Making America Safe Again

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Making America Safe Again

If you are thankful that you get to live in the United States, why would you want to prevent someone else from enjoying that same opportunity? We will never be able to make America completely safe, but I hope that we will soon make America safe again for immigrants.

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Thinking about the Orthodox Church

Protestants aren't sure what to do with Orthodox Christians. Since they've spent so many centuries beating up on Catholics, I guess they think the Orthodox are harmless enough to ignore. On the Protestant religious radar, the Orthodox seem to show up even less than Anabaptists. Which is odd since the number of Orthodox adherents worldwide is similar to the number of Pentecostals, approximately 250 million.

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Goals

Michael Hyatt's Best Year Ever course helped me set practical, measurable goals for 2015. I plan to go through his guide again for 2016. Having the goals in place pushed me to do more than I would have without the goals. One of my goals was to write a blog post each week. This is my thirty-fourth post for the year.

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It Was Not a Silent Night

I can identify with Joseph as he watched the woman he loved suffer as her time drew near. He had to try to help while feeling helpless himself. Such unusual things had been happening so quickly over the past few months, and now this baby was coming who was not his baby.

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Audie Murphy and the Cost of War

Murphy himself well understood the horrors of war. In a 1955 interview, he said, “War is like a giant pack rat. It takes something from you and leaves something behind in its stead. It burned me out in some ways so that now I feel like an old man but still sometimes act like a dumb kid. It made me grow up too fast. You live so much on nervous excitement that when it is over, you fall apart. That’s what war took from me, the excitement of living.” Another time he also noted: “After the war, they took the dogs and rehabilitated them for civilian life. But they turned soldiers into civilians and let ‘em sink or swim.”

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EconTalk and My Education

Russ Roberts recently released the 500th episode of his podcast EconTalk. This now weekly podcast started in 2006, and I think I started listening in 2007. I'm guessing that I've listened to at least 300, maybe 400 episodes. The voice of Russ Roberts (usually played at 1.5x speed) has been a frequent companion while I wash dishes, mow the grass, and drive across country. His work has educated me and entertained me.

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Welcoming Refugees

We can use passports and background checks and metal detectors and any other security methods we can imagine. But nothing and no one can guarantee that we will be 100% safe from bad guys. Bad guys are notorious for finding ways to get around legal, technological, and physical barriers. While politicians hem and haw, millions of capable, intelligent, hurting people are waiting for a chance to live in a place that offers peace and opportunity.

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Connecting with People Where They Are

I believe that Jesus was really a human like us, but he did have an advantage when it came to getting to know people. Since "He knew all men" and "knew what was in man" (John 2:24-25), he didn't have to spend time asking questions. In order for us to serve another person most effectively, we need to take time to understand where she is, where she is coming from, and where she wants to go.

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Improving Education

I am reading Booker T. Washington's Up From Slavery for the first time. It addresses the issue of relations between black and white Americans, and Washington has a valuable perspective. But I want to highlight here some of his thoughts on education.

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How We Learn

Before books became widely available, most people had to learn new things by listening to or watching others. Are we entering a post-book age, where instead of reading, we can listen to and watch others do things on YouTube?

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"That Hour Under the Gallows"

I am re-reading a biography of Charles Wesley, and it described the week he spent ministering to convicted felons at Newgate prison in London. The following excerpts are taken from his journal. I am not sure what this narrative might tell us about the death penalty, but it tells us something important about how we look at condemned criminals.

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The Death Penalty

I am sympathetic to those who advocate for a Consistent Life ethic, arguing that that we should oppose all forms of killing--abortion, euthanasia, execution, and war. But I'm still not sure what to do with incorrigible violent offenders. I have two tangential personal connections to the death penalty, one against and one for.

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We Have Not Passed This Way Before

As we walk day by day and step by step in our journey, we should be willing to extend the same grace we have received to those around us. Every other person we encounter is still on his or her first attempt to survive this crazy world.

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Christian Persecution in the United States

We can be thankful that most Christians in the United States have faced little state-sponsored persecution because of their faith. Unfortunately, this general freedom from persecution has given Christians (and those who profess to be Christians) many opportunities to endanger the life, liberty, and property of others. Not sure what I'm talking about? Here's a short list.

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I've Been Watching You

Audra and I then got into a mild dispute about a mistake I made in driving. She was right, but I was reluctant to admit it and soon changed the direction of the conversation. We got into a playful banter about passing on the right, exchanging quick statements back and forth. Henry soon called out from the back, "Stop fighting!"

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Three Years With Henry

Henry has more energy than a nuclear reactor; I have to work hard to keep up with him. He is creative and silly and affectionate, and he adores his little brother Toby. I'm thankful that I have gotten to make many beautiful memories with him over the past three years.

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What We Encourage

Perhaps our homes, schools, and communities should spend more time and energy and money encouraging a desire to pursue life-long education, a willingness to make realistic plans for the future, and a commitment to personal integrity and civic responsibility.

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