Tag Archives: obama

Cecil the Lion and the American Conscience

31 Jul

Cecil the Lion has become a household name, here in the United States.  As a matter of fact, I don’t recall seeing this much outrage about the killing of an animal…since Michael Vick’s dog-fighting shenanigans.  If you’ve been hiding in a cave recently, let me tell you about Cecil.  He was a beautiful and regal lion who lived in a national park in Zimbabwe, until an American hunter named Walter Palmer went to the African nation and allegedly illegally killed the lion on July 1st.

My heart was saddened.  I’ve always had a soft heart for animals, but to see this former “king of the jungle” lying lifeless next to a smiling hunter made me feel a deep sense of sadness.  Apparently, many people have felt that way, as #CecilTheLion has trended on Twitter for days.  Some have called for new regulations on hunting, and others have called for Walter Palmer to become lion food.

Even more so, I’ve been haunted for days over the lack of perspective that so many of us seem to have, as a nation.  There has been FAR more collective outrage over the killing of Cecil the Lion then there has been over the Planned Parenthood fiasco…at least in the mainstream media.  How sad that the media would talk more about Cecil the Lion than the killing and dismembering of babies (in the name of medical advancement for the living)!

Now some will say that people can be concerned about both issues.  I agree, wholeheartedly!  But…they aren’t the same.  Life is all important, but humans are far more important than animals.  Humans are the only part of creation that God said in Genesis were created “in the image of God.”  My worldview demands that I value humans more than any other part of creation, because God does, too.

Some believe that all life is equal, and should be cared for in the same manner.  If that is true, then are you also outraged by the fact that Planned Parenthood has killed nearly 7,000,000 babies since 1970?  Are you troubled that 58,000,000 babies have been killed since Roe v. Wade became the law of the land in 1973?

If we’re being honest, most of us care more about Cecil the Lion, as evidenced by the blowing up of the interwebs by animal rights activists.  But, you might say: abortion is legal, and hunting endangered animals is not.  True, but is it moral to follow law based on an immoral decision?  I would say not.

So what can we do about this?  I would say that first, we need to find our “True North.”  Our lives’ compasses need to be recalibrated, and quickly.  If we don’t value the next generation more than any animal, then we are in deep trouble.  We’re a nation with blood on our hands and ice in our veins and…consciences that are seared to what is right and good.  May we seek God’s forgiveness for this human holocaust that we’ve put our approval upon.

Secondly, we need to encourage our faith communities to do more than pray and shout outside of abortion clinics.  If I were a woman in crisis (or not in crisis) and was thinking about having an abortion, I’m pretty sure the way to my heart would not be through angry talking points.  What if churches banded together with pregnancy resource centers, and funded the work that they do to put Planned Parenthood out of business?  What if women felt true love from our churches and knew that they would be loved and supported throughout their pregnancies?  I would say that many of them would not have abortions, and would find the love that God intended for them to experience.

Finally, I would encourage everyone who believes in the value of the unborn to speak up.  Raise your voice on social media and in your conversations…in love.  Push Congress to de-fund Planned Parenthood, and vote them out if they don’t.  Sometimes people become anesthetized to current events, and need a chance to process them with loved ones before they see the faultiness of their thinking.

In 2008, in my struggle to choose between Obama and McCain, I had a conversation with someone about the issue of abortion.  I remember saying to my friend that while I believed abortion to be sad, that I leaned toward being pro-choice because I didn’t believe that “morality could be legislated.”  I now believe very differently, thanks to The Center for Medical Progress’s work to expose the sickness of Planned Parenthood.  Morality IS legislated.  Our laws are all based on morality.  It is only “goodness” that can’t be legislated.

Peace,

Neil

#911Anniversary

11 Sep

It is almost exactly 13 years since Mohammed Atta flew American Airlines flight 11 into the 93rd through 99th floors of the North Tower of the World Trade Center. Every generation has its own defining moments, and I know with certainty that this was mine.

I had just started my day at Verizon in Normal, IL. I did inside sales with a talented group of colleagues, and we were all logging onto our computer systems.

And then…one by one, we started noticing the radio that was piped in throughout the office.

A plane has hit the North Tower.

I saw heads pop-up around each of our cubicles, but we all thought it was just some Cessna that flew off course because of a disoriented pilot. Sad, but not a tragedy of terrorism fueled by hate-filled ideology.

After making our first phone calls of the day, about 17 minutes later, we heard that United Airlines Flight 175 had just flown into the South Tower of the World Trade Center.

This was no accident. This was on-purpose. America was under attack.

And 34 minutes later, Flight 77 crashed into the Pentagon. And 30 minutes after that, Flight 93 crashed into a field in Pennsylvania.

The day became still. Work stopped. Hearts were blended together. Tears were mingled. Grief was shared. There were no democrats or republicans.

Only unity.

13 years later.

We aren’t united. We’ve forgotten about what matters. We chase after nothing and call it something. We have lost our togetherness.

But we need it more than ever.

Last night, as President Obama addressed the nation about the threat of the Islamic State. the Islamic State is more organized and has more money than al-Qaeda ever has. And they are filled with a hatred that made al-Qaeda shudder and disavow them. Their goal isn’t terror. Their goal is world domination through the form of an Islamic Caliphate.

We must unite. We must remember. God, make us remember. And act.

13 years after the worst terror attack our nation has ever seen, we are facing the likelihood of facing even greater attacks on our soil. So what can we do?

Remember.

But not the kind of remembering we do to simply recall information. Remembering in a way that transforms our actions.

On the last night of Jesus’ life, he had dinner with his close followers. He took a loaf of bread and said that it represented his body, that was going to be broken for them. Then he took the cup filled with wine, and he said that it was like his blood which would be shed for them for the forgiveness of their sins. Then he said: “Do this in remembrance of me.”

This was no casual thought or religious ritual. This was life-informing and life-altering.

His followers knew that he was demonstrating what kind of lives they were to lead from that point on:

broken and poured out for the sake of others.

And we are, too. 3000 Americans died on 9.11.01. And because of that, we have a responsibility and even a calling to live differently. To live AWAKENED. To live PASSIONATELY. To see everything as SACRED.

And to respond to terror threats wherever the exist.

Anything less is simply not acceptable. Remember.

Peace,

Neil

Calling All Presidential Candidates

2 Aug

Eventually, you have to pay. You may have a high spending limit on your credit card but one day you’ll have to pay the piper. You can avoid it for a time but not forever. Unfortunately, it seems as though our nation looks at debt as a whole in a very similar way to many of us individually.

And…that’s a big problem.

Here’s the problem for me: I don’t trust the people in office…the very ones who get to vote for their own pay increases…and also will never be affected by our new health care laws in 2014.

Does that make ANY sense at all? Didn’t think so.

So what do we do? I don’t know all of the details, but I know that I will vote for people who will personally sacrifice. Really sacrifice. Not just ask OTHERS to give. People who believe enough in changing our system that they will give ’til it hurts.

So here is what I’m going to do: I will vote for the presidential candidate who will sacrifice the most. Let’s face it…until money is taken out of politics, we will always elect the rich to lead our nation. And if they’re rich, they don’t need a salary. I want to see a candidate who believes so strongly in balancing the budget that he/she is willing to put his/her OWN money behind it. That’s a candidate worth voting for…democrat or republican.

Will you join me?

BP Oil Spill of Our Lives

27 May

We have now experienced the worst oil spill that has ever impacted our nation and the fall-out continues.  The effects will most certainly be generational and we don’t even yet know the full extent of the impact.  Why?  Because it seems that no one is willing to really do what it takes to stop the spill.  It just keeps flowing and flowing.

Aren’t we the same way in our lives?  We get hurt and we bleed out emotionally from things that happened in our past, and a lot of the times we even know that we need to change or we even know what to do to be different, but we just don’t do it.

Here’s why: knowledge doesn’t change us.  There is nothing about knowledge that will change us.  Sure, it can motivate us to change, but it will never do the job alone.  Transformation takes place when we decide to apply the new things that we know and actually DO SOMETHING with all of it.  Until we do that, our lives will look a lot like BP’s gigantic mess.  Don’t be like a big, dumb oil company.  That’s all.

Peace,

Neil

President-elect Obama

6 Nov

WOW! Regardless of what you think of this election and the results, we can all agree that history was made yesterday. Barack Obama will become the nation’s first African-American President when he is inaugurated in January.

I feel privileged to live in a country where EVERYONE has opportunity. What an amazing story Barack Obama has.

If McCain had won, then Sarah Palin would have become the first woman Vice-President and McCain would have become the oldest man to have ever become a first-term POTUS.

It is my prayer and I hope all of your prayers that God would bless Barack Obama and lead him as he leads this nation. Now is the time to lay aside partisan bickering and to move forward to the best of our ability.

Lord, please protect Barack Obama and guide him by your truth. When he falls short, please correct him by the power of your Holy Spirit.

Lord, we thank YOU for change. We do not place our hope in anything or anyone but you.

Peace,

Neil