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Short answer: My conscience encourages it, but I don’t think everyone should.

I’ve previously posted some of these reasons as single statements, but I thought I’d put them all in one place.

Five Reasons I Wear A Tie To Church.

1. I think I look my best while wearing a tie.
I make no claims to handsomeness, but I have opinions as to what makes me look more or less good-looking. I think wearing a tie makes me more presentable. This may not be applicable for other guys.

I’m going to be with other Christians. I’m going to be focusing on God. Why not try to make myself as presentable as possible?

2. My wife likes it when I wear a tie.
Again, your mileage may vary. But pleasing my wife in this way is a reasonable goal with a number of positive results.

3. I see it as a respectful way to show reverence to God.
When you are worshiping, there are many ways to show honor to God in the way you dress. For me, wearing a tie is one of them.

4. I don’t want there to be nobody wearing a tie at church.
Sometimes I look around after a worship service and can’t find any other guys who are wearing a tie, on the platform or off. I think someone should hold down this fort. I want “guys wearing ties” to be somewhere on the spectrum of how men dress at my church. One reason for this is …

5. I’m thinking about the visitors.
Here is a real situation that I can imagine happening every Sunday somewhere around the country: A guy who hasn’t been to church in a long time decides to finally go to the church down the street that he’s heard has welcoming at it. But he’s also heard they are a little conservative, so he decides to wear a tie. And when he gets there, he feels out of place because he’s the only one.

Wouldn’t that be unfortunate?

I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some. I do it all for the sake of the gospel, that I may share with them in its blessings. 1 Cor 9:22-23

Now, as I stated, I don’t think everyone should. Here’s why: It would make me nervous to walk around a church where every adult male was wearing a tie. It seems like that might make our church a little less approachable. A little too legalistic-looking.

But wouldn’t it be legalistic in a different way to suggest that no one should? Or if no one does?

20161013t0848-5841-cns-pope-lutherans-refugees-800x500

I was asked by my Facebook friend Chris what I thought about this article from what the Pope said last fall about Christianity and helping immigrants.

Here’s one paragraph from the article.

“It’s hypocrisy to call yourself a Christian and chase away a refugee or someone seeking help, someone who is hungry or thirsty, toss out someone who is in need of my help,” he said. “If I say I am Christian, but do these things, I’m a hypocrite.”

Here are my comments:

1. I’m not Catholic, so the Pope isn’t an authority over my beliefs. I prefer to go directly to what the Bible says.

2. That being said, what the Pope says here is reasonable.

3. I note that he speaks of ‘chasing away’ or ‘tossing out’ those who are hungry and needy. This doesn’t speak to what he thinks we should do with people who are in other countries who are in need. He certainly isn’t calling (at least here) for a nation to bring the poor and needy in from other countries.

4. I’m aware some travelers were sent home. Were they poor and needy?

5. If he did call for nations to accept refugees, I would look for documentation for how many Muslim refugees the Vatican has taken in. I know it’s a small place, but I’m sure they could find space for a couple hundred.

6. No person or nation can help everyone. They shouldn’t be expected to. But a person or nation should strive to help more than zero people. The hard question is – how many more than zero? There is not a objective answer to this question.

7. I believe the U.S. should help people (foreign and domestic) who are in need. I believe the U.S. should allow some immigrants and refugees from other countries.  The similar hard questions are – how many and where from?

8. If the question is: “If President Trump calls himself a Christian, is he a hypocrite when he doesn’t allow refugees from the seven nations?”, I’d answer this way:
A. This would not be in my top five reasons of why I don’t think Trump is a Christian.
B. Every president ever has been criticized for not acting like a Christian.
C. This is one of many issues where no matter what side a president takes, he’ll be called by some to be acting in a non-Christian way.
D. I recommend looking for other arguments why Trump’s new travel policy is foolish and wrong.

9. Trumps new policy is, at best, extremely heavy handed and has done harm to people.

10. I agree that to say you are a Christian and act in unchristlike ways makes you a hypocrite.

11. Every Christian is, at times, hypocritical. Every time we sin. I thank God for what His Son did for us to take away our sins. But even as we (reasonably, wisely) look outward to what our Christian politicians are doing, we should look inward to our own lives.

All Hitler comparisons are wrong. Some are useful.

May God bless President Trump –with an effective four years resulting in a more godly America and all the way to heaven.

The Wall
I expect President Trump will make headway with this. I’m guessing that at some point, Mexico will pitch in $100 in some indirect way and Trump will say mission accomplished.

Illegal immigrants
I expect that some will be sent home. More than with Obama.

Supreme Court Judge
I expect that he’ll pick a pro-life constitutional judge. This is my biggest hope for him.  I fear he’ll cave on this.

LGBT
I expect no real change in this, except perhaps giving them slightly more in the way of rights.  I haven’t heard about him talking about this. I’m guessing this is because he’s secretly liberal on this issue. I really don’t get why LGBT advocates are so afraid of him.

Race
I expect that Minorities will have few policy changes to complain about.
I expect that Trump will make statements that minorities will (reasonably) take issue with.
I expect that Trump will avoid making statements that black advocates will take issue with.
I don’t get why minority advocates are afraid of him.

Women
I expect that Women Advocates will have few policy changes to complain about.
I think it likely that Trump will avoid making statements that women’s advocates would take issue with.
But more bad history may crop up.
I understand why women’s advocates are afraid of him.

Muslims
I expect no change for those already here. I expect fewer Muslims will be allowed into our country.
I understand why Muslim advocates are afraid of him. I don’t expect registration to happen. This is contrary to what he said in the campaign.

Economy
I expect the economy to do well. Partially because it seems to be heading that way. Partially because of real changes he’ll make. Partially because of the impression that he’s good for business.

Clinton
I expect no legal moves against Hillary. This is definitely contrary to his statements.

Conflict of Interest
I expect the Trump’s Sons Running Trump’s Business will be a non-issue.

Twitter
I expect Trump will continuing to tweet. There will still be crazy tweets but they will be fewer. His tweets are effective for him and will continue to be so.

Obamacare
Tough one. I think it will be repealed and replaced with something very similar but different and not provably better. This is going to be a mess.

In Four Years
I’m guessing that Trump will be seen as a fairly successful and effective statesman. I’m guessing liberals will hate him, partially because of his success. He’s going to continue offending people but less so. I’m guessing he will run again, but a major controversy might prevent this. If he runs again, I’m thinking he will win.

Are there other issues I haven’t dealt with?
What do you disagree with?

It’s not a lie if it’s true.

By I can think of exceptions to this.

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Short answer: My conscience encourages it, but I don’t think everyone should.

I’ve previously posted some of these reasons as single statements, but I thought I’d put them all in one place.

Five Reasons I Wear A Tie To Church.

1. I think I look my best while wearing a tie.
I make no claims to handsomeness, but I have opinions as to what makes me look more or less good-looking. I think wearing a tie makes me more presentable. This may not be applicable for other guys.

I’m going to be with other Christians. I’m going to be focusing on God. Why not try to make myself as presentable as possible?

2. My wife likes it when I wear a tie.
Again, your mileage may vary. But pleasing my wife in this way is a reasonable goal with a number of positive results.

3. I see it as a respectful way to show reverence to God.
When you are worshiping, there are many ways to show honor to God in the way you dress. For me, wearing a tie is one of them.

4. I don’t want there to be nobody wearing a tie at church.
Sometimes I look around after a worship service and can’t find any other guys who are wearing a tie, on the platform or off. I think someone should hold down this fort. I want “guys wearing ties” to be somewhere on the spectrum of how men dress at my church. One reason for this is …

5. I’m thinking about the visitors.
Here is a real situation that I can imagine happening every Sunday somewhere around the country: A guy who hasn’t been to church in a long time decides to finally go to the church down the street that he’s heard has welcoming at it. But he’s also heard they are a little conservative, so he decides to wear a tie. And when he gets there, he feels out of place because he’s the only one.

Wouldn’t that be unfortunate?

I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some. I do it all for the sake of the gospel, that I may share with them in its blessings. 1 Cor 9:22-23

Now, as I stated, I don’t think everyone should. Here’s why: It would make me nervous to walk around a church where every adult male was wearing a tie. It seems like that might make our church a little less approachable. A little too legalistic-looking.

But wouldn’t it be legalistic in a different way to suggest that no one should? Or if no one does?

As I was thinking about yesterday’s post, I was thinking about how different people respond to the loss of a good thing.

This I imagine is a topic where you can put people into two groups: Those who don’t like change and those who do.

The first kind wants the good thing to last forever. “I’m fine. Let’s just stay here.”

The second kind, those who embrace change (and here I’m guessing, because this really isn’t me) are people who stop liking a good thing before it’s taken away from them. They move to something they see as better, moving away from another good, because they’re not enjoying the good anymore. Or not enough to keep them there. Do I have that correct?

The returns have diminished so much, that it’s worth the risk of moving on in hopes that they find something with a better return.

And obviously this isn’t a hard line definitively splitting all humans into two disparate groups, but there is a continuum that people find themselves on.

If you’re a person who likes change, is this a good description of your approach?

Here’s the Statement: Every earthly good thing that you enjoy will fade away some day.

Here’s the Fleshing-Out-Of-The-Idea:

I’ve been thinking about the impermanence of earthly things that give me joy. Being a person who doesn’t like change, I’m not fond of this reality.

That Pastor you like will some day retire.
That child* who finds peace sitting in your lap will one day be too big for it.
That TV show you enjoy will one day stop.
The schedule that works out so perfectly will no longer work out.

Next truth: Clinging too hard to a joy-bringer that is going away actually reduces our joy.

So the reminder that joy-bringers are not permanent can help us see the wisdom of not putting too much of our hopes in them. So don’t!

But here is the good news.

1. God will provide you other blessing and joys when these fade away. Look forward to that.
2. We’re only talking about earthly good things here. The heavenly good things are eternal.

You know, things like God’s love. And for those who are saved, His Gospel. And Heaven itself.

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of Light with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. – From James 1

* My son once made this statement (I think he heard it somewhere) that is true about all children: One day you will put down that child and never pick her up again.

Wow, that’s harsh. But there is such a thing as grand-children.

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In early July I started posting statements about current events that almost all of us believe. My thought was this – while we disagree on much, it can be helpful to be reminded what we almost all agree on.

It has at times been difficult to find statements about what is going on in American that we can all concur with, and sometimes the agreed upon statements are so weak that it might be slightly distressing, but I was pleased with how many fairly strong statements I could come up with.

I’ll keep it going.

I’m posting them on Facebook and on Twitter.

I’d be interested in your thoughts and comments and suggestions and disagreements, but before you send corrections, you might want to look at my notes below.

Some Thoughts and Explanations of the “What 95% Of Us Believe.”

Axiom 1: Sometimes the 95% is wrong.
Given how many times in history a universally excepted idea has been shown to be incorrect, it would be foolish to think that for the first time in history, we have everything right.

Axiom 2. Many or most will believe a much stronger wording of the What95%Believes statement.
… But sometimes in order to meet the 95% threshold, I have to tone down the wording.
Part of my reason for writing these statements is to point out the unfortunateness of this. You might (correctly) call this a sad statement about our society (“We should all believe that more strongly!”), but don’t state that I’m incorrect if I haven’t posted it.

Axiom 3: While we may agree on the What95%Believes statement, we may strongly disagree about the implications of the statement.

You and another person might agree to a statement, but you might not agree to how this should affect our lives. People might agree to the statement, “It’s unfortunate that there are homeless people” but the actions people take as a result of believing this range from paying for a person’s lodging for a long time to nothing.

Doing nothing doesn’t imply that you don’t believe the statement.

Axiom 4: You might agree with the What95%Thinks statement, but be of the opinion that it should not be stated.
… and you might be wise in that assessment. For example, you might think that a parent shouldn’t have let their child play in the street, but the time when you’re consoling them in the hospital isn’t a good time to point this out.

Other times the hard statement should be overtly stated.

Axiom 5: It’s Never 100%

There might be very popular ideas, but there is always someone who disagrees with it. Almost everyone agrees with “You shouldn’t murder”, but (at least in practice) murderers disagree with this.

A Word About Scope
When I Say “What 95% of us Believe” – by “Us” I mean (1) people who have heard about the issue in the post and understand its basics, and (2) are Americans, with some definition of the word “American”.

And Three Disclaimers:
1. If at first glance you think you (or others) might disagree with one of the statements, ask yourself if there is a way of thinking about the statement that you could buy into.

2. When I say “95 percent”, I really mean “a very large majority”. The actual number may be 98, or 92, or 89.

3. I have statistics to back none of these “large majority” conjectures.

Taking action to work towards Reality X, and encouraging others to do likewise, is not the same as saying, “I don’t believe in God’s sovereignty over Reality X.”

It is good to ask this question often: “Is this what God wants me to be doing right now?”

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Okay, so let’s say you’ve been to your state fair quite a few times, and you’ve enjoyed it and heard people say good things about it, but you’d like to know how it stacks up to other state fairs,  because you’ve only been to your own.

So you google “Best State Fairs” and find a few sites. So you look at one from Country Living that lists their five favorites: Minnesota, Iowa, Texas, New York and Alaska.

And you’re glad to see your own State Fair there, but you think, maybe this is just the opinion of few writers (or maybe just one.)

So you look at another, and another and you start to get interested, because you keep seeing the same few state fairs. And maybe you’d like evidence that your state’s is better than the one in the famous musical that says “Our state fair is a great state fair. Don’t miss it, don’t even be late!”

So, you start keeping track: which sites are in which sites list of Best State Fairs.

You find 15 lists. And, eschewing the click-bait, you end up with this chart (ordered by most listed to least listed – see full chart here.)

MN IA TX OH NY CA AZ WI KY AK IN WA NC OR OK Big E GA IL FL KA SD MI WY ND DE NM NE MO CO
Site 14 13 13 12 12 11 11 9 7 5 5 5 5 4 4 4 2 2 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1
New York Post 7 1 1 1 1 1 1
Country Living 5 1 1 1 1 1
Travel Channel 11 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1
Bustle 10 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1
Huffington 10 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1
Fodors 10 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1
Forbes 9 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1
Ask.com 10 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1
Family Vacation Critic 12 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1
World Web 10 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1
Smart Asset 10 1 1 1 1 2 1 1 1 1
Vacations Made Easy 20 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1
Samantha Brown 8 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1
USA Today Ten Best 10 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1
American Profile 8 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1

 

The first thing you’re happy to note is that your state fair is listed the most times, once more than the State Fair from Fame and Song.

You also note:

— 30 State Fairs are listed at least once.
— 11 are only listed only once.
— 7 are listed at least ten times.
— The single site that doesn’t list Minnesota is odd to the point of being disregardable! Delaware? Really? And two State Fairs are from Oklahoma? And honestly you wonder if they put Iowa there out of some kind of irrational reverence to Rodgers and Hammerstein.

As you compile all of the data, you note, with some dismay, that one of the list that doesn’t choose Iowa has a link that no longer works, but you hope that anyone analyzing the data will believe you that the link really did work at one point. You know, since you’ve gone through all this effort.

In any case, you’re pleased that your hope that yours is in fact the best state fair was not unfounded. And you look forward to the next time you can enjoy cheese curds, talent shows and trolley rides there again.

Earlier this week, Pastor John posted an article – A Beginner’s Guide to Free Will which I think is very helpful. The second half of this article should be read by anyone before they get into a discussion or argument about Free Will.

In it, he gives three definitions of Free Will, one of which he thinks exists for all people, one of which exists only for Christians, and one of which he thinks does not exist for anyone.

If you talk to someone about Free Will, you should have mutual agreement about which type you’re talking about.

Just like if you’re ever talking to someone about Luck, you should agree about which type you’re talking about.

You can praise God without using the word ‘Praise’.

You should really take a walk on this lovely summer day.

The next time you feel a person (or group of people) is being unreasonable, think about this: Is it possible that you’re not really considering the issue from their point of view?

How To Visualize Your Prediction of How The General Election Will Affect Our Country’s Future

[As the reader, please just stipulate for the sake of this post that I am excellent at creating visual graphics.]

In this essay I will be presenting of a visualization of what I think about the presidential election and how it will affect America. Also how Donald Trump is different. I’m asking you to consider whether or not you agree. I think it’s likely that you will, assuming you’re a normal, well-adjusted voter.

Here we go.

Like most people, I’m a bit disillusioned about the political process. Generally speaking, I don’t hold out a lot of hope that any president will make that big of a difference in the grand scheme of the course of the nation.

So, for example, as a voter who generally chooses Republicans on my ballots, I do so with the hope that the Republican will win and the expectation that if he does, things will get better. But, and this is important, not necessarily a lot better.

So as you might imagine, like most sane conservatives, I was looking forward to Ted Cruz (or, you know, Rubio, or Kashich) getting the GOP nomination, and then the presidency. And assuming this happened, this is how I had pictured that future, probabilistically speaking.

Cruz

Looking at the picture you’ll see that I, like all humans, don’t know the future, and I can only make guesses. Perhaps Cruz would have been amazing and great strides of progress would have happened in the U.S. of A. Or perhaps he would have done poorly and things would have gotten worse. But I was laying odds that things would get better – probably slightly to moderately better.

But it looks like that isn’t going to happen now; Cruz is out of the picture and perhaps we’ll have Hillary Clinton as our next Commander In Chief. Here’s my guess as to how that might work out.

Clinton

So you can see that I had similar uncertainty, but I was expecting things to get moderately, or at least minimally worse in our great land.

Nota bene, if you primarily vote Democrat, you could just switch the colors (blue to red and red to blue) and the names and they would be pretty close to what you think.*

I mean, right? Wouldn’t you agree? I’m guessing yes – looking into the next four years, the normal, slightly cynical voters picture something like these pictures. And not just for this election, but as they picture the country with every presidential candidate since they’ve been old enough to vote. Every four years.

But … Trump. What do we do with Trump? What do we think will happen with Trump as our president?
How about this?

Trump

Yes, the outlook is different. It’s not going to be a little better or a little worse. The results are going to be more extreme. Much more extreme. There are a couple issues that are important to me that I agree with him on (at least as he states it now) and if he stands by those long-held convictions**, things might be golden. But I fear it’s much more likely that earth shattering, ground shaking insanity might emanate from a Trump White House and spring forth from sea to shining sea. (Yes, if you’re wondering, I did choose the color by taking a pixel sample of his hair)

What will happen? In 2018, will we be looking back fondly at the days of legislative gridlock? Will small and midsized nations be attacking us out of principle? Will comedians stop making jokes because the situation is simply not funny anymore? Will Donald ‘build a wall’ around our country’s heart so thick that we can’t be hurt by anyone, even those who love us most, and make Megyn Kelly pay for it?***

The question – Who knows what our status will be after four years of Trump? And sir, the answer: No one – least of all Trump, I fear. Thus I visualize the odds going off the chart towards the bad. But like I say, I’m not God. I don’t know the future.

Time will tell, my friends. Only time will tell.

* And yes, I did just google, “What does ‘nota bene’ mean?”
** Scare italics.

[So regarding guessing your thoughts about these matters, how’d I do? Was I close?]

All3

 

If you want to help your friend in his twenties, say something nice about him in front of the girl he likes.

If you want to help your friend in his forties, say something nice about him in front of his teenager.

1. If you don’t interact with people on Facebook, you’re not really on Facebook.

2. It’s okay to not be on Facebook.

 

 

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