 guys.

but what can we do? recognize it 1st of all then...

be more like Jesus. act more like Jesus. live more like Jesus.

that's a pretty good start.

Dissecting Obama's Rhetoric: If You Succeed, It's Not Because of You

That's what the President is claiming, anyway. "It's really everyone else's work that made you had to use public roads and so forth, ergo, you get no you pay more taxes." (That's a rough translation for those of us with brains.)

In the interest of fairness, the President said "you didn't do it on your own." His implication is that somehow businesses are nothing if it wasn't for all the wonderful things government does, you couldn't succeed. Now I'm not going to sit here and tell you that that roads and police departments aren't helpful for success in business. I also know that there have been businesses long before such things existed.

Furthermore, the implication by the President is that "since you've succeeded, you OWE US more in taxes." Here's the problem, where good old fashioned logic comes and rains on President Obama's parade again: THE PEOPLE WHO OWN BUSINESSES ALREADY PAY TAXES. As a matter of fact, they pay taxes out of proportion to their percentage of the population. The only way to rationalize it is based on the invented number of "percent of wealth consumed," which treats an individual's fiscal property as owned by everyone.

The real fact is this: business owners, who make up a significant portion of the top 10% of wage earners, already pay the lion's share of the tax burden. Remember, the top 10% pays more than 70% of the tax burden. So even if they made their money using public infrastructure, they're also paying 7 times their "fair share" of the tax burden.  No matter how you slice it, Obama is wrong.

Moreover, what the President seems to believe is that government is an independent entity. He believes government has money that belongs to government (rather than being a steward of taxpayer money.) He believes government can somehow should be an active force instead of a restraint against infringement on people's rights. What he fails to understand is that we have government "of the people, by the people. and for the people." The very same successful business owners pay into the tax pot. Then they reap the benefits, but friends, they are already paying into the community fund. The concept that they are somehow more liable to pay even more than the seven times their share they already pay is preposterous and a phantom of the liberal imagination.

Really what it boils down to is the more the President can convince people that you didn't really earn your money, the easier it is for him to convince you that it's ok to confiscate the money of a wealthy person and pay for his liberal pretend that we have a revenue problem instead of what we actually have: a spending problem.

Obama Camp Slanders Romney, Refuses to Apologize

Last week, the Obama Campaign sank to new lows, accusing Mitt Romney of a felony and also of "outsourcing jobs" at Bain Capital during a time when Governor Romney no longer worked at Bain!

Honestly, friends, we might as well blame George Washington for the 2012 Federal Budget based on Obama's logic. It makes absolutely as much sense.

According to Stephanie Cutter, Deputy Campaign Manager for President Obama,

Either Mitt Romney, through his own words and his own signature was misrepresenting his position at Bain to the SEC, which is a felony, or he was misrepresenting his position at Bain to the American people to avoid responsibility for some of the consequences of his investments," Cutter said, responding to a newspaper report that Romney was listed as Bain Capital's CEO after 1999, when he has repeatedly said he left the private equity firm.

The fact is the President has deliberately distorted history to claim that Governor Romney was an "outsourcer." When (a site not known for being generous to the GOP, by the way) came back and debunked the Obama campaign's claim, the Obama campaign responded by accusing Governor Romney of falsifying federal disclosure forms when stating he was not working at Bain.  When called out on the preposterousness of THIS claim, the Obama administration took statements from news clippings, citing them as somehow holding more water than sworn statements on federal documents. Uhuh. Said, "Nothing in the SEC documents contradicts what Romney has certified as true."

So there is no evidence, but the Obama Campaign, specifically Stephanie Cutter, continued to cover their tails instead of acting like grown-ups and apologizing:

"He's not going to get an apology," Cutter said. "Just a few months ago in the primary Mitt Romney said to his opponents - who were crushing him at the time – 'stop whining.' And that's a good message for the Romney campaign. Instead of whining about what the Obama campaign is saying, just put the facts out there and let people decide rather than trying to hide them."

Or how about Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, longtime Obama associate and former chief of staff, who said:

"Give it up about Stephanie. Don't worry about that," Emanuel said on ABC. "What are you going to do when a China president says something about you? Stop whining. If you want to claim Bain Capital as your calling card for the White House, defend what happened to Bain Capital and what happened to those jobs that went overseas, those jobs that were actually cut and eliminated."

Translation: We're sticking to our story, even though it's false. Here's a misdirection about Romney. They continue to act as though Governor Romney can be blamed for decisions made when he NO LONGER RAN BAIN CAPITAL.

Which brings me back to where we started: President Washington, why did you add $5.3 Trillion in new debt from 2009-2012? (We're using Obama logic, after all...and NOTHING can be Obama's fault.)

how i want to live after i make a mistake

(i originally wrote and posted this to renown July 7, 2010.)

i make a lot of mistakes. i screw up pretty much all the time. i'll be the 1st to admit that. most of the time i make small mistakes with fairly small consequences that don't really affect many other people.

Sometimes i make bigger mistakes that affect others more visibly.

i won't stop making mistakes. i'm trying... but i'm pretty sure i'll always make mistakes.

i saw a great quote recently from one of the greatest coaches ever - Dean Smith. i stopped and wrote it down because i thought it was so wise!

"What to do with a mistake - recognize it, admit it, learn from it, forget it."

i feel like God may have put that quote in front of me. i think God spoke to me through this quote. God helping me, this is how i want to live after every mistake i make for the rest of my life!

honestly i think i usually do pretty good with the 1st 2. my mistake is obvious most of the time so i see it & i usually have no problem admitting it. probably like an A- with those 2. i do OK learning from my mistakes sometimes... maybe a B- there. i'd like to do a lot better.

but many times i suck at forgetting it and moving on. i want to live by this better for the rest of my life.

no doubt i'll make a lot of mistakes. if i can learn from them and move on i think my life can be so much more effective.

Dissecting Obama's Talking Points: Taxes (Part 2)

As offensive as this statement is to my sense of logic, the second part of Obama's talking point bothers me even more...the President's insistence that the wealthy "give up their tax cuts" makes me want to smack somebody. The attitude inherent to this is that the government is "giving" individuals money by "giving them a tax cut." Actually, friends, would you like to know how much of your paycheck is your money? Let's do an exercise:

Let's take a person in the top tax bracket, which is currently 35% (note that under Clinton, that tax rate was 40%) , who earns $1,000,000 income each year, Mr. John Q. Taxpayer.

According to President Obama, of that $1,000,000, that person owns $600,000 of it, the government owns $400,000 of it, and the government benevolently gives that person an additional $50,000 of it via a "tax cut."

Let me ask you a question: How much of that money ACTUALLY belongs to that person? (Hint: the answer is not $650,000 of it. It's also not $600,000 of it.)

Second part of the question: How much of that money ACTUALLY belongs to the government? (Hint: The answer is not $350,000. It's also not $400,000.) Are you ready to know the answer?

$1,000,000 of that money belongs to Mr. John Q. Taxpayer. Every penny of it belongs to Mr. Taxpayer. Now, does the government have the authority to take some of that money via taxes? Under our Constitution it does have that authority, and Mr. Taxpayer is required to pay that money as a citizen of the United States. But it's still the taxpayer's money. The government has the authority to tax, but it doesn't make it the government's money.

President Obama, however, believes not only that whatever portion of your money the government taxes belongs to the government, he acts like he believes ALL your money is the government's money. His entire attitude is backwards. That's why he thinks "tax cuts" (that are really set tax rates that have been in place eleven years, as we discussed Friday) "cost the government money." He sees letting people keep their own money as an expense for the government.

The only way confiscating less of a person's money costs the government money is if that money belonged to the government in the first place. That's like me telling Kellogg Corporation claiming me choosing to not buy Eggo Waffles costs them money. If the money doesn't belong to you in the first place, not getting that money from the person who it does belong to does not equate a loss for you.

Bottom line, and I cannot hammer this home enough: tax dollars are not the government's money. The government is granted stewardship over that money. This is not the same thing as the government owning that money. But as a liberal, Mr. Obama simply either does not or chooses to not understand this fact.

Dissecting Obama's Talking Points: Taxes (Pt 1)

Since the election is in full swing, I wanted to expand my sporadic series of "Dissecting the Liberal Talking Points" and do a more specific analysis of President Obama's rhetoric. Specifically, I'd like to analyze one well repeated talking point of the President's: "We're simply asking the wealthiest among us to give up their tax cuts."

I have two issues with this attitude. First and foremost, referring to these as "tax cuts" is a fallacy. The current tax rates were passed into law in June of 2001. That means these rates have been in place now for eleven years. Compare that to the Clinton Tax Rates, passed into law in August of 1993, which stood as law for not quite eight years. Yet according to most liberals, these are the "correct" tax rates...the ones we should return to by "repealing the tax cuts." Now friends, I'm no mathematician, but seeing as how the Bush rates have been the law of the land now for eleven years, changing the rates to a higher rate cannot honestly be considered "repealing a tax cut." Rather, they must be considered raising taxes.

What makes this even more preposterous of a claim is the fact that President Obama claims that raising payroll tax rates back up to the standard 6.2% from the active holiday rate of 4.2% equates "raising taxes." Here's a shock: Obama's trying to ride two horses with one rear end. Didn't see that one coming. So, if we return tax rates to where they were a year and a half ago is "raising taxes" but returning rates to where they were ELEVEN YEARS AGO is simply "repealing a tax cut?" Raise your hand if your head hurts after that logic? (My hand is in the air.)

Fact is the tax rates are what they have been since 2001. They are the official tax rates. Any increase in taxes above those rates is not repealing a tax cut. It is raising taxes. Period.

(Monday we will deal with the second part of this falicious claim by the President.)

you can do this

you can do this!

don't let them tell you you can't.

stop telling yourself you can't.

because you CAN do this.

it doesn't matter that you don't know how right now...

or that you've never done it before...

or maybe that NO ONE has ever done this before...

you can still do this.

if it was birthed in your soul then it is there for a reason.

you can do this.

it won't be quick or easy or maybe not even glamorous.

yes, it would be easier to just forget about it.

it is going to be very difficult and take a lot of hard work, blood, sweat, and tears.

but you can do this.

don't ever let anybody tell you different.

now GO. get after it. get started. take it 1 step at a time, but GO!
you can do this.

(no idea who that was for today. maybe no one but me.)

WaPo Poll - Obama Losing Independents, Tied With Romney (Due to Skewed Sample)

Yesterday, a Washington Post/ABC Poll came out. The results were staggering, especially when one looks at the skew in the overall polling sample to favor Obama.

A few things to note: This is a poll of Registered Voters, not Likely Voters. By the polls own admission (page 7 of the poll breakdown) only 79% of the individuals polled are either certain to vote or will probably vote. So more than 20% of the people polled won't show up to vote.  Then there was the polling sample. The sample of personal identification with a party (note: not party registration) was: Democrat - 33%, Independent - 36% and Republican - 24%. So a 9% advantage of Democrats over Republicans.

Compare that to Rassmussen's recent survey asking people of their personal party identification (again, not registration) was Republican - 33%, Democrat - 31%, and Independent - 28%. So to do a direct comparison, the Washington Post oversampled Democrats by 2%, undersampled Republicans by 9% and oversampled Independents by 8%. Either way, it's a massive swing of 11% in the favor of Obama. So that would explain how Obama manages to remain tied with Romney given his massive loss with Independents, which we will now mention.

According to the Washington Post/ABC Poll, specifically with the sample of Independents polled only (so the sample skew doesn't matter...this particular published finding is a sample of 100% independents so it doesn't matter if Independents were oversampled in the overall poll): Romney is beating President Obama 43% to 37%.  To compare, in 2008, Obama won Independents 52% to 44% for John McCain (not sure who the other 4% voted for?).

Bottom line here is this: if Obama loses Independents, he loses the White House. It's just that simple. Without winning independents Obama does not have a prayer. Putting aside the underhanded oversampling of Democrats by the Washington Post and ABC (which this blogger has come to expect), we can look at the individual samples of party indentification and see that self-identified Independents are not planning to vote for President Obama.

So unless the Democrat Party somehow manages to cook the electorate (not so subtle voter-fraud reference) Obama's in trouble. Which is what I've been saying all along. Game on.

the most humble man on the face of the earth (part 2)

"(Now Moses was a very humble man, more humble than anyone else on the face of the earth.)" - Numbers 12:3

that's a pretty hard core statement for a random parenthetical phrase in the middle of the book of Numbers. (you can read "part 1" from yesterday HERE.)
it seems God was just going along telling a story & then BOOM! He sneaks this in there... "oh, btw, this guy Moses is more humble than anybody else. period."

so, i went back and read and studied this passage for a few weeks. why does God put that phrase in there? He obviously wanted us to know this about Moses. i had a few thoughts as i wrote in my journal. (and many of the thoughts were convicting.)

1st of all, if anybody didn't need to be humble it was Moses. This joker made the Red Sea part like a Lawyer's hair by raising a stick. he was the leader of God's chosen people. He flipping talked to God up on a mountain, saw his glory which turned him white like the sun so the other peeps couldn't even look at him! oh yeah, and he brought down a few commandments from the mountain. God went on to say in Numbers 12 that He talked to other peeps in dreams and visions, but He talked to Moses "face to face!"
this guy was a larger than life leader and usually those kind of guys aren't that humble. but not only is Moses humble, he's MORE humble than anyone else on the face of the earth!

(you can read the whole passage here in Numbers 12.) his brother and sister were disrespecting him as the leader. that's not cool. Moses, as the leader probably needs to hop up and defend himself and put these guys in their place.
but it seems like Moses is not going to defend himself, so God has to
and from my study, i think this is one of the main points of the passage!
there is an instinct in me to defend myself when i am misunderstood. Moses was big time misunderstood and disrespected by his own brother and sister, but it seems like he was so humble God had to come down and stick up for Him! Wow!
(btw, Numbers 11 also shows Moses' humility - he didn't want to be the only one getting attention.)

*There seems to be a direct link between Moses' humility and the fact that he didn't stick up for himself!

i have so much to learn in this department. i can't stand it when people think something about me that is so untrue. i hate it when they misjudge me and it damages my reputation... my name. i just want to set the record straight!
but i'm learning more and more that this is just pride.
i think this random phrase might be in this story to say that Moses was humble because his critics didn't bother him. he was so humble that he wasn't concerned about his name. he didn't need to stand up for himself.

So, i am begging God to help me be humble. i want to be humble like Moses. i know humility is a dangerous thing to pray for, but i know the more humble i am the more God's name can be lifted up. the more i worry about my name the more it can squelch His fame. i so bad want to just let it go when i'm misrepresented or disrespected. i just wanna be humble and not stick up for myself like Moses did. and if God wants to stick up for me then that's cool too.

a couple other random thoughts i jotted down from this passage:
we need to honor our leaders and pastors! especially the humble ones. how ridiculous that Miriam and Aaron tried to read Moses' motives. they saw the most humble man on the earth as arrogant! wow. how bout a little respect for the leader?
God didn't like it very much either because He gave Miriam leprosy.

*So, Moses further shows his humility by begging God to heal her. Wow. i've got a lot to learn about humility. good thing Jesus was a pretty good example of that for me.

Shock of Shocks - Obama Wants to Raise Taxes

Picking up my sarcasm, friends? Good, because I'm laying it on pretty thick.  Of course President Obama wants to raise taxes...he's a liberal! His mentality is that all your money really belongs to the government anyway, whatever isn't taxed is government benevolence, and you should be happy with whatever government leaves for you. That's why he thinks that tax cuts "cost money." It makes about as much sense as me saying "If I choose not to buy Eggo Waffles, I'm costing the Kellogg Company money."  Actually, that money didn't belong to Kellogg in the first place. Same goes with tax dollars. The money doesn't belong to government in the first place.

Now let's talk about the theoretical logic behind Obama's tax would assume it's to close the budget deficit. So let's look at some numbers, shall we? The 2012 Federal Budget had a deficit of $1.327 Trillion. Now, over ten years, the Obama tax increases would raise $700 Billion. That translates into only $70 Billion in additional revenue per year (and that's assuming businesses don't adjust their spending accordingly, which they most likely will do). But let's put on our Happy Imagination Hats and make pretend that businesses won't adjust their spending and will just bend over, grab the ankles, and pay the taxes. (Why not, since we're living in Happy Imagination Land anyway.)

So even assuming a static budgeting projection, the deficit drops from $1.327 Trillion to $1.257 Trillion. Wow. Huge difference, right? Wrong. It's a drop in the bucket. We're still more than one and a quarter trillion dollars in debt FOR ONE YEAR.  So basically, this tax increase is pointless. It's ignoring the real problem entirely. Which is Obama's favorite thing to do: Pretend the problem is insufficient revenue and not excessive spending.

It's typical liberal rhetoric: just pretend we can spend and spend and spend. Just tell people we're raising taxes on somebody else. That way they'll vote for you, because apparently Americans are so selfish that they're fine with taking somebody else's money. It's not going to work, friends. Just ask Walter Mondale...I mean he beat Reagan, right? Oh wait...

Bottom line, Obama is grasping at straws. Only Mitt Romney can defeat Mitt Romney. Once Mitt fires up the conservative base, it's all over for Obama. We just need to fire up that base. Then, instead of raising taxes on somebody else, or taking somebody else's money, we can simply elect Somebody Else as our President.

"... than anyone else on the face of the earth."

(i originally posted this on July 5, 2010.)

i've written a few times about the Bible Experience that i like to listen to in the shower. i'm trying to "read" through through the whole Bible in 2010 while in the shower via the Bible Experience. (You can read some thoughts about that HERE.)

i really love it because the Bible was meant to be read out loud. i wonder if it all hits you better hearing it rather than reading it? That's the way it was read for THOUSANDS of years. it's just a recent phenomenon to read the Bible to yourself. i'm thinking it was maybe written in such a way to hit people more powerfully when it is read out loud?

that's what happened to me. I was "reading"/listening through Numbers and it was just in the middle of the story and then there is this crazy RANDOM phrase and it came out of nowhere and hit me like a lightning bolt:

"(Now Moses was a very humble man, more humble than anyone else on the face of the earth.)"

Wow. i want to be like this guy.

this phrase is so random it's even in parentheses! anyway, why don't you just think on that for a day like i did. let it hit you like it hit me.
i'll come back and write some thoughts tomorrow and i'd love to hear yours. you can read it for yourself in Numbers 12.

Tax or Fine? Doesn't matter. Obamacare is Bad for America

The Romney campaign has spent the last week arguing over whether Obamacare is a fine or a tax.  I know I've been doing the same thing...but that is because I disagree with the Supreme Court's decision and I still believe Obamacare is Unconstitutional. Either way, the Obamacare Law needs to go. Obamacare is still bad for America.

I know I can hear you now..."All the other first world nations provide healthcare for their people!" Well, first of all, my friend, I think you should know what Obamacare is...because it doesn't expand coverage except for demanding you buy it. Might as well expand home ownership by demanding everyone buys a house. Secondly, please show me the nation that can AFFORD their massive socialized medicine? You can't. They're all going bankrupt.

Let's compare national debts, shall we?  As a baseline, the United States has a national debt that is 62% of our nation's Gross Domestic Product. Great Britian (who has socialized medicine) has a national debt that is 76% of GDP. Canada (who has socialized medicine) has a national debt of 84% of GDP. But wait, those countries have single-payer health care, right? Not the same as an insurance mandate.

Well, let's look at nations with Insurance Mandates, like Obamacare. How about Germany? Germany has a national debt of 83% of their GDP. Belgium has a national debt of 101% of their GDP. Greece has an Insurance Mandate, and their national debt is 143% of their GDP.

Let's talk about the cost of Obamacare. Real cost analysis of ten years of full implimentation is $1.76 Trillion. That's $176 Billion per year. Friends, that is massive. That translates into the second largest discretionary budget line in the Federal Budget, second only to defense. We were told originally the cost was only $940 billion...and then we were told the tax increases would cover it. We were also told this spending would be off set by the tax increases. Actually, not really. The taxes raised are not going to cover the costs, especially because, as always, static budgeting is used.

Bottom line remains: We cannot afford Obamacare. Doesn't matter if you call it a tax or a fee or a fine or a green lolipop. The money doesn't exist. Obamacare is bad for America. Just like the rest of this administration's excess spending.

"But I was afraid to be Roger's friend..."

it's research paper time.

what that essentially means is that i've been extremely busy. but i have a research paper due tomorrow that i haven't done much with yet, other than grab about 25 books from the library on the topic.
i for real started on it this weekend. so i've been reading and researching and writing about 1 topic all weekend = homosexuality.

it's been a good study and frankly i'm thankful for having to write a paper on this. i don't fully have it all worked out where i'm going with the paper just yet, but i am confident of one thing. Christians and churches must focus more on loving individuals. period. we've messed up bad.

of all the tons of reading i've done about science and orientation and hermeneutics of New Testament passages, etc... there's one story that sticks out most to me. 1 story still sticks in my mind beyond all the other stuff. and it's a REAL story from Tony Campolo's life. it's a story he tells from when he was in high school. below are Tony's words...

"Roger was gay, we all knew it, and we all made his life miserable. When we passed him in the hall we called out his name effeminately, we made the crude gestures, we made him the brunt of cheap jokes. He never took showers in P.E. because he knew we'd whip him with our wet towels.

I wasn't there, though, the day they dragged Roger into the shower room, and shoved him into the corner. Curled up there, he cried and begged for mercy as five guys urinaed on him.

The reports said that Roger went to bed that night as usual, and that sometime around two in the morning he got up, went down to the basement of his house, and hanged himself.

On that day I realized that I wasn't a Christian. I was a theologically sound evangelical, believed all points of the Apostles' Creed, declared Jesus to be my Savior. But if the Holy Spirit had actually been in me, I would have stood up for Roger. When the guys came to make fun of him, I would have put one arm around Roger's shoulders, waved the guys off with the other and told them to leave him alone, to not mess with him, because he was my friend.

But I was afraid to be Roger's friend. I knew that if you stood up for a homosexual, people said cruel things about you, too. So I kept my distance. If I hadn't, who knows if Roger might be alive today."

just love Roger. that's all we need to do first and foremost.

teams that work (repost)

(This was originally written and posted to renown on May 12, 2010.)

the 1st breakout i went to was "Developing Teams that Work". it was probably the best breakout session ever. (And i've been to hundreds!) the content was masterful!
it was with Clay Scroggins (aka - the "Scrog Dog") who's in the student ministry, but i think he said this was developed by Reggie Joiner & Kendra Fleming at North Point. And i'm almost positive i've read it before from one of them...

The subtitle explains it better. These are "5 Critical Responsibilities EVERY Ministry Team Must Monitor to Stay on Track"
(So, we've got 7 Core Values + 7 Practices we live by... but these are 5 things that MUST BE PRESENT on our team! i am working this out currently in my head. trying to figure out how our teams can improve...)

These 5 responsibilities are simply necessary in order to accomplish our mission. they are probably directly related to the success of our mission. When stuff goes wrong or when we want to improve it will usually come back to 1 of these 5 areas.
I am now convinced that every team needs to have an expert in each of these 5 areas! here they are...

1  Refine the Environment - we've got to have an environment person. Somebody who can practice "Vuja De" = always see the environment with fresh eyes. (It's a George Carlan joke... the opposite of "Deja Vu" where you've never been to an environment but feel like you have. "Vuja De" is a unique ability to have been in an environment hundreds of times, but still be able to see it for the 1st time.) We all know that the environment is HUGE! We must have peeps from the outside speaking into our processes and environments! ("Listen to Outsiders.")
If we don't continually do this 1st one with expertise then ultimately a generation will be lost! it's a pretty big deal.

2  Nurture the Leader - we need an expert leader of leaders. "Coached leaders go further faster." - Andy. we just need an expert leader coaching the top leaders... and then everyone leads a few... all the way down. this expert has gotta be a people person.
I'm thankful that if we're a part of any culture in this North Point system, we're a part of a leadership culture!
Speed of the leader = speed of the team. Our quality and growth will be determined by the quality of our leader!

3  Value the Team - We need a relational guru who can motivate with vision and appreciate the heck out of the individuals on the team! (I feel like #s 2 & 3 might have a little overlap.) ***Everybody needs to value everybody else's role! Connect every single person's role to the big vision! (remember we're a body like Paul said in 1 Corinthians...)

4  Inform the Crowd - We need a marketing genius like Seth Godin on our team! (i wonder if he's looking for a job at a small church plant in NC? seems like that'd be right up his alley...) somebody who can communicate & market to the masses.. how else are they gonna know?
i can't tell you how many times i've thought (and i'm not the only one) - "i just wish more people would have experienced that!" (it's the marketing experts job to make sure they do! or at least know about it.)

5  Perfect the System - Oh yeah, we need a systems nerd. An orgizational guru! someone who says "How are all these disorganized people [like me] even Christians??? Disorganization is so ungodly!" i want that person on my team!! Because they are the opposite of me.
if we don't perfect the system we "waste critical resources ($) and time."

I think we need somebody who MAJORS in each of these 5 areas on our teams!
*When these 5 are working it simply removes most of the barriers so that the Holy Spirit can work.

***I have not stopped thinking about this for over a week now. i can't get it out of my mind. i know we've got to step it up in some of these areas because the mission is that important!

*some other great leadership stuff during this breakout:
-  "The longer something is neglected, the greater the damage and the harder it is to fix." [man we need to keep that in mind!]
-  our job in every environment is to "Build a bridge and turn on a light." - Reggie Joiner
-  "Teams need a rallying cry." - Patrick Lencioni

Rumor Mill: Romney Could Pick a Female VP?

That's what Ann Romney mentioned in a recent interview with CBS. My reaction ultimately is "who?"

If the Romney campaign goes and picks a woman as a gimmick, it's pointless. At least for a Republican candidate. (The type of person who is most likely to vote style over substance isn't generally a Republican voter anyway.)  It's 2012, friends, and picking someone who happens to have two X chromosomes is not going to be helpful. No, friends, what Mitt needs is what John McCain needed four years ago: An energetic, young conservative.

Now there are some prospects that fit both bills. Governor Nikki Haley of South Carolina is one example. Another is Congresswoman Michelle Bachmann.  Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn of Tennesee would be a good choice. How about New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez?  All these women would make great running mates for Mitt.

But the thing is none of them are better than a Paul Ryan, or Bobby Jindall, or Rand Paul, or Marco Rubio, or any other young and exciting male conservative. Because ultimately THAT'S what Romney needs: a strong conservative, one who is charasmatic and can excite the conservative base. Not a gimmick, but a conservative.

Despite how liberals re-write history, Sarah Palin wasn't a gimmick. She was a strong conservative. Then the McCain campaign went and dropped the ball with her, not letting her go out and be a strong conservative. Only then once she was misused did she become a gimmick. Ultimately the Romney campaign must be sure not to make the same mistake. Mitt needs a conservative. If he picks that, gender and race could make a difference. If he doesn't, picking a wimpy moderate woman won't win many votes. Barack Obama already will get most of the style over substance votes.

Obama's Slight Bump Means Nothing in November

After the Obamacare Decision, President Obama's polling numbers against Mitt Romney have bumped a couple of points. That's really it, a couple points. We've seen these quick bumps for Obama before. We've also seen these quick bumps fall off the end of the Earth again.

We saw it when Barack Obama gave the order to kill Osama Bin Laden. He bumped up above 50% and stayed there...for about a week. Then he fell back down below 50% and to the doldrums. He's crept above Romney for now. He's even seen a couple of polls where his projected win is outside the margin for error (unfortunately for the President, except for a highly questionable and anomalous Bloomberg poll, they were all with Registered Voters not Likely Voters.) But really, that's all the bump the President has seen is a couple of points.

Obamacare remains unpopular. As has been the case for most of the law's life, about 10% more disapprove of the law than approve of it. Obama himself remains unpopular. Using the three Likely Voter Polls in the current Real Clear Politics Average, Obama has 46% approval and 51% disapproval. Even when we add in the two polls of Registered Voters, Obama only creeps up to 47% approval with 49% disapproval. Only when RCP adds in five polls of "adults" does Obama get over 50% approval...and as I've said before, if you're going to poll adults you might as well also poll Martians and kodiak bears, because they have absolutely as much say in elections as people who aren't registered to vote.

So what does Obama have to look forward to in a "bump?" Unless Obama convinces Hillary Clinton to be his running mate and dumps Joe Biden, he doesn't have THAT to boost him. (Meanwhile, unless Romney manages to completely and utterly screw it up, Romney can gain 5-10 points in the polls by his Vice Presidential pick.) The so-called "Convention Bump" might help Obama, but that bump rarely stays, an d since it comes after the Republican Convention, it can only really regain losses from the Republican Convention.

Friends, the President is still in trouble. Only Mitt Romney imploding (by being too moderate or too wimpy) can get Obama re-elected.  Otherwise, the recent Supreme Court decision on Obamacare will become academic, as the Republican Party is about to win the 2012 election. Game on.

Obamacare Still Can Be Overturned...At the Ballot Box

Friends, I know we all spent the last few days feeling bad about the Supreme Court's Obamacare Decision. I did too, I won't lie. It took me a few hours to realize that there is still a solution because We the People control this government.  And since Obamacare doesn't go into effect until January, we can absolutely get it out of the way before it can do real damage.

Now let's talk about this election, shall we? Romney and Obama have been basically tied in polls of likely voters for quite some time. Romney's biggest problem? A lack of enthusiasm. As I wrote last week, the Obamacare decision awoke the sleeping giant that is the Tea Party. We are now heavily behind Romney and will fight very hard for him.

Now to the Senate. The Senate deck is stacked in the favor of the GOP just based on the number of elections. Currently the Democrat caucus (which includes 2 Independents who caucus with the Democrats) hold a six seat lead in the Senate. For those of you who think this is tough to beat, look at the actual seats up for election.

There are a total of 33 Senate seats up for grabs in 2012.  Of those 33 seats, on 10 are part of the Republican caucus!  So 23 of 33 seats up for grabs in 2012 are part of the Democrat Caucus. Compare that to 2010 where there were 37 seats up for grab but with a nearly even split - 18 Republican and 19 Democrat. The Republicans had a +6 net gain out of that election. Translation, the GOP won approximately 65% of the seats in the election.

If the GOP can mirror 2012 (a reasonable possibility given the political climate) and win 65% of total seats up for grabs, that would mean a 9 seat swing and the Republicans taking back the Senate with a +3 margin of victory. I'll even tell you what I think the best 9 seats to pickup would be for the GOP: Florida, Ohio, Michigan, Pennyslyvania, North Dakota, Virginia, Nebraska, New Mexico, and Wisconsin are all swing states where Romney could conceivably win.  I would go so far as to say I feel comfortable about winning North Dakota, Virginia, and Wisconsin (because of how Scott Walker won his recall challenge). The others are all plausible pickups.

As far as the House of Representatives is concerned, as long as the GOP does no worse than a net loss of 48 seats, we can repeal Obamacare. This is really not a big concern. Then we need new President Romney to use the bully pulpit to get scare the tar out of Senators to vote on the the repeal. After that, Ding Dong the Law is Dead!

But all this is conditional. We need to fight the good fight and repeal Obamacare.

what i learn from reading (almost) all the way to the bottom of a facebook feed

i guess most people do this but i never really have.

i see a lot of people just scroll down their Facebook home page/ status feed screen or whatever you call it. i see people read all the way down to the bottom of it to see what EVERYONE is up to.

i guess i've just never taken the time to do that. i may notice the 1st 1 or 2 in my feed but not usually beyond that. maybe i'm just too ADD to make it beyond that.

just now i randomly decided to scroll all the way through my feed. it's pretty fascinating.
i saw...

-  lots of funny stuff of course

-  someone posted their 1st ultrasound of their teeny tiny baby in the womb!

-  someone else is 20 weeks pregnant with a belly pic... halfway there

-  and another person posted a pic of their beautiful newborn

-  someone is enjoying snuggling with a brand new adopted baby after a long journey to have/adopt a child

-  someone else is just beginning that long journey of the adoption process

-  someone is mourning the loss of a husband after 13 weeks without him and without a father for her children

-  while someone else is celebrating a wedding anniversary today with her husband

-  someone training for a marathon

-  somebody talking about Anderson Cooper being gay

-  someone celebrating 4.5 years of the "hardest" but "best" decision of their life = to quit smoking

-  somebody losing weight

and a whole lot of other stuff.

and no, i actually never made it to the bottom of the feed. that's just way too long. sorry.

but it was a crazy experience to read as far as i did. just look at those few things going on in peoples' lives.

i couldn't help but think that these Facebook status feeds are basically a microcosm of what's going on all around the world right now.

pain. relief.
joy. sorrow.
funny. sad.
life ending. life beginning.
and everything in between.

i'm sure there are some deeper thoughts not quite falling out of my brain just yet.

for now, i'm fascinated by a Facebook status feed being a sampling or microcosm of the emotions and experiences of almost 7 billion peeps on the planet...

never thought of it this way before.
but i might just start.

Obamacare's "Taxes" Are Really Fines

After three years of telling us the Obamacare's fees "were not a tax" now we're told "actually, it was totally a tax all along."

Remember this?

I sure as heck do!  Now that this is what the President has to accept for his law to stay in effect, now it's a tax. I mean of course! It was always a tax! Pay no attention to the video evidence!

I am here to tell you that no, the Individual Mandate IS NOT A TAX. It is a fine. A fine for failure to comply with a government mandate, (not so) cleverly disguised as a tax. Here's how it works:

Your taxes are raised by X amount above the baseline across the board. All citizens. However, this tax is avoided by purchasing health insurance. Of course, nothing else is applicable to this "tax." There are no other taxes in this country that is based on inactivity. All taxes are based on either income, property or activity. Income taxes are paid on income earned (duh).  Property taxes are paid by all that own land (whether or not you have house on it). The rest of the taxes available are based on activities. There are taxes on purchases, like the tax on a pack of cigarettes, the tax on a gallon of gas, or the sales tax on the purchase of a product.

There are also fines. Fines are paid on inactivity. For example, you pay a fine if a police officer observes you failing to obey a traffic signal.  (For those of you from Palm Beach County, FL, that's "not stopping a stop sign" or "running a red light.")  There are fines for failure to have a valid driver's license while driving on public roads. There are fines for failure to legally register your car. There are fines for failure to register your firearm in many states. (There are not, however, fines for failure to drive on public streets or failure to buy a car or failure to buy a gun.)
There are also tax credits and deductions. There is a tax credit for every dependent child living in your home. There is also a tax deduction one can claim on their tax returns for interest paid on your house. Here, let me explain this in numbers:

If a couple has a household income of $50,000 and one dependent child and are in the 25% tax bracket based on that income, their baseline Federal tax is $12,500 a year, before all deductions. That is the baseline. Now if we say they paid (just picking a nice, round number here, friends) $2000 in interest in their mortgage.  So they get a $2000 tax deduction. That means their 25% tax rate is now assessed not off $50,000 in income but now off $48,000. So their tax burden has dropped to $12,000. They also have a tax credit of $1000 because of their dependent child. Their tax burden now drops to $11,000.  However, even without their mortage deduction and child tax credit, at no point are their taxes rising above the $12,500 per year baseline.

However, with Obamacare there is a new tax imposed on the family.  For three people they are paying a tax of $695 a year (per person) for  total of $2085.00 additional tax burden. This raises their tax burden to $14,585 (before the mortgage deduction and child tax credit) or $13,850 (including the mortgage deduction and child tax credit). However, if they comply with the the Obamacare mandate, they get a tax credit back of $2085.00. Translation, there tax burden goes back down to $12,500 (before the mortgage deduction and child tax credit) or $11,000 (including the mortgage deduction and child tax credit).

In other words: It's a fine!  If you do not get insurance you pay $695.00 per person for failure to comply. You avoid the fine by getting insurance. Just like you pay a fine of say $100 for failure to stop at a red light but you avoid that fine by not running the red light. That is a fine, my friends.

Don't believe the lies and hype. No matter how many times the Drive-By Media and the Democrat Party pull out the "it's a tax" line, remember, it's a fine.