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The Sisters Wade was started to give voice to a young, fresh, conservative perspective. We invite you to dialogue, debate, disagree or applaud our efforts. Hope you enjoy!

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Live To Impact: The Poor

We're doing a series at my church called Live To Impact, challenging people to answer the question: "WHAT ARE YOU LIVING FOR?"

Today's focus was "living to impact the poor and underprivileged." How can we as Christians and a church make a difference in our community by taking care of the poor? And maybe even more foundational, WHY should we care for the poor?

Clayton Bell delivered a great message on the subject. You can listen to it in its entirety here, but I wanted to highlight a few points.

1. Who Is Responsible? Regardless of your political bent, if you think the government should be doing more or less in regard to poverty, the Bible makes it clear that God's people have a responsibility to care for the poor. That means it's MY responsibility. If you call yourself a follower of Christ, it's YOUR responsibility. You don't need to be voted into office. You don't need to be an occupational minister. Just do it.

2. Our Motivation. The Bible leaves no room for error: taking care of the poor, the orphan, the widow is paramount to God. This is often challenging to our human nature and preconceived mindsets. It's much more natural to give or care for those who can offer you something in return. Or perhaps you have (as I have) erred on the side of judgment toward those less fortunate in life. "They're lazy"... "they're irresponsible"... "if they'd just work harder and suck it up they'd could make something of themselves". Here's the deal: We must find our motivation for caring for the poor in who Jesus is and what He did for us. Spiritually speaking, I was homeless, I was lazy, I was poor, I was smelly, I had nothing and could do nothing for myself; but Jesus did for me what I couldn't earn and what I didn't deserve. He became poor that I might become rich. His mercy triumphed over judgment and it rescued me. What He's done for me in the spiritual, I am now called to replicate in the physical for the poor and underprivileged. As I clothe and feed and care for the least of these, I also have the privilege of sharing why I do such things and that reason is Jesus. What He's done for me He can also do for them.

3. The Cold Hard Facts. Did you know that in America in the late 1800's more than 90% of all welfare was done by the Church and "volunteer socieites?" The government had a small, if any, hand in such matters. As we've written previously, giving Christians could well eliminate the U.N.'s estimated $70 billion world-wide poverty problem with money to spare. Take for instance my city of Tallahassee, FL. There are, on average, about 900 homeless people at any given time. There are about 350 churches here. If each church provided for 2 or 3 of these people, the homeless problem would evaporate. (I know that poverty issues can be more complicated and you can't always make someone stay out of such circumstances, but this is just to illustrate how well-suited the Church is to answering the ills of society).

So, what are YOU living for? Let's ask hard questions and challenge ourselves to this standard of giving and loving as Christ did. Before you ask your government to do something, ask yourself if you're doing anything. Be open to opportunities to serve the underprivileged in your community. If you live in Tallahassee, come join us as we serve the residents of the Hope Community.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Obama Speech... Palin Pick...

The first black man to win a party nomination... The first woman on a Republican presidential ticket... it's a media feast on all accounts.

Here's my two cents:

It was quite moving to see a black man's presidential nomination acceptance speech on the 45th anniversary of MLK's "I Have a Dream" speech. I'm sure I can't fully grasp the significance of such a moment for an African American, but still it was quite a scene to behold. Though I disagree with Obama's politics, I esteem and applaud what he has achieved.

Two glaring inconsistencies/contradictions stood out to me as I listened to Obama. First and foremost, he kept referencing his "new" and "fresh ideas"... "new times"... and "new politics." However, all I find new about him is his face. The outline of his programs (and all I've seen of his voting record) was a generic democratic platform. Those ideas have been around long before he was born.

Secondly, he had a small sidebar about how the government can't solve all problems and how we need to take personal responsibility. He even challenged fathers to be home and involved with their children. I agree with these sentiments and was glad to hear them. However, most of the domestic programs he's proposing and every increased reach of the government's arm that he stands behind, takes the "personal" right out of responsibility and undercuts the natural duty in each American home. What father, that already tends toward neglect and abdication, would find any more incentive to provide and care for his children if these children can get free healthcare and a "worldclass education" right from the hands of Daddy Obama?

Moving on. So McCain selects Sarah Palin as his running mate. Definitely a surprise! I honestly don't know whether this choice will hurt him or help him, but on a personal level I liked what I saw of her today. She had an attractive personality and story. I don't have much to say about her, just wanted to hear your opinions...

So what did you think about Obama's speech?


What do you think about Sarah Palin?

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

The DNC--Michelle Obama

What did you think of Michelle Obama's speech last night at the DNC?  I believe her main goal was to soften her image, humanize the Obama family, and make herself as likable as possible.  She worked hard to convey herself as a daughter, sister, wife and mother.  I thought she did a good job.  The speech appealed to me mainly on a human interest level...I enjoyed hearing more about the Obama family and Michelle's background.

I, however, am not at all considering voting for Barack Obama, which means that I was not necessarily the target audience.  I'm curious what the speech did for those who are undecided voters, still weighing Obama as an option for President.  If I were looking at it from that perspective, I don't really think the speech would have accomplished much for me.  From what I understand, Obama's main problem is not one of being unlikable--people love him.  The people I know who are considering voting for him have more of an issue with things such as the substance of his platform and his qualifications/experience.  And this speech didn't do much to remedy that situation.  But it was just the first night of the convention, and considering Michelle's objectives, I did think she did well.  I'm interested to hear what happens the next few nights.

One other thing I found interesting about Michelle Obama's speech and life story is the theme of how hard she and her family worked to achieve their goals and dreams.  She was raised in a poor community on the south side of Chicago.  Her father had MS, yet worked hard to provide for his family at a blue collar job.  He was willing to work extra and live on less so that his wife could stay home to raise their two children.  Her parents taught her the value of hard work, education and a strong family unit.  They instilled in Michelle and her brother the belief that if they were willing to work hard, they could accomplish great things.  Both her and her brother were able to overcome the odds of being born into this poor community, go to ivy league schools and become very successful.

This, to me, is an amazing story--it's the American dream, and it's possible for most anyone who lives in this country.  Yet Obama's platform seems to be more about giving handouts to those less fortunate rather than trying to teach them the same values that made both he and Michelle a success.  It wasn't a handout that helped Michelle Obama.  It was a strong family, a present and involved father, a good work ethic, etc.  I think we should take a page out of the book of what actually worked in Michelle Obama's life.  Let's focus on encouraging families to stay together, encouraging parents to make sacrifices to prioritize their children.  Let's teach people the value of honest hard work.  I think this will go alot farther than propagating a sense of entitlement, which instills in people the belief that government owes them something and that they have a right to what others have worked hard to earn.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Saddleback Follow Up

Most agree that the Saddleback Forum last weekend was well-conducted by lead pastor Rick Warren. He had a chance to ask both candidates some straight-forward honest questions (whether they answered honestly remains to be seen). And he did an excellent job. But what does he himself think about politics? Where does he fall on the issues? He has not been as politically outspoken as say a Dr. James Dobson or the late Rev. Jerry Falwell, and that has caused some to criticize him, some to mischaracterize him and some to appreciate him. Warren's lack of candidate endorsement and political rhetoric in no way means he's soft on the issues or trying to appease all sides. I have heard him speak on government/politics a couple of times and he is well-versed in the arena. He is a man of strong conviction and in my opinion has a pretty good grasp of the biblical worldview.

You can read some of his thoughts here in a rare interview with the Wall Street Journal. The article is worth the read but here's a brief summary of Warren's main points:
  • He's pro-life and believes abortion is the most significant issue affecting the evangelical vote in the fall.
  • He rejects the idea of tolerance as far as it has come to mean that all ideas are equally valid. He is no relativist.
  • He views McCain as a limited government guy and Obama as a big government guy.
  • He wants a non-government solution to things like poverty and disease, believing that churches should lead the way in this fight.
  • Though he's one of the most generous men in the world (giving away 90% of his income), he believes "the answer to poverty is business development, not charity." He believes free market, enterprise and creativity are vital to a society.
  • He knows that true answers to societies ills can only come from Jesus and His Church. The government cannot be a savior.
  • He wants to return civility to the public square, wishing that people could "disagree about the issues without demonizing each other." And Saturday night was one of his efforts in doing so.
All I have to say is "Amen!" (And read the article...)

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Saddleback Forum

I’m curious what other people thought about the Rick Warren forum last week. I haven’t been too excited about John McCain, but his answers to these questions were really encouraging. Although I don't agree with all of his positions, he knows where he stands. He answered the questions directly and conclusively.

Obama, on the other hand, seemed to me to waffle throughout, trying to answer in such a way as to include the greatest number of people possible. How can you answer moral questions when for you there are no moral absolutes? All of his answers were “relative”; in fact, he even used that word himself. How can we be confident in a president who has no absolute moral basis for any of the decisions he makes?

Take, for example, the question of abortion. Warren asked both candidates at what point a baby should be given the protection of human rights. McCain’s answer was simple: “At conception.” Obama, however, actually said that question was above his pay grade. Then why on earth is he running for President? What more fundamental question could there be? And if you’re really not sure when life or human rights begin, why err on the side of death? He said a lot about wanting to work with as many people as possible, and about how women don’t come to these decisions lightly. By that logic, if I don’t lightly come to the decision to murder someone, because I believe it’s in my best interest, does that make it okay?

Or what about when Warren asked the candidates to define “rich”. I thought this was a great question. Obama has talked so much about “taxing the rich”, it leaves one to ask who, exactly, is rich. Obama did put a number to it, those making above $250,000, but then admitted that it’s completely relative, dependent on factors such as what region of the country you live in. The problem is, the tax code won’t be relative. It won’t look at what region of the country you live in, for example. It just doesn’t seem fair to tax the rich, when it’s virtually impossible to define “rich”. To most people, rich probably means anyone making one dollar more than they themselves make. Where do you draw the line?

I wasn’t able to see the whole broadcast, so I’d be curious to hear people’s reactions to some of the other questions. And I’m also curious about something else—for those of you who hold to a worldview of moral relativism and have nothing absolute on which to base your decisions and values, how do you go about deciding what you believe about any given issue? Do you use your own reason? Do you try to do what’s best for the greatest number? (And if so, how do you decide which greatest number to be in favor of when it comes to issues like abortion—is it the women or the unborn children?) Anyways, what did you think about the forum and where the candidates stand on these issues?

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

What would you say to Obama?

What would you say to Obama if given the chance?

Ed Stetzer, Christian researcher and author, almost had that chance... Click here to read his thoughts.