Tuesday, November 25, 2008


Going to need to learn the Indian language of Kannada! I've looked at the vowel system, and it looks scary. Plus the script is totally different... If I knew Sanskrit or Arabic, maybe I'd be familiar with it (but I'm not). Pray for me!


Thursday, November 20, 2008

End of the Iraqi Reconstruction

I'm feeling ambivalently happy about the proposed end to the Iraqi Reconstruction. I think that the U.S. has done a marvelous job of rebuilding the Iraqi state and put it on more democratic terms than it was during Saddam Hussein's reign.

I have been ambivalent about the war from the start, but I supported it because I believed that Saddam Hussein was a real threat to the Middle East region and Israel and to American security. I was less pleased with the reasoning behind entering Iraq, because it was over-idealistic from the start and I'm not so sure that having nuclear missile/bombs is a bad thing. Certainly, Iraq at the least had WMD's in chemical weaponry and if they didn't have nuclear weaponry they would have liked to have had such. The jury is still out in my mind as to whether Iraq ever had nuclear missiles or bombs. The dismantling of the repressive regime of Saddam Hussein rejoices my heart. W. Bush finished the job that Bush, Sr started! Iraq clearly taunted the US and in pushing the line, Saddam pushed his luck one too many times.

So, now that the official policy of the president-elect will be to leave Iraq, I am concerned lest we walk out and give Al Qaida carte blanche to continue to harass us. I don't think Iraq will actually degenerate into political chaos, although its possible that more authoritarian types take the reins of the new democratic republic. I suspect that even Obama will keep one or two U.S. bases in the region. Yet, its nice to be able to bring our troops home and say "job well done" or even just "job done". I think that we have generally succeeeded beyond our wildest dreams in establishing a democratic regime in Iraq and that they will take over and rule themselves much better than we ever expected.

It is time to begin bringing our troops back, even if it sends the wrong signal to Al Qaida that they won a battle. And trust me, folks, the War against Al Qaida is not over and the War on Terrorism (bleh to the over-idealism of war against terrorism) is far from over. Yet, Al Qaida for all their bravado have actually done very poorly against the U.S. in Iraq and as our nation directs its attentions to Pakistan and back to Afghanistan, I think the U.S. will deal ever more the victor against militant Islam.

I say that for Iraq the score is 2/3. We won the war and rebuilt the country, but stalemated in ideological propaganda. Some might say we lost the propaganda conflict, but the fact that we have rebuilt Iraq and that people still respect U.S. political might-- such that even Libya ended its nuclear program-- and that the M.E. still considers us a force to be reckoned with is implication enough to me that Al Qaida lost a lot of ground ideologically and politically, even if they weren't completely put out of commission. So, we have fared far better than might have been predicted by our own pessimistic and liberalesque mainstream media. I'm ready to end the Iraqi Reconstruction and focus our attentions elsewhere.

Iran is begging for the U.S. to deal with them, but I'm pessimistic as to the U.S. response being more than chat unless Israel is directly engaged or endangered. If that happens, I think the surprise to politico thinkers is that Obama will support Israel. (He made clear indications he would through his support of the Israel lobby in the U.S. ) I'm more optimistic that we will regain lost ground in Afghanistan, and we might restabilize Pakistan. We'll see. Watch out also for a major political disruption in Saudi Arabia. I will not speculate whether the Saudis will be ousted any time in the short, middle, or long term, but I think in the long long term, the Saudi monarchy is doomed. Their regime is at odds with its people. Only international support, state oil-welfarism, and political suspression keeps the Saudis in power. The desert wars are not over and the African power struggles of resisters to Islamic militancy still broils. Then there's the Indonesian and Pacific Rim world that few think about but has strong influence from the Islamic militancy, being part of the Islamic world. So, the U.S. has its work cut out for it.

It'll be interesting how the U.S. copes with a mild depression and military cold-hot war with militant Islam and Al Qaida, but I'm optimistic that we will pull through and God can heal and restore our nation even as the U.S. fights for more justice and freedom in the world.

Of course, the real struggle is ultimately for the hearts of men and women as the gospel of Christ's peace and reconciliation with God are shared.

So, hip hip hurray for winning the Iraqi Reconstruction... and let us not forget the struggle ahead or the ultimately really important thing of spreading God's love and truth.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Church Planting Movements

Anybody ever read Church Planting Movements by David Garrison?
I wonder if America could profit from a church planting movement?

Monday, November 17, 2008

House Churches and the West

I participated in an small group worship service tonight that reminded me a lot of some prayer group meetings with Richard Trapnell, Blain Burgess, Pauline Albright & Co. and beach retreat singing and praying. Small group worship services as house church or cell group has become the norm of worship, Bible reading, prayer when we gather here at the ILC, although we also do larger gatherings for worship and Bible preaching.
I'm thinking that God has been preparing me for work in India with accountability groups, prayer meetings, discipleship, Bible studies and all. I'm beginning to wonder if American church-goers have really gotten too comfortable being in a church building and as members of a local church body. Have we in the church by and large forgotten what church community life is supposed to be like and forgotten how to share the gospel with others and make disciples?

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Oil Prices Going Down?

Jennifer Harper connected this article to facebook. I thought it was interesting.
Maybe oil isn't going to keep going up and up and up in price.

Blog: Mish's Global Economic Trend Analysis Post: Peak Oil vs. Falling Demand Link: http://globaleconomicanalysis.blogspot.com/2008/11/peak-oil-vs-falling-demand.html
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Saturday, November 8, 2008

Elections and Economics

I wonder if the American people were merely reacting to an economic crisis, that has been decades in the making, the roots of which are partially found in the way Clinton's administration set up the rules for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac on low priced mortages (the sub-prime market). However, other roots of the crisis go back to the high debt-credit lifestyle of much of American society and the exorbitantly over-priced housing market, priced way over the heads of the up and coming generation of new house-buyers. Then you also have the changing of the bankruptcy rules in the last four years. I'd add that n the last two years, as the housing bubble boom hit a high and busted, we had a bare Democratic majority, but I'm not entirely sure that this has anything to do with anything. Politics and parties often try to take credit or put blame on the other for economic shifts that were mostly unconnected to any political parties' idealogy or policies. Or rather, may be influenced by policies that transcend political affiliation and are social mores of the time that pushed the market one way or another.
In any event, I suspect that the economic crisis will continue until the housing market and the leveraging that went with it finally levels out to reasonable values and prices. When this happens, businesses and house buyers will be back in control of the money flow, and the market will create wealth again. The thing to remember is that debt never creates wealth. Only work, building anew, and producing makes wealth. Debt is merely a way to get enough capital to weather the lean years until production makes up for the debt and more. Of course, this is a hard concept even for experienced entreprenuers, bankers, and investors to pay attention to, much less the masses of people who think they understand the stock-market because they have money in it. :-) (That includes me).
The elections seem to me to register that though the American public is troubled by the economic crisis, they have only a dark understanding of the causers and causes of economic crashes and economic growth.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Wednesday: After Elections

Wow, I can believe Barack won. Saddened by it but God is still in control.