Wednesday, March 26, 2003

How I Sift Information

Lately, in our Crossover Newsletter (edited by my beautiful, talented, supportive wife, Danelle ), our family was highlighted. In my list of favorites, I put as one of my many favorites.

No one has made any comments, and I don't mean this to be defensive, but I don't think most people read with a discerning eye. For instance, Jordan Cooper is against the war with Iraq. I think there are those that would read Cooper, knowing I like to read it, and assume that I agree with all that he says. I don't. A list of "rules" for reading might be helpful.

1. Cooper reads a lot. He is a great resource for what is out there to read, and he often gives thorough summaries of these books. I think he read over a hundred books last year. And he is reading the books I would want to read with more time and faster abilities, books that challenge my thinking.

2. Cooper gives me insight into how a lot of the younger, Postmoderns think. It seems an odd viewpoint sometimes, but I think it is prevalent among younger people. And I want to know how this next generation thinks so I can engage them with the Gospel.

3. If I want to develop a conservative viewpoint, say on the war, I don't find that listening to conservatives helps me. Maybe it is my habit of taking the other side in a debate, or maybe they are more conservative to me and the flaws in their thinking stick out more to me than their good thinking. So listening to those more liberal than me, I am able to put together what I think are more cogent views.

4. I admit to a desire for an idealist viewpoint. Cooper posted a sermon by Tony Campolo, who certainly on the liberal side, but still seems to be very evangelical. I wish that what he said in this sermon were effective policy. I'm still not sure it isn't. If you had to pin me down, I would say I am for the war in Iraq though I honestly can't articulate a great reason why. It seems we have to do something. It goes into a murky argument about whether the United States Government is a tool of God. I'm certainly going to be supportive of our soldiers now that we are engaged. But Campolo's words ring true to me.

Here is an excerpt:
I was asked quite simply, in a debate, "What do you suggest as an alternative? I mean, Saddam Hussein is a crazy man, he is a threat to civilization, how do you stop him?"

Has anybody every thought about doing things the way Jesus told us to do them?
We've embargoed Iraq for the last 10 years. A half a million children in Iraq under the age of 12 have died as a direct result of that embargo, either from malnutrition of from lack of medicine. Here's the foreign policy I would suggest: to end the embargo! The Bible says if your enemy hungers -- what? -- feed him. If he's naked, clothe him, if he's sick, care for him.
Nothing would destroy the authority of Saddam Hussein more than if we Christians provided a massive relief program of food and medicine to the people of Iraq. And if we are going to pave the way for missionary enterprise, we have got to do that. We've got to do that. I don't know who's going to do it; but somebody's got to organize the Christian community, and say we're going to load up freighters with food and medicine -- and we're going to send them to Iraq, and we dare the US Navy to stop us.

When we try to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, you say "You can't overcome Saddam Hussein that way" . . . I believe in Jesus, and Jesus says "Overcome evil with [good]."

So if you want to know what I think, ask me. Don't assume. I listen to Rush Limbaugh (some, don't really like him so much) and Larry King (some, I don't really like him so much.) Don't assume you'll get easy answers from me. You won't. You'll probably get questions instead.

"Ahhh, so you must be Libertarian or Socialist or something." No, I'm trying to be a disciple of Jesus. The goal is a depth of God that helps me to fulfill His will, and I take this extremely seriously.

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