Inauguration Thoughts

First of all, over two centuries of the peaceful transition of power. Inauguration Day always makes me proud of my country. I also like how (relatively) simple it all is. I mean, less than an hour, and the actual oath takes less than a minute. We’re a democracy, a government based (more or less) on the will of the people. Love it.

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The booing of Bush was one last– well, probably not– reminder of how classless many of his opponents are. And his graceful exit, beginning on Election Day and continuing until the moment he got on the plane, demonstrates that he’s a better man than our country deserves.

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There are some people being sort of tacky, if you want to know what I think, in comments about Rick Warren’s prayer. I thought it was fine– said some things I probably wouldn’t have said, but nothing that bothered me. Christians should lighten up sometimes. (Sometimes.)

***

Obama is a wonderful orator. I mean, I agree with him on very little, and I like to hear him give a speech. But although today’s speech had its moments, I don’t think it out of the park. I think political speeches today always sound like they’re trying too hard.

***

Obama joined in the classless attitude toward Bush when he acted, at several points, as though nothing has gone right for a decade, but now America is ready to be nice again. That’s an insult not primarily to President Bush, but to thousands of servicemen and intelligence workers who have given their lives to keep our country safe by fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq. It also ignores contributions we’ve made to efforts like AIDS relief in Africa (where, as I mentioned in a comment on the previous post, Bush is viewed as a hero). Those moments in the speech suggest that Obama’s claim to be post-partisan is sheer marketing.

***

Regardless of politics, though, it was a great day to be an American. Seeing the faces especially of older African-Americans was powerful. There’s much more work to be done on racial reconciliation in our country, but today shows that we have come a long way. We have a beautiful First Family to serve as the face of our country. I hope their time in the White House is happy, and pray that Obama will govern wisely and lead our nation well.

My Favorite Theology Books of 2008

5. John Frame, The Doctrine of the Christian Life

4. Tom Schreiner, New Testament Theology: Magnifying God in Christ

3. Tim Keller, The Reason for God

2. Kevin deYoung & Ted Kluck, Why We’re Not Emergent: By Two Guys who Should Be

1. The ESV Study Bible. (I haven’t written a review yet, but here’s the short version: Get it. Sell something on Craigslist if necessary. It’s great.)

Election Roundtable*

*It’s just me, sitting at a round table. Actually, not even that. It’s my desk. L-shaped.

In no particular order, and so that I can stop listening to my own voice in my head, here are some stream-of-consciousness thoughts on the election.

***

This is being pitched as a landslide, and it was absolutely a decisive win. Let me say that again: Decisive win. He cleaned McCain’s clock. No question. But let’s be honest: Obama won in a year that was the Democrats’ to lose. He replaces a president with an approval rating of about 25%, and he beat an old man who ran a pretty disjointed and uninspiring campaign. For Republicans to win this race, they would have had to do basically everything right. And they certainly didn’t. I’m just saying, let’s have some perspective on what happened and what was likely to happen.

***

I hope that conservatives will not succomb to the kind of childishness that we’ve seen from the Democrats in the last eight years at every mention of Bush’s name. Obama is our president, and we should honor him as such. We can give him credit for his successes and criticize him when he’s wrong. But let’s try to be classy about it, and remember that if things go well for our country they go well for us.

***

Christians, especially, have a duty to respect and pray for our President. We should not pray that he gets humiliated, falls on his face, or screws things up so badly that he gets tossed out in four years. We should pray that he will govern wisely, that he will listen to good counsel, and that he will learn from his mistakes and work for the good of the country. We should most certainly pray that God will change his heart on the issue of abortion.

***

Praying for and honoring our President as our President is not mutually exclusive with using the political process to work for what we believe is right. So I hope that conservatives will fight. I hope they will be respectful of President Obama, and that they will fight tooth and nail against some of the things he has promised to do. I hope that we won’t take tax increases, the Fairness Doctrine, government-run health care, and especially the Freedom of Choice Act lying down. Filibuster, speak to the people, use parliamentary strategy, whatever it takes that’s legal and ethical. I hope we learn from this election, and the last few years, that we will not succeed by being Democrat Lite.

***

This may prove to be the election where left-leaning evangelicals become useful idiots for the Democratic Party. There is room for debate on many issues, but on abortion there was a clear choice in this election, and many evangelicals voted for a man who was the most radical presidential candidate in history on that issue. If the Freedom of Choice Act passes, we will partly have those evangelicals to thank. (Some have argued that while they disagree with Obama’s stance on this issue, his policies will actually result in fewer abortions. This, to be frank, is bullshit, and I think most of them know it. It’s a cop-out to make them feel better. Read a summary of the Freedom of Choice Act and see how it will help reduce the number of abortions.)

The Democratic Party as it currently stands holds evangelicals and biblical truth in contempt, and some of us are too enamored with the idea of being “edgy” to see it. If we vote for them, we may get praised and invited to their parties, but the things we believe in will make no progress.

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Obama’s messianic complex continues to give me the heebie-jeebies. It was very evident at several points in last night’s speech, where he announced to the world that America had shown we’re still good people by voting for him. As if it wouldn’t be a great country if McCain had won. That kind of thing makes me spitting mad. It also doesn’t bode well for Obama supporters. Those huge crowds of people hanging on every word and gesture are scary, and the things people expect him to accomplish are scary. Obama may turn out to be a good president, but he’ll be a lousy savior, just like every other human.

***

Win or lose, I love this stuff, and I love our country. I love that for nearly two and a half centuries, we’ve had the peaceful transition of power between parties over and over again. As frustrating as it can be, we really do have a great system. For the next few years I’ll have a president who I’ll probably wish weren’t the president. But I’ve had that before, and the world didn’t end.

Things I Miss About my PC (a very short list)

I like my Mac a great deal (witness the recent burst of videos on Blue Sky). And most of the stuff that was weird at first isn’t weird anymore. But there are a few lingering things I wish I could have brought with me when I crossed the great divide.

  1. The Home and End buttons. Did you know, for example, that End takes you all the way to the bottom of a webpage, and Home all the way to the top? Also very helpful when editing type.
  2. The Control button being all the way over to the left, in a very pinky-accessible spot. I’m having real issues with my typing flow. I have to pull my hands all the way off to hit the Command key. I’ve tried to use my thumb but I think it gives me carpal tunnel or something.
  3. The number pad. I realize this doesn’t exist on most PC notebooks either, but still, I miss it. It sits there at my work computer like an old friend you know is always there for you, and then I run home every night with the hot new model. Sorry, old chum.
  4. Picasa. Although iPhoto and I are getting along better the past couple of weeks. I had a great system set up in Picasa, where everything was automatically set up in folders, one for each month. I’m sure I could do that with “events” if I wanted to, but it’d be a workaround. I’m learning that iPhoto is a ridiculously advanced program by comparison, but there’s still a good bit of Picasa nostalgia.
  5. Bibleworks. This is really my fault for not having set up an emulator yet. But come on, Bibleworks. Just delay the next upgrade a couple of years and put out a Mac edition. (I’m reviewing Accordance soon, though, so this all might be moot. But I already know Bibleworks.)

Not bad though, especially when 3 of my 5 are keyboard issues. Vive la revoluciĆ³n.

George W. Bush is Batman.

Novelist and screenwriter Andrew Klavan:

There seems to me no question that the Batman film ‘The Dark Knight’…is at some level a paen of praise to the fortitude and moral courage shown by George W. Bush in this time of terror and war.

You’ll have to take Melissa’s word for it, but I said the same thing the night we saw The Dark Knight.

If you– no, scratch that. No “if.” Just watch this video. Even Klavan’s rabbit trails are brilliant.

Must Read Article

Ralph Peters has a column in yesterday’s New York Post that’s one of the best things I’ve read recently: “Intellectuals Lie, the Powerless Die.” Among the gems:

“Brave” columnists wrote countless columns bemoaning the suffering of the Kurds and the Shia under Saddam Hussein. Their earnest paragraphs didn’t save a single life.

Only when better men acted did the surviving victims of one of the world’s worst dictatorships glimpse freedom – an imperfect freedom but better than a mass grave.

As JT would say, read the whole thing.

(HT: Tim Challies)