A Few Post-Election Thoughts

From the cheap seats..

  1. I thought Romney would get a solid win. Boy, was I wrong.
  2. Pro-life politicians need to learn how to speak clearly, carefully, and winsomely at all times. That may be an impossible standard, given the media and electorate.
  3. People (including me) are fond of thinking that America is a center-right country that sometimes elects liberals to govern. I think we need to re-think that thought.
  4. It’s an odd country where the electorate is profoundly dissatisfied with the direction of the country and then votes for the status quo.
  5. Faithfulness begat Prosperity, and the daughter devoured the mother. Cotton Mather
  6. The Democratic Party (and portions of the Republican party) has successfully turned politics into a religion. I’d be willing to bet that a large number of people voted for their candidate because they identified with his “tribe,” while being largely ignorant of his specific proposals.
  7. We may have reached the tipping point from a growth economy to a transfer economy. A growth economy enlarges the pie and lifts all boats (to mix metaphors). A transfer economy manages a shrinking pie. We just voted to fight over the shrinking pie.
  8. We’re witnessing the triumph of envy, resentment, and blame-shifting in American culture. The President ran ads saying that Romney is “not one of us.” He stirred up crowds with “voting is the best revenge.” For his entire first term, he blamed America’s woes on George W. Bush, House Republicans, the Japanese Tsunami, and so on. And 51% of the American people rewarded him for it. Class warfare worked. Demonizing success worked. And I’m going to go out on a limb and say that it worked because many of us are full of envy and resentment ourselves, and because we hate to take responsibility for our actions.
  9. The President vocally, clearly, and persistently advocated for same-sex marriage and the right to abortion. A substantial portion of the American people gladly embrace the culture of death.
  10. A sign of the times: A woman’s right to make herself barren is considered a part of reproductive rights.
  11. Jethro on leaders: Choose men who fear God and hate a bribe. Obama: Vote for me and I’ll keep the free abortifacients coming.
  12. This looks to me like a “father hunger” election. A fatherless generation is looking for a Father in Washington. The President won single women by 38%. The President, as a man abandoned by his own father, is in a unique position to appeal to the needs, desires, and fears of the fatherless (there’s a deep connection between father hunger, sexual “freedom,” and envy). He put out a famous ad about the life of Julia, a single woman who has most of her needs provided for her by the federal government, from high school through old age. In the liberal vision, the State replaces the father as the direct provider for the family. I predict that the State will make a lousy dad.
  13. On the father hunger note, I think Wilson’s book on the subject is probably one of the most important books on connecting the dots between fathers, envy, provision, abortion, environmentalism, homosexuality, the welfare state, and the gospel. Here’s a quotation I thought of last night: “Chesterton says somewhere that free love, sexual laxity, is the first and most obvious bribe that can be offered to a slave. The kind of freedoms for which the Left—ever friendly to the burgeoning state—agitates are the kind that can be indulged in a six by eight prison cell. You can look at porn in such a cell, you can fornicate in a cell, you can smoke dope, and so on. In contrast, the kind of liberties that conservatives want people to have are the liberties that allow them to move around the country, settle wherever they want, start a business, make money, and most important, keep that money in order to feed their families.” (Doug Wilson, Father Hunger)
  14. Get ready for the further Balkanization of America, the division of people along racial, class, and generational lines. I predict increasing generational conflict (old versus young, parents versus their children), centered around abortion, end-of-life health care decisions, euthanasia, the solvency of Medicare and Social Security, job creation, and so forth. Class warfare and the demonization of “the rich” (or at least the wrong kind of rich) will continue. And I have no idea how to think about racial polarization in the age of Obama.
  15. This is the flowering of the 1960’s sexual revolution (and associated movements). The media, government schools, universities, and culture-makers are overwhelmingly progressive and hostile to the gospel and the Scriptures. As someone said, you can’t fight a culture war if you don’t have a culture. Seems to me that figuring out what a godly culture is and cultivating it within our churches and communities is one of the chief challenges for Christians.
  16. Some day President Obama and all those who support the murder of unborn children will stand before the God who gives life. That’s a terrifying consolation.
  17. Upside: We’ll get to learn what it’s like to be Jeremiah and Ezekiel when Nebuchadnezzar was on his way to Jerusalem. I’ve always been curious.
  18. A hermeneutical question for Bible-believing Christians: Does God still judge nations today for specific sins, and do we have the ability to recognize his intentions in historical events? Natural disasters, willful blindness of leaders, societal disintegration: are these God’s judgment for specific sins and how can we know? It seems to me that recovering our prophetic voice means learning to stand in God’s counsel and then to interpret the present time in light of God’s authoritative word.
  19. A practical question for Bible-believing Christians: Will we hold the line on the Bible’s teaching on sexuality and gender in the face of increasing hostility, opposition, and marginalization? Will we continue to be the 7000 who don’t bow the knee to Baal?
  20. Here’s what I’m preaching to myself in light of the country’s downward trajectory:
    1. Love your wife. May she never desire to look to the State for provision and protection.
    2. Love your boys. May they never pray in their hearts, “Our Father which art in Washington.”
    3. Teach your students. May they think and feel and live like Christians all the way down.
    4. Pray for the mercy and justice of God. May His kingdom come and His will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
    5. Remember that there are only two ways to live and two ways to die. And in God’s world, faithful death is always followed by resurrection.
    6. Cultivate a genuine counter-culture where God has planted you. Generational love and faithfulness; honor to godly authorities; wise husbands and fathers who provide for their households; strong wives and mothers who don’t fear what is frightening; care for widows, orphans, and the unborn and their mothers; and a readiness to give gospel love when the Lie comes undone.
    7. Hope in God and laugh at the time to come.

“Science, Not Ideology” [Living in an Obama Nation]

A couple of days ago President Obama rescinded the Bush-era ban on federal funding for embryonic stem cell research. In laymen’s terms, your tax dollars will now be used to do research on embryonic human beings. This, despite the fact that scientists have made great progress in research on adult stem cells which don’t require the destruction of human beings.

What’s more, the order apparently even revokes authorization for the latter kind of stem cell research, the kind that no one objects to. That’s right. In the name of science and healing people, we’re going to stop the research that works and is morally okay in favor of the unproven, morally-objectionable kind. Hope and Change.

Here’s a sampling of the President’s speech about this new policy:

“In recent years, when it comes to stem cell research, rather than furthering discovery, our government has forced what I believe is a false choice between sound science and moral values. In this case, I believe the two are not inconsistent. As a person of faith, I believe we are called to care for each other and work to ease human suffering. I believe we have been given the capacity and will to pursue this research — and the humanity and conscience to do so responsibly.”

Got that? Obama believes it; that settles it. And don’t forget, he’s “a person of faith,” which is kind of like saying “he’s a person that’s breathing.” Apparently, the content of that faith is his right as supreme leader to force people through coercive taxation to pay for wicked research. Some creed.

Oh, and don’t forget: we’re “called to care for each other and work to ease human suffering.”*

*”Unless you live in a womb somewhere. Or a laboratory. Then your reason for existing (or not) is to alleviate the rest of our suffering. At the expense of your life.”

And though it’s not a popular comparison, and kind of inflammatory, the Nazi’s also had the “capacity,” and “will” to pursue their research. And their “consciences” were just as seared as President Obama’s.

“Promoting science isn’t just about providing resources — it’s also about protecting free and open inquiry. It’s about letting scientists like those who are here today do their jobs, free from manipulation or coercion, and listening to what they tell us, even when it’s inconvenient — especially when it’s inconvenient. It is about ensuring that scientific data is never distorted or concealed to serve a political agenda — and that we make scientific decisions based on facts, not ideology.”

This quotation relates exactly to my point about the evangelical appeal to science in the public square. The President’s hubris notwithstanding, this executive order is so full of ideology that it’s coming out his ears. “Science” is being co-opted by idolatrous and wicked ideology. The appeal to “the facts” is simply masking that ideology.

Which is why to try to have this debate purely at the level of science is a recipe for failure. There are fundamental idolatries at work here. Sacrifices must be offered; the “priests” who run the abortion racket must be paid off. Science is just trotted out to give the whole thing an air of legitimacy.

Meanwhile, Rick Warren isn’t commenting on any of this because he doesn’t like to comment on political matters and evangelicals are busy printing “Wild About Horses” Bibles and doing altar calls with text messages, just like Jesus told us to.

But in all of this, we must remember that God still reigns over the universe and he will judge this nation and all nations in due time. We may be slouching toward Babylon at the moment, but we can take comfort in God’s preservation of his people. There will always be the 7,000 who have not bowed the knee to Baal (Romans 11:1-6). And when God acts to establish justice among the nations, it will be because he first acted to establish true worship in the hearts of his people.

So, before you go to bed tonight, read a psalm, sing a hymn with your family, and offer up some glad-hearted prayers of supplication, with gratitude in your heart to God. “Commit your way to the Lord, and he will act. His steadfast love endures forever.”

For more articles on the embryonic stem cell issue, Justin Taylor has a good list of articles.

If You Have $4 and You Spend $7… [Living in an Obama Nation]

Frightening, but not all that surprising. (HT: Ryan Griffith)

As the Obama administration pushes through Congress its $800 billion deficit-spending economic stimulus plan, the American public is largely unaware that the true deficit of the federal government already is measured in trillions of dollars, and in fact its $65.5 trillion in total obligations exceeds the gross domestic product of the world.

I checked with someone I trust on financial and economic matters, and while it’s difficult to know the exact numbers, the basic premise of the article is sound. And in case you missed it: We owe more money than exists in the world. Only the United States government could accomplish such a feat.

When I read the story, it reminded me of Matt Chandler’s talk at the recent Desiring God Conference for Pastors. At one point, he cracked a joke about debt in which he imagined a hypothetical Christian worship leader writing a song that said, “If you have $4 and you spend $7, that’s dumb.”

So what is it if you have a couple trillion, but you spend 65 trillion? Oh, and what if, technically-speaking, the only work you did in order to get it was promising people that you would give them things, and that you did such lofty work as the representatives of the people who will inevitably pay for your insanity?

I love the last line of the story.

“The federal government is bankrupt,” Williams told WND. “In a post-Enron world, if the federal government were a corporation such as General Motors, the president and senior Treasury officers would be in federal penitentiary.”

For related thoughts on the Government’s game of Grabby-Grabby, see this one by Doug Wilson.

The Globo-Obanomics Report [Living in an Obama Nation]

Trying to understand economics is somewhat of a hobby of mine. I’m no expert, so all analyses should be taken with a huge shaker of salt. I’ve read some good books on the subject, books that make sense to me and seem to jive nicely with The Book. So periodically, I’ll put together a post like this that highlights things that I find on the internets.

1. In a post that was practically made for Unintended Consequences, Will Wilkinson highlights the fallout of the government’s past push for home-ownership for every American. In a nutshell,

Government-subsidized borrowing gave us the housing bubble, precipitated financial Armageddon, helped prompt recession and mass unemployment. But, as the infomercials say, that’s not all! By zealously pushing home-ownership, federal housing policy has pinned to the map many now-jobless Americans who otherwise would have moved to find new work.

In other words, the government forced banks and lending companies to lower their standards so that more people could “have a piece of the American Dream.” People bought more house than they could afford, the housing bubble burst, the economy cratered, those same people are now losing their jobs, and…. they can’t move to find new jobs because they’re stuck in their piece of the American Dream. And no one saw it coming.

2. Here’s a little historical perspective on the relationship between government action in the New Deal and the prolonging of the Depression Previously Known as The Great.

Why wasn’t the Depression followed by a vigorous recovery, like every other cycle? It should have been. The economic fundamentals that drive all expansions were very favorable during the New Deal…So what stopped a blockbuster recovery from ever starting? The New Deal. Some New Deal policies certainly benefited the economy by establishing a basic social safety net through Social Security and unemployment benefits, and by stabilizing the financial system through deposit insurance and the Securities Exchange Commission. But others violated the most basic economic principles by suppressing competition, and setting prices and wages in many sectors well above their normal levels. All told, these antimarket policies choked off powerful recovery forces that would have plausibly returned the economy back to trend by the mid-1930s.

Well, at least we learned our lesson.

3. And now for a little economic apocalypticism from Peter Schiff. In the short interview on the left side of the screen, Schiff thinks the economic “stimulus” will be “an unmitigated disaster.” He predicts a crisis of the dollar, hyper-inflation, and the collapse of the current consumer economy resulting in an Even Greater Depression. I’m wary of Chicken-Little-style sermons, but Schiff has been predicting a collapse like this for some time, and he seems to have more economic sense than both houses of Congress.

4. Finally, if you’re like me, you listen to someone like Schiff and you start to panic a little. “What happens if the economy does go belly up?” Anxiety starts to well up in the heart, sin crouches at the door, and you start to get the economic equivalent of a bad case of indigestion. If that happens, I would heartily commend John Piper’s message “What Is the Recession For?” from a couple of weeks ago, as well as a couple of posts from Doug Wilson (here and here).

Remember: The Market is not sovereign; it does not run the world. Jesus does, and of all people, that should give those who belong to him a mighty dose of mind-blowing, soul-anchoring peace.

With A Straight Face [Living in an Obama Nation]

Earlier this week President Obama attended the National Prayer Breakfast. His full remarks can be found here. One portion caught my eye:

But no matter what we choose to believe, let us remember that there is no religion whose central tenet is hate. There is no God who condones taking the life of an innocent human being. This much we know.

And he said it with a straight face.

UPDATE: For related thoughts, see this one by Doug Wilson.

Can You Imagine A Billion? Part Deux [Living in an Obama Nation]

With the popularity of the “Print More Money And Mortgage Our Children’s Future Stimulus Package” (or whatever they’re calling it these days) on the wane, Republicans seem to be smelling some blood in the water. They’ve decided to try to help people imagine how much money President Obama, Nancy Pelosi, and Harry Reid are proposing to beg, steal, and borrow to pay for all the stuff that needs a-fixing. From Senator Mitch McConnell:

To give the proposed economic stimulus plan some perspective, “if you started the day Jesus Christ was born and spent $1 million every day since then, you still wouldn’t have spent $1 trillion.”

So can you imagine a trillion? I still can’t. But that sure helps put in perspective.

(HT: Jim Geraghty)

“Dominus Iesus” [Living in an Obama Nation]

Wyman Richardson is a Southern Baptist pastor in Georgia. He recently had the opportunity to give a devotional before the Georgia House of Representatives. I think it is fantastic, and precisely the kind of thing that Christian leaders need to be saying. Out loud. In Public. Often.

So you must understand that for believers in Jesus Christ “Jesus is Lord” forms not only the content of our faith, it forms our understanding of reality.  This is why some of us scratch our heads at the fear of some to pray in His name or to proclaim with joy this great and glorious truth.  It is why many of us are confused at the occasional hesitance of Christian officials to allow their convictions on the Lordship of Christ to guide their actions in public office.  I understand that you Representatives who are Christians weren’t elected to be pastors, but might I remind you that you were called an “Ambassador” by God before you were called a “Representative” by the state of Georgia?  May I remind you that “Jesus is Lord” doesn’t stop being true when “The House is in session” is true?

I don’t know how to cut “Dominus Iesus” off.  Perhaps this is what C.S. Lewis was talking about when he said, “I believe in Christianity as I believe the sun rises.  Not because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.”

It occurs to many of us that the abandonment of “Jesus is Lord” is not merely the abandonment of a certain set of religious truths, it is the abandonment of life itself, and so we cling stubbornly but hopefully to these three great words:  words that have sustained Christian martyrs in persecution, have lifted suffering people above their most difficult trials, have fueled the joyful singing of countless congregations throughout the ages, have stirred simple believers the world over to lives of greater service, sacrifice, and accomplishments, have inspired the greatest painters and poets and authors of Western civilization to create masterpieces, and have given hope to the unknown, the forgotten, and the downtrodden.  These words have also changed my life, even as I struggle to live up to the full implications of their meaning for my life.  And I believe these are the only words that will ultimately change yours as well.

So I leave you with this:  “Dominus Iesus.  Jesus is Lord.”

Read the whole thing. And pray for more pastors (and politicians and pundits) with this kind of winsome courage.

Can You Imagine A Billion? [Living in an Obama Nation]

Bear with me and try a little experiment: Imagine 10 M&M’s laying on a table. Got it? Now imagine 100 M&M’s on the same table.

Now, if someone asked, could you explain the difference in relative size between the 10 and the 100? My guess is that you could.

Now imagine 1 billion M&M’s. Got it? Okay, now imagine 100 billion M&M’s. Now explain the difference in relative size.

Trickier, isn’t it?

I used this illustration in my class today to make a point that C.S. Lewis made in his book The Discarded Image. He’s discussing the size of the cosmos in the medieval perspective as opposed to our modern perspective.

For thought and imagination, ten million miles and a thousand million miles are much the same. Both can be conceived (that is, we can do sums with both) and neither can be imagined; and the more imagination we have the better we shall know this. The really important difference is that the medieval universe, while unimaginably large, was also unambiguously finite.

See the point? While it’s possible to explain the difference between 1 billion M&M’s and 100 billion (we can do the math), we can’t imagine it. The number is just too large. Talking about and imagining the difference between traveling 30 miles or 300 miles is meaningful. One is the distance from my house to Wisconsin. The other is the distance to Canada. And if I use Google Maps, I know about how long it will take me to get to either one.

But as soon as we get up into the really big numbers, the kind that end with “-illions,” we cease to have any sense of proportion. This has certain results on our thinking about “big” and “small.” Lewis continues:

[O]ne unexpected result of this [the difference between the modern conception of the universe as being unimaginably and inconceivably large and the medieval conception of a spectacularly large but finite space] is to make the smallness of the Earth more vividly felt. In our universe she is small, no doubt; but so are the galaxies, so is everything–and so what? But in theirs there was an absolute standard of comparison.

The result of this is that for us moderns to talk about the distance from here to the moon as compared to the distance to the sun is about as meaningful as two kids betting which one is going to flinch first in bloody knuckles (“I bet you a bazillion dollars.” “Oh yeah. I bet you a gazillion trillion dollars.” “Oh yeah, I bet you a billion trillion banana-fanana bobillion, fee-fi-mo-million dollars…”)

[PAUSE for random joke]

Since I will, Lord willing, be spotlighting the insanity of our current president over the next four years, I might as well use this one while it is still fresh in everyone’s mind:

One of President Bush’s advisors was updating him on casualty reports from the war. The advisor said, “Mr. President, I have some bad news. There was a firefight in Baghdad today and 3 Brazilian soldiers died.”

President Bush’s face went white. He stumbled to his desk and leaned on it for support. Finally, with trembling voice, he asked, “How many is a brazillion?”

[RESUMING NORMAL POST]

The point is that the problem of unfathomably large numbers is a distinctly modern one, and that it is, in fact, a problem. And, in case we needed another reminder, our duly elected officials just passed an 819 billion dollar “stimulus” package. For those keeping track, that’s $819,000,000,000. When interest over the next four years is factored in, it’s more like 1.1 trillion ($1,100,000,000,000).

This isn’t money that they actually have. They will either borrow it from someone stupid enough to trust them, or they will fire up the trusty printing presses and create it from nothing. What could go wrong?

A year ago, Congress was debating whether to expand a certain healthcare program by $30 billion. There was enough opposition that the proposed spending didn’t make it through. That’s a drop in the bucket compared to the new spending. And this is on top of the already huge government debt.

I seriously wonder if, when they’re putting these bills together, they have a competition to see who can name the biggest number. I guess if they ever pass a bill to spend “infinity dollars,” we’ll know.

The Leaders We Deserve [Living in an Obama Nation]

Not sure if anyone who reads this blog has been following the confirmation of Barack Obama’s Cabinet, but I thought this comment from Peter Kirsanow was pretty funny:

So . . . we’re going to have a tax cheat in charge of the IRS, a man instrumental in the pardoning of terrorists as top terrorism watchdog, and a woman whose husband gets tens of millions from foreign governments in charge of implementing foreign policy.

Hope and Change!

Praying in Jesus’ Name Part Deux [Living in an Obama Nation]

Much to the delight of God-fearing Christians everywhere, and more importantly, to the delight of God himself, Rick Warren delivered a great inaugural prayer. The video is below and the transcript can be found here.

In my judgment, the three most important parts of this prayer are as follows:

1. Warren addressed it to the one God and Father, who created and owns all things for his glory, as revealed in the Scriptures.

2. Warren referred directly to the final judgment when “one day, all nations–and all people–will stand accountable before you.”

3. Warren closed with the Lord’s Prayer, filled as it is with the hallowing of the Father’s name, the coming of God’s kingdom, the provision of our Father, the deliverance from real evil, the forgiveness of real trespasses, and the acknowledgment of God’s kingdom, power, and glory forever.

Amen and Amen!

Hoping and Fearing on Inauguration Day [Living in an Obama Nation]

Immediately after Obama was elected, I wrote a short list of hopes and fears regarding his imminent presidency. On some of them, I fear that the fear will become reality. On others, I’m hopeful that the hope will come to fruition. Either way, I think that we can all be praying that Jesus Christ would exercise his wise and just rule through our new president.

Hope: That an Obama presidency will actually enable this country to transcend its racial divisions and enter a new era in which skin color ceases to be the way that we categorize each other.

Fear: That racism (of both the black and white variety) and race-baiting and race-mongering will continue unabated as all criticism of the President is deemed “racist” and those committed to perpetuating racial divisions will capitalize on this opportunity.

Hope: That Obama repents of his support for the Culture of Death in this country and comes to embrace the preciousness of all human life.

Fear: That he’ll make good on his campaign promises to roll-back what pro-life legislation is in place (Partial-birth abortion bans, parental notification laws, and prevention of taxpayer-funded abortion).

Hope: That President Obama will acknowledge the success of our troops in Iraq and seek to withdraw them in a responsible, measured way that doesn’t undercut our current security gains.

Fear: That he will succumb to the anti-war pressure and pull our troops out precipitously, plunging the region into deeper conflict.

Hope: That President Obama will welcome dissent and display the open-mindedness that so many have assured us that he has.

Fear: That when the going gets tought, he will stifle criticism and overpower opposition through thug-like tactics.

Hope: That he will govern like Clinton (NAFTA, welfare reform).

Fear: That he will govern like Carter (fuel shortages, crippling tax rates).

Hope: That President Obama will accept responsibility when his best-laid plans don’t have the desired effect.

Fear: That he will shift blame from himself to Congress, Republicans, Bush, or his staff.

Hope: That he will acknowledge the current economic realities and cut back on some of his spending projects and abstain from raising tax rates in a slow economy.

Fear: That he makes good on his desire to “spread the wealth around” and offer “tax cuts” to those who don’t pay income taxes in the first place.

As you can see, some of these are looking more optimistic than others. I’ve been encouraged by Obama’s public open-mindedness (and hope it’s not just a show). His thoughtfulness on bringing our troops home responsibly is encouraging, as is his decision to keep Robert Gates as Secretary of Defense in the short-term.

So far on the economy, he’s indicated mixed messages (no tax increases, but still pushing for gobs of new spending to “jump-start” the economy). The race question and accepting responsibility are, and will remain, open questions for a while.

And, most significantly for me, the signals he’s sending with respect to abortion are not good.

But Christ still reigns over history, and last time I checked, is still able to knock men off their horses (or motorcades) in order to call them to himself. Here’s hoping that the Road to the White House has a Damascus-flavor to it.

Praying in Jesus’ Name [Living in an Obama Nation]

So the word on the street is that evangelical super-pastor Rick Warren will pray in Jesus’ name tomorrow at the inauguration of Barack Obama. Evangelicals are rightly thankful that Warren has the courage to invoke Jesus during his prayer, rather than simply praying insipid sentiments to the “god of our many understandings” or whoever the latest, greatest, and vaguest god of the pomo pantheon happens to be.

But as we rejoice at the courage of one of our own, let us be clear why we are rejoicing. Obama has invoked Jesus and preached in churches, all the while endorsing the slaughter of “the least of these.” Praying in Jesus’ name and doing what Jesus says are not the same thing. After all, “Many will say to me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not…'” (Matthew 7:22-23).

Lest I be misunderstood, I’m not questioning Rick Warren’s conversion, commitment, courage, or patriotism (hah!). In fact, I’m thrilled that he’s willing to ignore the secularist outcry and ask for God’s help in the name of his Son. I’m simply noting that we’re Christians and, as such, we must be clear on why it’s important to “pray in Jesus’ name.”

1. We pray in Jesus’ name because Jesus is the Creator and Sustainer of all things. He made the world and governs it still (John 1:3, Colossians 1:15-17)

2. We pray in Jesus’ name because Jesus, as the crucified and risen Messiah, is Lord of heaven and earth. “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.” All authority. Not some authority. All authority. And as such, all human beings, including presidents, vice-presidents, Supreme Court justices, congressman, and all the huddled masses yearning to breathe the air of Obama, are required to bow the knee and gladly acknowledge that Christ is King.

3. We pray in Jesus’ name because Jesus is the great high priest who intercedes for us with the Father (Romans 8:34; Hebrews 4:14-16) .

4. We pray in Jesus’ name because Jesus is the only one who can actually answer prayer. Bishop Gene’s “god of our many understandings” may be great on some kind of leftist Hallmark card, but when push comes to shove and we want to actually get something done for the good of the people, I want King Jesus acting on my behalf. He crushed the dragon, disarmed the rulers and authorities, and will one day return with his hair on fire and a sword coming out of his mouth. Our God conquered death; you think an economic crisis can stop him?

And reasons could be multiplied. But as Christians, it is crucial that we are clear that when we pray in Jesus’ name, we are not merely adding Jesus to the panoply of gods in the room. This ain’t Hinduism or ancient Greece where our attitude is “praying to one more god certainly can’t hurt.” Jesus runs this place. America (along with Saudi Arabia, Iran, Germany, Bangladesh, Japan, and all the rest) belongs to him.

My eager hope (and prayer!) is that tomorrow, with the entire nation and indeed the world watching, that Rick Warren lifts up a heartfelt, kingdom-oriented prayer to the Triune God of Scripture in the name of Jesus Christ for the good of this nation and the rest of the world.

Maranatha.

Reagan’s First Inaugural Address (1981)

I watched Reagan’s 1st Inaugural Address over at Denny Burk’s blog this morning (Denny’s been posting the inaugurals going all the way back to Coolidge).

The themes he addressed were very similar to the ones that we will here addressed tomorrow by President Obama. Words like “economic crisis,” and “terrorism” appear throughout. However, the solutions Reagan spoke of were markedly different from what we are likely to hear tomorrow. I recommend a listen for comparison purposes.