Friday, September 26, 2008

The Tale of Two Sisters

Yesterday I got a forwarded email from a dear friend (whom I'll call Miss B for this post). She prefaced the email by saying she didn't care whether Snopes or anyone else disputed who authored the statement, but that she agreed with its content. The jist of the statement (reportedly written by an 80-year-old Democrat) described the differences between American's attitudes and behaviors during WWII as opposed to American's attitudes and behaviors during the current war.

The author talked about how Americans once honored the office of President, even if they did not agree with the office holder. He recounted the sacrifices men, women and children made during WWII and how the nation rallied together with a common purpose of defeating the enemy. He recalled the support of the media for the nation's cause and how entertainers offered their public support rather than public criticism.

At the end of the email, another writer decried Obama's statement that "we are no longer a Christian nation," and called on Christians to pray for our nation. (You can hear Obama's comment here and read more about it here.)

A couple of hours later, I got a rebuttal email from my friend's sister (whom I also love and who will be called Miss E for this post). She took the position that we are still a Christian nation, that a lot of wrong things have been done in the name of Christianity, and that we all just need to love each other.

A little later, I got Miss B's rebuttal to Miss E's rebuttal. After I stopped laughing at the tit-for-tat between the sisters (they're quite a hoot and couldn't be more different), I began thinking about the underlying issues. And, I just had to weigh in on it.

We are a nation at war. Our war is on several fronts. The most obvious is the one involving our troops in Iraq. Every night before my nine-year-old son goes to sleep, he prays for "peace in Iraq and that our troops come home safely." We all need to pray that prayer.

The second front is the global war on terror. There really are evil people in the world. Some of those evil people really hate the U.S. and want to do us harm. They are willing to sacrifice women and children in their cowardly efforts.

The third front is the war for the heart and mind of our nation. It is more than a culture war. It is a spiritual war. We all are aware of the atrocities committed in the name of Jesus over the last 2,000 years. We as Christians have repented and need to continue to repent for that. But I think Miss E's approach is incredibly naive and misses the seriousness of this third kind of war. This is a war that won't be settled by singing Kumbayah and passing the s'mores around the campfire. This a war that can only be fought on our knees.

I feel like our nation is the frog in the pot. The heat has been turned up gradually and we're not even aware that the temperature is rising to the boiling point and to our peril.

Am I saying that people of other faiths shouldn't live in the United States? Of course not.

I am saying, however, that when we entertain the idea (whether intentionally or by apathy) that our nation should no longer be Judeo-Christian so that everyone feels comfortable, we need to understand the consquences of that. Especially if we ignore the tenets of Islam.

Under Islamic law and tradition, everything would be different -- from who could sit with us at a table in a restaurant to our freedom to gather at His Table each week.

Under Islamic law and tradition, I wouldn't be able to write this post. My daughter wouldn't get to pursue her passion for ballet because she wouldn't be allowed to wear a leotard or tutu in public. Under Islamic law and tradition, Sarah wouldn't be allowed to run for Vice President.

I'm not ready to give in to that. Are you?

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Sarah Is Feminine

When I look at Sarah Palin, I see femininity. True femininity. And, that's a refreshing change in the political world.

Six years ago I attended The Journey to Wholeness in Christ, a ministry of Christ Anglican Church in Mobile. Conlee and Signa Bodishbaugh taught the concept of the true feminine and the true masculine. Signa has written a book by the same title which I highly recommend. At the conference and in the book, she teaches that because we are created in the image of God, we all have both feminine and masculine characteristics.

Unredeemed, we live out of false sense of self, exhibiting both false masculine and false feminine attributes.

The false masculine is characterized by:
  • activism
  • a drive for power
  • domination
  • sexual conquest
  • materialism
  • psuedo-intellectualism
  • manipulation
  • hyper-spirituality
  • intimidation
  • aggressiveness

The false feminine is characterized by:

  • passivity
  • seduction
  • deception
  • codependence
  • sentimentality
  • gullibility
  • manipulation
  • hyper-spirituality
  • self-pity
  • sloth

When we are redeemed and renewed in Christ, we can be transformed into the true masculine and true feminine. Our nature is restored into the image of God with both masculine and feminine characteristics. One may have a dominant tendency toward the feminine or the masculine, but everyone has some of both.

Those who display the true masculine:

  • initiate
  • organize
  • analyze
  • edit
  • define
  • set boundaries
  • construct

Those who display the true feminine:

  • respond
  • receive
  • nurture
  • intuit
  • sense
  • perceive
  • feel

Whew! That's a lot to absorb. But, as you look at the characteristics of the false self, I see the pantsuit brigade. They often display the characteristics of the false masculine. Strident. Harsh. Aggressive. Taken one step further, they become mean-spirited, haughty, proud, and arrogant.

When some hear the word "feminine," they hear "weak." Unredeemed, feminine is weak and whiny and pathetic. Redeemed, however, femininity is strong, confident, receptive, and humble.

So, I'm thrilled that Sarah Palin has a healthy dose of the true feminine and the true masculine; she operates out of a true sense of self. She has the ability to initiate, organize, analyze, and define. She also senses, perceives, intuits. That is a strong, healthy combination of attributes. And, it makes for a strong leader. One we desperately need.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Sarah Is Capable

Wife. Mother. Daughter. Sister. Aunt.

Council member. Mayor. Oil & Gas Commission Chair. Governor.

As a wife, Sarah has supported Todd in every endeavor. She's been there to cheer him on in the 2000-mile snow machine race. She's held down the fort when he's been gone a week at a time to the North Slope. And, she's worked alongside him in the family commercial fishing venture. Not glamorous work. Hard, physical labor.

As a mother, Sarah has unconditionally loved and supported her children. She's been the PTA mom, the hockey mom, the youth group mom. She's also been the mom who has, by word and example, continued to love her children no matter their limitations or mistakes. What a rich heritage for them. We should honor her as a mother.

As a politician, Sarah always has entered the race as the underdog. Maybe that's one of the many reasons she has so much appeal to ordinary Americans. We love the scrappy fighter who consistently advocates for what she believes is important in her community.

She is the only vice presidential candidate with both executive and regulatory experience. She knows what it means to balance not only the family checkbook, but the State of Alaska's budget. She understands the decisions mothers across the country make every day (whether to buy her child's new shoes this month or wait until next month). And, she's made those kinds of fiscal decisions on a much larger scale (pay $382 million for a bridge for 50 citizens or find another way to meet their needs). We need that kind of common sense approach and we need it now.

Sarah has been willing to blow the whistle on the unethical tactics of her colleagues -- even to her own political peril. She has not blinked.

Regardless of the rhetoric and pithy sound-bites from the other side, I believe Sarah is capable. She is smart. She is a quick study. She has insight and wisdom. And, I would say, she has the gift of discernment. She is precisely the kind of leader we need in the 21st century.

Sarah Is Pro-Life

Okay, I know some people say you can't let a single issue be the litmus test for your vote. But, life matters. To me, it really matters.

If we as a people are not willing to protect the most innocent and vulnerable, what does that say about us? That life only matters when it's convenient? That it only matters when it fits in our career plan? That it only matters when we have enough money, or the right house or the right person in our life? That it only matters when we think the child we're carrying is perfect?

The opposing side says a woman should have choice as it relates to her body. Well, she does have a choice -- she has a choice to protect herself from becoming pregnant by whatever means she prefers. It's the old freedom with responsibility thing.

I've been the beneficiary of two women who decided to give life in the midst of really difficult circumstances and I'm eternally grateful. After losing six babies in miscarriage, I was honored to adopt a daughter in China and a son in Nepal. The birth mothers of my children chose to protect them, give them life. Their decisions must have been difficult. But they chose life. In doing that, they gave the world two amazing people. And, the world is so much richer for that.

I often wonder who's missing in the world. Who should have been here? What contribution is the world missing because they're not here?

To me life matters. It matters to Sarah, too.

Sarah Palin is pro-life. Really. Always. She's pro-life when her doctor reveals her son has an extra chromosome. She's pro-life when she's about to be a grandmother at 44. She walks the talk. That says a lot about her character, her priorities, her faith.

I Like Sarah

I like Sarah Palin.

There. I said it.

Over the next few weeks, I'm going to try to articulate why I like her and why I think she is a credible candidate for the vice presidency. The reasons won't be in order of priority. They'll just be written as I think, ponder, and have time to write.