The Monday Muse: Single Issue Politics?

A few weeks ago I posed a question concerning the involvement of Christians in the political process. Jumping on the back of that question, I want to address another question relating to Christians and politics. It seems that conservative, evangelical Christians are often branded as single issue voters. What is the single issue? Abortion. Some thoughtful Christians argue that we must think and vote more broadly. They say that abortion is not the only issue to consider when voting for an elected official. On the other side of the coin, there are other thoughtful Christians who argue that abortion is the preeminent issue amongst all of the issues. Yes, we must consider the other issues but abortion trumps them in importance. So let’s put it on the table.

Does the issue of abortion carry greater weight and importance than all other issues? Or should we think more broadly even it leads us to vote for a pro-choice candidate?

Since this is a hot topic, please be respectful when engaging one another. In other words…play nice.

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New Artist Alert: Josh Wilson

I have known Josh Wilson for a few years now. He is a fantastic musician and clever lyricist. Josh’s creativity knows no bounds. I was blessed to be able to serve with him in the college ministry at Judson Baptist Church a couple of years ago. During that time I caught a glimpse of his work ethic and dedication to his craft. Josh has worked very hard to get to where he is at. And now his debut album on Sparrow Records titled Trying to Fit the Ocean in a Cup has just recently hit stores everywhere. CMCentral caught up with Josh and asked him a few questions about his new record.

Be sure to go out and support my friend by picking up the album. It is seriously fun. Figure that out.

Also…for your viewing pleasure…enjoy Josh’s tasty rendition of Amazing Grace.

The Monday Muse: Federer or Nadal?

A debate has sprung to life in the wake of yesterday’s Wimbledon championship match. Tennis analysts and fans everywhere have been discussing for quite some time the gap between Nadal and Federer. The once seemingly insurmountable gap between Federer and everyone else has been closed quickly by Nadal over the course of this year. In fact, many people are beginning to make the case that Nadal is the best player in tennis, at least this year. Nadal’s victory over Federer on Federer’s best surface has naturally fired up this debate. Federer has been, without a doubt, the best player in tennis for the last couple of years. However, Nadal has had the best of Federer this year when it has mattered the most. As a matter of fact, it seems that Nadal has had the best year of anyone with two Grand Slam championships to support this claim. Has Nadal overtaken Federer as the best men’s player? Let’s bring this debate to this week’s Monday Muse.

Who is the best men’s tennis player…Nadal or Federer?

Though the year isn’t over yet, make your case based on what has already gone down. Game on…

The Greatest Wimbledon Final Ever

That is what some people are calling yesterday’s epic battle between Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal. Having returned from the Sunday morning worship service, I turned on the television expecting to catch some highlights and the final score of the match. To my surprise and excitement I found that the match was still in progress due to a rain delay. I am glad I was able to catch the most intense portion of the one of the greatest tennis matches I have ever seen.

Nadal had the match wrapped up in the fourth set tiebreak when he was up 5-2 with a chance to serve it out. His nerves got the best of him as he double faulted the first point away and watched Federer take the next point as well. That sequence was a crucial moment in the match which decided the fate of the set. Momentum shifted to Federer as he closed out the fourth set tiebreak, 10-8. I knew Nadal would not completely collapse but I was convinced that Federer would take the fifth set.

After blowing a two set lead and then giving away the fourth set when he had match point, Nadal could have easily fallen apart under the weight of disappointment and frustration. However, Nadal regrouped and went back to work. The two tennis giants battled like prizefighters in a heavyweight championship bout. It was an incredible display of tennis. Federer was crushing forehands and coming up with big aces when he needed them. Nadal was scrambling all over the court chasing down balls and painting the lines with his heavy topspin. They were coming up with all of the shots. Someone had to break. Someone had to falter. Few expected it to be Federer. As Nadal switched sides in the dark of the London night, he was primed to take advantage of the late, fifth set break. With tension filling the air and drama surrounding every shot, Nadal served out the match and won his first Wimbledon title by dethroning the best…the great Roger Federer. If you are Nadal, you can’t ask for anything more. He destroyed Federer in the French Open final and then came to Federer’s house and beat him there as well. To be the best, you have to beat the best. With his victory, Nadal became the first man since Bjorn Borg to win the French Open and Wimbledon back to back. He also kept Federer from being the first man to win six consecutive Wimbledon titles since the late 1800’s.

For anyone who is interested, Denny Burk has posted highlights of the match here.

Having played competitive tennis for several years, I have a great appreciation for the consistently high level of play displayed throughout the entirety of this match. It was nothing short of amazing…a thing of beauty. It was a match for the ages. It is a match I will never forget. Well done fellas…well done.

Hear the Power of the Word

Here’s a reading of Romans 8:16-39 that should bless your soul. Listen and be edified.

(HT: Erik Kowalker)

Redeeming the Time

Doug Wilson has written a thoughtful article on the fruitfulness of plodding. Reluctantly, Doug gives a few helpful principles and methods for being productive with your time. If you are like me, this is an area that you struggle with more often than not. I found this passage to be particularly challenging yet true.

Second, maintain boundaries for everything, boundaries that suit the circumstance. When the kids were little and still at home, the daily routine was completely different than it is now that they have families of their own. Generally, pastors need to set boundaries to keep their work from spilling into family time, and not the other way around. So, for example, when we were first married, we set the boundary that I would not allow my work as a pastor (Bible studies, speaking engagements, etc.) take me away from home in the evenings more than three nights a week. Flipped around, I would be home with the family a minimum of four nights a week. My work was restricted to specified reservations, and as my responsibilities grew I had to figure out ways to be more fruitful in those alloted times. When an extra load developed, the idea was to have it land on me and not on the family. If it has to get done now, then get up at five, and nobody else pays. So if you need to, get up at five, but always try to go home at five.

It will be well worth your time to read this article. So enjoy…then go be productive.

(HT: Ray Van Neste)

The Monday Muse: Christianity & Politics

I recently read that the Obama camp has hired a professor from Wesley Theological Seminary, Dr. Shaun Casey, to be his senior adviser for religious affairs. The evangelical vote has become a major point of interest for Obama as well as McCain. Many people may assume that religious conservatives and evangelicals alike will vote for McCain since both groups tend to associate with the Republican party. However, tension has grown within these assumed associations due to the frustration held toward the Bush administration.

A few months ago James Dobson, a staunch Republican, made it clear that he is troubled by McCain’s candidacy and will not be voting for him in the presidential election (not voting for Obama is a given).

Combine all of these scenarios with the release of An Evangelical Manifesto, a document seeking to give guidelines for evangelical involvement in the public square, and you begin to see the difficulty this presidential election and the current landscape of America is creating. So here’s our question:

What level of involvement should we have in politics as Christians?

I know faith and politics can be a heated topic so while holding fast to your convictions, remember to discuss/debate with respect. I already have a follow-up question for next week that focuses a little more on the issues. Let the games begin.

(HT: Justin Taylor)