Thursday, March 08, 2018

An Old Idea is New Again (But It's Still a Bad Idea)

Inez Feltscher Stepman, Director of the Education and Workforce Task Force at the American Legislative Exchange Council and a senior contributor to The Federalist, comments on the new popularity of an old (and very bad) idea; namely, socialism.

"Earlier this week, The Washington Post ran an article by Elizabeth Bruenig titled ‘It’s Time to Give Socialism a Try,’ in which she argues that the current flailings of liberal democracy should be replaced with socialism. Although the author stridently and probably sincerely denies being a “totalitarian nostalgist,” the reality is that socialism requires totalitarianism. A system so incompatible with human nature cannot exist without an increasingly-ruthless enforcement mechanism. And as we see with the rising illiberal left in America, nice-sounding ideas quickly turn into demands, and demands into law, backed by the full force of government.

Not to get too personal here, but this kind of ‘let’s try it again’ rhetoric really chaps my behind. Both of my parents grew up under the communist regime in Poland, and my grandfather logged time in a Siberian gulag. They came to the United States seeking a freer life, not to hear more of the same old siren song.

There’s nothing romantic about life under socialism or communism. We know where rhapsodizing about socialism leads. It’s not new, and the Post and the New York Times shouldn’t treat it like the trendy flavor of the month.”  (Inez Feltscher Stepman at Bright, an email update provided by The Federalist)

Friday, March 02, 2018

Say It with Flowers...and Swing

The last “When Swing was King” show for February was a real doozy including not only the usual elements, those being 12 classic hits from the big band era, about 200 lovely and interesting photographs, stimulating conversation with the residents of the senior care facility, and the enjoyment of shared memories. But this time around, we were also able to share the beautiful blessing of flowers. That’s right; thanks to Alan Nelson, a wholesale florist with the Bill Doran Company, we brought along an entire box (and a very big box, at that!) of gorgeous flowers arranged in individual bouquets to hand out to the residents.

I wish you could’ve been there to see their response to this beautiful blessing. But then, of course, you could have been! Indeed, we are always delighted to have other friends come along to our “When Swing Was King” shows to join in the happening. The March schedule is available on the Vital Signs Ministries website.

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

VIP: The Second Round

Another round of must-read articles from genuine journalists dealing with genuine issues.

* “Florida shooting yet another government failure to keep us safe” (Glenn Reynolds, USA Today)

* “No, You Don’t Have to Support Gun Control to Be Pro-Life” (Alexandra DeSanctis, National Review)

* “YouTube Censors Video Exposing Planned Parenthood’s Abortion Agenda Hours After Its Release” (Micaiah Bilger,

* “6 Common Media Myths About Gun Control” (Jarrett Stepman, Daily Signal)

* “The Real Russian Disaster” (Victor Davis Hanson, National Review)

* “5 Things They Get Wrong About Christianity” (John Hawkins, Town Hall)

* “New York Attorney General’s Office Runs Fake Facebook Profile to Spy on Pro-Life Advocates” (Michelle Piccolo,

* “The hidden costs of IVF: heartbreak, health risks, and helplessness: Treating the underlying causes of infertility is a better way” (Naomi Whittaker, Mercator)

Winston Churchill: A 5-Minute Review

What a wonderful combination —Prager U, the superb historian Andrew Roberts, and Winston Churchill. This is a 5-minute video that should most definitely be shared with your kids and grandkids.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

The Passing Into Heaven of Billy Graham

On learning of the death of Billy Graham, Vice President Mike Pence responded with condolences to Graham’s family and reflections on his ministry. “Billy Graham’s ministry for the gospel of Jesus Christ and his matchless voice changed the lives of millions. I know with absolute certainty that today he heard those words, ‘well done good and faithful servant.’”

On his 96th birthday in 2015, the great evangelist Billy Graham released his last public word to America and the world. Here is that brief message.

Friday, February 16, 2018

"Enriching the Soil" for Ongoing Spiritual Growth

Good soil is the first necessity of healthy growth for any plant. And, as John
Malek reminded Patrick Osborne and myself in one of our recent Thursday morning Panera conversations, “good soil” (as it is used, for example, in James 5:7 and Mark 4:8) is the first necessity for spiritual growth as well.

It was a stimulating conversation that followed as we spoke of specific things involved in maintaining a “good soil.” Those things include a grateful heart towards God that is eager to learn and obey; the ongoing practice of reading the Bible carefully and with a willingness to apply it’s truths; keeping in place wholesome spiritual disciplines; the stimulating fellowship of like-minded saints who provide accountability, inspiration, and assistance; a commitment to holy, counter-culture living that confidently invests in the world become; and a winsome, happy sharing of the fruits of the Holy Spirit to those around us.

That morning's discussion then prompted me to take inventory of some of the things that have helped enriched the “good soil” that I’ve enjoyed in these first few weeks of 2018. I share a few in hopes you might find something of value.

* Claire and I are again engaged in a read-through-the-Bible program, one that keeps us in the word daily as we read along while listening to Alexander Scourby’s stirring narration of the text.

* This year Claire and I have added another reading practice by reading from selected books of the Bible every week. That's 3-4 chapters a week when it's an Old Testament book, 1-2 chapters when we start into New Testament books. (We're currently still in Genesis.) We take notes over what we read and then find a time each week to discuss our ideas, applications, and questions.

* The Panera meeting mentioned above where I meet with John and Patrick is a terrific help to me. Our purposeful conversations over what we’re reading, doing, and praying about are priceless as a sanity check, an encouragement, and a source of inspiration to stay on course for the Lord. This is also the case with the two other coffee conversations I have every week with good friends — one with Dick Wilson and the other with Allen Nelson.

* New to 2018 for Claire and I is reading the daily email devotional from Joni
Eareckson Tada. These have been superb and we couldn’t recommend them more highly.

* The “good soil” of 2018 has also been well-tilled, watered, and tended to by my reading some excellent books. Those include Randy Alcorn’s Happiness, Francis Schaeffer’s No Little people, Paul Tournier’s The Meaning of Gifts and The Adventure of Living, and Jan Karon’s Out to Canaan.

* And then there’s the conversation and prayers emerging from our ongoing Thanksgiving Jar project, our concerted prayers at the abortion business, correspondence with friends far away, our many activities with Vital Signs Ministries, and, of course, the effects of various sorrows and trials of life which, when responded to in humble faith, also enrich the soil in which one’s Christian growth occurs.

Do any of the above sound like they might be helpful in increasing the potency of the “good soil” in which your Christian faith is planted? If so, please give them a try.