Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas

One of our favorite Christmas traditions is caroling. I have a fairly large family, so this is just a few of us. But, I wanted to share a bit of us singing.

A very Merry Christmas and God Bless.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

A Town A Garden A Tomb A Miracle, Remember

And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to the disciples and said, Take eat; this is my body. Matthew 26: 26

One of the tenents of my faith is the weekly sacred ordinance of partaking the Sacrament, bread and water, in remembrance of Christ's body and blood. I know this is something common among most Christian faiths. It was introduced by Christ Himself just prior to His death. I was recently asked to teach a lesson on this sacred covenant and I wanted to share some of the things I learned in my study.

When Christ took upon Himself a mortal body, He demonstrated His willingness to fulfill His mission, to Atone for the sins of the world. The Atonement actually began its fulfillment when He took that first mortal breath. For an essential part of the Atonement is for Him to be able to understand us intimately. He knows what its like to be a mortal, hunger, thirst, disappointment, betrayal. All those things that are associated with mortality He knows. He knows because He had a body and He experienced it all.

He tells us there in Matthew that partaking of the bread is remembering His body. Its a recognition of His mortality and His willingness to eventually die for us. How utterly fitting it is that Christ took upon Himself a body in a little town named Bethlehem, the translation of which means House of Bread. It touched me to realize that my weekly partaking of the Sacramental bread is in a way a weekly observance of Christmas. For isn't it at Christmas that we celebrate His life, that He took upon Him a body. We remember Him.

As I was thinking about that my mind went, as it often does at Christmas, to one of my most favorite Christmas memories. It was in April :) My classmates and I got to go to the little town of Bethlehem, which was a good experience. But, the night before was even better. We went to a place called "Shepherd's Field" just overlooking the town. There we told the Christmas story and sang Christmas songs. And as it got dark you could just imagine where the new star might have been. I love the shepherd's in the Christmas story. I look forward to the day when I can do as they did, to kneel at Christ's feet and adore Him.

The little town eventually led to a garden, where He shed His blood, and which we also remember as part of the Sacrament, then to a cross, then a tomb in another garden. And 3 days later, miracle of miracles a resurrection, opening the way for us all to live again.

That's Christmas, that's what we remember. I will love Him forever for what He has done for me, and for mankind.

May we all enjoy the warmth and love of this Christmas season. And may we always remember Him.

God Bless,
Sarah Emily Jordan

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Either Change Your Tune Or Change Your Mascot

Elephants never forget, right? At least that is what they say. As I've been thinking about the Republican establishment and their talking points about the 2012 presidential elections I have to say they are reminding more of squirrels. How is it that a squirrel can watch another squirrel get hit by a car and than go and get itself hit? Why don't they learn from the past experiences of the other squirrels? It's because their squirrels. Learning from past experiences of others is a decidedly human trait. At least its supposed to be.

History is an incredible gift, and it is incredibly underutilized. I was recently wondering why it was that progressive Democratic presidents, like Woodrow Wilson and FDR, have won re-election. I did this weird thing called historical research and here's what I found out:

1916 Election, Woodrow Wilson (D) versus Charles Evan Hughes (R)
Mr. Hughes was very well respected. He was at the time of the campaign a U.S. Supreme Court Justice. He was also an important leader of the progressive movement. Wait a second . . . he was a progressive? He was in fact so progressive that he had the endorsement of the Progressive party. So, let's get this straight the Republicans decided to nominate a progressive to go up against a progressive? Makes sense right, why give the people a clear and distinct choice when you can just muddy the waters and get your progressive agenda through no matter who wins? Woodrow Wilson won re-election and Charles Evan Hughes eventually found his way back on to the Supreme Court where he backed Franklin Roosevelt's ideas for collective bargaining and Social Security.

The people eventually had enough of the progressive movement and voted in Harding who was followed by Calvin Coolidge, an actual conservative who actually brought some prosperity back into the country by backing away from the progressive agenda. But, as progressives had done for the past 100 or so years they came back. Hello, Franklin D. Roosevelt. He won re-election 3 times. How?

1936 Election, Franklin D. Roosevelt (D) versus Alf Landon (R)
Alf? Its short for Alfred, I'm sure others will join me in thinking of the acronym for Alien Life Form (the name presents me with an opportunity for another acronym later), but I digress. The Republicans decided they needed to nominate a "moderate". A moderate back than kind of means the same as a moderate does today, probably a progressive liberal. Alf was the governor of Kansas at the time, and yes he was known as the leader of the liberal Republicans in his state. Alf had been a big supporter of Teddy Roosevelt's Progressive Party in 1912. Alright Republicans! You nominate a progressive Republican to go up against a progressive Democrat again. The people were not given a clear choice, so they went with the progressive they knew.

1940 Election, Franklin D. Roosevelt (D) versus Wendell Willkie (R)
Wendell actually never held an elective office. He was a corporate lawyer. Oh and get this he was a member of the liberal wing of the GOP. If I had been alive at the time I think I probably would have pulled out all my hair in frustration. Another progressive, really? Yep, in fact after he lost the election he apparently had enough liberal/progressive credibility to be hired by Roosevelt as an ambassador at large. He went on a worldwide tour and came back preaching the virtues of one world government. In a way he was even more liberal than FDR.

1944 Election, Franklin D. Roosevelt (D) versus Thomas Dewey
This election was going to be hard for Republicans no matter what, as the country was at war. But, no surprises here, Dewey was the leader of the liberal faction of the Republican Party. And he lost. *Sigh*, they really had a hard time learning their historical lessons.

1964 Election, Lyndon B. Johnson (D) versus Barry Goldwater (R)
Its important to discuss this election because this is the one that liberals/progressives like to throw in conservatives' faces to tell us that conservatives don't win. Goldwater was a conservative breath of fresh air and he had a really cool bumper sticker slogan , AuH20 (in case you're ever on Jeopardy and the category is "Campaign Slogans"). But, he was going up against a man who by the time the election was held had been in office for only 1 year. Johnson had not yet put in place the greater part of his "Great Society"/"War on Poverty" agenda, so their wasn't a real progressive agenda to fight against yet. Plus, and I think this is really important, the nation was still in shock. Our President had been assassinated. It would have been very difficult for any Republican candidate to beat Johnson, who had been chosen by Kennedy to replace him in case of such a tragedy. That Barry Goldwater made as much headway as he did is rather remarkable. Goldwater re-introduced conservatism in America, and lucky for us there was someone ready to take up the torch when the opportunity came, I'm quite certain you already know the name before you read it, Ronald Reagan. He in fact made quite the memorable speech in 1964 in support of Goldwater.

1980 Election, Jimmy Carter (D) versus Ronald Reagan (R)
President Reagan broke the mold, finally. Finally the American people were given a distinct choice between progressivism and conservatism. He famously called for Republicans to raise "a banner of no pale pastels but bold colors." He knew that there must be a clear difference between the Republican choice and the Democrat. And he knew that the clearest most differentiated stance, one which more Americans can get behind, is a conservative one. Yes, we can be a big tent party, but you have to set the stakes firmly on the right/conservative side, or else the tent just folds in on itself. Reagan is the model that Republicans, desiring victory over progressive Democrats, should follow. Stop putting up watered down versions of the guy already in office. Give the people a choice. Reagan won, big time, and so did America.

1996 Election, Bill Clinton (D) versus Bob Dole (R)
I don't think I need to say much about this one. This was the first time that I voted in a presidential election. I remember taking a good hard look at both of the candidates and deciding that I could barely tell the difference between them. The Republican strategy was to put up a "moderate" again, good one s/.

So, here's the challenge to the establishment Republicans, are you elephants or are you squirrels? Are you actually going to remember or are you going to attempt to convince us to yet again try to make a run across the moderate/liberal/progressive highway? Conservative America is wide awake right now, and we are on to your agenda. We know that "compassionate conservative" is really code for liberal/progressive. We hear talk of the candidates that you want to put out for us to get behind. Too many of them are what I'm going to start calling A.L.F.S. ( A Loser For Sure, not in life just in presidential politics). Do not expect me or any conservatives to get behind a candidate whose own state sponsored health care reform bill was a model for the federal health care reform bill that we want repealed and replaced. Do not expect me to get behind somebody who views government as some compassionate entity that needs to release prisoners based on his own judgment. Do not expect me to get behind anybody who will hold their finger to the wind and than talk up a good conservative talk but has no record to prove it. I want a proven conservative. I want someone who loves the Constitution and is determined to fulfill her oath to defend it. I want somebody who is so set on standing up for conservative values and doing what's right that she is willing to give up political power for those values. I want someone with a proven record of conservative policies which led to a more prosperous city and state. I want a Commonsense Conservative. If you want to know what that means check out Chapter 6 of Going Rogue Here's some quotage:

At its most basic level, conservatism is a respect for history and tradition, including traditional moral principles. I do not believe I am more moral, certainly no better, than anyone else, and conservatives who act "holier than thou" turn my stomach. So do some elite liberals. But, I do believe in a few timeless and unchanging truths, and chief among those is that man is fallen. This world is not perfect, and politicians will never make it so. This, above all, is what informs my pragmatic approach to politics.
I am a conservative because I deal with the world as it is-complicated and beautiful, tragic and hopeful. I am a conservative because I believe in the rights and the responsibilities and the inherent dignity of the individual.

The lesson is there to learn Republicans. We need a conservative, not just in word but in deed. The country needs Sarah Palin. She's got my vote for 2012. So, Republicans you can actually try to live up to your mascot, you can be the animal that never forgets. If you don't learn it, than you're mascot should be a squirrel.

Sarah Palin 2012! Renew Revive Restore America.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Christmas From Space

I happened upon this video a couple of months back, and looked forward to sharing it here on my blog in December. It is the Christmas message from the crew of Apollo 8 as they were orbiting the moon.

Can you imagine a message like that being shared today? It would be so refreshing. It reminded me of one of my favorite astronaut stories. When I was in Israel I had many opportunites to visit Christian sites in Jerusalem. During a day long tour of sites we went to a set of steps leading up to the southern wall of Old Jerusalem. Our tour guide related to us the story of Neil Armstrongs visit to Jerusalem. He asked the tour guide if there was any place that he could identify where Christ most definitely would have walked. The tour guide informed him that Christ would have most definitely walked up those steps in order to get into the Temple area. Armstrong than went and stood on the steps and said that standing there meant more to him than walking on the moon. I was touched by the story. In fact I took a picture of my own foot on those steps :)

I love faith in God and what it does for people. In fact to use the same reference that the Apollo 8 astronauts did, before the earth was touched by God it was without form and void. That is what we as individuals and we as a country would be like if we didn't trust in God and let Him work in our lives. It is only in His hands that we can be made something more, with purpose and direction. All goodness is in and from Him.

God continue to bless this country. We so need Him.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Marvelous Light

Today marks the beginning of this years Hanukkah. What a significant celebration this is, and may I wish a blessed Hanukkah to my Jewish friends and to all of us. Hanukkah is the Festival of Lights commemorating an amazing and miraculous event. The Maccabees had won a victory over the Seleucid Empire and regained their Temple. They re-dedicated the Temple which had been desecrated by foreign forces and part of that ceremony was the lighting of the eternal flame. They only had enough consecrated olive oil to last 1 day, but it mercifully and miraculously lasted 8, the time needed to prepare more oil. A story of light, marvelous graceful light. I love it.

Light to me is beautifully necessary and symbolic. One of the symbols of light for me is found in our seasons. My favorite season is Fall, I love it when it starts to cool and I can wear jackets again. I'm also one of those people who enjoys the cool and snow of Winter. Yes, the driving can be a bit rough, but snow is beautiful. Spring is pretty, but it gets my allergies all active. And summer is often too warm for me, though I admit to enjoying the increased swimming opportunities. That all being said there is one thing that I really miss in winter, light. I love light. Light brings clarity, light brings truth, light brings growth and joy.

There have in the past been wonderful and inspiring messages about being morning again in America. I think the analogy is appropriate and thought provoking. But, I've also thought about another analogy in reference to light, coming in to the light of summer.

There will be times of dark and there will be times of light, that is the way of it. There will be difficulties, but there can also be joy. But, right now it feels like the dark dominates in this country. Its akin to the feeling I have when I leave for work in the morning when its still dark, stay indoors all day, and than come back home when its dark. It can get a little bit depressing for some. I look forward to the weekends :) Right now it feels like we are in a perpetual winter. Yes, there are times of light, but boy do I long for more, I long for the light of summer.

Its about time that we start heading in to a spring, and even better yet start looking forward to a summer again. How do we do it? We seek for the things that light brings, clarity, truth, growth and joy. We seek with everything that is in us. We can actually change the seasons of this country, cool huh.

Another thing I love about light is the truth that as long as there is even a pillar of light than there is no complete darkness. The sun rules the day, the moon rules the night, and even when the moon isn't there the stars rule. Seek it out, find it, and share it so that it spreads. There are so many people searching for truth and light and clarity. There are so many people in this country who shine in their goodness and continue to make this country great. And as long there are young men and women willing to lay their lives on the line to protect our freedom than there will always be light. Our task is to reflect it into every corner.

Marvelous light, and amazing miracles still exist and can continue to do so as we keep standing for truth. Most especially as we keep trusting in God, He'll keep lighting the way.