Haiku for the UnWoke

We had a fun little haiku contest in our Rhetoric class, aiming to poke some fun at Woke professional sports, COVID-craziness, and the comedy that is 2020 in America. All while sharpening our poetic skills (in our best PC-defying voices). Here are some samples – my favorites from the class.

Feel free to jump in with your own in the comments section, if you are so inclined. Or nominate your favorite. Gratis.

NBA players
Virtue signals on their back:
Nobody watching.
Equal rights for all!
Down with the majority!
What equality!
Black lives matter, sport.
Hong Kong folks should conform;
So says Lebron James.
Bought seats to a game, 
Not a BLM rally; 
Should get a refund.
Chuckle dunderpates,
Your days will soon be over 
And no one will care.
Good-by basketball, 
Your pure young days are over; 
Now you’re CNN.
Sports once interested me, 
Until all the players started taking a knee. 
Let’s play duck-duck-goose.
Peaceful protesters 
Burning cars and murdering; 
We should salute them.
Oh beautiful for 
The spacious fields on which we 
Can no longer play.
snowflake Memes & GIFs - Imgflip

A Plea to Christians Who Won’t Vote for Trump

Dear Friend,

In the weeks leading up to the Presidential election of 2016, I found myself increasingly troubled with the choice of available candidates. In fact, I railed, fairly regularly, against both candidates. I saw it as a particular judgment of God that we had to choose between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. Honestly, I thought of it as David’s choice between seven years of famine, three months of fleeing before their enemies, and three days of pestilence. Did I want to vote for arsenic or cyanide? I saw Donald Trump as ungodly, uncouth, unscrupulous, unproven, and unreliable.

I held onto a quote from Douglas Wilson in the months leading up to the election, in which he expressed my exact sentiment:

But if Trump is somehow elected, he will let down those who put him there. He has all the sturdiness of a chocolate eclair. He has the core values of a wet napkin on the counter. He has the reliability of a lost carnival balloon. He has the gravitas of Miss Piggy.

Douglas Wilson, Blog and Mablog “Recklessness on the Trumpoline”

One month before the 2016 election, I preached this to my church:

Continue reading “A Plea to Christians Who Won’t Vote for Trump”

Trump Didn’t Win the Debate; He Owned It

I wanted to get my hot-take on the debate off my chest while the topic is still hot. I get it that many of my friends are turned off by Trump’s style and bluster, and I see that many think Trump lost the debate. I want to get this out before all the talking heads start breaking things down, and you suspect that I am parroting someone else. This is my immediate opinion of the debate.

5 key takeaways from Joe Biden and Donald Trump's 1st presidential debate -  ABC News
https://abcnews.go.com/Politics/key-takeaways-joe-biden-donald-trumps-1st-presidential/story?id=73304046

From my perspective, those who want to declare a “winner” or a “loser” of the debate miss the point. Trump doesn’t live by the conventions of the modern-day politician. Trump isn’t trying to be the second coming of the Bushes or even the second coming of Ronald Reagan. In 2016, I was a Ted Cruz guy. If Cruz had conducted himself like Trump in a debate, I would agree with you all that the debate was lost. But Trump isn’t trying to live up to our expectations for his conduct or for his debating skills. We want one of the debaters to be declared a “winner,” but I don’t think that is the goal for Trump at all.

I don’t think Trump is interested in winning the debate. 

He is interested in owning the debate. And he did precisely that, from wire-to-wire. Chris Wallace might have been the moderator, but Trump controlled the debate. And both Chris Wallace and Joe Biden were forced to play his game. Like it or not, Biden was merely the backdrop for an hour and a half of the Donald Trump Show. Chris Wallace was a prop, much like the media becomes a prop for Trump day after day after day. Why do you think Trump is so combative with the media? He protests – too much, by the way, to be serious – but he loves it. 

He loves mixing it up with them because it keeps our attention on him and allows him to get his message out. 

That, I think, is the point, and Trump did it again masterfully.

If there was a loser in last night’s debate, it was Chris Wallace. Wallace clearly lost his head. But all of his peppering Trump, playing tag-team with Biden, only served Trump’s purpose. It kept the focus on Trump and allowed Trump to dominate the conversation. At times, Wallace forgot that his job was to ensure equal time for the candidates. In his determination to force Trump’s hand, he gift-wrapped the time advantage for Trump. 

At one point in tonight’s debate, Trump talked about his big rallies, and Biden leaned into the mic with a snide remark about them lasting for an hour and a half. It made me snicker. It is yet another example of how Biden, like much of the political establishment, doesn’t get it. Conventional wisdom says, “keep it short, keep it simple.” But at Trump rallies, tens of thousands of people hang on to every word of his ninety-minute harangues. They eat it up and beg for more. I haven’t seen a politician who could captivate an audience for even half an hour. Trump triples that, and people just keep coming back for more.

I have to admit that I haven’t been so entertained by a debate in my lifetime as I am by the Trump debates. When Hillary was the backdrop, it was every bit as entertaining. 

In the days of Bush and Dole and Bush and McCain and Romney, I dutifully endured the debates, wishing the moderator would have mercy on us all and cut it off early. “I think we’ve covered the same three points a dozen different ways now, so we can let you all get back to something that interests you.” But watching a Trump debate, I’m sorry to see it end. It makes me laugh out loud. And that is the genius of the thing.

I’ll be candid: I am surprised that after five years of Trump (counting the year of his first campaign), we still want to measure him by political convention. Trump defies convention. That is the whole point and the reason he generates enthusiasm like few men in history.

Last week, my son and I spent some time with a pastor friend in Carson City, Nevada. We had a great time with a young and growing church there on the edge of Lake Tahoe. 

One afternoon, my son and I and the pastor’s son drove over to Virginia City. As we drove into town, we were shocked to see motorcycles lining both sides of the road – I would estimate a thousand motorcycles. People were waving Trump flags and Trump signs, and vehicles were slowly driving up and down the street with Trump flags streaming out the windows. Since Trump was holding a rally in Pennsylvania at that same time, I knew he wasn’t planning a visit to Virginia City. Otherwise, I would have been looking for him. The enthusiasm was incredible, and Trump wasn’t anywhere near. 

These were not my people, for sure. It was a rough and rowdy crowd. And they love Trump. I’ve seen similar displays in some pretty odd places around the country this year.

Whether Trump wins or not, I think we all have to admit that we aren’t looking at a politician. Trump is more pugilist than politician. And unlike any of his Republican predecessors, the man knows how to land a punch. Love him or hate him, admire him or despise him, agree or disagree, Trump plays for keeps. For Trump, the debate is a stage, and he is the star. And when the analysts break this one down, it will be all about Trump. On those terms, even if he loses, he wins. Because the discussion is all about him.

Ten Reasons I Think Trump Wins in 2020

The men the American people admire most extravagantly are the most daring liars; the men they detest most violently are those who try to tell them the truth.

H.L. Mencken

I’ve never played prognosticator before, so I’ll probably jinx it. But, to parade out my bona fides, I haven’t always been a Trump guy, and my prediction has nothing to do with my support. I called Obama’s win in 2008 and 2012, and Trump’s shocker in 2016. In fact, I thought Trump would win even while I opposed him during the 2016 primaries. It was the rabid enthusiasm of his supporters that convinced me then. Only I didn’t go on record like I am now.

I don’t have special insight into this one. The polls don’t sway me all that much, since I believe the polls themselves are more political than statistical. I’m not reading tea leaves, just observing what is happening in our country. And I didn’t know about this article until I had written mine. So, I’m not scavenging.

If I’m wrong, I won’t eat my head – though some might consider that a feast. I’ll just prepare to be entertained by President Gaffer and his merry band of Micro Men. They’ll be killing us all with the smalls.

But I don’t think I’m wrong, which is why I’m publishing this little piece of anecdotal analysis. Here are my two-cents worth of ten reasons why I think Trump wins – five reasons-a-penny if you’re counting. For fun, I’ll reverse the order. Tell me what you think… or add your own reasons.

10: COVID-19

I understand that this might be one of my more controversial reasons, but that’s on-par for this little booger. Reactions and opinions hit on every point of the compass. While some Americans have grown doubtful of President Trump’s leadership, I think the draconian response to COVID favors Trump.

Everywhere I go, I hear the same thing. Having assessed my view of Trump, perfect strangers whisper out loud, “this COVID thing will end the week after election day.” The majority of Americans recognize a political hijacking when they see one. And I think most know that their jobs and livelihoods have been converted to Molotov cocktails to burn down the economy and overthrow Trump.

The reaction to COVID-19 has been unprecedented, and people are tired of it. Apart from a handful of devotees who confuse CNN reporting with science, the rest of America ain’t buying it. Was it a political ploy from the get-go? Probably not. But once it started, opportunists were swarming. Despite their best efforts, we now know that COVID-19 isn’t the serial-killer we were warned about. People want to move on, and Trump is the train that will pull us out of that station.

9: Jobs Market

Despite the extraordinary effort to crash our economy, the working class knows the difference between the Obama jobs market and the Trump jobs market. They know what tampering looks like. A 2020 victory for Trump is sure to mean a return to the Trump economy, unmolested.

8: Motivated Voters

As I said, most of America is savvy enough to know when someone is running a bluff. And we are being scammed big-time right now. When big cities experience 175% voter turnout, we can expect some big-league ballot-stuffing courtesy of the shiny new mail-in ballot program. Talking-heads condition us to expect a big win for Trump on election night, followed by a dramatic Biden comeback once we count mail-in ballots. But Trump supporters didn’t come to town on the stupid train. We’ve watched the shenanigans for the last four years. We’re ready to vote.

This isn’t rocket science. Trump voters have some big-time motivation. Now that the Supreme Court is back in play, I expect to see lots of MAGA flags parading down Main Street USA over the next month.

7: Media Frenzy

The media overplayed their hand with Trump. We get it – objective reporting died a lonely death a decade ago. Today’s media is one-part tabloid and two-parts political hack. But the liberal media has managed to give us all bombshell fatigue. After the Russia hoax, most Americans know who the real colluders are.

Do I expect an October Surprise? Youbetcha. I foresee thirty-one October Surprises – one-a-day in October. Desperate times call for desperate measures, as the man said, and we all know the signs of desperation. Our media overlords meet and exceed the definition of insanity: They can’t change their minds, and they won’t change the subject.

But besides those under the CNN spell, the media-frenzy has firmed up our resolve to give Trump a second term.

6: Middle America

I’ll admit, this is purely anecdotal: everywhere I go, I see Trump signs and Trump flags, while Biden supporters have gone undercover. Trump regularly draws crowds of 15,000 – 20,000, while Biden gets 6 members of the media, conveniently masked for their own good. Barely any Biden signs huddle safely in small liberal neighborhoods.

I find this especially true in Middle America. Four years ago, I saw this same thing, as Trump signs dominated the Midwestern landscape. Vigo County, Indiana, home of Terre Haute (my hometown), illustrates my point. In 2016, I saw Trump signs everywhere in Terre Haute, with only a tiny handful of Hillary signs. I was just in Terre Haute a few weeks ago, and I purposely looked for Biden signs. He is beating Hillary. But Trump signs still dominate the panorama. Is that delusional? We’ll see.

Vigo County has picked the winner in all but two presidential races since Benjamin Harrison won in 1890. That is a long and storied history. They are the classic swing-voters, and in my experience, swing voters go for leadership and enthusiasm. Hands-down, Trump wins on both counts. Despite the sophisticated howlings against Trump from liberal elites, common-sense America knows what is right for them.

5: Straight Shooter

My initial disgust with Trump had much to do with his tweets, New York City brashness, and his take-no-prisoners approach to nearly everything. But, like so many, I have slowly warmed to his style. Looking back (with that famed 2020 hindsight), I now recognize two things: His all-American Moxy has been key to his survival. America loves a fighter, and Trump is all that.

We like to see a guy punch back when he is being bullied. After four years of Trump, I think most know who the real bullies are. And let’s face it: Trump knows how to land a punch.

What endears Trump to so many voters is his commitment to us. He really does seek the good of we-the-people. His “America First” commitment isn’t some kind of white nationalist supremacy according to the caricature. Most of Good Sense America sees that. He is simply committed to doing what is best for America.

I think Trump summarized it best in his acceptance speech at the RNC. He broke the cardinal rule for politicians: He kept his promises. And that explains the intense loyalty he fosters, nevermind the huffings and puffings of the “elite.”

4: Trade War

I won’t wade into the tall grass on this one. I’m a casual political consumer, not a wonk. But Middle America, chiefly blue-collar America, sees what these trade wars have done for our economy and our jobs markets. Labor unions can endorse who they may. Rank-and-file workers know who stuck it to them for the past 47 years. They also know who turned the tables in the last four. The trade war, a prime example of Trump’s swashbuckling approach, highlights the way politicians on both sides of the aisle have been selling America out in pursuit of a globalist utopia. And the effect on the economy, once the trade deals were done, have been nothing short of spectacular. In my opinion, a whole host of the rank-and-file can’t wait to mail in their ballots, then vote on election day (wink!).

3: Mask Mandates

Joe Biden promised a national mask mandate, “not as a burden, but to protect each other – as a patriotic duty.” That’s about as exciting as carrot juice at the Christmas party. While we’re at it, how about we get the vegan lady in the hemp pants to plan the company picnic!

Thanks, but no thanks, Mamma Joe. We don’t need a Nanny in the White House. Ten-to-one, the people I meet HATE wearing a mask. And that doesn’t include the people at my church. We are sick and tired of it – pun intended. Pollsters claim that the majority of Americans want this. They must do their polling at Whole Foods. Because I’ve only met a handful of condescending liberals who really buy into mask-wearing.

All the COVID nonsense and mask mandates demonstrate that media elites, movie stars, professional athletes, and Democrats have become increasingly out of touch with America. Over the past four years, they haven’t learned a thing. They still believe that their poll numbers are somehow “scientific” and not agenda-driven. They rarely emerge from the hoity-toity bubble and try to understand working-class America.

2: Minority Voters

A week ago, I saw a pickup truck driving down Ogden’s Washington Boulevard with a gigantic Trump flag waving out the back. Lo and behold, a Hispanic man was driving it. This is one of the shockers of this election. Despite media efforts to brand Trump a racist, minority voters are racing to Trump. A growing number recognizes the good of his policies, the poverty of liberal ideals, and the total scam of the Black Lives Movement. The push to defund the police is the last nail in the coffin.

For too long, minority voters have been treated as property by their Democratic overlords. Now the gig is up. Minorities see their chance to leave behind the Democratic ghettoes.

And now: the number one reason I believe Trump wins in November is that his opponent is named…

Joe Biden

Biden is the most inept candidate since … I can’t think of a comparison, really. George McGovern? Walter Mondale? Alf Landon? Charles Pinckney? If elected, Biden would be a weaker president than Jimmy Carter or Warren G. Harding. And that is saying something. Carter might be the weakest president in history. Despite winning by the largest margin of the popular vote in history, Harding was one of our most worthless.

Let’s face it: America wants a president we can be proud of. We don’t want President Bumbles. If Biden is elected, we’ll be rooting for him to stay quarantined in his Wilmington basement. “Please, please, don’t come out and say anything.”

If Biden is elected, we will have President Putin, because Biden couldn’t punch his way out of a wet paper sack if ten men were holding the top open for him. Nobody wants a President as a prop. Even less, we don’t want a President who needs propping.

When I was a teenager, my dad pulled into a gas station during a cross-country trek. He parked right next to a group of teenage boys hanging out (as teens did in that day) at the gas station. My dad bounced out of the car, turned around, and announced to us kids, “if anyone has to go potty, you better do it now!”

I had to go. But I didn’t. I slumped as low as I could in my seat and hoped nobody would look in the car. But not quick enough to miss the smirk on those boy’s faces. If Biden wins, we get to feel the embarrassment of a Biden presidency for four years. Or perhaps, until some mysterious malady forces him out of office around February or March. It all depends on how compliant President Biden will be, whether he will serve out his term.

His running mate isn’t much better. She couldn’t get more than minimal support in one of the sorriest slates ever fielded by a major political party and dropped out of the race months before the Iowa caucus. Let’s don’t kid ourselves: regardless of what anyone feels about Trump, nobody wants the alternative.

Be prepared for a wild and crazy ride, my friend. We may still see America burn before this one’s over. Hold on to your hat, and keep your hands inside the ride at all times. And maybe buy some ammo when you get a chance.

Above all, don’t trust me. Trust the Lord. “He doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, What doest thou?” The one who removes kings and sets up kings has this one under control. You can make bank with that.

How One Man Found Healing On the Race Issue, Part 1

If you read through my recent series on healing our racial hurt, you know that I think we should take the time to listen to give our black brothers a hearing on these things. It is always good to hear someone else relate their experiences and perspectives, even more so when their experience differs from yours.

As I worked through these issues on my own, I relied heavily on the help I received from a handful of black friends. One of those friends is Melvin Price, a member of our church and a faithful follower of Jesus Christ. Melvin and I discussed the issue at length, and he added significantly to my perspective while I was preaching and writing about racial hurt. After one particular discussion, I thought that we should sit down and record our conversation so that others might benefit from it.

I apologize for the quality (or lack thereof) of this video. I recorded it on my phone. Visually, it is a nightmare, but you should be able to hear what we are saying. I divided the discussion into two parts, both about the same length (probably an hour and ten minutes altogether). I will post the second discussion in a few days.

May you all be blessed in the Lord!

The first part of a discussion on race between Melvin Price and myself

Our Family’s COVID-Trip

As you may know, our family had a 3-week Staycation with COVID-19.  Many have said that we were the first they knew who caught this virus – we probably won’t be the last.  We received many phone calls, texts, and well-wishes during our quarantine, and many were just plain curious about our experience.  Since COVID is all the rage these days (other than some persistent rioting), I thought I would offer our perspective of this virus for your entertainment and enlightenment.

Unfortunately, the coronavirus is more than just a virus.  It is a political football.  That complicates the issue and the way people view it.  We have more than just a virus: we’re dealing with the fear caused by the virus, the panic inspired by the news media, and the anger and frustration of so many.  Facebook is a magnifying glass for these things.  Facebook is no place for the faint-of-heart, what with all the extreme opinions spouted there.  As for myself, I have found the coronavirus rage very unhelpful.  I think many would like to look at Facebook without being subjected to the daily badgering and rage-flash.  COVID would be so much easier to deal with through good-sense measures if people didn’t feel the added pressure caused by adamant memes on Facebook.

This virus hits everyone differently.  Continue reading “Our Family’s COVID-Trip”

Healing Our Racial Hurt, Part 3

Now that our racial hostilities have come to a fast boil – some might argue a volcanic eruption – I believe it is time we admit that our approach to the issue has been ineffective.  I would describe my approach to racial tension throughout much of my life in terms of ignorance and apathy.  I didn’t know, and I really didn’t care.

A little more than 20 years ago, God used a visiting evangelist to expose the racism in my own heart.  It came through a discussion we were having after a chapel service in our Academy.  I was an assistant pastor at the time.  My evangelist friend had just preached a message to our teens about courtship and marriage.  Our pastor had one objection, and he addressed it after the students were dismissed.  His objection? “You didn’t say anything about interracial dating.”

Before I relate our evangelist’s answer, I should remind you that a traveling evangelist depends for his livelihood on the relationships he has with pastors and churches.  It would be easy enough for an evangelist to be a little bit craven out of fear of losing meetings.  Our evangelist friend was not.  His answer stunned me, like an open-handed slap to my face.  He did not hesitate: “I don’t have a problem with interracial dating or marriage.” He explained: “You can’t tell me that a black girl and a white boy who grow up in the same church and live a few miles apart shouldn’t marry because of the color of their skin.  They were raised in the same environment, they have the same cultural experiences, there can be no Scriptural reason to forbid it.”

I interjected. “God separated the races at the tower of Babel.  Interracial marriage blurs the lines between those races.” He looked at me and shook his head: first, nothing in the Bible commands that we maintain “racial integrity” through marriage standards.  The idea that “God set the bounds of their habitations” came from Bob Jones, and (as my evangelist friend said it), “everyone knows that the old man was a racist.” Second, nobody could give a Scriptural breakdown of what constituted a different race, or which races were forbidden to marry one another.  He pointed out that some pastors say there are three races, some say there are more – some as many as seventeen.

I respected this man for his answer, but at the time, I strongly disagreed with him.  Since then, God has changed my heart.  First, my friend was right – God has not put a restriction on marriages based on skin color.  When Aaron and Miriam criticized Moses for his Ethiopian wife, God gave no credence to their criticism at all, though He did punish Aaron and Miriam for opposing Moses’ leadership.  Second, God reversed Babel on the day of Pentecost, when the gospel was heard in the heart languages of – you guessed it – seventeen nationalities (Acts 2:8-11).  Third, God has made of one blood all nations of men (Acts 17:26).  And while it is true (as Bob Jones argued) that God has determined the bounds of their habitation, He has never restricted a nation to that boundary.  Fourth, and I think most importantly, God has made us all of one blood.  There can be no Scriptural grounds for forbidding marriage between blacks and whites.

In the twenty years Continue reading “Healing Our Racial Hurt, Part 3”

Healing Our Racial Hurt, Part 2

On July 4th, at least two NBA players – Chris Paul and Donovan Mitchell – posted a meme on their social media accounts.  The meme said, “Free-ish, since 1865.” Predictably, many white fans were outraged by this sentiment.  After all, these men are NBA stars, millionaires. Hasn’t America been exceptionally good to them?  When have their rights been deprived?

But they have a point.  The road to freedom has been especially rocky for black people in our nation.  As I highlighted in the first part of this series, even after slavery, America treated blacks as sub-human, an inferior race and culture.  We degraded them, despitefully used them, and persecuted them.  Though I was never personally involved in the segregation that characterized the first half of the 20th century – and neither were my parents or grandparents – I can assure you that my attitudes as a teenager would undoubtedly have supported such a thing.  Had I lived in the days of segregation, I believe I would have been a fan of it.

Out of the 150 years since the Civil War Continue reading “Healing Our Racial Hurt, Part 2”

Healing Our Racial Hurt, Part 1

If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men. (Romans 12:18)

Now that all the woke realtors have stopped using “master bedroom” and JPMorgan-Chase has dropped terms like “master” and “slave” from their internal tech code, I think we can all feel much better about our new and enlightened sensitivities.  After all, I don’t want my computer to be in a slave relationship to me.  I want my computer to master me like everyone else.  I’m not going back to Master Muffler until they get woke either.  Give me a better name, like Novice Muffler or Beginner Muffler.

Race relations is serious business, of course, and every Christian should be concerned about it.  Those Christians have it right who find the solution for our racial hostilities in the gospel.  But we should also recognize that many barriers have formed over time that make it hard for some in our society to hear the gospel preached.  Every Christian should work doubly hard to see those barriers removed so that the gospel can bring forth abundant fruit.

Even before a rogue cop murdered George Floyd, Continue reading “Healing Our Racial Hurt, Part 1”

The Turning of the Tide

The LORD hath done great things for us; whereof we are glad. (Psalm 126:3)

This past Sunday marked the end of a rollercoaster week for us, and I would like to take a few moments to praise the Lord for His goodness to us.

Like every other pastor in America, I have spent many sleepless nights over the past two months.  We have been navigating uncharted waters, and it has seemed to me that every week has required a fresh decision about what we should be doing.

Before I tell our story, let me just say how much I respect my fellow pastors.  I have known that God has filled His pulpits with men of conviction and quality, but this crisis has made it even more clear to me that we have some truly outstanding pastors around our county.  Many decisions have had to be made, and the opinions and positions that have been taken seem to cover every extreme of the compass.  Yet, in discussions with dozens of pastors, I have observed one certain truth – that every one of them has acted on what they believed to be right and have sought to bring God the honor that He deserves.  I count myself blessed to serve as a contemporary with these men.

Our church decided early on that we should follow the health guidelines that were issued by our state.  Though our Governor has been great in the fact that he has not used a heavy hand to control us, yet we believed that we should exercise caution in this thing.  We added services in order to accommodate our people and give them the opportunity to be part of a service every week, and the majority of the church has had to suffer through online services for nearly two months now.

Continue reading “The Turning of the Tide”