Saturday, June 7, 2008
What is it about Tibet that so many of the hippy ilk seem to be drawn to? Even here I see the occasional "Free Tibet" bumper sticker. Do these people know anyone in Tibet? Have they ever been there? Do they really have any idea what is going on besides hearing somewhere that the evil Chinese are keeping them from true freedom? Could they even find Tibet on a map? I can only imagine the level of angst this issue is causing those poor people in Hollywood.
If you want a real cause to support how about visiting someone in a nursing home or bringing food to a hungry family? Use your energy on something of substance and make a real difference in the world. The Dalai Lama doesn't need your support. A lot of other people here do.
Friday, June 6, 2008
In what is hopefully only a first step, Senator Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) threw down the gauntlet at Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's (D-Nev.) shuffling feet yesterday after Senate Democrats, once again, failed to keep their word on moving President Bush's judicial nominees--some of whom have languished in limbo for years.
At the beginning of the 110th Congress the Senate Democratic leadership promised to at least match the average of 17 circuit court nominees that have been confirmed in prior Congresses. Instead, Senate Democrats, led by Reid and Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), have done everything in their power to delay the process. This time around, Senator Reid promised that at least three nominees would be confirmed by Memorial Day; however, that holiday came and went with only one nominee approved. In response Senator McConnell used Senate procedure to temporarily delay the disastrous global warming cap and tax bill currently being debated on the Senate floor. We hope this is a precursor to even bolder action.
Thursday, June 5, 2008
On July 18, 1738, two months after his conversion, Charles Wesley did an amazing thing. He had spent the week witnessing to inmates at the Newgate prison with a friend named “Bray,” who he described as “a poor ignorant mechanic.” One of the men they spoke to was “a black slave that had robbed his master.” He was sick with a fever and was condemned to die.
Wesley and Bray asked if they could be locked in overnight with the prisoners who were to be executed the next day. That night they spoke the gospel. They told the men that “one came down from heaven to save lost sinners.” They described the sufferings of the Son of God, his sorrows, agony, and death.
The next day, the men were loaded onto a cart and taken to Tyburn. Charles went with them. Ropes were fastened around their necks so that the cart could be driven off and leave them swinging in the air to choke to death.
The fruit of Wesley’s and Bray’s night-long labor was astonishing. Here’s what Wesley wrote:
They were all cheerful; full of comfort, peace, and triumph; assuredly persuaded Christ had died for them, and waited to receive them into paradise. . . . The black . . . saluted me with his looks. As often as his eyes met mine, he smiled with the most composed, delightful countenance I ever saw.
We left them going to meet their Lord, ready for the bridegroom. When the cart drove off, not one stirred, or struggled for life, but meekly gave up their spirits. Exactly at twelve they were turned off. I spoke a few suitable words to the crowd; and returned, full of peace and confidence in our friends’ happiness. That hour under the gallows was the most blessed hour of my life. (Journal, vol 1, 120-123)
Two things amaze and inspire me in this story. One is the astonishing power of Wesley’s message about the truth and love of Christ. All the condemned prisoners were converted. And they were so deeply converted in one night that they could look death in the face (without any long period of “follow-up” or “discipling”) and give up their spirits with confidence that Christ would receive them. O, for such power and witness!
The other thing that amazes me is the sheer fact that Wesley went to the prison and asked to be locked up all night with condemned criminals. It was a huge risk. These men had nothing more to lose if they killed another person. Wesley had no supervisor telling him that this was his job. He was not a professional prison minister. It would have been comfortable and pleasant to spend the evening at home conversing with friends. Why did he go?
God put it in his heart to go. And Wesley yielded. Wesley believed in hell and heaven. He believed that what these prisoners believed from their hearts on that night would determine forever their eternal destiny. It was worth risking his life for. O that I might discern the leading of God when something outside my usual path is called for.