Monday, June 21, 2010

My Endorsements for Tennessee Legislative Races

Over the past ten years, I've worked on behalf of several candidates at the national, state and local level. I'm very particular about who I choose to work and vote for. This year, I'm endorsing/supporting four candidates: Susan Lynn, Heather Scott,Tim Burchett, and Carl Whitaker.

I first heard about Susan Lynn in 2002 from a fellow libertarian Heather Scott when both of them were running for office (Susan for State Representative; Heather for Wilson County Commission).

Susan has demonstrated an independent streak in the legislature. She is one of the most open legislators who is active on Facebook, maintains her own blog and regularly sends out newsletters. Lynn has used her position to advance the issue of state sovereignty and led an effort in the House to protect Tennesseans from having to conform to the new federal health care law, an effort that failed in the House but nevertheless bolstered Lynn’s reputation as a Tenth Amendment advocate. She is chairman of the House Government Operations Committee, and serves on the Calendar & Rules and Commerce Committees as well as the Small Business Sub-Committee. She has been Chairman of the Commerce Task Force for the American Legislative Exchange Council since 2007.

With an out of control federal government running amok, principled legislators are needed more than ever and principled legislators are hard to find at all levels. Susan is one of a few.

Heather Scott who is running for the 57th District which is occupied by Lynn says she’s seen how programs come down from the state and federal government that may or may not be right for a particular county, yet local governments have to enact them and cover the costs that come with them.

She recalled how a couple of years ago the Wilson County school system needed $1.5 million and that it looked like a tax increase could be involved. But she looked at the schools’ budget and saw an undesignated fund balance of $3 million. When she pointed out the schools had the money they needed, she learned the schools were required by the state to keep 3 percent in an undesignated fund balance for emergencies, so the commission, without her support, voted for a tax increase.

“It’s a trickle-down effect. Government should be strongest at the local level. More tax dollars should be kept at the local level. We send our income tax to Washington then have to beg for it to come back to local communities, and then they usually have strings attached. That money should never leave our community in the first place.” Scott said.

Scott said the election laws in the state are set up in a way that make it difficult for a third-party candidate to run (such as not being listed by the party name unless it is Democrat or Republican), so she opted for the independent tag.

Tim Burchett is running for Knox County Mayor which has been occupied by Mike Ragsdale. I've known Tim for ten years. He has served admirably in the state legislature and even sponsored legislation in 2000 to allow the TN Libertarian Party to run under its own party name basically as an experimental concept. Over the years, he has shown to be an open and independent minded legislator who isn't afraid to upset the apple cart when necessary. He has been a small business owner and this experience has helped him to understand the issues that they deal with particularly in relation to government matters.

The Knox County government has been in need of a major housecleaning for years and the County Mayor's office most of all. I will just say that the office has been operated by politics as usual. The good ole boy and girl network has hamstrung the county with bloated budgets, wasted millions of dollars for pet projects doled out to friends and family, and vendettas against those who oppose such waste and mismanagement. Clearly what is needed most of all aside from a new direction in policy is honesty and efficiency.

I'm generally not impressed with the candidates that the GOP and Democrat party have to offer in the 2010 Gubernatorial race. So I'm supporting Carl Twofeathers Whitaker independent campaign for governor. He has never held public office before, so there isn't much to elaborate on as far as what he has done as a public official. I also have the impression he isn't interested in a professional career in politics which always ranks as a plus in my book. He isn't connected to the power brokers that generally comes with being a legislator and will exercise independent judgment.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

The Cult of John Nelson Darby

John Nelson Darby

If you are trying to make sense of the events that have transpired in the Middle East over the past 100 years or so, don't feel alone. What is driving the conflicts in the Middle East isn't due to any prophecy from the Bible as some people have claimed. John of Patmos didn't have a time machine or a crystal ball.

A major movement that is obviously affecting the events in the Middle East is called dispensationalism. It is a heavy influence in many of the churches and synagogues which while wearing the skin of a lamb, underneath lies a wolf. Much of what we THINK we know about the Bible doesn't come from the Bible, but from modern culture shaped along with our own political and personal belief systems. This would include "Good Sunday", Adam and Eve, and Who Killed Jesus?"

Modern day proponents of this movement are Hal Lindsay, John Hagee, Pat Robertson to name a few. People just assume that if they see it on TV, well it must be true. If an "authority figure" says it, it must be true. This gives people an excuse to not take responsibility for their lives. A genuine faith in Christ is an active faith. Allowing others to do the thinking for you so you don't have to think for yourself or take responsibility for your life is quite contrary to 'The one who is righteous will live by faith.'

Taken to its logical conclusion, dispensationalism would mean that its followers need to commit suicide like the Heaven's Gate cult did. Yet they won't. It goes to show that despite their claims that God is on their side, they actually don't believe in God's promise to Abraham about being a blessing to all nations. Dispensationalism denies Jesus as Messiah and it denies God's sovereignty.

The notion of being raptured up to heaven is dependent on destruction whether natural or man-made for it to work. So they go about trying to make it work by supporting war, persecutions, animal sacrifices among other things. Quite contrary to the doctrine that God so loved the world that he sent his only son to save us.

What was the point of cursing a fig tree for not bearing fruit when it was not even in season? See Matthew 21 particularly versus 18–22; Luke 13:6–9 and Mark 11:12–21.

Pay attention to how the parable of the fig tree is bracketed with the cursing of the temple. That was done so that the reader would not miss the point of cursing the fig tree in the first place. If something is broken, you replace it. Jesus is the new temple (albeit spiritual temple in a spiritual kingdom).

More to the point, Matthew re-orients eschatological expectations away from the earthly city and temple and onto the resurrected Jesus. This theological shift away from the earthly city is painted literarily by the evangelist who concludes his Gospel with Jesus appearing to the disciples on another mountain, a nondescript location in Galilee (Matt 28:16). The exact geographical region is irrelevant; the significance is not on the place but on the person of Jesus. The ingathering of “all nations” will indeed take place, not through an earthly restoration but through the apostles’ ministry of baptism, through which the disciples will experience in the presence of Jesus, so that in being regathered, the restoration at the new temple is realized.

The Jews expected a messiah that was similar to King David or the Macabees. Something along the lines of a warrior king or politician driving out the Roman Empire. Instead, he come to us born, living and dying in poverty. Jesus lived amongst us, the blind, the loss, the oppressed, etc... Instead of driving out the Roman armies, he drove out the religious frauds who had occupied the Temple and lead people astray with their false teachings and empty motions of religion. This messiah had to bring himself to the lowest levels in order for us to have the chance of experiencing God's redeeming grace. This speaks to the nature of who God is. This is a far cry from the portrayal of a God that is only interested in death and destruction.