A Letter to My Sons

Even though you are both still young, there is so much you know and understand.

I enjoy watching you take in the world one amazing thing at a time with joy, astonishment, and apprehension.  You have so many firsts still ahead of you, that I look forward to experiencing and guiding you to and beyond.

Sometimes being a father is hard work.  There is doubt if you are doing things right.  There are so many things out of my control that can impact you forever.  There are points where we do and will disagree and butt heads in the future, but even knowing these days will come I will love you through them.

There are so many things I want to and need to teach you in the few short years where I get to influence you: the nature of God, Christ, the ways of the world, the importance of family, the nature of truth, the importance of justice, the source of liberty, and the responsibilities that go with all of that knowledge.

Today is Father’s Day.  God put you here to do mighty things for Him and I cherish the opportunity to lead you to Him and then set you loose to do those things.  It is a father’s greatest responsibility, but also a father’s greatest joy and blessing to be granted that opportunity and blessing.   Through you both, I have come to understand the nature and heart of God much more clearly as he is both my and your Father as much as I am your father and the love and joy that you bring me, I know he feels toward me.

I know there will be times where my words come up short, but your heavenly Father’s words never will.  I know there will be times where you and I fail each other, but I will always ask you to forgive me and forgive you in the same way when it happens.

Regardless of those small happenings in everyone’s life, I will never cease loving you because you are my sons, and that is how God loves us – regardless of how often or how terribly we abuse His love, He will always forgive us and welcome us back to Him.  In fact, He will pursue US.  He will find us hiding in the dark, afraid to come out because of shame, guilt, or whatever is holding us back and bring us home to Him if we just ask.

Today on Father’s Day, I wanted to write something for you… words from Our Father that I hope one day make sense to you as they now do to me.

The father of a righteous child has great joy;
    a man who fathers a wise son rejoices in him.

Proverbs 23:24

My son, do not despise the Lord’s discipline,
    and do not resent his rebuke,
because the Lord disciplines those he loves,
    as a father the son he delights in.

Proverbs 3:11-12

You saw how the Lord your God carried you, as a father carries his son.

Deuteronomy 1:31

Children are a heritage from the Lord,
    offspring a reward from him.
Like arrows in the hands of a warrior
    are children born in one’s youth.
Blessed is the man
    whose quiver is full of them.

Psalm 127:3-5

Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.

Joshua 1:9

 

 

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The Death of the Republic:What next?

Yesterday, I named apathy and lack of passion as the cancer and disease eroding the foundations of this great country.  These two problems are downright evil as they have colored gray all of the fundamentals that we once cherished as a country.

Instead of a dedication to God and our neighbors, we are now growing self-centered.  The deeply rooted apathy we as a nation have exhibited toward current events and the scandals now being exposed to public scrutiny is rooted in this self-centeredness.  Just focusing on the NSA data-mining revelation from last week I have heard personally people justify this destruction of the Fourth Amendment’s warrantless search and seizure protections by indicating that it doesn’t effect them personally, that they have nothing to hide, and if it helps to keep us safer, then it is well worth it.

Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery?

Patrick Henry

This is indifference on full display.  Even after a full explanation of what the snooping entailed and how wide-sweeping it was as an affront to liberty, the people I asked all stood by their initial perceptions of it being no big deal because it didn’t impact their day-to-day life.

That is hedonism.  They are living for the moment.  That hedonism is in and of itself a chain of slavery I liken to modern-day bread and circuses as they appease that person’s need for pleasure at any expense.  As long as the pleasure outweighs the pain, then they will accept it without second thought.

Apathy. Ambivalence. Passionlessness. Hedonism.

Americans are druggies.  As long as our cortexes are teased and pleased on a fairly consistent basis with entertainment via movies, television, books, sex, music, pop culture, and other distractions, we will submit to ever-increasing chains from our would-be masters as they don’t personally effect “me,” or we rationalize away it as an inconvenience or a necessary evil.

This hedonism explains so much about our culture when you think about it.

  • incumbency equals job security despite our displeasure with the government in total
  • the destruction of the nuclear family as husband, wife, father, and mother roles are societally redefined to be more inclusive and fair to debauched behavior and living situations
  • the run-away national debt as we spend the next generations economic output today in order to fund our lavish, irresponsible, hedonistic, pleasure and comfort-based lifestyles
  • absolutely no forethought about the consequences of our actions either in part (individually) or in total (as a country)

All actions become devoted to the self.  The problem that crops up with this devotion to pleasure though is that we rarely band together with others because of their problems, but only ours.  We begin to not see the needs and threats to our neighbors or delegitimize them because helping does nothing for us personally – there is no pleasure or gain to be found in standing next to Eric Snowden, the man who revealed the NSA’s domestic spying operations, there can only be negative repercussions from a vengeful government out of control.  Instead of standing as one in defense of the ideals of our founding and those that hold us together as a society – equality, justice, and liberty for all – we fall apart.

Imagine a society where neighbors only look out for themselves.

They hear a scream in the night from next door and double check their door locks rather than even risk glancing outside to see if their neighbor is in need of help.

They decide that married life is too hard and decide that they’d rather be single and free to pursue the lusts of the flesh – bouncing from bed to bed in search of momentary thrill.

They decide that the problems of the country are too big and they are not smart enough to know how to solve them so they stop paying attention and just elect whoever is running with the D or the R next to their name, or just choose to stop voting altogether.

At 30, they tolerate the new bureaucratic rules that establish that no life saving measures would be taken for anyone older than 60 years old because they are too expensive under a strapped medical care system hamstrung by Obamacare and the single-payer option passed years later to replace it.

Fear is people’s primary motivator after pleasure. They fear to criticize what they see as wrong in their hearts because the government has grown too strong and too big.  It has eyes and ears everywhere and can cobble together truthful-enough evidence to silence opposition because the IRS, ATF, DHS, and NSA.  They fear to point out corruption at work or in public because of the personal destruction of their careers or reputations that they fear from annoying the wrong person.

The people in power recognize these fears and play on them in order to further tighten the screws by enacting more onerous laws, rules, and modicums of behavior in order to further control the citizens and make them into slaves.

Because people are so focused on their own pleasure and are fearful of anything that might upset that, the birth rate will decline.  “Why take on the challenge of raising children?” many will ask.  “Why destroy my body?” “Why tie myself down?”

Listen to me — all of you out there! You were told by this man — your hero — that America is the greatest country in the world!
He told you that Americans were the greatest people — that America could be refined like silver, could have the impurities hammered out of it, and shine more brightly!
He went on about how precious America was — how you needed to make sure it remained great!
And he told you anything was justified to preserve that great treasure, that pearl of great price that is America!
Well, I say America is nothing!! Without its ideals — its commitment to the freedom of all men, America is a piece of trash!
A nation is nothing!
A flag is a piece of cloth!I fought Adolf Hitler not because America was great, but because it was fragile! I knew that liberty could be snuffed out here as in Nazi Germany! As a people, we were no different than them!
Captain America

The Death of the Republic: Symptoms

Yesterday, I made clear my belief that the Republic known as the United States of America is in grave danger.  Today, I will show you why I believe that to be the case.  The problem is apathy, or if you prefer: indifference, inattention, ambivalence, or detachment. These corruptions within the culture and system cancers that have taken root because of an even more dangerous toxin inherent within America.

But you have planted wickedness,
you have reaped evil,
you have eaten the fruit of deception.
Because you have depended on your own strength
and on your many warriors

Hosea 10:14

Let him not deceive himself by trusting what is worthless,
for he will get nothing in return.

Job 15:31

The terror you inspire
and the pride of your heart have deceived you,
you who live in the clefts of the rocks,
who occupy the heights of the hill.
Though you build your nest as high as the eagle’s,
from there I will bring you down,”
declares the Lord.

Jeremiah 49:16

We, as Americans, have been made to be apathetic.  We feel untouchable, so we have neglected the public trust that citizenship in this republic was meant to bestow on each person.  Diversity, fairness, and tolerance are riding high, our economy is the benchmark of the world (even despite the failings in our recent past), and liberty seems to be safe, but the seeds of our own destruction have been sowed.  Our own understanding of liberty and freedom have been altered and changed from those demanding a responsible, attentive, and alert citizenry to those of a complacent one unwilling, unable, or uninterested in those same responsibilities, liberties, and freedoms.

Based on the Nielsen Ratings from the last few weeks, only two non-entertainment programs cracked the top ten watched television shows. Less than 7% of viewers watched news programs of the most watched programs on television.  The majority of viewers watched The Voice, the NBA Playoffs, or other entertaining programs rather than informational programs.  This is evident of a populace not engaged in the problems prevalent in our society, but rather wishing to ignore them or completely oblivious to them either consciously or unconsciously.

For years, with the notable exception of the youth turnout for then-Senator Barack Obama in 2008, the voter turnout has been decreasing as a percentage of eligible voters as they become more disengaged with politics and governmental affairs, apathetic in general, or dissatisfied with the process.

With the revelation of the IRS political-enemies targeting, Justice Department press wiretapping, and NSA wide-swath metadata collection programs, there has been little if any outrage outside of the politically knowledgeable, which make up a small percentage of the population.  In fact, with all of the revelations of scandals of late dating from the ATF’s Fast and Furious gun-running program, through the Benghazi botched response and follow-through, and all of the rest since, the lack of outrage and even a baseline of knowledge amongst the hoi polloi has been shameful as I have observed generally and in the total lack of even a base understanding of what happened, let alone the causes or repercussions.  This lack of knowledge is a sign of the apathy that has taken root amongst the generations today.

The surveillance programs in particular rely on an understanding of the political news cycle that the worst scandals can be swept under the rug in a hurry because the public en masse no longer has the desire to hold the government’s feet to the fire over abuses and usurpations as long as they disappear from the collective radar quickly so they can get back to their entertainment.  The collective attention span has dropped so precipitously that the seriousness of each of these scandals has failed to register.  The scandals, each one, would be enough to bring down an administration in the past, but the speed at which they are being revealed and then replaced in the public consciousness additionally produces a weariness in the public mind.  This same weariness was observed during the last few campaign cycles because politicians never took an off day and the public eventually just tuned it all out.

When apathy becomes an useful tool of the politician to force the public to go along with their plans, that politician has become dangerous to liberty and freedom.  It is not because they convince people to follow their ideas or even have great ideas, it’s that they proverbially beat them until the abused electorate acquiesces to the beatings and just says “whatever you say, I don’t care.”  In addition, when those politicians intentionally obfuscate the political environment and make it difficult to understood who is involved, why, or in what way, they make it easier to fool the public.  As a result blatant positional and topical contradictions go unnoticed because the people simply no longer care to rectify what they hear with what they see.

I. Don’t. Care.  These are the three most critically damaging words in the English language.  But is that not what we’re seeing in the response to the revelations about NSA’s Operation PRISM.  The American public has been beaten over the head for over a decade as to the threat of terrorism and as a result, a majority thinks that the program is fine despite the fact that it casts a wide net and over half of the citizens of this country are under warrantless and illegal searches of their private communications.  What makes it even worse is that these obvious Constitutional violations require an apathetic public, not just after-the-fact, but during it.

Apathy is destroying the United States of America – this is truth, but apathy is only partially to blame.  There is a deeper fault that is causing the apathy even… the apathy is surely a cancer, but the deeper disease is a loss of and lack of passion.

Passion?

Look at the divorce rate (53% of all marriages end in divorce).  What passion do men and women have for maintaining what was supposed to be a lifelong commitment?  Maintain a lifelong love takes hard work and devotion and our culture celebrates this lack of passion now.

Look at the voter participation rate (barely half of the eligible population votes).  What passion do we have as a people for participating in our democratic republic?  When barely half of eligible voters even bother to cast a ballot, the other half is abdicating their right to choose their representatives.  I may not agree with how you personally choose to vote in a particular instance, but a representative republic does not serve the people if the people do not make their beliefs clear through voting, petition, and redress.

Compare the government approval rate and how likely you are as an incumbent to be reelected (Congress approval rate is treading water at 16%, yet 90% of incumbents were reelected in 2012).  What passion do we have about the problems of our day if we keep sending back the same disliked idiots every two or six years to keep just doing what they’ve been doing?  We say that we hate the performance of Congress and then rehire them come November at a near-unanimous rate.

We do not have passion in this country or for this country.

We have apathy.

We have ambivalence…

and it is killing us.

Without passion for this country and passion in general, how can we honestly expect the next generation to understand the importance of our liberties and freedoms, of the moral, theological, logical, and philosophical foundations upon which those liberties and freedoms were derived?

How can we honestly expect the next generation to care if we do not care?

How can we honestly expect our government to abide by the constraints put upon it by mortal men nearly three hundred years ago if we do not understand those constraints and possess a heart and mind for defending them with words, deeds, and arms if necessary?

How will apathy end up killing us in the end?  Tune in tomorrow.

Liberty and Tyranny

I see the debate is framed here as it is in my own country; as a struggle between liberalism and conservatism.

Yet no matter how the struggle turns out, both the liberals and the conservatives feel frustration, no matter who “wins”, neither seem to enjoy the victory as “their” party fails to live up to its promises once in power.

You see there is another, less obvious, struggle at work in the body politic, and that is tyranny verses liberty. Tyranny is the natural course of professional politicians, whilst liberty is the heart’s cry of the populace.

Tyranny lives in the professional politician’s desire to remain in power, to increase his own personal power, and therefore the power of the central government over the people. He sells this through offering to lift the heavy burden of personal responsibility from off the shoulders of the populace.

The amount of this tyranny you allow is entirely based on the amount of personal responsibility you refuse to bear; for personal responsibility is the cornerstone of personal liberty. Surrender your personal responsibility to anyone or anything else, and that other controls your actions.

The true struggle of politics is therefore, how best to balance government control with personal responsibility. And the level of tyranny a people will abide is inversely proportional to their moral ability to shoulder personal responsibility.

Archbishop Cranmer

This is the essential issue at root in terms of our fight for maintaining liberty.  Every year, every election, every political cycle removes us more from our founding principles and ultimately will mutate this society from one of self-reliance, faith, and prudence, but to one of dependence, apathy, and lustful pursuits.

Someone once asked me why I think that the Second Amendment is the most important right codified in the Constitution. Why are guns so important?

Guns, weapons of war held in private citizens’ hands, are the ultimate manifestation in the modern age of personal responsibility and sovereignty, and once the people abdicate or curtail their personal responsibility and sovereignty, then they will have fallen further into tyranny and exposed themselves to more of it in the coming age.

The simple truth is that, while I remain armed and able to exercise lethal force not just in defense of myself, but of others, and of liberty as an whole, tyranny will be stopped.

In righteousness you will be established:
Tyranny will be far from you;
you will have nothing to fear.
Terror will be far removed;
it will not come near you.

Isaiah 54:14

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