19 January 2009

Do Hard Things

I would like to introduce to you an organization called "The Revolution". I've been following the work of the Harris brothers, Alex and Brett, off and on for several years through this, their website. The articles are always helpful and pertinent to me as a young person. For those of you who don't know, they have also written "Do Hard Things", which I highly recommend for both young and old. Their writings encourage me to do hard things. The bar needs to be raised for young people - we are expected to fritter away our teenage years in parties, proms and friends. With the the expectations set low, it is no wonder that not many are willing to reach beyond it. But that's not what we young people as Christians should be doing - and neither should we expect to do it. The teenage years need to be taken advantage of as time to build our character and gain experience. The bar needs to be raised, and we need to be willing to do hard things.

They're are two basic types of hard things - big and small. It's easy for me, especially, to want to do the big hard things and change the world - but I have been shown that it is every bit important do the small hard things, too. Things often overlooked or taken for granted, like cleaning my room or doing a good job with my work. It is so easy to fall into lazy, old habits, but with the reminders I receive from the Harris brothers, I am encouraged to continue in doing hard things and breaking the culture's mold for teenagers. Be sure to check out The Revolution for yourself. I leave you in closing, 1 Timothy 4:12: "Don't let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity." - 1 Timothy 4:12

17 January 2009

Google Ads

Notice the Google Ads box? This is part of a simple system, where I am paid a certain amount each time someone clicks on one of the ads. This is a trial basis, and as I can't choose which ads are displayed, please let me know if you see any distasteful or inappropriate ads displayed. Thanks!

Saturday Psalm & Praise

For this week's installment of "Saturday Psalm and Praise", I present you with "What Woundrous Love is This?" (at­trib­ut­ed to Al­ex­an­der Means). Enjoy the words to this beautiful, haunting hymn.

What wondrous love is this, O my soul, O my soul!
What wondrous love is this, O my soul!
What wondrous love is this that caused the Lord of bliss
To bear the dreadful curse for my soul, for my soul,
To bear the dreadful curse for my soul.

When I was sinking down, sinking down, sinking down,
When I was sinking down, sinking down,
When I was sinking down beneath God’s righteous frown,
Christ laid aside His crown for my soul, for my soul,
Christ laid aside His crown for my soul.

To God and to the Lamb, I will sing, I will sing;
To God and to the Lamb, I will sing.
To God and to the Lamb Who is the great “I Am”;
While millions join the theme, I will sing, I will sing;
While millions join the theme, I will sing.

And when from death I’m free, I’ll sing on, I’ll sing on;
And when from death I’m free, I’ll sing on.
And when from death I’m free, I’ll sing and joyful be;
And through eternity, I’ll sing on, I’ll sing on;
And through eternity, I’ll sing on.

16 January 2009

Education Must Precede Activism

Here's a great article I recently read, titled "Education Must Precede Activism" by Stephen Palmer. This was published in The Sentinel, an email newsletter from The Cause of Liberty. If you haven't heard of The Cause for Liberty before, I urge you to go check it out! It is a great organization who believes we can change America by changing ourselves. If you enjoy this article, be sure to sign up for The Sentinel, and you will receive great articles like this each week!

Education Must Precede Activism

By Stephen Palmer

"Force without wisdom falls of its own weight." -Horace

A few years ago, I was teaching a class on the constitution where I witnessed a sad, though interesting, phenomenon.

To give context, this was a room full of people wholly dedicated to the cause of liberty -- the people who "get it."

I asked the class, "How many of you agree with William Gladstone's quote that the Constitution is '...the most wonderful work ever struck off at a given time by the mind and purpose of man'?"

100% of the attendees raised their hands.

I told them to keep their hands raised, then asked, "How many of you have actually read it?" A few hands dropped.

"Of you who have actually read it from beginning to end," I continued, "how many have read it within the last six months?"

Still more hands dropped. I persisted. "Of those who still have their hands raised, how many of you can tell us what Article III talks about?" More hands dropped. By this time only about half of the room had their hands raised.

By the time I asked who knew what habeas corpus means and what bills of attainder are, not a single person in the room had their hand raised.

Mind you, these are the same people who had just said that they agreed with Gladstone's quote, yet very few of them could answer the most basic questions about the Constitution.

What would you guess is the most recurring criticism I receive from subscribers and website visitors?

Contrary to what you might think, it's not from people who take polar opposite positions from the Cause of Liberty content. It's from freedom-loving patriots who believe that my recommended action steps are "benign." For example, they tell me that reading classics will do little to solve our looming problems.

I have nothing but respect and admiration for these devoted people. We need many more just like them. But I do have a different perspective on what needs to happen for our Republic to be restored.

America is primed for a French Revolution scenario. To take it even further, we exhibit many of the qualities of German civilization prior to World War II.

We're a highly-trained, yet poorly-educated populace. We've lost our sense of true education. Furthermore, we have staggering discrepancies in wealth distribution. We're primed for a lot of chaos and pain.

Plainly put, we don't have enough widespread education to sustain an anger-driven revolution. The People trying to fight Washington and other power interests right now is like replacing a strip club with a flea market.

There's no use in fighting unless we have quality replacement options. It's not enough to just be mad -- we must also be wise. And turning inward is the beginning of wisdom.

Confucius said it best in his classic essay The Great Learning:

The ancients who wished to illustrate illustrious virtue throughout the kingdom, first ordered well their own states. Wishing to order well their states, they first regulated their families. Wishing to regulate their families, they first cultivated their persons. Wishing to cultivate their persons, they first rectified their hearts. Wishing to rectify their hearts, they first sought to be sincere in their thoughts. Wishing to be sincere in their thoughts, they first extended to the utmost their knowledge. Such extension of knowledge lay in the investigation of things.

Things being investigated, knowledge became complete. Their knowledge being complete, their thoughts were sincere. Their thoughts being sincere, their hearts were then rectified. Their hearts being rectified, their persons were cultivated. Their persons being cultivated, their families were regulated. Their families being regulated, their states were rightly governed. Their states being rightly governed, the whole kingdom was made tranquil and happy.
Not only does turning inward lead to wisdom, but it also leads to power. This is the core message of the Cause of Liberty. Fixing ourselves as individuals is what fixes the world.

If this sounds "benign" to you, I probably can't convince you otherwise. But I would point out that the most influential leaders, from Jesus Christ to Gandhi, have taken this approach. And they seemed to have done a pretty good job of improving the world.

There are others who say, "Yeah, we get it. But what do we actually do about it?"

To those I humbly repeat, "Continue working on yourself and your education." If our education was deep and broad enough we wouldn't have to ask that question.

I accept that this message may disappoint many. It may seem too simplistic. It may seem to be too little, too late. I'm probably starting to sound like a broken record.

But it's the light that animates everything that I do and everything I aspire to. It's the spiritual beating of my heart, the passion blood flowing through my veins, the mission muscles that keep me moving forward.

I'm fed up with the Federal Reserve. But I also don't have a complete grasp on how our monetary system should operate in the 21st Century, nor do I have a solid plan for making a transition.

So I don't march on Washington to spit at the Federal Reserve; I stay at home and read everything I can find on monetary policy.

I'm sick and tired of weaseling, compromising, ignorant, money-and-power-grubbing politicians. So I prepare myself to be a political leader with integrity, knowledge and wisdom.

I'm dismayed by the decay of the family. But I'm further dismayed by the times when I'm angry and impatient with my wife and children. So I focus my dismay on doing all I can to improve as a husband and father.

This is what the Cause of Liberty stands for. This is the message you'll hear for as long as I have breath.

And when you see me march on Washington, it won't be because I'm "angry as hell and I'm not going to take it anymore." It will be because I actually have real, sustainable solutions and the ability to carry them out.

Until then, I'm working on myself. Care to join me?

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