Racism and Obama

As the above videos show, racism is still alive and well. Obama has been criticized roundly by Republicans. And there are some legitimate criticisms of him. But for the entirety of his tenure in office some Republicans have steadfastly stood against him from day 1, refusing to work with him in passing legislation, and insisting that their sole agenda is to get him out of office. In the field of politics, it’s only natural to want someone from your party to be in office. But how much of this stand against him is really about politics, and how much of it is racism?

While I disagree with some of his policies, there are also many things I admire about him. His strong family values, his speaking ability, and the way he has handled the role of being the first black president. Let’s not overlook the fact that by virtue of his race, he has faced more obstacles as president than he would have if he were white. He has handled this role well.

Thoughts on Obama’s Economic Performance

Politically I’m an independent. I don’t side exclusively with either the Democrats or Republicans, but I like certain aspects from both sides, and I vote for who I feel is the best candidate. In 2008 I voted for Obama. I was excited about the change he promised, and he seemed like a person who could lead this country in the right path. I was genuinely excited about Obama. Not to mention, once McCain chose Sarah Palin to be his vice president, it made the choice for Obama very easy.

But Obama has been a let-down. Apologists say that he’s been blocked and hampered by Republicans who have refused to get along with him. And I think there’s some truth to that. But let’s face it. Every president has faced opposition from the opposite side. And while I do think Obama’s opposition has been particularly stubborn, it still doesn’t leave him completely guiltless.

Obama has not helped the economy. People say, “Yeah, but he inherited a tough situation, and he didn’t make it worse.” The implication is that because the recession he inherited was so bad, it took all of his effort just to prevent it from getting worse.

To me, this would be like this example: You’re steeped in personal debt, and you know it’s getting worse. You’ve got bills, a mortgage, and other commitments to pay for. You have a family to support, and you want to be able to provide a good future for them. To help you out of your financial mess, you turn to a financial adviser, perhaps at a company like Edward Jones or something. Your financial adviser promises that he can help you out of your mess, and you put your trust in him. He tells you to spend more money and make investments, saying that in order to make money you have to spend it, and in the long run this will help your overall situation. 3 1/2 years pass, and you look at your situation, and nothing has really changed. Nothing, except that you are now in even greater debt than you were when you started. You turn to your financial adviser, and he says, “Well, the situation I inherited was so bad, I did everything I could just to stop it from getting worse.” When you point out that you are now in much greater debt then you were before, he says, “The money you spent was required just to stop your situation from getting worse. Just give me another 4 years, and it’ll get better.” When you point out that he made a lot of promises that he was never able to fulfill, he says, “Yeah, but a lot of people weren’t working with me, and there were a lot of things holding me back. Not my fault.”

Does that really sound like a reasonable excuse? Would you give this financial adviser another 4 years?

To me it seems like Obama just hasn’t lived up to his promises. Unfortunately there doesn’t seem to be a Republican candidate who can do better.

Doctor’s Office Evangelizing

 

After this, the word of the LORD came to Abram in a vision: “Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your very great reward.”

Genesis 15:1

 

The other day I had a doctor’s appointment. The doc was asking me all the usual questions: How old are you? Are you married or single? Ect.

One of the questions that I was asked, the question that doctors always seem to ask was, “Are you sexually active?”

“No,” I said.

The doctor was astonished. “How are you not sexually active?” I guess he couldn’t believe a 25 year-old male wasn’t having sex.

“I’m a Christian,” was my reply.

“Oh, sorry,” he said, as if he thought he might have offended me. “How did you come to that?” he asked.

The thing about being a Christian, a.k.a. an ambassador of Christ, is that you’re always on duty. You find evangelizing opportunities at any given moment, even in times when you might not have necessarily expected it, like at a doctor’s checkup. God can use any little question or piece of dialog as a segueway into a chance to share Christ with someone who may not know him. Even if the conversation is brief, and even if that person doesn’t start going to church and accept Christ immediately, you never know when God might be using you to plant a seed.

I think a lot of non-Christians think that Christians, because we don’t have sex unless we’re married, are missing out. But really, being celibate isn’t a restriction. God doesn’t command celibacy to be a kill-joy. After all, God created sex, and commanded us to use it to glorify him. God commands celibacy because it’s what’s best for us.  Sex is meant to be a sacred practice between husband and wife. If we were to practice it with just anyone, it would lose it’s sanctity. Sex outside of marriage isn’t glorifying to God, because it’s all about us, the individual. It’s selfish and damaging. How can we possibly expect to someday get married and have it be an amazing, awesome experience if beforehand we treated the importance of marriage as moot? I truly believe that people who wait until marriage have stronger, more intimate, more satisfying relationships with their spouses, and with God.

Psalm 84:11

For the LORD God is a sun and shield; the LORD bestows favor and honor; no good thing does he withhold from those whose walk is blameless.

People might think that I’m missing out on the fun parts of life because I’m a Christian. But I think quite the opposite is true. When you live with Christ, you get to truly experience all the wonders that life has to offer. This isn’t wishful thinking. It’s real. I think some people think Christians have to try and convince themselves that life is better when you don’t partake in sinful pleasures. It’s as if they think, “Look at them Christians. They try so hard to pretend they like being celibate, but secretly, deep down, you know they wish they weren’t.” But that’s just not how it is.

When you accept Christ into your life, your desires are changed. You let go of empty, short-lived satisfactions, and you realize your hearts truest desires. God’s desires become your own, and you experience life in a way that is incomprehensible to those who don’t know God. It’s not that as a Christian you can’t do things like have sex. It’s just that there’s a proper time and place for it. (Marriage.) God withholds no good thing from those who walk with him.

When we have a relationship with God, we are called to share Him with others, so that they may also enjoy the experience of walking with him. We can do that not just by our words, but also by being a good example, by sticking to our values even if we’re part of a demographic that isn’t expected to value things like chastity. In doing so, we may be a stronger witness than we realize.

 

2nd Grade Memories

Working with kids makes me think back to when I was a kid. Oh, the memories…

One day when I was in 2nd grade, I was the last kid to come into the classroom. I don’t remember why exactly, but the entire class was already there by the time I came in. I must have been coming back from the bathroom, or maybe the teacher had sent me on an errand. The entire class stared at me as I walked to my seat. Some people were snickering. You know that feeling you get when you know everyone knows something, but you’re left out of the loop? Everyone around you is talking about a hot piece of juicy gossip, but they’re not sharing it with you. And because you’re the only one who doesn’t know what it is, you start to get the feeling that it’s about you. This was one of those times. It’s a bad feeling. It puts me on edge, and gives me a sinking feeling in my stomach.

To this day I hate it when people talk about me behind my back. Even if they’re not saying anything bad, it still bothers me. I guess it’s because I’m not entirely sure what they’re saying, so I’m imagining the worst. My mind automatically assumes it can’t be something good, because if it were they could have said it in front of me. I think I tend to overreact when I realize people – even people I consider friends – have been talking about me when I’m not around.

I looked at my teacher. She looked back at me, and I could tell even she knew what it was, but wasn’t telling me.

“What is going on?” I thought.

The teacher told the kids to stop laughing, but she still didn’t clue me in as to what the big secret was. (Well, I guess it wasn’t a secret, since everyone knew except me.)

There was a girl in my class named Mary. She had short blond hair, and was tomboyish. Later at recess Mary and I were somehow the only kids on the playground. Maybe the others were playing in a different area or something, but for whatever reason, Mary and I were the only ones out there.

Mary came up to me and bashfully said, “Hey. I like you. I just think you’re cool. Sorry everyone else was laughing about it.”

My reply to her was something along the lines of, “Oh. Okay. Wanna play 4 square?”

(4 Square was the game back in the day.)

Yeah, I could have handled it better, but really, I was 7 years old, and had absolutely no interest in girls at the time.

Of course now that I think about it, it took a lot of guts for a 2nd grade girl to say what she said. But at the time I was too confused and sad that people were keeping secrets from me and talking about me to really process things. But at least I finally knew what everyone else was talking about.