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Archive for February, 2010

Partisianship may save America

Posted by Chance on February 22, 2010

The Star Wars prequel trilogy is not the greatest series of films, but they are vastly underrated in their depiction of how power corrupts.  In Star Wars II there is a scene in which Anakin and Padme are talking about the Republic.  Anakin discusses how the Republic is slow to take action, and he wishes one person was in charge to make things happen at will.  In Star Wars III, we see this realized as Senator Palpatine becomes the galactic Emperor.

Many times we identify with Anakin’s point of view.  We want government to act, to quickly solve problems.  When we talk about a good politician, we want someone who reaches across the aisle to get things done.  There have been many times where I have been dismayed by the lack of change in our government and how partisanship prevents things from getting done.

However, as my political beliefs have become more libertarian in nature, I have actually started to prefer a government that does much less, and this is accomplished many times through divided government, that is, the legislative and executive branches belonging to different parties.  When we have divided government, fewer things get done, such as laws that affect our everyday lives and regulations that impact businesses, and less of our money gets spent.  When these two branches belong to the same party, government grows massively.  This is true regardless of which party is in power.  Many limited government conservatives hated the amount of money Bush spent from 2001 to 2006 and were glad to see spending slow down somewhat when Democrats took after the 06 election.   Ideally, the government would follow the Constitution much more closely, but when it doesn’t, divided government is the next best thing.

Don’t get me wrong, change is sometimes an essential thing, and there are things I want changed now.  It took massive change to end slavery and grant equal rights.  As a pro-lifer, I want things enacted that extend rights to unborn babies.  In general though, I think a slow acting government is a good thing.  When I evaluate a politician or administration, passing more laws and giving themselves more power are not high on my priorities. I want a President who doesn’t have grandiose ideas for shaping America but simply does their job of defending the Constitution.

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Posted by Chance on February 22, 2010

The First Amendment talks very little about what people can do, it mostly addresses what government CANNOT do.  So the whole argument about the rights of people vs. the rights of corporations is really pointless when it comes to such cases as Citizens United vs. the Federal Election Commission.

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On college and real life

Posted by Chance on February 16, 2010

In college I learned many important things, some in the classroom, some outside.  I learned how to do my job, how to think more critically, and how to evaluate my own belief system in the face of many contradictory viewpoints.

On the whole, however, I don’t know if college really made me a better person.  College can be a remarkable time of self-absorption, even for those who study hard instead of having a whole lot of fun.  When I was in college, my biggest problems were getting projects done and getting ready for tests.

Fast forward 6 years after graduation as a husband and father of 2.  At the end of last year I was with my 2.5 year old son in the ER, with doctors figuring out what is going on with him as he kept vomiting.  Now, that sounds worse than it really was.  He had to have surgery, but he’s okay now, and he was a lot better off than probably 90% of the other people in the ER.  Nevertheless, it gave me some perspective.  Studying for a stupid exam is not a real problem, it may seem so at the time, and I’m not making light of people working hard through school, I was there once.  But sitting bedside next to a loved one in the hospital, that is a real problem.

Where does college come in exactly?  I guess I keep hearing about how college is supposed to make someone a better person.  The mission of a university now extends beyond teaching someone a trade and refining critical thinking skills; people have this zany idea that college is the avenue to how a person becomes whole.  I see this mostly in the idea of diversity appreciation classes.  Are their racists afoot on campus?  Make people take a diversity appreciation class, that will solve the problem!  College helped me in many ways as mentioned previously (I also met my wife there).  But I went into college as a self-absorbed kid, and I left as a self-absorbed kid who could solve differential equations.  My maturation has come about primarily through living in the real world, not so much through college, and any real change in my life has happened through the spiritual dimension (for this reason I think a Christian college can be an exception to the rule, but it is definitely not guaranteed).

Now, this is just true for me.  Some people get involved in campus activities and do good things for the community and all that.  I wasn’t one of those people.  I was concerned about getting good grades and paying the rent.  As I grow, my concerns move beyond myself to my family.  In my Christian walk I hope to become more concerned about people beyond my family, people with real problems.

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Various thoughts on masculinity, Christian music, God’s glory

Posted by Chance on February 15, 2010

One thing that the Christian music industry needs more of is excitement.  It needs more artists willing to push the envelope in a musical fashion.  For some reason, many artists of “Christian music” don’t do this too often.  For yet another unknown reason, the artists who “happen to be Christian” often do, such as U2, The Fray, Mat Kearney, and Switchfoot.  When I say “push the envelope”, I don’t mean thrash metal, or anything like Radiohead who goes off the deep end frequently ( I personally sort of like Radiohead, although I don’t like the mood I get from listening to them).  I just mean, not only have something to say with your lyrics, but have something to say with the music itself.  U2’s sound is always changing, The Fray brought back piano rock, Mat Kearney mixes folk and hip hop.

Switchfoot is another one of the innovative bands.  Whether they are even considered “Christian music” or not I don’t even know, but they are one of the few bands associated with Christianity who are willing to experiment and do different things with their music.  I did a review of their album Oh! Gravity a while back.   They have another album out called Hello Hurricane.  I don’t think I like it quite as much as Oh! Gravity, but it is still a really good album.  I may do a more in-depth review later.  Their single “Mess of Me”, I’ll be honest, I’m not a huge fan, but at the very least, it is an exciting, edgy song.

It may have to do with masculinity.  I have a feeling I may be getting into controversial territory, but bear with me.  The book Wild at Heart by John Elderidge talks about how the man yearns for excitement and adventure (He asserts that women do as well although in a different manner).  Now, this search for excitement and adventure can take on different forms.  It doesn’t mean we all have to be in extreme sports or get tattoos or even like a particular type of music.  For me personally, I’m not athletic, I don’t get inked, and I work in an office with AC, but I like my music to not be boring.  I like music with a sense of adventure, and to me personally, a lot of that is lacking in Christian music today.

I think an idea that gets looked over is that God can be glorified through art itself, not just what the art is about.  If a beautiful painting is done, can God only be glorified because that painting happens to be of a church, or of Jesus?  Sometimes I wonder if Christian artists think God can only be glorified through explicit Christian lyrics, and not through simply beautiful music.

Posted in Christianity, Culture, Music | 1 Comment »