No Confidence

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner recently explained [sort of] how the money to bail out banks would be used. The day he offered his explanation, the stock market plummeted. Apparently, his words of assurance did not inspire confidence.

When President Obama gave his first press conference, he actually said there were no pork projects or earmarks in the stimulus bill.

That assertion requires a lot of redefining of words such as “pork” and “earmark.” It will not stand up to scrutiny. If the government keeps saying things that are so blatantly untrue, will the American people eventually catch on?

Keep praying.

The Ultimate Provider

As we listen to all the economic news, and see people who are devastated by the losses they have suffered, we might be tempted to forget some big truths. Some of those big truths can be found in the pen of the Apostle Paul, who suffered in many ways as he labored to spread the Good News. While in prison, he wrote,

Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. I can do all things through Him who strengthens me. (Philippians 4:11-13)

This is the attitude that Christians should be displaying before the world at all times, but particularly in times like these. If we go around burdened down by worry, we are not offering a solid testimony to God’s provision.

Like everyone else, I have watched as my supposed retirement funds have drained away. Beyond that, we have had to spend money in the past few months that was a significant part of our emergency fund. Well, that’s what an emergency fund is for, isn’t it?

In the midst of all this, I have to remember that no bank, no mutual fund, no government promise is my source of provision. God is the ultimate provider, and that’s where my faith must rest.

Paul, later in the same chapter, talks about the generosity of the Philippians, and then says, “And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” That promise must be understood in context. He will supply our needs, but only if we continue to give generously and look to Him as our source. In another place, Paul notes that God loves a cheerful giver. That’s especially true when the giving is more of a sacrifice. But if we remain faithful, He will honor that faithfulness.

Our nation needs to see Christians who respond in this way to the economic crisis. It needs to see a shining manifestation of faith.

Nobody to Blame

 

The blame game is certainly much easier than actual governing. This week, the Senate will pass its version of the stimulus bill, then a conference committee will iron out the differences with the House bill. When all is said and done, and Obama has signed it into law, we will then face the consequences of New Deal II on steroids. As I’ve said before, the first New Deal program didn’t bring prosperity, and neither will this one.

This is not change. This is rehashing old policies that never have worked. And this time there will be nobody else to blame. I only hope the American people will recognize who is responsible for this upcoming disaster.

One caveat: it may not seem so disastrous at first, but the long-term effect will be devastating. We sometimes have a hard time discerning the difference. The long-term is where we need to fix our gaze.

Jesus & Obama–Community Organizers?

Jesus continues to be created in the image of man, and Obama continues to be compared to Jesus. The actress Susan Sarandon recently commented,

He [Obama] is a community organizer like Jesus was, and now we’re a community and he can organize us.

The foolishness of such a statement nearly defies analysis. That’s why Jesus came to earth–to organize communities! How could the church have missed that for the past two centuries? And was Jesus’ economic prescription for society the idea that government spending, which then allegedly will help individuals spend more money, will lead to a new era of prosperity? It must have been, since that is Obama’s message.

Jesus never said any such thing, of course. He had a different prescription for “organizing” society. It starts with each individual, called upon to do the following: repent, stop sinning, exercise faith in God, and continue in obedience to His laws. That prescription applies to all of society, including economic policies.

The "All Roads" Philosophy Is Still Strong

Polls for everything abound these days. There’s a new one out recently from the Pew Research Center that says most Americans who claim a religious affiliation take a non-exclusivist view of salvation, with 65% saying that many religions can lead to eternal life, while less than one-quarter say theirs is the one, true faith leading to eternal life.

That’s among all religiously affiliated Americans, not just Christians. Among those who claim to be Christians (which includes the mainline denominations that have gutted the true faith), a 52% majority believes that some non-Christian faiths can lead to eternal life.

The good news, if you wish to call it that, is that among both white and black evangelical Protestants, the percentage who believe that Christianity is the one true faith has risen in the past year. Should we rejoice that now 49% of evangelical whites and 45% of evangelical blacks actually believe the Christian faith is the only way to salvation? Less than half of both groups believe this.

Here’s the big question: if you call yourself an evangelical Christian, yet don’t believe Jesus’ words that He is the way, the truth, and the life, and that no one can come to the Father except through Him, how can you call yourself a Christian at all?

And we wonder why our nation is in trouble.

How Can He Say This?

President Obama spoke yesterday at the National Prayer Breakfast and stated:

We know there is no God who condones the killing of an innocent human being.

I couldn’t agree more. Now, is he going to follow this statement with action? Is he going to rescind his executive order that allows funding of overseas abortions? Is he going to stand resolutely against the Freedom of Choice Act if it passes Congress? In short, is he going to reverse course on all he has promised and acted upon thus far?

Actions speak louder than words, Mr. President. And some words have no meaning at all if one’s actions contradict them. It’s not too late. You can change course. You said you were for change. Here’s a wonderful opportunity. Provide hope for those awaiting their birth. Yes, we need hope and change.

A Scathing Analysis

I normally don’t import wholesale comments from another blog, but Victor Davis Hanson in National Review has posted a wonderful/terrible/awesome analysis of the problems running rampant in the new administration. I have cut some of the details for the sake of brevity, but it is still a little lengthy. However, if you read to the end, you will have the best overview I have seen thus far. He entitles it “The Impending Obama Meltdown.”

Some of us have been warning that it was not healthy for the U.S. media to have deified rather than questioned Obama, especially given that they tore apart Bush, ridiculed Palin, and caricatured Hillary. And now we can see the results of their two years of advocacy rather than scrutiny.

We are quite literally after two weeks teetering on an Obama implosion—and with no Dick Morris to bail him out—brought on by messianic delusions of grandeur, hubris, and a strange naivete that soaring rhetoric and a multiracial profile can add requisite cover to good old-fashioned Chicago politicking.

First, there were the sermons on ethics, belied by the appointments of tax dodgers, crass lobbyists, and wheeler-dealers like Richardson. (And why does Richardson/Daschle go, but not Geithner?).

Second, was the “stimulus” (the euphemism for “borrow/print money”) that was simply a way to go into debt for a generation to shower Democratic constituencies with cash.

Then third, there were the inflated lectures on historic foreign policy to be made by the clumsy political novice who trashed his own country and his predecessor in the most ungracious manner overseas to a censured Saudi-run press organ.

Fourth, there was the campaign rhetoric of Bush shredding the Constitution—FISA, Guantanamo, Patriot Act, Iraq, renditions, etc.—followed by “all that for now stays the same” inasmuch as we haven’t ben hit in over seven years and can’t risk another attack.

Fifth, Gibbs as press secretary is a Scott McClellan nightmare that won’t go away, given his long McClellan-like relationship with Obama (McClellan should have been fired on day hour one on the job). Blaming Fox News for Obama’s calamities is McClellan to the core and doesn’t work. He already reminds me of Rev. Wright’s undoing at the National Press Club—and he will get worse.

Six, Biden is being Biden. Already, he’s ridiculed the chief justice, trashed the former VP, bragged on himself ad nauseam in Bidenesque weird ways, and it’s only been two weeks.

And the result of all this?

At home, Obama is becoming laughable and laying the groundwork for the greatest conservative populist reaction since the Reagan Revolution.

Abroad, some really creepy people are lining up to test Obama’s world view of “Bush did it/but I am the world”: The North Koreans are readying their missiles; the Iranians are calling us passive, bragging on nukes and satellites; Russia is declaring missile defense is over and the Euros in real need of iffy Russian gas; Pakistanis say no more drone attacks (and then our friends the Indians say “shut up” about Kashmir and the Euros order no more ‘buy American”).

This is quite serious. I can’t recall a similarly disastrous start in a half-century (far worse than Bill Clinton’s initial slips). Obama immediately must lower the hope-and-change rhetoric, ignore Reid/Pelosi, drop the therapy, and accept the tragic view that the world abroad is not misunderstood but quite dangerous. If he doesn’t quit the messianic style and perpetual campaign mode, and begin humbly governing, then he will devolve into Carterism—angry that the once-fawning press betrayed him while we the people, due to our American malaise, are to blame.