2008-09-08 The Brief


·         The Death of Paper – Are printed magazines, newspapers, and books nearing their demise?  Check out this article and make the call.


·         The List: McCain’s 10 Worst IdeasForeign Policy is doing a two part series on the ten worst policy proposals for the two presidential hopefuls.

·         The List: Obama’s 10 Worst IdeasForeign Policy is doing a two part series on the ten worst policy proposals for the two presidential hopefuls.

·         On Faith – The panelists at The Washington Post and Newsweek’s forum, On Faith, have recently been asked: “Women are not allowed to become clergy in many conservative religious groups. Is it hypocritical to think that a woman can lead a nation and not a congregation?”  As you can imagine this question has generated a varied number of responses and heated debate in the forums.  You can read the responses from all the panelists here; however, I would recommend the following panelists’ responses, and not necessarily because I agree with them:

Albert Mohler Jr. – President, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary

Brian D. McLaren – Leader in the Emergent Church movement and author of A Generous Orthodoxy

Richard Mouw – President, Fuller Theological Seminary

Susan Brooks Thistlethwaite – Professor, Chicago Theological Seminary

Deepak Chopra – Founder and president of the Alliance for a New Humanity


·         Lost/Found in Translation?Ed Stetzer has posted a helpful article concerning the language a church chooses to use and how this shapes missional thinking.

·         Insufficient Responses- A Thought on Nehemiah 1.4 – You need to read this post.

·         Is Divine Election Unfair?John MacArthur gives a brief explanation of why this doctrine of grace is truly gracious.

·         Six Study EssentialsMark Driscoll gives six simple yet very helpful essentials to Bible study.


·         Pry the Baton Out of Their (C)old, Dead Hands- An Opinion on Age Trends in the SBCTodd Burus has posted on age trends in the SBC there has  not been a lot of discussion on this post and I know Todd, as well as myself, would love to hear your thoughts.

·         Convocation marks start of “year of living dangerously,” Mohler tells studentsDr. Albert Mohler’s fall convocation address at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary challenges students to live dangerously (click here for MP3).  From the address:

“I want us to be an institution that scares people,” he said. “We are gathered here at this place, with so many of us — it appears — who are committed to the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ; this is a dangerous place. The forces of evil and darkness and the enemies of the Gospel have more than met their match. Not because of who we are, but because of who Christ is. Not because we have any tactical skill, but because we follow a Lord who is going to vindicate His Gospel.”


9 thoughts on “2008-09-08 The Brief

  1. I liked the round up of good ideas/bad ideas. But, Obama has dropped some of his bad ideas that were on the list and he also supports a cap-and-trade without a full auction. But, I appreciated the criticism of McCain’s tax policies, i expected less from FP.

    I was forwarded a mass-email supporting McCain from someone who reads my blog. It was filled with all kinds of lies and distortions, positively for McCain, negatively for Obama. I’ve decided the median voter is a complete idiot.

    –i hesitate in typing that sentence. Maybe I run for office one day and someone uses it against me. Oh well.

    I’ll rephrase it– the median voter is a college freshman. :-)

  2. jdtapp,
    Not to be mean, but I think the majority of college freshmen are going for Obama, which makes your thesis a little more interesting.

    As it is, there is a lot of distortion of facts coming out of the Obama camp, and they are unabashed in announcing it, which is seen in the proliferation of liberal linguistic thought patroller George Lakoff. It can also be seen in how whenever you get issues that would be unpopular, like the proposed Capital Gains tax increase by Obama, no one says that they are going to do the unpopular thing (i.e. increase taxes), but instead they try and just whisk it all away (i.e. by saying that they will “return to the tax levels during the 1990’s.” This works for them because the 1990’s are the past and everyone knows that things were cheaper in the past, right?)

    For what it’s worth, and maybe not much knowing how left-leaning people feel about the guy, but I would recommend viewing Bill O’Reilly’s interview with Obama. He’s probably the only guy who’s not going to give him a free pass, so it’s a chance to actually see what happens when Obama is faced with something other than a recitation of his talking points.

  3. Todd,
    I’m pretty confident in saying that I’ve been a McCain supporter long before you might have been.

    An example of what I’m talking about yesterday was the McCain camp making a big deal that Obama made “offensive sexist remarks that he should apologize for.” Because he used several examples to say that you can’t change a label on an empty box, one of which was “you can put lipstick on a pig.”
    So, I get emails from right-wing Christians infuriated without having read the whole transcript in context– Obama was very complimentary of Palin.

    The mass email I mentioned above claimed Obama would raise taxes on dividends to 39%, which is a lie. This is more likely to happen, ironically, if McCain is elected because Congress will simply let the Bush tax cuts expire and they will return to the 39% level. IF Obama is elected it’s much more likely that the rates will increase to only 20% rather than the 39%.
    And that’s only if your income > $250,000. Did you know that?

    The pro-McCain materials I’m seeing since Palin was put on the ticket contain a lot of outrageous lies about Obama. My point is that, as Christians, we should avoid those lies and tell the truth– even where the truth hurts.

    FP has a valid criticism of the McCain tax plan, it balloons the deficit more than $2 trillion more than Obama’s plan. I was surprised to read it in FP because it always comes across to me as a very conservative mouthpiece of the current administration.

    I teach economics at a conservative Baptist university. Most of the students I see are from white middle/ upper-middle class Southern Baptist backgrounds. Many are fairly skeptical of free markets and trade, which is the current fad and is probably a way to rebel against their parents. I would call them the median voter because they come in with a somewhat right-leaning bias (we’re still a slightly right-leaning nation) but are open to free thinking, and are influenced as they learn new information about the candidates and are mostly undecided. And they are pulled by the mis-information “Obama is a Muslim,” “McCain is a war-hawk,” etc. From an economics standpoint, many are attracted to McCain’s policies as they tend to foster more freedom and creativity.

    But, I point out that most people will pay lower taxes under Obama, that’s an empirical fact. There are trade offs. Do you want lower taxes for yourself, higher taxes for the rich? Or do you want more incentives for high-income earners to increase their productivity and grow our economy through innovations? Then, do you want that at the expense of higher taxes for your children/grandchildren?

  4. It’s kind of ironic– FP criticized Obama for saying he’d bomb Pakistan without authorization. Today we find out Pres. Bush has done exactly that, including putting boots on the ground.

  5. jdtapp,
    First, I guess we’ll have to agree to disagree on the median voter. I teach mathematics at a public college and I can testify that there is certainly no love lost for the right where I’m at. It is possible that the median Southern Baptist voter is right-leaning, but as a whole this country seems to be left-leaning, which is what the evidence that there are more registered democrats than republicans would suggest too.

    Anyways, as for Obama and dividends taxes, he actually said in his interview with O’Reilly that that level would (a) return to mid-1990’s levels and (b) be somewhere between 20 to 30%, with the exact number being tossed around being 28%. Now, I know that he says that is for “rich people” which he at one point listed as “>$250,000,” but the point is, almost none of the people investing are below this mark. Obama’s plan of “Tax the Rich” is dangerous because (1) there are a lot of small businesses that fall into this “>$250,000” bracket and so they would be hurt, and (2) the rich businesses and employers will just trickle that tax down to consumers anyways. It would be nice if the rich would just say “Okay, I’ll take this tax on the chin without change my prices” but come on, let’s be real.

    As for the “tax cuts for 95% of the people,” most of those people aren’t paying taxes in the first place. So, the only way they would be seeing any increased wealth is if Obama sent them checks from the taxes higher income citizens paid. Thus, either Obama is going to promote socialism or the tax cuts won’t actually be of any use to a great portion of those 95% of people. Neither option seems appealing.

    Finally, talking about “encouraging innovations,” the big problem with that is that we are working with the assumption that the innovations will be found. If we go no-holds-barred on stem cell research that is under the assumption that we will actually find those cures, which though it sounds nice is not really working in the labs. If we invest in trying to develop alternative fuels, that does not do anything to alleviate the need that we will still have for oil and natural gas while we wait the 10-20 years for someone to produce them, get them patented, and get them approved by the EPA.

    Like has been said many times, hope is not a plan. Obama’s idealism might get him elected, but hopefully average Joe’s will wake up and see that catchy slogans don’t put food on their tables or money in their wallets.

  6. My comment about higher incentives to encourage innovations was about the McCain plan. That’s where I’m saying the tradeoff is: A larger economic pie vs. greater redistribution of that pie.
    And I would say that the 2000 and 2004 elections showed that our country is a center-right nation, that seemed to be the consensus of the news media at the time. Because those elections saw the largest turnout (60 & 64%) we have a larger sample size such that the median measure should be a more-true median for the population. This is debatable of course.

    The Obama tax on the top 2 brackets is being redistributed to the lower 95% in the form of various refundable credits. The lower 95% will indeed pay lower taxes any way you slice it (CBS did a good break down of this with real families the other night), some of them will simply be receiving larger checks from the government (ie: paying more negative tax).

    Obama’s comments about “we’re simply returning tax rates to pre-Bush levels, but better than the 90’s” are still true, if somewhat distorting. McCain camp comments about 39% are simply false and indefensible, particulary from those who claim to be Christians. Same goes for the lipstick on the pig.

    For the record his plan (as listed on the website) clearly says 20%, his economic advisers have done a big job getting that printed several times in the WSJ.

    Not saying it’s a good idea, it’s not one I’m voting for. I’m simply saying it’s not 39% and lies being told by professing Christians about another person are very shameful. The means never justify the ends in Scripture.

  7. I just got around to reading the McLaren, Mohler, etc. comments. Richard Mouw sums up the conclusion of every conversation I’ve ever had with a Truett Seminary student– we have to address how we approach the Bible differently. Mohler summed up the conservative view well, and I still agree with him. McLaren, sadly, didn’t elaborate on his thoughts other than to (paraphrase) “out with the old, in with the new.”
    But it’s all very telling.

  8. I appreciate Mohler’s response and I think he answered well. While it is brief I think Mouw’s response is the most informative as he looks as female leaders in the OT and the prohibition against female leadership in the church. However, I think that Susan Brooks Thistlethwaite brings an incredibly important question to the table when she asks, “Is she subject to her husband?” I do not see anyone dealing significantly with this question and if you are going to approach it biblically then I think the answer is clear and I do not think that it is an answer that many voters will appreciate.

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