I probably delve into politics more often than is healthy, but when a national politician takes a federal nominee to task for his religious beliefs, it gets me going.
Let me set the stage, Russell Vought is President Donald Trump's nominee to head the Office of Management and Budget. This is an important post, but it's not the Secretary of State. On June 7th, during the confirmation hearings, Senator Bernie Sanders took Vought to task for something he wrote in a blog about the muslim faith. The one sentence at issue is this, "Muslims do not simply have a deficient theology. They do not know God because they have rejected Jesus Christ his Son, and they stand condemned."
From an article by David French in the National Review (you can find it here), we get Senator Sanders and Mr. Vought talking about this sentence...
Sanders: Let me get to this issue that has bothered me and bothered many other people. And that is in the piece that I referred to that you wrote for the publication called Resurgent. You wrote, “Muslims do not simply have a deficient theology. They do not know God because they have rejected Jesus Christ, His Son, and they stand condemned.” Do you believe that that statement is Islamophobic?
Vought: Absolutely not, Senator. I’m a Christian, and I believe in a Christian set of principles based on my faith. That post, as I stated in the questionnaire to this committee, was to defend my alma mater, Wheaton College, a Christian school that has a statement of faith that includes the centrality of Jesus Christ for salvation, and . . .
Sanders: I apologize. Forgive me, we just don’t have a lot of time. Do you believe people in the Muslim religion stand condemned? Is that your view?
Vought: Again, Senator, I’m a Christian, and I wrote that piece in accordance with the statement of faith at Wheaton College:
Sanders: I understand that. I don’t know how many Muslims there are in America. Maybe a couple million. Are you suggesting that all those people stand condemned? What about Jews? Do they stand condemned too?
Vought: Senator, I’m a Christian . . .
Sanders (shouting): I understand you are a Christian, but this country are made of people who are not just — I understand that Christianity is the majority religion, but there are other people of different religions in this country and around the world. In your judgment, do you think that people who are not Christians are going to be condemned?
Vought: Thank you for probing on that question. As a Christian, I believe that all individuals are made in the image of God and are worthy of dignity and respect regardless of their religious beliefs. I believe that as a Christian that’s how I should treat all individuals . . .
Sanders: You think your statement that you put into that publication, they do not know God because they rejected Jesus Christ, His Son, and they stand condemned, do you think that’s respectful of other religions?
Vought: Senator, I wrote a post based on being a Christian and attending a Christian school that has a statement of faith that speaks clearly in regard to the centrality of Jesus Christ in salvation.
Sanders: I would simply say, Mr. Chairman, that this nominee is really not someone who this country is supposed to be about.
Let that percolate for a minute. It almost sounds like a B movie courtroom drama. But it gets better. There is a link to the video of this interaction, hosted by the Office of Management and Budget, you can see it here, or can you. When I went to write this article, the video is no longer available
In honor of Memorial Day, I've made all my Kindle books free for this weekend. Take a moment and download and read a few.
I would greatly appreciate a review posted back on Amazon
Use the Links Below:
God's Unfailing Love
Prayer for Our Nation
Another Prayer for Our Nation
I’ve had a number of people come up to me and ask about writing their own book and what obstacles lie in the way. I’ve told them they are their own worst enemy and if they want to write, well, to write.
So I’ve decided to host a writer’s workshop webinar on June 17th at 7:00pm central.
I will cover the following:
I may not have all the answers, but I will share everything I know. I want to help other people put their message out, especially if it is a message of hope and encouragement.
If you are interested in the webinar/workshop, click on the link here.
I want to speak to fathers for a moment. Have you talked to you son about his behavior with women and girls? Does he understand how to appropriately conduct himself with the opposite sex?
I recently had the opportunity to witness some teenage boys acting very inappropriately. These are not hoodlums, or street kids, but good churchgoing kids who “SHOULD” know better. They obviously feel entitled to refer to girls as animals, and they feel free to discuss sexual acts they want to perform on them. This took place in a church!!!
When I grew up, I fell in love with stories about King Arthur and the Knights of the round table. Those stories made me want to act with chivalry and honor the women around me. I open doors, I let them go first, I give up my seat for them. I never debase or objectify them. But somewhere, somehow that love of chivalry has gotten lost. As men and fathers, it’s up to us to fix that. We need to get busy.
If that doesn’t convince you, then consider this. Would you like one of those boys to say and do those things to your wife, your mother, or your daughter. By allowing it to happen, you are allowing it to happen to all. Because any girl will likely be a mother, could possibly be a sister, and is somebody’s daughter. Let’s also put it in a Christian context. Each girl is a daughter of the King. They are children of God, just like you and me. With that relationship comes a certain dignity, that we attack if we allow such behavior to continue.
As fathers, we are the example. If our cell phone is more interesting than our kid, we fail. If the ball game is more important, we fail. If a night on the town with the boys is more important, than we fail, and we fail twice because that behavior will be duplicated by your son with every relationship he will ever have. Yes being a parent is hard, but what is our other option, we raise them or we turn them out into the streets and let their feral nature take over.
Heavenly Father, please direct the actions of fathers. Help them understand they the male authority, and example in the family. They can be tough, but also can be soft and loving. They need to raise their sons to follow your path, and to love their fellow man. In particular, they need to teach their sons to be honorable to women and girls. Help us all do a better job. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Are you happy with the state of our Nation right now? Are you an American and are happy with the culture, the government, the economy? Do you think we are going in the right direction?
If you answered Yes to any of those questions, you are likely in the minority. We are a fractured society with more differences being pointed out than reasons to come together. We differ on race, education, privilege, taxes, cars, houses, rent vs. buy, rural vs. city. But one thing is the same about us. We all live here. We are all sons and daughters of immigrants, whether voluntary or not, and we are recipients of a legacy from those who have gone before.
I have whalers, road builder, railroad watchmen, county officials, mail route drivers, farmers, mechanics, electricians, realtors, truck drivers, and many other ancestors. But they were all here for freedom, and they were all influenced by the love of this country. I love this country as well, that is why I’ve written my second bible study for Prayer for this Nation. It is named (imaginatively) Another Prayer for Our Nation, and is now available at Amazon in both softcover and e-book format.
You wrote a book, what does it mean to me?
Do you think this nation is a Christian nation? I’ll show you that it is.
Do you need forgiveness, or need to offer some? I’ll show you how that affects this country.
Do we need more truth in our lives and in our society? Let’s tie that together with prayer.
Do we need personal or national restoration? Let’s talk about that also.
Who do you turn to for guidance? I’ll suggest we turn to God.
Do you think our New Generation needs help and prayer? Me too.
Do you pray for our Leaders? If not, repent and join me.
Do we need a national Christian revival? If you think so, I’ll offer how that might look in our homes, offices, government buildings and churches.
If we want to see this country improve, it’s up to us. We have a unique opportunity to roll up our sleeves, help our fellow man, pray through the problems and make this country great again. Not by changing the government, but by changing hearts and minds, one at a time, to know, accept, and believe in Jesus Christ.
I've had a few people ask to hear my story. I put it to video, because a lot of people don't want to read a long article.
It was done on Saturday at the farm, that's the reason for the overalls.
As always, I welcome your comments.
If you would like me to share my story with your group or church, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
If you feel moved by this, please feel free to visit my gofundme page at www.gofundme.com/jimkape
A young lady was browsing personal ads on the internet when she spied a man who had just turned 30, was six feet tall, with an athletic build and owned his own successful retail business. She replied to the ad and it wasn’t long before she had a date set up. She was to meet him at a well known local restaurant and they would have dinner.
About a half hour late, a man in his fifties walked up to her and said, “I’m your date.” She replied, “you can’t be, you aren’t tall, athletic, and successful.” He answered, “but that’s how I see myself.”
That little story just illustrates what we have going on in this world. Many people seek redefine truth to suit them. But doing so is a fallacy of the highest sort. Those who seek to change the truth rarely do so and they are often exposed as the charlatans they are. However, cultural truths seem to be a little less black and what. What is the truth about a nuclear family? What is the truth about commitment and integrity? What is the truth about the meaning of life and how we view the world?
All of these things are important as they determine how we act and interact with the world. The main question is are we ready to compromise on the truth? As a person who KNOWS there is a God, and KNOWS Jesus is real, I’m not ready to compromise. I also know that not all people know with the same level of certainty that I have. But Christianity works on the sacrifice coming first, without the benefit being in hand. You have to give and have faith and believe before the benefits of that faith become real. They do become real.
So if you don’t know what truth really is, and if you are tired of being disappointed when the fruit of your decision declares, “I’m your date.” Maybe it’s time to try something new, and believe in something that never changes.
I’ll be honest, I was a bit shocked by the push-back from some Christians about the book and the movie,
“The Shack.” I have read it a number of times, and have given it away several times as well. I took my son to go see the movie on opening night.
“The Shack” is a fictional story about a man who is struggling with the loss of his younger daughter. He is the son of an abusive father, and the story hints that he poisons his father when he is thirteen years old. This sets up a conflict in the lead character with father figures. The daughter is taken by a known serial killer while on a camping trip. The authorities find her bloody dress at a shack in the woods, thus “The Shack.”
The story invites the reader/viewer to go with the leading character back to the shack to see “Papa,” which is another name a character gives God. Through the rest of the movie, the lead interacts, talks, cries, blames, judges God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit through a journey of forgiveness and restoration. The movie is not a statement of faith, nor is it a belief system. It is a story about one man’s view of God’s love and how that helps bring one family back to him after an unspeakable tragedy.
But I’ve seen arguments about the incorrect theology, the heresies, the problems with the movie. These are being used as excuses to try to keep others away from the movie. I think those people are wrong, but dangerously wrong. First, it’s not a perfect movie. If the same level of theological introspection was used, no movie would be acceptable. Second, it was made by man, so it’s guaranteed to be flawed. We are flawed beings, who struggle with those flaws daily. We need God in our lives in order to walk His path. That is the reason for our faith. But by pushing others away from the movie, we are losing a fantastic opportunity for open discussion about faith, about love, and about restoration.
The net effect is by pushing people away from “The Shack,” you are pushing people away from your view of a flawed presentation. Instead you are pushing them away from an opportunity to experience a flawed, but heartfelt presentation of love and restoration, that they might not get anywhere else.
So, to those who would disagree with me, I challenge you to go see the movie. Then instead of jumping into an online diatribe, let’s go have coffee and talk about it. Or better yet, find somebody who’s faith is a little weak and take them to the movie, and then go have coffee and talk with them about it.
Don’t miss this opportunity to talk (not preach) about your faith.
Think about this for a minute, do you love? Do you find your heart leap with joy at the smile, or thought of another person? If so, how many people?
In John 13:34-35, Jesus talks to his disciples about his coming demise, but he ends with this, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”
So if we wish to be counted as one of the Jesus’ disciples, we must love one another, even those who do not love us.
There was a time in my life when I felt unworthy of love. I felt left out, discouraged, defeated. I felt that nobody could love me, and in return I didn’t love anybody back. In fact, I could not even use the word love with my parents. When I finally met someone, it wasn’t love I felt, but relief at somebody who I thought saw me as I was. But that also ended poorly. I found out she really didn’t love me, but loved my paycheck, and the lifestyle it could bring.
It took God working in my heart, and a long period of time for me to realize that love is not something to husband and restrict, but it is the universal solvent that makes human interaction tolerable. I can now say that I love my family, I love my friends, and I love the children I minister to on the weekends. I love the people who go to church with me. I get overwhelmed when I look at among 2,000 people, with arms raised, praising God, and I cannot fathom giving that feeling up.
Love isn’t a chemical reaction, but an unconditional acceptance and longing for people, and God himself. It is a beautiful emotion that will carry you through the toughest times in your lives.
Shame is tough. In my first attempt at college, I had a hard time asking for help. That led to me getting behind, and finally in my third semester, I knew I wasn’t going to make it. I was so ashamed and proud that I could not ask for help, I could not talk to an instructor and seek the understanding I needed in order to pass the classes. The inevitable happened and I was kindly asked to vacate the school. At that point, I had to tell my employer, and to tell my parents, both of which were very disappointed in me.
The shame was so thick, I felt like I had to part it like curtains just to walk through life. I got through, but I didn’t have to struggle as hard as I did. Later in life, I struggled through rejection, a poor marriage, a pregnancy she chose to abort, the death of my father, divorce and finally, getting tied into a no-win job at IBM. Shame, rejection, depression and fear ruled my life.
Then I hit bottom after losing a house, and a career, and I had to turn somewhere. I found that if I asked God for help, he was there. I would spend my time in the car saying over and over, “God is my provider, I will not worry.” He brought us through.
But back to shame, In Romans 10, Paul quotes Isaiah in verse 11, saying, “As Scripture says, ‘Anyone who believes in him will never be put to shame.’” The Him is Jesus Christ, the savior, the intercessor, our priest, our friend. There is nothing that Christ cannot forgive. There is nothing he will not do to bring you closer to him. We just have to get out of our own way.
It is my testimony that life is better, easier, more joyful, more peaceful with Christ in it. It is my experience that life is hard, but Christ is simple, and shame free.