Matthew R. Perry

Posts Tagged ‘Barack Obama’

The Higher the Expectations, The More Prone To Disappoint

In 2008 Presidential Election, Barack Obama, Leadership on December 9, 2008 at 6:31 pm

Politico has a report regarding the President-elect’s appointments to his cabinet as well as some of his agenda:

Liberals are growing increasingly nervous – and some just flat-out angry – that President-elect Barack Obama seems to be stiffing them on Cabinet jobs and policy choices.

Obama has reversed pledges to immediately repeal tax cuts for the wealthy and take on Big Oil. He’s hedged his call for a quick drawdown in Iraq. And he’s stocking his White House with anything but stalwarts of the left.

Now some are shedding a reluctance to puncture the liberal euphoria at being rid of President George W. Bush to say, in effect, that the new boss looks like the old boss.

“He has confirmed what our suspicions were by surrounding himself with a centrist to right cabinet. But we do hope that before it’s all over we can get at least one authentic progressive appointment,” said Tim Carpenter, national director of the Progressive Democrats of America.

OpenLeft blogger Chris Bowers went so far as to issue this plaintive plea: “Isn’t there ever a point when we can get an actual Democratic administration?”

Even supporters make clear they’re on the lookout for backsliding. “There’s a concern that he keep his basic promises and people are going to watch him,” said Roger Hickey, a co-founder of Campaign for America’s Future.

These small paragraphs give all leaders one good moral maxim to stand by: “The higher the expectations, the more prone to disappoint.” Barack Obama’s campaign was filled with promises for progressive (read: liberal) change, therefore many progressives were rejoicing at his election, feeling that he would implement that change immediately.

I do commend Obama for coming in, evaluating the situation, and realizing that changes do take time. One man cannot implement change all by himself, especially when the often inconvenient system of checks and balances are in place. Plus, the man is not officially president yet!

Nehemiah was a leader who understood the need to discern and evaluate the situation before running hogwild into his mission. He heard the problems (Nehemiah 1:1-3), began praying to the God of heaven for wisdom (4-11), came to the leaders with the problem as well as a solution (2:1-8), then surveyed the situation himself (2:9ff) before coming up with a plan (2:19ff).

So regardless, let your expectations match reality.

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Michelle Obama Does The Unthinkable!

In Barack Obama, Family on December 2, 2008 at 6:10 pm

Albert Mohler, President of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, KY directs us to an article by Rebecca Traister of Salon.com in which she writes an article on Michelle Obama doing the unthinkable:

She has chosen to devote herself to (for now) being a wife and a mom exclusively, even those she is a lawyer who possesses an Ivy League post-graduate degree. The response from those who hold to the feminist ideology is rather telling.

Take time to read Traister’s article and then read Mohler’s take on the article.

How Should You Vote? Here Are Some Answers

In Politics on November 3, 2008 at 11:39 pm

Every four years, we hear the same thing: “This is the most important election of our lifetime.” And it may very well be – until the next one in 2012. Tens of millions of dollars are poured into this election by candidates seeking the White House. Debate after debate, commercial after commercial, mailout after mailout, talking point after talking point bombards the American voter and international spectator about who would work best in the White House.

But the group of supporters (grassroots supporters) are the ones who really get stirred up! Bumper stickers, yard signs, door-to-door campaigns, e-mails, trying to convince you that their guy is the guy and that the other guy will send this country down the shoot if elected.

But the inevitable day comes. For us this election cycle, it’s November 4. The majority of the country has taken sides. Will it be Barack Obama, Democrat Senator from Illinois? Or will it be John McCain, Republican senator from Arizona? Or will you say, “Can’t stand either one of their positions, so I’m voting third party?” If that’s your choice, you can vote for Chuck Baldwin of the Constitution Party, Bob Barr of the Libertarian Party, Cynthia McKinney of the Green Party, and Ralph Nader who is running as an Independent. One person said this morning that she’s voting for the one that troubles her the least!

For Christians, we have to know how to vote.

First, remember your ultimate citizenship.

Look with me at Philippians 3:17-21:

Brothers, join in imitating me, and keep your eyes on those who walk according to the example you have in us. [18] For many, of whom I have often told you and now tell you even with tears, walk as enemies of the cross of Christ. [19] Their end is destruction, their god is their belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things. [20] But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, [21] who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.

Paul here reminds us of where our citizenship belongs: in heaven. This is not our home! So we should not live our lives as if this is all there is. The obsession and oppression that often comes with these elections must not overwhelm us. Look at an interesting passage in 1 Corinthians 7:29-31:

This is what I mean, brothers: the appointed time has grown very short. From now on, let those who have wives live as though they had none, [30] and those who mourn as though they were not mourning, and those who rejoice as though they were not rejoicing, and those who buy as though they had no goods, [31] and those who deal with the world as though they had no dealings with it. For the present form of this world is passing away.

What is Paul saying here? He is saying to live in light of Christ’s return. In my study Bible, they put it like this. “The purpose of 1 Corinthians … is to encourage Christians to attend to the kinds of daily affairs that would be unimportant if Christ were returning within weeks or months.” These affairs such as marriage, giving, and yes voting are temporary affairs that, yes, need to be tended to but, no, do not need to be obsessed over.

The Bible tells us that ultimately you are ambassadors for Him from another city. In light of this, I want to encourage you to do the following:

2. Remember your main motivation.

First Corinthians 10:31 says, “So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” Is voting included in this? Yes! Is really everything we do included in this? Yes. Drive to the glory of God. Clean your house to the glory of God. Do your job to the glory of God. And vote to the glory of God.

In other words, this understanding of separating politics or our “real life” as some say from our faith is absurd. When politicians on both sides of the aisle say, “According to my faith, this is what I personally believe, but politically I hold to this position,” what is that saying? Whatever it’s saying, it’s not good.

So what is our main motivation? Look with me at 2 Cor. 5:14-21:

For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died;  [15] and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised.

[16] From now on, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we once regarded Christ according to the flesh, we regard him thus no longer.  [17] Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.  [18] All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation;  [19] that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation.  [20] Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.  [21] For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

So what we are doing is having everything we do being informed by the gospel! Our main motivation and compulsion is this “ministry of reconciliation.” We tell everyone, “Be reconciled to God.” So everything we do as ambassadors of Jesus Christ must jibe with his Word.

So we live motivated by the Gospel! We live so others may have life in Christ. So we do not live or die by elections of men. We live or die by the exaltation of the risen Christ! Our life is not ruined if our man doesn’t get in the White House.

Our motivation is not to equate America with the Kingdom of God.  Our motivation must not to have our “guy” in the White House.  Now, some of you may have gotten to that point, but not for spiritual reasons. You may be there because you’ve given up on the whole process. Don’t! God uses the inhabitants of his land as vehicles of His will.

3. Remember who installs the world’s leaders.

Look with me Daniel 4:28-33:

All this came upon King Neb uchadnezzar.  [29] At the end of twelve months he was walking on the roof of the royal palace of Babylon,  [30] and the king answered and said, “Is not this great Babylon, which I have built by my mighty power as a royal residence and for the glory of my majesty?”  [31] While the words were still in the king’s mouth, there fell a voice from heaven, “O King Nebuchadnezzar, to you it is spoken: The kingdom has departed from you,  [32] and you shall be driven from among men, and your dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field. And you shall be made to eat grass like an ox, and seven periods of time shall pass over you, until you know that the Most High rules the kingdom of men and gives it to whom he will.”  [33] Immediately the word was fulfilled against Nebuchadnezzar. He was driven from among men and ate grass like an ox, and his body was wet with the dew of heaven till his hair grew as long as eagles’ feathers, and his nails were like birds’ claws.

Do Americans decided the presidency ultimately?  No, they do not.  While God does use the inhabitants of the earth to accomplish His purposes, He is ultimately the one who installs every leader as an instrument of grace or judgment.  We see this all through Israel’s history — God would give the people a king often reflective of their obedience or disobedience.

See also Paul’s words from Romans 13:1-7:

Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God.  [2] Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment.  [3] For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval,  [4] for he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer.  [5] Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God’s wrath but also for the sake of conscience.  [6] For the same reason you also pay taxes, for the authorities are ministers of God, attending to this very thing.  [7] Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed.

4. Remember to honor, respect, and pray for those who win.

I’ll leave you with 1 Peter 2:13-17:

Be subject for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether it be to the emperor as supreme, [14] or to governors as sent by him to punish those who do evil and to praise those who do good. [15] For this is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people. [16] Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God. [17] Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor.

Are you willing to pray for, honor, and respect whomever is elected — even if he’s not “your guy?”

Consider Piper’s words:

Rick Warren Asks Obama About Views on Abortion

In Abortion, Barack Obama, Politics, Rick Warren/PDL on August 17, 2008 at 5:40 pm

Rick Warren is the pastor of Saddleback Church in Orange County, California. Over the weekend, he interviewed Democratic Presidential nominee Barack Obama and Republican presidential nominee John McCain. In this clip, he asked Obama two questions. How do you think Obama did in addressing these questions? Was he clear and lucid? What are your thoughts on the matter?

(HT: Denny Burk)