Friday, January 29, 2010

AIRI: Abortion Hurts

That is a reality. I've made no secret about being pro-life, having blogged about the issue on multiple occasions. There are a number of reasons why I am pro-life, and one of the reasons, I have talked about before, is because of the effects abortion has on the women who have them. I've written about the emotional effects, which I've seen first hand as a counselor. There are also some physical effects that I wish more people were aware of. I've recently happened upon a good informative website which presents research and discussions of physical and emotional effects of abortion. It is at I would encourage people to check the site out to learn more.

I would like to address another aspect, the spiritual effect. God's final crowning creation was woman. What an amazing yet true statement that is. It was only after creating mankind, finishing with woman that He saw that His creation was VERY good. To us, His crowning creation, He gave the gift and power of giving life. We have within us a divine nature, because we are His daughters, but also because He has entrusted us with the power to give life. It is a sacred gift, and with any gift and power of God, it comes with responsibilities and consequences. Giving life to another human being is a miracle. Regardless of what circumstances led to the pregnancy the life itself is sacred and should be honored as such.

When a woman endowed with the power to give life, instead ends that life it is an offense to her divine nature. It hurts spiritually. It seperates us more from God, than we already are as a result of mortality. It also seperates us from our true selves as His daughters. I realize that this kind of hurt may not seem significant to some, but I personally feel that this reality needs more attention in the conversation.

I do not post these comments as a condemnation upon women who have had an abortion. That is not my place to do so. I post this as a reality check to all of us to understand that our actions have not just temporal impact but eternal consequences. Please dear women, daughters of God, princesses and heirs to His kingdom, consider this reality. Be who you are, who you really are. Trust in God and His ability to see you through any trial. Seek Him and His direction and He will be found, and in the process you will find yourself as He made you holy, lovely, and strong.

AIRI: "Bush Did It Too" Is A Lousy Excuse

Do I really need to say anymore than the title? I just hear this excuse so often when people complain about the current trajectory of the Obama administration. When I hear somebody say that I always comment to whoever is there or to the room at large (sometimes its just me an my teddy bear, poor bear has to put up with me) "so what you're saying is you agree with Bush." The people who wanted to change with President Obama have really only seen a few significant changes, they are speed and rate.

Obama is doing so many of the same things that George Bush did but just more so. More spending, more rapidly and with more damage. Using "Bush did it too" means that if you are okay with Obama doing it, than you must be okay with Bush having done so. I don't agree with either one. Stop borrowing and spending us into oblivion. Stop growing government. Two wrongs still don't make a right, that hasn't changed after all of these years.

AIRI: Accountability

Here is a reality, everything has consequences. Those consequences may be negative or positive and sometimes neutral but they will never be denied. When we are accountable to others there will be consequences for how we treat that accountability.

To our government officials I remind you that you are accountable to those who hired you, the people. Lately that seems to have little effect on directing your behaviors. That is highly unfortunate for us, but it turns out to be quite unfortunate for you too.

In an appeal to you to change your corrupted ways I'd like to direct your attention to who we are all going to be accountable to, our Creator.

God gave us the gift of life. With that gift He also gave us the gift of agency, the power to direct that life. With that precious gift comes consequences and accountability. One day we will all have to stand before our Creator and give an accounting of our lives. We and God will judge.

The questions will not be "Well, what important positions did you hold?" or "So, show me the stuff you got down there." Rather He will ask us to account for how we performed the duties to which we were assigned by our own design or by calling. So, to all of us, but particularly to government peoples (yes, I know there are a few good ones out there :) I ask you to please knock off all that corruption. Knock off all that backroom dealing. Knock off all the being influenced by money, greed, outside interests, anything other than the people you represent. Knock off all the disregarding of your constituents. Knock off breaking your oath to protect and defend the Constitution. I guess in short I'd quote The Tick "VILLAINS I SAY TO YOU NOW, KNOCK OFF ALL THAT EVIL!" It's for the good of the people and also your own welfare. That is the reality.

AIRI: Compassionate Conservatism is Progressive

Teddy Roosevelt, a Republican, was one of the first and one of the most influential Progressives. He is certainly a colorful character driven by adventure and I think compassion. He really wanted to help people. He got into government and decided to use government to enact his adventuring and compassionate desires. It was inappropriate and Constitutionally incongruent and it set us on a long winding Progressive road.

Progressivism has been bi-partisan from the beginning, first came Teddy than came Wilson. And it has remained bi-partisan, one is on the left and one is way on the left. The ones that are on the left, and who often identify in the Republican party have taken up the name of "Compassionate Conservative". A Compassionate Conservative/Progressive s often someone who has some socially conservative views and platforms but is willing to increase government, spend more money, and to use government to enact their personal compassion. George W. Bush is probably the most notable contemporary example of this. Here is a man who seems to be generous and compassionate, but he was willing to use way too much government, for example Medicare prescription plan. Mike Huckabee used his political power to commute a great many people who really needed to have justice rather than mercy. John McCain, who I absolutely honor for his many sacrifices for his nation, has decided he can best help his country by overreaching in political power, an example is his desire to grant amnesty to illegal aliens. I get it, you are nice people who want to help your country. I appeal to your compassion and to your reason. The very most compassionate thing you can do is get out of the way. Let the people be free to better their own lives. Thanks for wanting to serve, but please use that service to decrease governments influence.

I believe people can change. I believe that Compassionate Conservatives can come back to conservatism and play an important role in bringing to light the damage that Progressive philosophy has done to our nation. Please come back to the Constitution, please come back to government enacting justice and the people enacting mercy. It will be tough, you will be scrutinized, but we the people mostly want you to do the right thing. Own up to the philosophy honestly and openly and than let us know that you are willing to change course. America loves a good comeback story.

As It Really Is (AIRI): It's Progressive

I'd heard it before but one day when I heard it I decided. I'm talking about the day when I was watching some news program and there was a discussion of increasing taxes on the wealthy. One commenter said it sounded like socialism. Then another chimed in and said with a smile (it could have been a smirk) "it's not socialism its a progressive tax." For some reason when I heard it that day I made the decision that I would no longer try to call it socialism, or communism, or whatever kind of other -ism. They want us to call it Progressive. Well, I'm all for calling people what they want to be called.

I also decided that I would research Progressives, learn as much as I could and than share what I learned with others. Lets call it what it is, and more importantly let's know what it is. If you've read my blog you know I've researched the Progressive philosophy and have reached quite a few conclusions. Let's just say I'm not a big fan.

Progressivism is a very close relative to socialism. But, I'm done trying to convince people that they are the same. Let's call it what it is. Bigger government, re-distribution of wealth, eugenics, government playing the role of mercy, government granting rights, teaching that freedom means a lack of responsibility and consequences etc. etc. Call it what it is, and than let people decide for themselves if that is the way they want our country to go.

Monday, January 25, 2010

To See Things As They Really Are

So, sometimes I get a running theme in my life, work, thinking etc. Those themes sometimes spill over into my blog e.g. justice and mercy or restoring instead of reforming. Well, here I go again. The title says it all.

This theme comes originally from my work as a counselor. There are all sorts of obstacles that my clients and I have to work to overcome in order for real change to take place. One of those obstacles comes from a lack of complete information and clarity. Sometimes when a client will become stuck or stunted in their progress, I eventually discover that they had not given me all the information. I don't want anyone to think that that is some kind of put down on my clients, there can be any number of reasons why all the information is not put out there, including things that are up to me. But, it is a common issue that comes up. Once we can see the whole issue and understand it for what it is, we can face it head on.

I believe in redemption. I believe in healing. I believe that people can change. Correction, I know that all these things are possible. But, I also know that none of these magnificent realities can occur unless we see things as they really are, with clarity. We must have the truth, the whole truth.

There are a lot of things good about this nation. But, there are a lot of problems also. In order to fully address and hopefully correct those problems we have to see them as they really are. So, get ready for some posts related to this theme. Go USA!

P.S. This is my 100th post! That’s kinda wild.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Supporting Sarah

I've had the experience on occasion of having the topic of Governor Sarah Palin come up in conversation. Okay, it happens more than occasionally. Sometimes my opinion has been politely dismissed (and sometimes not so politely, depending on who I am speaking with). The dismissal results from the correct assumption that I like and support the Governor and the incorrect assumption that liking her is tantamount to being blinded or "a kool-aid drinker" or whatever. That's hogwash! Confronting that attitude is frustrating for me because the reality is that I like and support the Governor because I actually have researched her record, her opinion, her stand on the issues etc. It cracks me up to have someone argue with me about one of her Facebook posts when they have not actually read it, and yet my opinion is the one that is dismissed. Anyway, I've done the research and have found Sarah Palin to be an excellent leader, politician and person. I wanted to reiterate here my support for her and to discuss some of my reasons for supporting her.

The 2008 election was fascinating from start to finish. I became increasingly interested in following it, watching debates and primaries and really solidifying my personal political beliefs. As it became obvious that John McCain would capture the Republican nomination, my curiosity turned, as did many others, towards possible Vice Presidential nominees. In researching I happened upon Adam Brickley's blog “Draft Sarah Palin for Vice President.” I was immediately intrigued. I learned a lot from that great site, but I also did what research I could on my own. I found interviews, op-eds, public records, whatever I could to find out more information. I went from intrigue to being impressed and than to a supporter.

The lady became Governor after running against the Republican incumbent in the primaries and than a former Governor in the general election. She stood up against corruption in her own party. She was not at all well liked by the Republican establishment, a huge plus in my book. She was a strict Constitutionalist, to the point that she was willing to lose favor with some of her base. Her willingness to do so actually did not hurt her popularity as she had incredibly high approval ratings. She championed not just ethics reform, but an ethics overhaul. Her staunch defense of ethics could have ended her political career, but she knew what was right and stood up for it, regardless of the consequences. She was willing to sue the federal government for placing polar bears on the endangered species list. She took on corruption in the oil companies and government and won. And really important for me she was a pro-life woman. So much so that she and her husband had recently welcomed a baby boy into their family. He happened to have special needs. I absolutely value congruency, being who you say you are, and living what you believe. I was and continue to be convinced that Sarah Palin has that.

So yeah, I liked her and I thought she would make an excellent VP choice. Family and friends can attest to the fact that she was a popular point of conversation for me that entire summer. I did not think McCain would pick her, but I sure hoped he would. I was ecstatic when he did. The campaign was brutal, but I'm not going to go into that much. I will say the media did not portray the Sarah Palin I had come to know. It seems they were unwilling to do even a smidge of real research. They were bent on distortion and destruction. What little trust I had of the MSM dissolved very quickly.

I never wavered in my support of Sarah Palin. But, since that time my support has changed. . . it is even stronger. Why? Because she kept doing things that made me like and admire her all the more. Let me explain.

In a previous post I discussed one of my favorite quotes from her

"Some days politics makes me roll my eyes and say 'I don't know if politics are in my future.' and it's certainly not the be-all, end all for me personally.
If there are platforms, opportunities for me to be able to effect positive change in people's lives, whether that's political or another venue I will embrace that.
But, I don't know if its going to be in politics or running for president in '12."

She has a true servant's heart and has continued to prove that. She is all about effecting positive change, in whichever way she can. That's honorable, that's admirable.

Another favorite is the oft quoted "politically speaking if I die, I die." She is willing to stand up and do what is right, regardless of the consequences. That is something she already proved in Alaska before and during her Governorship. Doing what is right, even and maybe especially when it is hard is a trait I look for in a leader.

One of my heroes is a man who gave up an elected political position because he felt he could better serve his people in another capacity. Early last year I was thinking about him and thought how amazing it would be to have a political leader who was willing to do something like that. This hero of mine lived a very long time ago, and I never thought I would see in my lifetime someone give up political power in order to better serve the people. When Sarah Palin resigned I understood why. I have this weird knack of taking what she says at face value. She felt she could better serve out of a political position, unhampered by the agenda set against any progress her administration was trying to make. I appreciated her decision, and am still a little in awe that I actually saw it in my lifetime.

Not long ago I blogged about the need for this nation look to God for answers. I pondered how amazing it would be for a leader to speak about the importance of God and seeking His blessings and counsel as a nation. Not long after posting that I watched an interview Sarah Palin did while spending time with the Reverend Billy Graham.

There she was saying exactly what I personally believe is one of the most important messages for this nation. Standing up for God and faith in this country is something that I support.

Way at the beginning of my blogging venture one of the things I posted about was how cool it would be for a politician to embark on a "What's Great About America" campaign across the country. I suggested that they discover the real greatness of America, within the lives of the people. The people make this country great. Sarah Palin, with her recent new gig with FOX announced that she will be doing specials on real life Americans what she termed "Real American Idols." She will be going around the country highlighting the greatness of America through the greatness of Americans. Like I said she just keeps doing things that I can really support.

I could go on. I've had a few personal experiences, including meeting her briefly, where I got to see that servant's heart for myself. I'm left to the conclusion that I originally had, that Sarah Palin is a good and decent person. Moreover I think she is a leader for our time. So, given all this and my own political opinion, I think the question is not so much 'Why do I support Sarah Palin?' The question is 'Why wouldn't I support her?' I mean come on, she is brimming over with qualities that I like and admire.

Do I think that she is perfect? Heck no, she is human, and none of us are perfect. Do I agree with her on absolutely everything? No, but I don't agree with anybody on absolutely everything. That's not what support is all about. I support her because she believes in, proclaims and acts with correct and honest principles of freedom and common sense. So, just in case you did not get that, I like, support and admire Governor Sarah Palin. I would support her in whatever direction she would go in order to serve the people. She could choose to do any number of things and be successful at it. She could choose to stay in Wasilla and be a great mom, without any regrets and without any complaints from me. If all she wanted to do was be a spokesperson for the special needs community she could do so and her life would be a resounding success story. But, she has chosen to do more. She has chosen to stand up for what she believes. She has chosen to take whatever shots are slung her way in order to stand for principles of freedom. For her willingness to do so I'm struck with gratitude and frankly humility that a person would be willing to sacrifice their own well-being for the welfare of others. She has a servant's heart, and I think she likely feels the weight, that so many of us do, of the responsibility to turn things around, back to freedom in America. It's all our responsibility. Her being willing to take up that challenge, to do whatever she can, inspires me to do the same.

Now the question is how do I support her? To me it involves more than cheering from the sidelines, and definitely more than throwing advice at her. I trust her decisions, because I trust in the reasons for those decisions, to effect positive change for Americans. I tell the truth about her, and correct the distortions and misperceptions when I am able. I also keep her, her family and any Americans standing up for what is right in my prayers.

I want to use a bit of a religious example here in talking about supporting a leader. I want to talk about Moses. Yes, yes, I know I'm a religious nutjob, haven't I proven that enough already? But, I actually blame the media for the comparison between Sarah and Moses. They always talk about how she is a "polarizing" figure and it puts this image in my mind of her standing on the capital steps, holding up a staff and commanding the American waters/people to part. I mean come on, she didn't divide us, we are already divided and she is just a loud voice on one of the sides. So, anyway it's the media's fault that I'm making a comparison (I could blame Bush if I really wanted to). But, come to think of it I do like the idea of her walking into Congress and telling them to "Let my people go!" But, I digress.

Exodus 17 tells us that during a great battle Moses was told to lift up his arms. As long as his arms were lifted the Israelites were winning the battle. As soon as his arms fell the tide began to turn. Eventually the Israelites, realizing this, had several of their own go and hold Moses' arms up for him. This eventually led to the victory.

So, in this time when it feels like a battle is raging for the heart and soul of America do I look to one of our leaders and just encourage her to keep holding those arms up. Encouraging words are helpful but only to a point it doesn’t take any of the weight off. Do, I tell her how to hold her arms "You know if you turned that arm a quarter turn to the left, it might stay up a few seconds longer." Again advice, however friendly will only get you so far. No, what I need to do is stand with her, and take up my own responsibility in the fight. I take courage from her courage and I offer whatever assistance I am able to her, and to anyone who needs it. I stand for principles of freedom where I am at. Many hands make the load lighter.

When I think of Sarah Palin, I don't see her as a leader who is demanding that people blindly follow her lead. She's not a 'get in line behind me' kind of person. Rather she has taken a stand and invites us to stand with her. Well, I will stand by anyone who stands for the things she does. And while I'm standing there shoulder to shoulder if the occasion warrants, I'll hold up those arms.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

A Great and Magnificent Gift: Redemption

Any of my readers (I think I might be getting close to 10 now, give or take 5:) will know that I've made numerous posts already concerning religion. I guess you can take that as fair warning that I'm going to be writing on the subject again.

Many look upon religion as a code for moral conduct. Well, I certainly see that as an important aspect of religion. I highly appreciate and value individuals who live congruently with their beliefs, regardless of the faith they subscribe to. That is a quality I look for and even long for in a leader. Religion should make us better people. Any religion that does so to me is valuable and should be honored. This characteristic of providing moral conduct and the betterment of mankind was an important motivation for the founders of this nation to ensure and protect the freedom of religion. They were well aware that in order to be a free people, we needed to be a moral people. I therefore will stand up and defend the right of any person to practice their religion Christian, Jew, Muslim, Budhist, etc. so long as their belief system does not lead to harming others.

While I appreciate and defend any faith that betters the lives of its followers I have recently been reminded of the importance of standing up for my own faith. I guess you can take that as fair warning that I'm going to be talking about my own faith :)

80+% of this nation profess a belief in Jesus Christ. I therefore want to highlight Christianity and make a case for living this precious faith to its fullest. One of my favorite historical political leaders is William Wilberforce of the U.K. He made a point to call upon his fellow citizens and fellow Christians to renew their faith and to practice "Real Christianity." I highly recommend his book by that name. It is an excellent reminder to me of the need to examine my own life and ask if I am truly living my beliefs. I think others may benefit from the same.

Any good religion will help its followers to reform their lives in a way that makes them better. Christianity offers an additional key component for even greater benefit, a far greater gift than a code of moral conduct alone, Christ offers redemption. God is a just God. He will follow every law He establishes. No unclean thing can be in His presence. Therefore any sin in a person would disallow them from returning to His presence. God is also merciful. Mercy and justice are both satisfied in the sacrifice of the only perfect being ever to grace this earth. He answered the ends of the law and offered mercy to all of us who will receive it. His magnificent gift of redemption is for all. So, though Christianity does offer a code of moral conduct, and though Christ indeed was a great teacher, at the heart of Christianity lies Christ Himself, and His Atonement wrought so that mankind may be redeemed.

We are a nation whose vast majority claims to believe in Christ. We believe in His teachings. We should believe and follow His instructions for us. His Atonement has infinite capacity. Volumes have been and could continue indefinitely to be written and not contain all that He through His Atonement has offered for us. Humbly I would like to submit just a few thoughts on Redemption and in particular the healing that comes with it.

During His ministry Christ performed many miracles, the majority of which involved healings. In speaking of His ministry there are two things I want to point out. First though His lifetime was a ministration, His ministry beginning with the miracles of turning water to wine on through His death upon the cross spanned approximately three years. That meant in a mere three years He had to demonstrate to the world who He was, and what His role in our lives is. To show that He is the Healer required miracles of instant healing. I believe that can and does happen today. However, we must know that in the midst of the healing process, if we trust in Him, He will turn the process for maximum benefit to us. At times, often in fact, that means the process takes longer. Trust in His ability to sanctify our trials for our benefit. Trust that as you turn to Him you are in the healing process, but it might not be instant. Secondly His physical healings manifest also His capacity to heal us emotionally, mentally and spiritually. I will discuss this aspect in more detail.

The Book of Mormon is an account of the ancient inhabitants of the American continent and their dealings with God, just as the Bible details ancient Israel and surrounding areas. It contains the record of Christ's visit to the Americas in what I consider one of the most beautiful books in all of Scriptures, 3rd Nephi. Christ tells the people that they are the "other sheep" spoken of in John in the New Testament. At one point Christ invites all those who are suffering from any affliction to come and be healed. He provides a list of various ailments that serve as a nice list to discuss not only physical healing, but also emotional, mental and spiritual. He says to them:

Have ye any that are sick among you? Bring them hither. Have ye any that are lame, or blind, or halt, or maimed, or leprous, or that are withered, or that are deaf, or that are afflicted in any manner? Bring them hither and I will heal them, for I have compassion upon you;

Christ had told the people previously "repent of your sins and be converted, that I may heal you." Thus, healing accompanies repentance, and is a part of redemption.

He heals the lame, those who experience that something just is not working right in their body or their life. He offers the healing power to overcome those defects. He heals the blind, those who have difficulty seeing, again whether that be physical or if that means not knowing what direction to go, needing the light that He offers. He heals the halt, those whose progression has ceased for whatever variety of reasons, He offers the way forward in His pathways of righteousness and peace. He heals the maimed, those who at one time felt whole but now whether by some other's hand or by their own mistakes are injured, He can make you whole again. He heals the leprous, the hallmark of which is uncleanness, He offers His ultimate cleansing power. He heals the withered (from the Spanish translation I learned this refers to atrophy), those that have been weakened by the circumstances of life including inactivity, He offers His strength. He heals the deaf, those who have struggled to hear, He opens the ears and hearts to truth. And finally He acknowledges that any affliction can be healed at His hand.

So, why am I discussing this? Well, it is probably obvious but I feel that this nation needs to turn back to God, not just for a moral compass, though that indeed is important, but also for healing redemption. I have felt the reality of His healing in my own life. I, like any earthly inhabitant, am a perpetual screw-up. I need redemption, and so do all of us. How amazingly merciful and glorious is the reality that that gift can be ours if only we receive. It is there for all of us, no matter what circumstances we find ourselves in. That great and magnificent gift is real, come unto Him, repent, be healed and be redeemed.

I testify that Jesus is the Christ and Redeemer and Healer. There is a way back to wholeness. It is there in His loving arms. As we find our way back to Him we will be received, not as a stranger, not as a guest, but like a child at home.