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April 24, 2009



I think people like Rush are way beyond "profit motive" - thanks to us, he has made more money than he could possibly spend in several lifetimes! Yes, there are those "ideological blinders", but it's all about "power" and we the people have given it to him.

For many years, he was merely an "entertainer". Now, his own party has made him their leader! Michael Steele correctly pointed this out, Rush blew a gasket and Steele (likely with behind-the-scenes pressure), publicly apologized to Rush and essentially acknowledged him as the czar of the republican party!

Before I get too wound up, I need to re-read Matt. 7.


Btw, are you going to bring back the Saturday "Song of the Day"? :-)

don woolley

I am not, AT ALL, a Rush Limbaugh fan. (I should probably repent, but I can't stand him.) But, I seriously don't think people on the right are hoping for more human suffering. I think conservatives in general see Obama's policies as moving us toward socialism and government as the solution to all problems, and don't believe that it will work or is the right way to go. So, they hope he fails in moving us in that direction.

As for alleviating human suffering as quickly as possible, how could we apply that to the unborn, who aren't even afforded the right to take their first breath.

A wise seminary prof once helped me work through my un-critical patriotism, and helped me realize how very unhealthy it was to equate my brand of politics with being Christian. I am at least far less blinded by ideology than I used to be, though it will always be a work in progress. It was extremely painful but I highly recommend the process. In reading Wallis (God's Politics) and especially Walsh (Colossians Remixed) those on the left are every bit in need of such a process as those on the right.

I voted for Obama by the way.


Amen, Don!

Btw, another wise Teacher provided a single sentence that, if followed would totally eliminate "ideology blindness": Matt 22:36


I am not suggesting all on the right are hoping for more human suffering, but as I noted, making this clear is really easy.

I would like to hear more of why you think Wallis and Walsh are every bit as ideologically blinded. Not defending them, at this point just looking for some more meat on the bones of the claim.

I would also be happy to hear you play out the middle question about the unborn a little more. For example, are you only adequately against suffering if you are for criminalizing abortion? Or, are you adequately against human suffering if you argue for policies that are more likely to actually reduce the number of abortions? Also, in many cases (health of the mother, rape, incest), neither way of going is without human suffering...

Oh, and Don, great to see you, guy!!

Jerry, yep, song of the week will be back, might take a week or two. You want in?


Don will speak for himself, but I agreed with the sentiment of his observation/comment because we've long reached a point where it has become very rare for either side to say anything positive of the other. We've gotten away from finding "common ground" and building upon that.

When was the last time we had a president who was the acknowledged leader of the entire country? Reagan? What will it take for us, no matter which side of the ideological aisle we're on to say, "hey, I don't agree philosophically with the approach you are taking, but you are the (freely) elected leader and I'll do my best to help your plan succeed!"

As much as I dislike the guy, what Rush said pretty much epitomizes the pathetically partisan state we're currently in.

Yes, happy to contribute to the "playlist" :-)

don woolley

My knee-jerk reaction is almost always conservative and I flinch at attacks from the left even in cases where I've come to believe the same thing the left is saying.

I had to read the Wallis and Walsh books for a class I took with N.T. Wright at Fuller. We wrote one page reflection papers and I can send those to you if you're bored. :-)

I liked some of the Wallis book, but I thought it leaned annoyingly left a lot and I think the work would have been improved if he would / could acknowledge that more. One small example: He took every opportunity to bash Bush by name, and in places where Bill Clinton's record was certainly open to critique, his name went unmentioned. I don't have the books here, but I remember he argued that that private and public morality couldn't be separated and specifically mentioned sex scandals, but Clinton's name wasn't mentioned. If Bush had had sex with an intern, I doubt Wallis would have been as generous.

The Walsh book was by far the worst book I have ever been required to read. I make many of the same basic arguments in sermons about our materialism, the corruption of the church by consumerism (a fully pagan religion), un-critical patriotism, etc. But I thought in their effort to make those cases, their arguments had no balance and in some cases, very little integrity. Wright likes the authors personally so I engaged the authors by email, hoping to process things with them. I tried to press my points without being offensive, but I think I offended. sigh. In general I thought they took worst-case examples of U.S. policy and capitalism, presented them as the norm, and attacked. Sylvia responded that their critique was not of a caricature but actual examples of policy. I answered, "I concede that your critique of the US and corporations is based on examples that are "actual," but perhaps in the same way a TV movie is based on a true story." And that's where the conversation ended. :-)

Volf has a tough line that fits us all at times, but certainly applied to the Walsh book: “... they engage in guerrilla warfare by employing small frauds and falsehoods as weapons against big lies and distortions. Though the strategy may succeed in subverting the oppressors’ control over the truth, it will enthrone precisely the enemy it set out to fight – the power of deception.”

btw, I had picked up Exclusion and Embrace at your recommendation and finally read it on a trip to Israel / Jordan a couple years ago. It is one of the most amazing, profound works I have ever read. And reading it in the context of Israel / Palestine made it all the more so. Thanks.

I'm for criminalizing abortion, like we criminalize other things that are morally wrong. But, pragmatically, I'm all for policies that will reduce them between now and then. I feel pretty sure that abortion will one day be illegal and that we will mourn abortion in much the way we mourn slavery and racism. The trajectory of granting rights (from men who owned land, to all white men, to black men, to women, to children) will some day incorporate the rights of the unborn to be born. I wish "someday" were today, but I think it will happen.

Sorry this is so long. bad habit. :-)



Glad to have a long post, Don:) I have to ask though, are you for criminalizing atheism? God seems to take that one pretty seriously. Or, what about divorce? That at least has the benefit of being named in Scripture. Maybe we should criminalize gluttony? or..., should it be illegal to be gay? Just checking.....

don woolley

So let's legalize murder, child abuse, rape, wife-beating, genocide?

Seriously, is it everything or nothing? Of course not. It is some things and not others. And surely an innocent child deserves our love and protection before it is born just as he or she does after....whether it fits the platform of our political party or not.

Scripture has quite a bit to say about loving one another, and caring for those who are most vulnerable. On what basis could you exclude an unborn child?


Well, you didn't answer my question. I'm just trying to figure out how you would decide which ones go where, because your claim about criminalizing things that are morally wrong seemed overly broad. I think your response actually implies you agree with that.
If that's the case, then the reasonable question is how you decide which things go where. In the last 30 years, the argument over criminalization has actually prevented us from taking steps that would actually reduce abortions. I'd favor stopping the debate over criminalization, which is always posed overly simplistically, and change the dialog to how we actually reduce the number. There are some well known levers that have this effect, but as long as we insist that the debate be about criminalization, we will not make the progress we could. The issue is not "being for abortion," but rather about how realities. I have a very close friend, life-long conservative, medical doctor, he's supported Republicans all his life, but he thinks criminalization is a knee jerk response that will not deal with the problem in a effective way, and, consequently, he does not support criminalization. Hope that makes some sense.

don woolley

I can agree our culture is not there yet, but just as it once wasn't with slavery or lynchings. Perhaps those practices would still be legal if people had advocated simply for their reduction not their abolition (in spite of the "realities and complexities" raised).

I don't know where a hard and fast line could be drawn on the issue of criminalization in general, but killing innocent unborn children because they are inconvenient would be illegal if it were up to me. In cases where the mother's actual life is in danger, I could never make that call for someone else.

And, I'm all for doing whatever can be done cooperatively to reduce the killing of unborn children between now and the time that it is illegal.

I confess abortion is not one of my soap box issues, but it seems to me that supporting a status quo of legal abortion is being far more loyal to a political party than to Christ...of which I have been guilty on other you know.

btw, where do you stand on Obama's military action in Afghanistan?


Well, we will just have to disagree on the comment about loyalty to a party rather than to Jesus. There are just too many Republican Christians against criminalization for it to be so simple. I also utterly reject the comparison to slavery and lynching--no real basis for comparison there.
Well, being a pacifist, I'm opposed to it. I think it is part of his thinking he has to show how tough he is, which is sad and unfortunate.

don woolley

I agree to disagree.

Your rejection notwithstanding, the comparison is the dehumanization of an entire population that allows the abuse and killing-at-will of that population.

I look forward to your posts decrying Obama's military action in Afghanistan. I saved an old posts of yours on the Asbury Seminary site back in the day against Bush's invasion of Iraq. It was the beginning of a long (and continuing) painful process of questioning for me.

Love you man,

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