Sunday, November 29, 2020

First Sunday of Advent - O Come, O Come Emmanuel

Today marks the first Sunday of Advent, where we remember the hope and promise of a coming Messiah, as well as looking forward to the promise of His return.

"The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light:  they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined. [...]

For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The might God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.

Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever.  The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this."
Isaiah 9:2, 6-7

Saturday, November 28, 2020

Small Saturday 2020


Today marks the tenth annual Shop Small Saturday. To act as a counterpoint to Black Friday and Cyber Monday, Shop Small Saturday encourages people to shop local small businesses in this kickoff week to the Christmas shopping season. It’s a reminder not to overlook your local businesses. Your friends and neighbors. Those who often truly depend on this season to boost and maintain their businesses. 

In 2020, it’s even a more important reminder. The chains will survive this pandemic. The Wal-Marts and Best Buy’s of the world will make it, though perhaps a little changed. Your local gift store, your local clothing boutique, may well not. 

Likewise with restaurants. McDonalds will be fine, your mom and pop diner has likely already suffered and may not be there.

This Christmas season, more than before, look for ways to shop small. It’s worth the small premium you may pay. That money goes directly into your friends and neighbors. It keeps them employed. It keeps the lights on, in their business and in their homes. 

Buy gifts from a local store. Get a gift certificate to a local spa or salon. Get side dishes or desserts from a local diner to go or just grab a gift certificate. 

Look for ways to help out those local businesses around you.

And if you have a favorite business, check on them. Go out of your way to help them through. 

This year has been rough, but Christmas is a time of year we remember that we get through this together. “To George Bailey, the richest man in town.”  We give and remember it’s better than receiving. 

So, from the product of a family business, Merry Christmas and Shop Small!

Friday, November 27, 2020

Black Friday 2020

Today marks the day where retail businesses supposedly get "in the black" or turn a profit for the year.  It still remains an odd name for the day, sharing the Black Friday moniker with financial and natural disasters.  It's also slightly an odd pairing to have a celebration of thanks for what you have and then immediately go out to grab all the stuff you do not, but such is life.

The busiest shopping day of the year, celebrated with often ridiculous appearing sales to get you in the door.  I've only inadvertently participated a couple of times (and usually much later in the afternoon).

This year is definitely different.  A desire not to overload stores with a large crowd of people to prevent from COVID-19 spread, plus increasing restrictions in crowd size are leading more and more Black Friday deals to be pushed online and/or to be spread out through November.  

Growing up, the Friday after Thanksgiving was always one of my favorite days working at the store, because it was the day I got to decorate the windows for Christmas.   That's typically translated into a day at home pulling down all the Christmas decorations and decorating.

This year, we're all decorated.  We got everything up this past weekend, so that we can come home to a fully decorated place.  And we're back in Texas to enjoy time with family.  So different all around.  But a good day to relax, to share, and to be.

We're not shopping today, but we are enjoying time off.  I hope you and yours are able to enjoy the day as well, however you get to spend it.

Thursday, November 26, 2020

Happy Thanksgiving 2020!

 "The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added... No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy. It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American People.

I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquillity and Union."

President Abraham Lincoln: Proclamation of Thanksgiving

From my family to yours, Happy Thanksgiving!  I want you all to know that I am greatly appreciative of all of you that are reading.  I pray you have many things to be thankful for and that the list only grows over the coming days, months, and years.  I hope you are able to take the time to be with family today, whether it be the one you are born into or the one you choose, and are able to take the time to reflect on the blessings in your life and to express that gratitude.

Give thanks.

This year, that may be hard.  2020 has been a year where thanksgiving has been a challenge.  Difficult to focus on the positives.  But I think there have been things to be grateful for.

I'm thankful to have spent more time together with family during quarantine.  There are times where it has been challenging, but it's been great to spend together.

I'm thankful we've been healthy.  

I'm thankful we've been able to see family, especially since we've moved away.

I'm thankful to have become so settled in Brownsburg, IN.  That's one good benefit about a year that's felt like a decade - we've felt established in our new home more quickly than normal.

I"m really thankful for my new company.  I've grown more and learned more this year than I have in the past and am continually humbled by their values and priorities.

Even in an absolutely crazy year, I'm thankful.  I'm very thankful.

I hope you are able to do the same.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 20, 2020

Reason and Emotion, Redux

It's hard to believe this was shared only a little over two years ago.  It's still relevant.

And bears repeating.

When the United States entered World War II, Hollywood was not too far behind.  Through the creation of the Office of Wartime Information in 1942 and in particular, its Bureau of Motion Pictures, Hollywood was essentially drafted.  Hollywood had been enlisted to help create motion pictures that would further America's war aims, including propaganda and educational films.  By 1943, every studio, except Paramount, was letting the Office of Wartime Information examine their movie scripts.

Disney was no exception.

In fact, the government looked to Walt Disney more than any other studio chief as a builder of public morale providing instruction and training of soldiers, using animated graphics to mobilize servicemen and civilians for the cause of the war.

Between 1942 and 1945, Walt Disney productions was involved in the production of propaganda films for the United States government. These included animated shorts involving Mickey and friends either enlisting or supporting the war effort, the feature film Victory Through Air Power explaining how the United States should become the preeminent air power through more modern planes and long range bombing, educational films for the servicemen like Four Methods of Flush Riveting, and even animated sequences for Capra's Why We Fight series.  They also designed cartoon insignia and mascots for the different divisions of the armed services.  (There is a great collection of the various insignia here.)

One of the most striking animated short films of this era that the Walt Disney company produced is Reason and Emotion.

The cartoon starts like a typical cartoon of the era, explaining how we all have two drives: reason and emotion.  When we are born, we are all emotion, getting in trouble because of our impulses.  The cartoon zooms into a baby's head to show it run by a cave toddler named Emotion who lives there alone.  After the baby tumbles down the stairs following Emotion's suggestion, a stuffed shirt little baby arrives name Reason, who explains that this whole mess could have been avoided if he had gotten there sooner.

The cartoon then jumps forward in time to show Reason and Emotion fighting for control of the driver's seat of the now adult man. As Reason drives, everything is fine, but when Emotion is in control, the man rudely comes on to a woman and gets slapped.   We then follow the battle between Reason and Emotion in that young woman, in whom Reason is keeping her on a diet and Emotion begins to destroy all that progress.  Not the most enlightened situations to demonstrate for either sex.

At this point, the short reaches its point.  It scrolls through newspaper headlines of the day and focused on how they impact an everyman.  How a constant stream of bad news about the war turns this everyman into a nervous wreck.  And it's not really the media, as much it is every neighbor's or acquaintance's thoughts and opinions and fears about the true bits of news that they are hearing that weigh on our everyman.  As we zoom in, Reason tries to remain calm, but Emotion fully gives into fear lashing out and looking to incapacitate Reason with the controls.  At this point the narrator interacts directly with Reason and Emotion, adding "Go ahead! Put Reason out of the way! That's fine...for HITLER!"

The focus then shifts to show how Hitler preyed on Emotion through every tactic and technique.  Preying on fears - fear of the Gestapo, the Concentration Camps, the enemies, the others.  Seeking sympathy, arguing that he really wanted peace but everyone else dragged him into war.  That everyone was picking on him.  Rallying behind pride.  Pride in the Fatherland, pride in their heritage, pride in their race.  And finally, dragging out hate.  Hate for the other, the lesser, the lower.

As the short zooms into a German spectator's headspace, our narrator now cries, "Behold! the Nazi Superman."  Revealing a person fully ruled by Emotion (now with spiked helmet), stamping out Reason and any rational objection.  Emotion keeps growing larger and larger, as Reason keeps shrinking.

The short ends reminding us of the purposes of both Reason and Emotion.  Reason is to think, plan, and discriminate.  Emotion drives our passion for country, freedom, and life.  So long as Reason is in the driver's seat with Emotion at his side, we can accomplish whatever task is before us.


Truth be told, I think Emotion is running a little amok today.  Emotion converts patriotism to nationalism.  Emotion lets our fears create policy.  Emotion is fed by and sustains clickbait and "fake news."  Emotion is easily digestible in 140 characters.

Emotion propagates conspiracy.  It takes pieces of information and puts it together in a way that we want to be true.  That we just absolutely believe to be true - no matter what the facts say.

We need Reason back in charge.  Absorbing and rationally sorting through the information we receive.  Verifying statements made and pictures shared on the internet before acting and sharing.  Trusting in the checks and balances of power that have held our form of government together for nearly two-hundred and fifty years, instead of calling for their removal.

If we continue on the path of Emotion, I fear we are headed for that time Lincoln feared where "we ourselves are its author and finisher."  Emotion is pulling us in two.  In completely separate directions, both afraid of the other.

So again, can we put Reason back in charge?

Thursday, November 19, 2020

The Power of Music

"Music expresses that which cannot be said and on which it is impossible to be silent."

Victor Hugo

I'm a little late in sharing this and I know it has circulated quite far, but it is still impressive.  The video shows Marta Cinta Gonzalez Saldana, a former ballet dancer now afflicted with Alzheimer's reacting to hearing Swan Lake again, bursting forth in choreography and emotion.  It's a perfect example of the power of music on memory.

The video, taken in 2019, comes with a couple of large caveats.  The video is intercut with segments of another ballerina at their prime in full regalia.  It is important to note that this is not Gonzalez Saldana, nor is that ballet Swan Lake.  There has also been difficulty confirming that Gonzalez Saldana was a prima ballerina in New York, as has been claimed.  But those are minor details.  The power of the video lies in Gonzelez Saldana's recognition of the music and her muscle memory of the choreography.

We are just now beginning to fully appreciate the effects of music on memory.  Understanding how music ties into our earliest sound recognition and memory.  Connecting the link of emotion and memory through the powerful impact music has on us.  There are organizations dedicated to utilizing the power of music in those suffering from a host of cognitive and physical challenges.  We're seeing how music can unlock decades lost memories in those with dementia and other forms of Alzheimers.  

Music has power.

Far beyond what we have ever attributed to it.

We have always known the impact music can have on our emotional states.  Music can soothe the savage breast.  It calms us.  It hypes us.  It centers us. It relaxes us.  It moves us to action.

Look at something like Quarantine Cabaret on Facebook.  A venue for artists of all stripes to post music and dance on Facebook if for no other reason than to brighten others' days throughout this pandemic.  A small way to improve the world just a little bit.

We now see the impact it has on our mental health.

In the video, we also see how that impact on memory can be combined with other senses.  With muscle memory, in particular here with this dancer.  How the combined effect can be greater than the whole.

To me, this just shows why continued music and arts education is so important.  Why we cannot dismiss these as non-essential learning.  Yes, STEM education is valuable, but what good is math if we do not learn how to communicate it well.  What good is science, if we cannot relate it to our lives, cannot create meaningful connections with it.  If they cannot be folded into the greater story of our lives.  It's why STEM should always be STEAM, especially with music.

After all, music crosses all other areas of education. 

Music is language, both as in it is its own language and communicates the language of its writing.

Music is math.  Its language is written in fraction.

Music is science.  The manipulation of different wavelengths to create different pitches.

Music is literature.  The communication of story and emotion.

Music is history.  A picture of the society in which it is written.  Sometimes a product of, sometimes railing against.

Music matters.

It's why we need artists.  Why we need teachers.  

For our mental state and for our memory.



Wednesday, November 18, 2020


"I'm not feeling alright today
I'm not feeling that great
I'm not catching on fire today
Love has started to fade
I'm not going to smile today
I'm not gonna laugh
You're out living it up today
I've got dues to pay

And the grave-digger puts on the forceps
The stonemason does all the work
The barber can give you a haircut
The carpenter can take you out to lunch
Now, but, I just want to play on my pan-pipes
I just want to drink me some wine
As soon as you're born you start dying
So you might as well have a good time, oh no

Sheep go to Heaven
Goats go to Hell
Sheep go to Heaven
Goats go to Hell
Oh no, oh yeah, alright

Sheep Go to Heaven, Cake

Sheep have been getting a lot of attention lately, and they've been thrown out as an insult at an increasing rate.

We're sheep if we wear a mask.

We're sheep if we don't.

We're sheep if we listen to CNN, MSNBC, ABC, CBS, NBC, etc.

We're sheep if we listen to Fox News.

We're sheep if we believe there was fraud in the election.

We're sheep if we believe there was no fraud in the election.

We're sheep if we're Republican and we're sheep if we're Democrat.

Both sides are convinced that the other is composed of brainwashed sheep, and the divide is continuing to get wider and wider.  Even and especially among those calling themselves Christian.

It's easier to understand why sheep are used as an insult.  They are dumb animals.  They have poor depth perception, are easy to flee and panic, and their flocking behavior can make them liable to follow the first one that moves.  They can become bogged down and trapped by the weight of their own wool, repeatedly trap themselves in the exact same way, and follow the example of other sheep with no reason.

Sheep are defenseless.
Sheep need help to get up.
Sheep have no sense of direction.
Sheep are not meant to carry burdens.
Sheep cannot care for themselves when wounded.
Sheep will settle for less.

They are dumb animals.

But still, it is really surprising to see so many Christians using sheep as an insult.  Particularly as the Bible is very clear that we are all sheep.  (And that we would rather be sheep than goats, but that's a whole other sermon.)

"I am the good shepherd.  I know my own and my own know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep.  And I have other sheep that are not of this fold.  I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice.  So there will be one flock, one shepherd."

John 10:14-16

There are several instances in the Bible where God's people, both Israel and Christ's followers are compared to sheep.  Many have their roots in Psalm 23, in which David identifies himself as a sheep.  "The Lord is my shepherd."  We're sheep for many of the same reasons identified above.

We are spiritually defenseless.
We need help getting up when we are down.
We have no sense of eternal direction.
We aren't meant to carry the burdens we sometimes face.
We cannot spiritually care for ourselves.
We'll settle for the temporal, at the expense of the eternal.

We are dumb creatures.

And yet, Christ's response is one of care, not derision.  He is our Good Shepherd.  He is our nurturer, our protector, our ever-present help in times of trouble. He is the door to the sheep pen, keeping out the wolves and thieves and robbers.  Keeping us in the fold.  He is the one who leaves the 99 to hunt down the 1.

I learned something this past weekend that I had never been taught before. The early church did not use the iconography of the crucifix.  Too recent, too painful, perhaps too close to the reality of what the crucifix did.  Instead, the imagery was focused on the Good Shepherd.  Jesus with a lamb resting across his shoulders.  Jesus with the shepherd's crook.  

And to me, that really re-centers the focus of the Christian life.  Don't get me wrong, the crucifix is still powerful imagery and represents the greatest victory that we have.  There is, however, also a tendency to treat it as a one-time historical event, both in the life of Christ and in our lives.  It's too easy for us to leave Christ on the cross.  To stop at our salvation and not pursue sanctification - to just get "fire insurance" and that's it.  To treat Jesus as just Savior and not Lord.

Focusing on the Good Shepherd reminds us that He is still watching over us.  He is still guiding us and protecting us.  And that we are still required to be listening for His voice.  To follow His voice and His voice alone.  To go where the shepherd guides us and to graze there.   To lie down in good pastures, to drink still waters, to graze along the Paths of Righteousness.

It reminds us that the Good Shepherd is and should be a part of our daily lives. 

That is worth the attention and focus.

So, perhaps, it's time that we as Christians stop maligning the sheep.  Time to embrace our role as sheep and time to focus on the Shepherd.

It's how we'll all get through this.

Saturday, November 14, 2020

Shubh Diwali

Today begins Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights.  Diwali symbolizes the victory of light over darkness, good over evil, and knowledge over ignorance.  Something we could all stand to celebrate.

It's a reminder that no matter how dark the night, morning is coming.  A reminder for many of us, that though we belong to a different faith, good will ultimately prevail.  A celebration of that first declaration - let there be light.

To any of my readers who so celebrate -

May the Diwali lights brighten your life and Rangoli add more colors to it. Have a blessed Diwali!

Friday, November 13, 2020

World Kindness Day 2020

"When Henry James’s nephew was about to go off to school for the first time, he came to his uncle and asked, 'Do you have any advice for me?' Henry James answered, 'I have three pieces of advice. The first is to be kind. The second is to be kind. The third is to be kind.' What memorable advice!"
Mr. Rogers

Today is World Kindness Day. Started in 1998 by the World Kindness Movement, a collection of nations' kindness non-governmental organizations, World Kindness Day is designed to highlight good deeds in the community focusing on the positive power and the common thread of kindness which binds us. Kindness is a fundamental part of the human condition which bridges the divides of race, religion, politics, gender and zip codes. 

Kindness is what makes us human.

It is a fruit of the spirit; a divine connector that ties us all together.  It costs us nothing, it gains us much, and it truly makes the world around us better.  

And it's so easy to be kind.

It doesn't have to be a grand gesture.  The smallest of things can have great impacts.

Hold the door open.

Call a friend, just to talk.

Send a text to let someone know you are thinking of them.

Pay for the car's lunch behind you in the drive thru.

Smile, even if you are wearing a mask.

Say thank you.

Wash the dishes, just because.  Fold the clothes, just because.


Say I'm sorry.

Laugh, and laugh with friends - over the phone, over Zoom, in person if possible.

In a world where you can be anything, BE KIND.

Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.
Ephesians 4:32

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Veterans Day 2020

"I’ll have you know that a soldier is the most holy of all humans because he is the most tested — most tested of all."
John Steinbeck, East of Eden

"You are the veterans of America, the most trusted among us, and the most tested of all Americans. Collectively, you represent generations of soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines and coastguardsmen who have served and sacrificed for all of us. You are not only the heart and soul, but you are the very spine of this nation. And as a nation, we pause today to thank more than 23 million surviving veterans who so bravely and faithfully protected our freedom. You gave and they gave, and you deserve our thanks.

We stand here today committed to show our respect, to honor and to recognize our responsibility to care for all our veterans, and for those who continue in harm’s way as I speak to you today."
then Vice-President Joe Biden, November 11, 2014, Arlington National Cemetery

Today is a day that the world remembers and honors those who serve their countries.

Armistice Day. Remembrance Day. Veterans Day.

The world remembers and celebrates the end of what was supposed to be the war to end all wars.  The eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month.  Oh, were that true.

As Americans, we remember and honor those who serve and sacrifice for our country.  Who sacrifice for our freedoms as the wars rage ever on.

Thank you. We owe you more than we can say.  May we never forget.

Tuesday, November 10, 2020

The Real Trump Derangement Syndrome

"Sometimes you have to look reality in the eye, and deny it."

Garrison Keillor

Trump derangement syndrome (TDS) is a pejorative term for criticism or negative reactions to United States President Donald Trump that are perceived to be irrational, and have little regard towards Trump's actual policy positions, or actions undertaken by his administration.  The idea that the opposition itself is deranged.  Coined in 2018, an extension of Bush Derangement Syndrome, it has been used by those on the right repeatedly to belittle and dismiss the concerns of those opposed to Trump's policies and character.

In the days since the election, I think we are seeing the real Trump Derangement Syndrome. A clinical delusion is defined as a belief that is clearly false and that indicates an abnormality in the affected person's content of thought.  As Trump continues to spiral out of control following his defeat, the depth of his delusion is being revealed.

At the time of this tweet, the election had not been called.  And as we have seen, this tweet has proven to be false.  And from all indications, it will remain false.  

Despite Trump's continued allegations of fraud, there has not been any evidence of any significant fraud in the election which would have any impact on the results.  All of Trump's court cases that have been heard have been summarily dismissed, apart from the one in which he was granted a nominal victory (in PA ballots received post election day were segregated, which was already occurring).  

The bigger issue that I'm seeing is the self-perpetuating delusion amongst his most fervent followers.  There are those for whom Trump is God.  His word is true and only his word.  And any source that disagrees with Trump, any platform that is unfair to Trump even in the slightest, is to be done away with.

Just look a the "faithful" moving from Fox News to One America News Network to NewsMax.  Fox had too many incidents of correcting Trump or speaking against him, so we can't listen to or believe them any more.  We'll keep looking for a new source that will prop up the delusion.  I can't tell you how many messages I saw on Facebook on election night claiming that NewsMax was the only source to get election results from for conservatives, particularly when Fox did the unthinkable and called Arizona for Biden.  Is that where we are, where Fox News is too liberal?

You can also see this in the new move of conservatives from Facebook and Twitter to Parler, the "free speech" social media platform. Or to MeWe, or whatever alternative you want to insert here.   In response to the 2016 election in which the big social media companies were accused of fostering mis- and dis-information, both platforms began fact checking and labeling posts as potentially misleading.  To many conservatives who have been spreading conspiracy theories and half-factual information, this has been seen as censorship.  And in response to this election, they are leaving and moving to Parler, the conservative platform.  Right now, that's definitely what it is, an echo chamber with the great majority of users being conservative and able to say whatever they want.  Isn’t that the definition of a “safe space”?

At what point when you believe that everything out there is misleading you, every news organization is corrupt, every social media platform is trying to silence your voice, every government official but Trump is lying to you and trying to enslave you, do you look around and say - maybe it's me?

Maybe I'm the one who's a little off base?

Maybe I'm being a little paranoid?

Maybe the guy I'm putting all my trust in me is the one who's lying - instead of everyone else?

At what point do we take a step back, relax, and realize that maybe not everyone is out to get us.  That maybe facts are facts, even when we don't like them.  That we need to hear opposing opinions and opposing positions to act as a gut check to our own.


I understand the need for a break from social media.  I understand the need to purge the constant stream of information and opinions.  But moving to an echo chamber that only gives you the information you want to hear is not the answer.

Let's all take a breath.  2020 has been a year, and we all need a break.  Let's pause, reflect, and get ready for the days ahead.

Stay sane, people. 

Monday, November 9, 2020

Who is Alex Trebek?

The Answer Is...

This 37 year host of the popular game show Jeopardy passed away on Sunday, November 8, 2020 after a long battle with pancreatic cancer.

This game show hosts awards include of seven Outstanding Game Show Host Emmy Awards and a start on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

This mustachioed game show host made headlines in 2001 when he shaved off his 30 year mustache late in the shows 18th season.

This television personality forever linked with Sean Connery thanks to a series of memorable Saturday Night Live skits, passed away just a week after the celebrated Bond actor in November 2020.

This humanitarian, longtime philanthropist, and activist, devoted himself to several causes including World Vision Canada, United Service Organizations, the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy, the American Foundation for the Blind, and the University of Ottawa Forum for Dialogue (which bears his name).

This icon made intelligence, trivia, consistency, facts, wit, and humor a staple of American culture for 37 years.  Nerd icon, culture icon, iconoclast.  He will be missed.

Note: I had thought of writing this entire post in the form of a question, but realized that was the wrong approach.  So, instead, enjoy this list of answers that could be used in remembrance.

Saturday, November 7, 2020

It's All Over But The Shoutin'

The Associated Press (along with several other news organizations including FOX) has called Pennsylvania, and with it the presidency to now President-Elect Joe Biden.  While the counts will continue, as they are required to do and have done in every election prior, the numbers favor Biden enough to where he can comfortably be called the 46th President of the United States.

This is a historic moment and a historic election.  Historic voter participation numbers, historic vote counts for both Biden and Trump.  And now with this decision, the first female Vice President, the first female member of an executive ticket, the first Black vice president, the first Indian American vice president.  And Trump becomes only the tenth president to be elected to only one term, as well as the only President to have lost the popular vote twice.

Trump for his part has refused to concede, calling out Biden for a premature declaration of victory (something Trump himself did just hours after the election).  This is "far from over," he declared.  But all he has left is bluster and shouting.  His court cases are disappearing one by one, as his evidence is revealed to be hearsay within hearsay and obfuscation.  His only victories in his legal battles so far have been to be able to stand closer to observe the ballots being counted and for Justice Alito to require that the late arriving ballots in Pennsylvania be segregated from the other ballots.  That is something the Pennsylvania Attorney General had already required.  And the late arriving ballots in Pennsylvania have not been in a significant enough number to impact the election one way or the other.

So, while there is a threat of dragging this out, today's declaration feels final.  It feels like we can start the transition process.  Biden for his part has already begun receiving daily briefings on COVID-19 and other matters, for example.  Hopefully, cooler heads can prevail with the current resident to temper his bluster, and begin the safe and peaceful transfer of power.

It's this safe and peaceful transition of power between former rivals that has defined our republic for the past 240 years.  The idea that we can put aside our differences, that the most powerful person in the world can set aside that power and move on, was transformative.  To paraphrase King George III, "I wasn't aware that was something a person could do."

And it's what we need now.  To address the divide in this country.  To take the high road.  To lose gracefully.  And to prepare for the next administration.  

One more time.

Mr. President, they will say you’re weak

No, they will see we’re strong

Your position is so unique

So I’ll use it to move them along

Why do you have to say goodbye?

If I say goodbye, the nation learns to move on
It outlives me when I’m gone

Like the scripture says:
“Everyone shall sit under their own vine and fig tree
And no one shall make them afraid.”
They’ll be safe in the nation we’ve made
I wanna sit under my own vine and fig tree
A moment alone in the shade
At home in this nation we’ve made
One last time

Friday, November 6, 2020

Why It's So Hard to Write in 2020

And that was just the beginning...

It's been such a strange year.  It really has.  Amazing highs, a really weird worldwide situation.  In 2018, in 2019, writing and writing this blog was such an important outlet.  A release vale of sorts to keep me sane.  And you would think this year it would be especially needed.  But 2020 has been such a strange year.

It's no secret the blog has been more sporadic this year.  Part of it has been trying to find a new routine.  In all the adjustment, in all the change, still trying to find what rhythm works to keep this moving in a regular cadence.  But that's not the biggest reason.

And it's not like there's not enough to write about.  On the contrary, there is an abundance of topics to write about.  There seems to be something that is worth writing about every few minutes.  

That's the problem.

This year has just been overwhelming.  There's too much to write about.  By the time I can formulate thoughts about one subject, something more pressing, more infuriating, comes about that demands attention.  

Just look at this week.  The election results, the claims of fraud and the president's unhinged press conferences.  The fact that news stations have cut away from the president before he can get more than a few minutes into his speech to remind the viewers that he is lying and to correct the falsehoods that he is making about our democratic process.  The red mirage/blue shift.  The court challenges to the vote count.  

That's all in addition to personal life, holidays, events, etc.  On top of all the other changes that have happened throughout the year.  Us moving states, joining a new church, finding new friends, trying to adapt to life here.

It's a part of how this year has affected us all.  Worn us all down and out.  And from my perspective, it's been a combination of 2020 itself and this presidency.  The presidency was challenging enough in 2018 and 2019, but this year, his antics have seemed to tripled.  Combine that with the utter craziness that is 2020 and it was impossible to keep up.  Fires, plague, murder hornets, shortages, the death of so many industries, hurricanes well into the Greek alphabet, social unrest.  

It's overwhelming.  And it's draining to try and get worked up about it all to write about it.  So, that's why the focus has shifted primarily to Mitchuation Updates and scheduled holiday writeups.  To things that are a bit easier to write about, to focus on, and to prioritize.

I am hopeful the rhythm is coming back.  I am hopeful things might slow down at some point in the near future.  I look forward to restarting some of the series, like What I'm Thankful For here in November, the Christmas posts in December, Why I Love My Church because there's so much to be excited about in our new church home.  I look forward to be able to write about trips and vacations hopefully sometime soon.  This has been our first year without a vacation and that has been a little challenging for us.

As always, I thank you for your readership.  It humbles me to think anyone reads this, and I appreciate it more than you know.

I hope your 2020 will start to calm down.  I hope we are reaching a point where things might start to slow down.

A point where we can all breathe.

As we do, I'll be here.

Thursday, November 5, 2020

The Fifth of November 2020

Remember, remember! 
The fifth of November, 
The Gunpowder treason and plot; 
I know of no reason 
Why the Gunpowder treason 
Should ever be forgot!
Guy Fawkes and his companions 
Did the scheme contrive, 
To blow the King and Parliament 
All up alive. 
Threescore barrels, laid below, 
To prove old England's overthrow. 
But, by God's providence, him they catch, 
With a dark lantern, lighting a match! 
A stick and a stake 
For King James's sake! 
If you won't give me one, 
I'll take two, 
The better for me, 
And the worse for you. 
A rope, a rope, to hang the Pope, 
A penn'orth of cheese to choke him, 
A pint of beer to wash it down, 
And a jolly good fire to burn him. 
Holloa, boys! holloa, boys! make the bells ring! 
Holloa, boys! holloa boys! God save the King! 
Hip, hip, hooor-r-r-ray!

If I ever forget to post this on November 5, please check on me.

Now a celebration that is definitely appropriate given 2020 and our current situation, Guy Fawkes Day/Night.  The celebration of the foiled plot by Guy Fawkes and his compatriots to assassinate the protestant King James I via explosives underneath the Parliament House of Lords.  It was a symptom of the growing Catholic and Protestant divide in England, an attempt to install a Catholic head of state through regicide. The failed attempt lead to the execution of the conspirators and the introduction of more anti-Catholic legislation in England.

An annual celebration through the lighting of bonfires and burning of effigies of Guy Fawkes complete with grotesque mask to celebrate the survival of King James I.  Members of the celebration would often wear Guy Fawkes masks as well.

And it's this part of the celebration that I would like to focus on.  For while the masks may have been initially used to remember the infamy of Guy Fawkes, over recent years the mask has taken on new meaning.  Partially thanks to a comic book.

The now official Guy Fawkes mask

Written by one of the greatest authors in the art form, Alan Moore, V for Vendetta followed V an anarchist revolutionary in a near-future dystopian England who set out to bring down the fascist state and convince people to abandon democracy in favor of anarchy, all while wearing a Guy Fawkes mask.  Under author Moore and artist David Lloyd, Guy Fawkes was seen as the anarchist hero of his story not the villain.  According to Lloyd, "We shouldn't burn the chap every Nov. 5th but celebrate his attempt to blow up Parliament!"

From the comic and the 2006 film adaptation, the Guy Fawkes mask has become a well known symbol for anonymous protest.  Hundreds of thousands of the official mask sell a year and it has become the official image of the hacktivist group Anonymous.  The mask has further appeared in Occupy movements, and in protests in England, Poland, India, United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Thailand, Saudi Arabia, Canada, Turkey, Brazil, Egypt, and Venezuela.  It has been banned in Bahrain, UAE, Saudi Arabia, and Canada.

This pleases the creators of V.  Lloyd has said, "This Guy Fawkes mask has now become a common brand and a convenient placard to use in protest against tyranny - and I'm happy with people using it, it seems quite unique, an icon of popular culture being used this way.  My feeling is the Anonymous group needed an all-purpose image to hide their identity and also to symbolise that they stand for individualism - V for Vendetta is a story about one person against the system."

So, if you see a Guy Fawkes mask, recognize what it is for.  It's a modern symbol of the fight against tyranny, against government oppression.

As V would say, "People should not be afraid of their governments; governments should be afraid of their people."

Or how about Thomas Jefferson, "When the people fear their government, there is tyranny; when the government fears the people, there is liberty."

We've seen that this year.  

Through activism.

Through protest.

Through defiance.

Through voting in record numbers.  

In making our voices heard.

In not accepting the lies from the adminstration.

In continuing to count legitimate ballots.  In refusing to accept a premature declaration of victory.

The point is to remember where the true power lies - with the people.  

A government of the people, by the people, for the people.

Wednesday, November 4, 2020

Trump Did It

I am loathe to admit, but he did it.

He actually did it.

Trump accomplished something I did not think even he could do.

No, not that.

He has decidedly not won re-election.  

Not yet.  

We're still counting valid, properly cast ballots.  This is why every vote counts and every vote matters.  And while we're continuing to count, it's looking very possible that he will not win this election. 

We can only hope.

No, Trump accomplished something more insidious, more impactful to our nation.  He has convinced his base, a great percentage of the American population that our election process is hopelessly rigged.  That this election is being stolen from him.  That he won, that he was ahead when it mattered, and everything now is just backdoor dealing.

He practically told us he was going to do it.  His intent to declare victory when he was ahead but before all votes were counted was made known last week.  It's still galling nonetheless.  Especially when you see him do it and follow the playbook exactly.

"This is a fraud on the American public. This is an embarrassment to our country. We were getting ready to win this election. Frankly, we did win this election. We did win this election. So our goal now is to ensure the integrity for the good of this nation. This is a very big moment. This is a major fraud in our nation. We want the law to be used in a proper manner. So we’ll be going to the US Supreme Court. We want all voting to stop. We don’t want them to find any ballots at four o’clock in the morning and add them to the list. Okay? It’s a very sad moment. To me this is a very sad moment and we will win this. And as far as I’m concerned, we already have won it."
Trump from his 2:30 am address, Wednesday, November 4, 2020

As of this morning, there are still as many as seven states that have not been called for either candidate. At this time, three states lean to Biden (Michigan, Arizona, and Nevada), four to Trump (Alaska, Georgia, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania).  If those specific states remain aligned with their current candidates, Biden wins the election 270 to 268 electoral college votes.  Biden is leading in the popular vote by nearly 3 million votes.  He currently has the record of the most votes received by a single candidate in American history at 70,401,268 votes.  There are reasons for hope that Biden will ultimately win this election.

This, of course, is troubling to Trump and his base.  And in Trump's mind, there has to be something improper about this result.  You can see it in his speech above.  They are relying on three different "frauds" that they have identified as the basis for this outcome.  First, they believe there are more votes in Wisconsin than actual registered voters.  Second, they believe that Democrats are somehow voting after election day.  And finally, they believe there are fraudulent dumps of documents that are being manufactured by Democrats in key states like Pennsylvania, Georgia, and Michigan.

These beliefs reveal a fundamental lack of understanding of our electoral process, of how votes are counted, of how states are "called" for a candidate, and when our elections are actually finalized.

First, the issue in Wisconsin relates to a fundamental misunderstanding regarding how our elections are managed.  There is no federal election process - our election is basically 51 different elections running in concert.  Each state runs their own election (plus D.C.), with sometimes entirely different rules and exceptions from state to state.  Wisconsin is a case in point.  It is one of the few states that allows for same day voter registration - meaning you can wait to both register to vote and then vote on Election Day.  This could explain a discrepancy in any random number picked out as the number of registered voters in Wisconsin from some past date compared to the number of votes cast.  But it's not even necessary here.  On November 1, there were over 3,600,000 registered voters in Wisconsin.  3,239,920 votes were cast.  Record participation, not an excess indicating fraud.

Second, no one is voting after election day.  Just because tabulation is continuing does not mean that people are continuing to vote.  Just because mail in votes are still allowed to be received in states like Pennsylvania does not mean people are able to vote today and have it sent it to be counted.  Any mail in ballots that are allowed to be received after Election Day still had to be post marked by election day.  Voting has ceased.  We still have to count them.  And we need to count every ballot - because the decision may be that tight this year in some states.  

Finally and related - Democrats are not finding or manufacturing new pockets of data to swing the vote in their direction.  This is a natural result of the order in which votes were counted in those states.  In many states, early voting votes could not start being counted until Election Day.  In some instances, they could not be counted until polls closed on Election Day.  This often resulted in "day of" ballots being counted and reported first, with early and absentee ballots being counted and reported last.  This would explain the difference in states like Florida and Pennsylvania.  Florida was able to start counting its early ballots before election day and reported those early numbers first, with the in person, Election Day ballots following.  Since early voting went largely to Biden, but in person voting went largely to Trump, this caused a shift from blue to red early in the night.  

Pennsylvania could only start processing and counting its absentee and early ballots at 7:00 am ET on Election Day.  Mail in ballots and absentee ballots take more time to confirm than day of votes.  The envelope has to be opened, the signature has to be matched with the one on file to the smallest degree, the vote has to be recorded, etc. etc. etc.  This has resulted in Pennsylvania only being able to count about 10,000 early votes an hour.  The Pennsylvania Secretary of State estimates there are a million such ballots remaining to be counted.  This is compounded with the fact that mail in ballots in Pennsylvania only needed to be postmarked by November 3, not received.  They can be received up to November 6, and still be counted.  This was an accommodation made for COVID-19 and the slowing of the USPS, which has so far been upheld by the United States Supreme Court.  These votes are heavily expected to favor Biden, given the locations in which they have been cast (largely areas like Philadelphia) and their mail-in status.  Both have heavily trended toward Biden.  For example, in the last reported set of such ballots, 80% were cast for Biden.  With the numbers remaining, this could result in a huge blue shift for Pennsylvania.  It just will likely be Friday before we know for certain.

This isn't the outcome anyone wanted, but it was the honest outcome most people expected.  Most people analyzing the race knew it would come down to a fight and knew it would likely not be decided on Election Night.  Election Night is a bit of a fiction that we tell ourselves anyway.  The final count of ballots has never been completed on Election Night.  It always takes time. Generally, states have been able to be called for a candidate, though, when the candidates lead could not substantially be affected by the remaining votes cast.  That's why statisticians were talking all night about what counties were remaining to be counted in a particular state, or about what they knew of regarding the source of the current vote count.  This year in particular, there was a greater reluctance to rely on polling information for predictions.  This is why Texas took so long to finally be called for Trump.  And props to Texas for making it as tight of a race as it was there.

What we are seeing is how the election process actually works.  How the count and confirmation actually works.  We shouldn't be surprised by this, but I guess we're too accustomed to the theater.  

If Biden wins, he's not stealing an election from Trump.  Those states that are now leaning Trump and shift to Biden are not being taken away from Trump.  The vote is just accurately and completely being counted.

And that is something we all should want.  We want our votes to matter.  We want all votes to be counted.  Particularly in this election with record turnout (I'm seeing greatest in 120 years).  We want people to be able to trust in the system and continue this participation.

We don't need any candidate throwing a tantrum and deciding to stop counting when it favors him.  That's not how this works.  It's voter suppression, it's a crime, and it's part of a pattern he has engaged in.

So hang in there.  It might be a long week, but the process is working.  

Count every vote and let every vote count.  

Tuesday, November 3, 2020

Election Day 2020


Today's the day.  If you have not yet voted, drop what you are doing and get out there and vote.  

No excuses. 

Work isn't an excuse.  In many states, there is job protection if you need to take time off and get to the polls.  Check here to see the protections in your state.


If you don't have child care, bring them to the polls.  I saw many people having to do so when I waited in line.  Children are allowed, though some states have a limit on the number of children permitted to accompany a voter.  Check with your local commissioner if you are planning to bring more than one or two.


If you don't know the times for the voting polling places, check out the information graphic below.

If you do not know where to go vote, check for your local polling place.


If you are unsure who best represents your beliefs and interests, check or for a breakdown.


If you need a ride to a voting location, Uber and Lyft are giving free rides to the polls.


Be sure to bring a photo id with you to vote. The seven forms of primary identification are listed on and include a passport, a driver’s license, a certificate of citizenship, a handgun license, a military ID card, personal identification card, and a voter’s ID certification.  Check what is required in your state.


If you do not have one of these forms of identification, you can still vote with one of the secondary forms of identification available like a current utility bill and by filling out a Reasonable Impediment Declaration regarding why you cannot have one of the primary identifications. Even if you cannot make a reasonable declaration, you can still vote on a provisional ballot.


If you run into any problems at the polls, at least ask to vote on a provisional ballot.  Verbatim, ask the following "Give me a provisional ballot with a receipt as required by law."  This will at least allow you to mark your vote and will give you six days to resolve the identification issue.


If you cannot walk into the polling location, have someone go in and ask for a curbside ballot for you.  It should be available to anyone who has difficulty walking and standing in line for long periods of time.  If you need any other assistance in voting, make sure you know your rights in that regard.


This is by far the most important national election of our lifetimes.  It is imperative that we exercise the most fundamental right that we have in this country and raise our voices.  We are already seeing record voter turnout in this election and that is a win regardless of who is ultimately named the victor.

Be prepared, we may not have a clear winner announced this evening.  That is not a bug in the system, it is not a failure - it's a feature.  We must be vigilant that every vote counts.  

I know it's tiring; I know we want this to all be over.  My prayer is that the results are so overwhelming that there is a clear decisive victory.  That the map is completely blue and reflects a sound refutation and repudiation of all that Donald Trump stands for.  That it is too overwhelming to ignore.  But I recognize that decisive of an election is likely not in the cards tonight.  We are potentially in for a long haul.  We're up to this fight and we will make sure every vote counts.

This year we are celebrating 100 years of women's suffrage.  I cannot think of a better way to celebrate the ultimate granting of a right that women should have always had than for America to finally show up with an overwhelming majority of active voter participation.

Your voice matters.

Your vote matters.

Get out there, and get to it.

Vote like your life depends on it, because it likely does.


Monday, November 2, 2020

Dia de Muertos

"Remember me
Though I have to say goodbye
Remember me
Don't let it make you cry
For ever if I'm far away
I hold you in my heart
I sing a secret song to you
Each night we are apart
Remember me
Though I have to travel far
Remember me
Each time you hear a sad guitar
Know that I'm with you
The only way that I can be
Until you're in my arms again
Remember me"
Remember Me, from Pixar's Coco, Kristen Anderson-Lopez, Robert Lopez

Today represents the end of the celebration of Dia de (los) Muertos, or the Day of the Dead.  For those unaware, this is a holiday celebrated throughout Mexico and by people of Mexican heritage elsewhere, focusing on gatherings of family and friends to pray for and remember friends and family members who have died and to support their spiritual journey.  The holiday is generally tied to the religious celebrations of All Saints' Day and All Souls' Day - remembrances of the saints that have gone before and for all Christians who have gone before, respectively.  The end of Hallowtide.

This is not Halloween.  It's not a "scary" celebration, despite the skull and skeleton imagery.  It's a holiday of remembrance.  It's a celebration of people that are no longer with us. 

This year, remembrance takes on new significance.  We have experienced personal loss this year and know many others that have experienced this as well.  We as a nation are coming to grips with 235,000 people who have died this year from COVID-19.  That makes it the third largest cause of death in the United States this year.  We know that number will continue to increase.  And if we continue to push for a herd-immunity approach, realizing that 765,000 more people are likely to die before this ends.

We need this moment to remember the dead.  To celebrate their lives and to reflect on how we got here.

While I do not want to appropriate a holiday, I do want to take the time to pause and remember all the people who have shaped my life that are no longer with us.  To remember and celebrate those lives that should not be forgotten.  To think of fish frys and happier times.

I pray that we all take the time to remember those who have impacted our lives and to keep their story and their memory alive.

Remember them.

Sunday, November 1, 2020

You Can't Be A Christian And Vote Republican

Not what I intended to write about today, but something that needed to be said with Tuesday looming.

I mean, it's controversial, right.

Provocative even.  Possibly even downright offensive.

It's a statement I really shouldn't make.  It's the kind of statement that can't be proven, that has no Biblical basis, and inflicts more damage than any good it can do.

And yet, it's likely been made in many churches this morning.  Churches of a certain persuasion, with specific demographics.  Probably among many Christians this week and in the weeks and months leading up to the election.  I know, I've seen it.

It's just been phrased a little differently.

"You can't be a Christian and vote Democrat."
"Good Christians vote Republican."
"How can you vote Democrat as a Christian?"
"The Republican Party has a Christian platform."

The statement I made in the title is no different than any of those statements above.  Each presumes that one party has a monopoly on God, which cannot be true.

Jamie and I have been going through a Tony Evans series in the past few weeks entitled How Christians Should Vote, and it has been really eye opening.  The most profound realization that I have had in this whole process is that there will be Christians who vote Republican in this election and there will be Christians who vote Democratic in this election, and BOTH will be voting godly, so long as they are voting in prayer and in support of the policies that God has put at the forefront of their personality.

This can happen because there is no one perfect candidate or party - i.e. there is no Biblical party.  Both Democrats and Republicans are a mixture of good and bad.  Divine and profane.  Just like humanity.  

And the truth is, we need BOTH parties.  Because each focuses on different aspects of the Gospel message.

Republicans stand for policies that are praiseworthy - protection of the unborn, preservation of Christian values and protection of Christian religious freedom, etc.  Democrats also stand for policies that are praiseworthy - a push for social justice, for racial equality, for gender equality, for improved socio-economic conditions.  Both parties also have deplorable practices.  In our liberty, Christians have different causes that are placed on our consciences to champion.  This can push us to one party or the other, depending on what has been laid on our hearts. 

We also must recognize that there is no ranking of sins.  All sins are equally grievous to God.  All sins equally separate us from God.  All sin leads to death.  Republicans often are single issue voters with abortion being the one issue they elevate above all others, as if it is the most important national sin to address.  Democrats equally can focus on injustice as the number one national sin.  Focus on either to the exclusion of all others leads to none of them being adequately addressed - we become too divided, too tribal, too fractured to actually get anything accomplished. 

Where Christians vote ungodly is when they adhere to party alliances above all else.  Where they believe that one party has a monopoly on righteous policy.  Where they demonize the other party as being impossibly disconnected from God.  Where they doubt the faith and salvation of people who vote for the other party.  (After all, why should we take Trump's word that he is a Christian, but doubt Kamala Harris.)

Evan's point is that we've gotten led astray by continuing to view this as a two-party situation.  Us versus them.  Democrats versus Republicans.  As if one party will be right and the other party will be wrong.  As if being right is what matters above all else.

We forget, God does not ride the back of elephants or donkeys, as Dr. Evans would put it.

Evans compares it to viewing only two teams on a football team and forgetting that there is a third group out there - the referees.  Christians are supposed to be referees.  Calling penalties and fouls as we see them, upholding and confirming legitimate plays.  We cannot side with either team on the field, but most remain impartial, aligning with a higher governing authority.

Too many Christians have decided to forsake being referees and have put on the jersey of the Republican party.  You can see this in the number of pastor's who give outright endorsements.  Who have nationalistic services.  Who make statements like the one above, like Christians can only vote Republican because theirs is the only Biblical platform.

When we do this, we lose our authority to call out penalties on either side.  We've shown partiality and corrupted the whole game.

If you need an example, I offer Al Mohler, President of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, in his endorsement of Trump.  His individual choice to vote for Trump is not problematic.  Nor is any individual Christian's.  Where I take serious issue is how he spends the entirety of his article outlining how voting for Trump, voting Republican, is the only correct Biblical worldview.  

To get there, he has to conveniently side-step his hypocrisy from his comments in 2016, where he said he would not vote for Trump and said if he did, he would have to apologize to President Bill Clinton for his comments during the Monica Lewinsky affair.  He said then that character in a president matters, but now he is having to contextualize that statement.  So, he's voting for Trump and of course, not apologizing to Bill Clinton.

He also has to side-step the large constituencies of Christians that he knows historically disagree with him, particularly Black churches and Christians.  For context, 81% of white evangelicals vote Republican.  80% of Black Christians vote Democrat.  Consistently.  So if there is just one correct way to vote Biblically, there are a lot of people in trouble.  Mohler comes close to recognizing this paradox in two separate passages.  

"I agree that there are many other issues that press on the Christian conscience—questions of economic policy and foreign affairs and energy and the stewardship of the earth. The searing pain of racial injustice and the unraveling of our social fabric demand Christian response and urgency. Christians must be concerned about questions of immigration policy and refugees—and these issues defy the simplifications of the sound-bite and tweet culture."

As a workaround, he has to engage in a ranking of sins to focus on abortion as the primary issue.  He then speaks particularly to the divide between white and black Christians.

"There will be evangelicals who cannot in good conscience vote for Donald Trump. I understand their predicament. But not voting for Donald Trump, though a political decision in itself, is not the same as voting for Joe Biden. This is beyond my moral imagination.

I also recognize that I know brothers and sisters in Christ who see this differently. The vast majority of Black voters in America vote regularly and predictably for the Democratic ticket, and have since 1960. Like the pattern of white evangelical voting, this is not a surprise. There are long historical reasons why both are so. With my black brothers and sisters, I make my best case for how I see the issues. (emphasis mine) They have every right to do the same. We each have a vote. Both of us will answer to God for that vote. We earnestly seek to persuade the other. We will likely vote differently in the end. We remain brothers and sisters in Christ."

Here a recognition of some liberty in the process.  There are serious issues that have led the Black Christian community to consistently vote Democratic. Issues that the Democratic party focuses on - social justice, equality, housing, urban development, voter protection, healthcare.  Issues that are sadly, often ignored at best, or opposed at worst by the Republican party.  These Black Christians are voting their godly convictions just as white Evangelicals do.  Perhaps, instead of dismissing them, we should inquire as to why their convictions lead them to vote for the opposite party consistently.  This is what we should be encouraging, this is what we should be promoting in this election season.  

Mohler sadly undercuts this with the remainder of his article. You cannot claim one Biblical worldview for voting without the corollary that everything else is wrong, despite your allowance for disagreement with this one community.  In short, he, by the content of his writing, has dismissed the entire Black Christian community vote as being based on an unbiblical worldview.  This is especially evident when he follows this passage with a clear claim that the Southern Baptist position will align with his own.  "The convictions of Southern Baptists are clear, and I am confident that the vast majority of Southern Baptists will vote according to those convictions. That pattern has been in place for many decades."  I.e. Republican, as he has outlined it.

Had Mohler focused his article primarily on the statement in bold (I make my best case for how I see the issues), I would have no issue.  But I take serious issue when anyone tries to proclaim there is one perfect Biblical party.  No matter the party they identify.

Christians should be the consummate independent voter.  Voting their conscience and voting for the person, party, or platform that most closely align with a Biblical worldview as their prayer and conscience directs them.  That necessarily would mean voting for Republicans, for Democrats, for Libertarians, for Green Party members, for independents depending on the year and the election.  If your voting has been 100% for one party completely down ballot for the past several elections, you may need to reevaluate your voting process.


Vote your conscience.

Vote prayerfully.

Give your allegiance to God, not to a political party.

And remember, no matter who wins this election, God is still in control.  He is still on His throne, He is still in His house.  There will be fellow Christians celebrating and mourning on Wednesday morning.  Be kind and be unifying.