Bob Bennett Weekly Facebook Concert

One of my favorite musical artists Bob Bennett performed a Facebook live concert on March 21st this year when the country was in the midst of a national Covid-19 lockdown. 

TheInnaugural Pandemic Concert

I have been listening to Bob’s music since the early eighties and even had a chance meeting with him a few years ago when he came unbeknownst to me to  our church and performed at our worship service while he was recording an album at our local college. I spoke with him briefly and bought a c.d. from him. I remember him as being gracious and encouraging.

Bob Bennett Elgin E Free Church 9/25/16

Since March 21st. Bob has performed concerts each and every weekend via FB live with the exception of one weekend when he was having medical issues. That weekend some young men did some covers of Bob’s song as a get well wish for him.

AN Homage from the week Bob Missed

This past Saturday Bob performed his 39th FB live concert featuring music from Christmastide which if memory serves was the C.D. I picked up from hat my church 4 years ago. My wife and I watched and listened. Amy had written in the chat that it was my birthday and waited in expectation for Bob to greet me with warm wishes. Bob did not wish me birthday greetings, which I didn’t mind as my birthday is in September! #Crazywifecrazylife

I talk here from time to time about my Big 3 (My favorite 3 music artists. If I were to go 4 Bennett would easily join Alan Levi, Michael Card and Randy Stonehill in that musical pantheon.

If you are interested in seeing a virtual Bob Bennett concert live, checkout his FB page.

If you want to explore more of his music click here to get to his Spotify artists page.

A Brief History of why I’ve never voted for Donald Trump.

I have never voted for this guy. Here’s why.

I have never voted for Donald Trump. In this brief post I will attempt to explain why not.

In the Fall of 2015 I began the process of deciding who I would vote for in the 2016 Republican Primary in my home state of Illinois and who I would then vote for in the subsequent Presidential election.

I watched every debate and did much research as I tried to reach my eventual decision. There were 17 candidates running for President to begin with. This article lists all 17.

10 of the original 17 Republican Primary Candidates circa 2015

After watching 2 rounds of debates I had decided that there were 15 candidates that I would be able to support if they eventully received the nomination. Donald Trump was one of the 2 I decided I would not be able to vote for if he won the nomination.

In the time between making that decision and the Illinois Republican Primary nothing happened to change my mind about that decision. In fact, by the time the Primary came along I was even more certain that I could not in good conscience support Trump and did not vote for him. This post written in Feb of 2016 goes into greater detail why at the time I thought I “would never vote for him.”

In the months that led up to the general election nothing changed my conviction that I could not support Mr. Trump. Again when election day 2016 came on the first Tuesday of November I did not vote for Trump.

After Trump was inaugurated I quickly came to the opinion that Preisdent Trump was a far worse president than I thought he was going to be. (This post I wrote in the summer of 2019 urges people to hold Trump accountable for his actions.) As a result I did not vote for him in the Illinois Primary this past March. Shortly after the primary election I came to the opinion that President Trump was a much worse president during the pandemic crisis than he was prior to it. I also came to the opinion sometime this Spring or Summer that President Trump was a much worse incumbent candidate than he was when he was first seeking the office.

As a result this past November I did not vote for President Trump on the 4th time that I was given the opportunity to do so.

In summary I decided in the Fall of 2015 that I would not be able to vote for Trump and nothing in the 5 years that followed changed my mind. So at each opportunity I have either voted for someone else or have left that part of my ballot blank.

I’m certain I could explain this in further detail, but I fear that if I did, it would cease to be a brief history.

10 Things I’d Like to See the Republican Party Do Now That the Election is Over.

My former pastor and fellow blogger Lindy Scott mentioned in a recent post, a list of upcoming posts that he would be addressing in his blog. One of those was about the future of the Republican Party. This reminded me that there are some specific areas that I would like to see the GOP address going forward now that the transition to a Biden Presidency has begun.

These issues are as follows …

Abortion

I’ve heard it said that Donald Trump has been the most pro-life president this country has ever had. I am not sure if this statement has any merit, but for my present purpose the veracity of the statement need not come into play.

Abortion, in my mind, is one of the most critical issues of my lifetime. I am against abortion but I must admit that those on the other side of the issue have been very effective labelling it as a reproductive rights issue rather than a pro-choice issue. The bottom line is it is a human rights issue and it should be addressed as one. I would like to see Republicans (and Democrats for that matter) stand up for all life particularly for those like the human fetus who cannot defend themselves.

During the past election season, I viewed commercial after commercial where Republicans (and some Democrats like Illinois Congressman Dan Lipinski) were lambasted for their extreme views on abortion.

Click here to see one such ad against Lipinski.

Their “extreme” views were that abortion should be ended and that our tax dollars shouldn’t fund abortion. These views are not extreme and need to be talked about in the light of day.

I would like to see Republicans not only stand strong against abortion but also lead the discussion on how to solve this problem. Many people align themselves with the Republican party because of this issue. So far, I don’t believe they haven’t gotten very much return on their investment.

Racial Reconciliation

It is often said that perception is reality. I think I can argue effectively for or against that statement. That is probably from my debate background. For now, let’s just concede that it’s a true statement. Lets review some perceptions for a moment.

Donald Trump has often been perceived as a racist. The Republican Party, it has been argued, has become the Donald Trump party. So if both those perceptions are in fact, reality does it follow that the Republican Party is racist?

I fervently hope not. But this perception is very real to many and I am certain this perception precluded many people from voting for Republicans in general and Trump in particular when they may have been more inclined to vote for them if these perceptions didn’t exist.

Republicans need to show an immediate conciliatory approach to race relations in this country. Something I learned in my over 20 years in customer service is that its okay for me to apologize for something that isn’t my fault. Slavery wasn’t my fault. But I am sorry about it. It was a horrible practice to strip people from their homes and exploit, humiliate, and subjugate them. It is a shameful part of our history and it’s even more shameful that we are still so divided racially in this country. It is just as shameful that so many people are ignorant of or tone deaf to these inequalities.

Republicans need to be on the leading edge of promoting racial harmony. The first step would be found in embracing the problem, even if the problem is just a perception. Changing the perception of the party to accepting people of all races rather than being perceived as a party of racists would be an important step in the right direction.

COVID 19

President elect Biden credits his victory in some part to making Trump’s handling of Covid a major issue of the election. Republicans need to work with Biden and the Democrats as much as they can in stopping the spread of Covid. There is no logical reason why this should not be a bi-partisan slam dunk of an issue.

I think that Republicans do need to stand up and make sure that aborted fetal tissues are not used in potential co-vid vaccines. They need to be pro-actively seeking out scientific solutions that don’t endanger any vulnerable populations including the unborn.

Distancing from Donald Trump

Speaking of covid, the Republicans need to begin socially and politically distancing themselves from the soon to be erstwhile president. There needs to be an almost Costanzalike mantra in any Republican politician asking what Trump would do, and then doing the opposite.

An example of this would be, if you find yourself speaking at a press conference and you are asked by a reporter what you would tell the millions of Americans who are scared. You probably don’t want to go with “I’d tell them you’re a bad reporter.”

Click here to see the exchange I’m referring to.

Another thing I learned in customer service is that apologizing for someone else is nowhere near as effective as solving the person’s problem. Solving the problem by employing a different approach than the way it was originally mishandled is more effective than just an apology on its own. Republicans going forward by handling issues in a way not reminiscent of Trump will go a long way in making the party a more viable choice for others in the future.

Establish a Platform

The Republicans chose not to have a platfrom at the 2020 Trump infomercial convention. This was a mistake. Their alternative was even worse. In the document the RNC did provide they stated that

RESOLVED, That the Republican Party has and will continue to enthusiastically support the President’s America-first agenda;
RESOLVED, That the 2020 Republican National Convention will adjourn without adopting a new platform until the 2024 Republican National Convention;

Resolution Regarding The Republican Party Platform 2020

Some readers may have bristled when I said a few paragraphs ago that there was a perception that the Republican Party had become the Donald Trump Party. When a document designed to show your party’s guiding principles says your party’s mission is to enthusiastically support your President’s agenda, it’s hard not to get that perception.

Adherence to this document means now that President Trump is on his way out of office, the plan for next 4 years is to enthusiastically support the agenda of a former one term president who lost both the popular and electoral vote? As far as plans go, this is not a great one.

The party needs to redefine itself and represent that redefinition to the public.

Address Gun Violence

One of the hallmarks of a two-party system is that each party addresses issues in their own way. This is good and can be very effective. However, I believe that the gun issue is one that keeps many people from voting Republican or at least from feeling good about it. Guns may not kill people but they are part of the equation. Republicans need to realize that the gun lobby is never going to support Democrats. They can afford to pass laws that protect citizens better without infringing on their 2nd amendment rights. It’s hard to argue that women don’t have rights over their own bodies but everyone has rights to all manners of weapons. It’s easier to argue that both parties should limit their rights that could deny other people life.

Widen Base

The Republicans need to take steps in the next 4 years to widen their base. Again, I think a concilatory approach is what is needed here. I think the Republican party can be a party of inclusion by showing that they can meet the needs of their constituents. I think by making some of the changes I have listed here a priority in the future they can add to their base without losing their historic identity.

Reform Immigration Compassionately

There are few places where walking back Trump rhetoric and actions is more important than immigration. Immigration is an important issue in this country. It is not going to get solved in a tweet or a debate. It is one of those issues that I believe needs to be solved on a bi-partisan basis. The reason why I say this is because otherwise it will just change from election to election depending on which party is in power. If Republicans want to build a multi racial base, they can do so by helping Democrats solve immigration permanently.

Reestablish Sound Foreign Policy

I know very little about foreign policy. What I do know is that Donald Trump’s approach was far different than the historical Republican approach. I believe the foreign policies of Trump should be abandoned and the old approach brought back.

Appeal to Independents.

I don’t think most Americans are 100% red or 100% blue, I think we are red, white and blue. Republicans living in a post Trump society should go forward trying to craft their message in a way that independents and the undecided can relate with. They should listen to their constituencies and meet needs and embrace change.

Now, none of these 10 things talk about free market capitalism or small government or many of the other Republican fundamentals. Other peoples’ lists may look totally different than mine. In fact, some peoples’ items might be opposites of the ones on my list. But that’s okay, I think the most important aspect of this exercise was not the examination of the Republican Party but the examination of my values to see how the political parties line up to them. I also have a list of things I’d like to see the Democrats do in a Biden administration.

At the beginning of this post I mentioned how Lindy Scott ended his most recent post talking about other posts he is working on. I’d like to do the same.

Other subjects I would like to address in the future would be …

Sizing up the 16 other Republican Primary candidates in 2016 for a run in 2024.

Why Bipartisanship is so important in the early days of the Biden Presidency.

Why a Trump 2024 candidacy would be a step in the wrong direction.

Those are just the political ones, I also have several chili recipes I’d like to spill the beans about.

I forgot about Amnesia again.

In 1995 a few moths after returning from 2 years as a missionary in Russia, I traveled from Illinois to Columbia, South Carolina and enrolled in a 1 year Biblical Certificate program at Columbia Biblical Seminary. I lived in the dorms and really enjoyed the friendship and collaboration with my fellow students.

While taking a survey course in the Old Testament, I was struck by the cyclical nature of God’s relationship with Israel. I wrote lyrics for a song about it and asked a classmated to write music for it. He performed the song at a chapel service.

About 10 years ago I came across some of my writings from when I was in Seminary. I happened across the song and realized I had nearly forgotten about it. I typed it out and placed it in a blog.

A few months ago I was looking at my over 10 year output of posts for my various blogs. I happened upon the song again and again enough time had passed that I had almost forgotten it again. The funny thing is the song I keep forgetting about is titled Amnesia.

I’d like to share the song with you again until the next time I forget about it.

Amnesia
Word by David Roller
Music by Jeff Six

Israel, oh Israel those who bear my name
Why do you act like other gods and I are just the same
Israel oh Israel what's it going to be?
What do I have to do before you'll turn to me?

You were my chosen people in my promised place
Made to be a blessing, you trampled on my grace.

Israel oh Israel I cry over you
Why do you keep forgetting what you're supposed to do
Israel oh Israel what's it going to be
What do I have to do before you'll turn to me?

Israel oh Israel I still wait for you
I am your God and Father worship what is true
Israel oh Israel it's time to make your choice
Serve your own desires or listen to my voice

Israel never returned, I sent them away
They serve as a witness, even to this day

America, America land of the free
Free to do just as you please, you walk away from me
America, America what's it going to be?
What do I have to do before you'll turn to me?

Did I give you freedom just to gain your wealth?
You were free to worship, you exalt yourself.

America, America, I cry over you
Why do you keep forgetting what you're supposed to do?
America, America what's it going to be?
What do I have to do before you'll turn to Me?

You've had riots and you've had wars but you would not turn
AIDS and Oklahoma City. Will you ever learn?

America, America, I still wait for you.
Remember your God and Father. Worship what is true.
America, America it's time to make your choice.
Serve your own desires or listen to My voice

Remember Israel!

21 Day Challenge Love in any Language

A few weeks ago I finished the 21 day challenge with some boys of my youth group the Book Of John in 21 days. I also blogged about it here, adding some bible study questions and with the help of Bible gateway, I put every day’s passage in a different version of the Bible. I also showed daily what the most famous verse in the Bible (John 3:16) looked like in each version.

Below I have listed all 21 versions and John 3:16 in a handy dandy chart. I’ll be back with some more random acts soon.

VersionText of John 3:16
New International Version (NIV)For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
New American Standard Bible (NASB)For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.
English Standard Version (ESV)For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.
Living Bible (TLB)For God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son so that anyone who believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
Good News Translation (GNT)For God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not die but have eternal life.
The MessageThis is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life.
J.B. Phillips New TestamentFor God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son, so that every one who believes in him shall not be lost, but should have eternal life. 
King James Version (KJV)For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
Revised Standard Version (RSV)For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.
Amplified Bible (AMP)For God so [greatly] loved and dearly prized the world, that He [even] gave His [One and] [a]only begotten Son, so that whoever believes and trusts in Him [as Savior] shall not perish, but have eternal life.
American Standard Version (ASV)For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on him should not perish, but have eternal life.
1599 Geneva BibleFor God so loveth the world, that he hath given his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him, should not perish, but have everlasting life.
International Children’s Bible (ICB)For God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son. God gave his Son so that whoever believes in him may not be lost, but have eternal life.
New Century Version (NCV)God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son so that whoever believes in him may not be lost, but have eternal life.
New Life Version (NLV)For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son. Whoever puts his trust in God’s Son will not be lost but will have life that lasts forever.
New Living Translation (NLT)For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.
New International Readers Version
(NIrV)
God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son. Anyone who believes in him will not die but will have eternal life.
New King James Version (NKJV)For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
New Revised STandard Version (NRSV) For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.
Revised Geneva Version (RGV)For God so loves the world, that He has given His only begotten Son; that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
Contemporary English Version (CEV)God loved the people of this world so much that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who has faith in him will have eternal life and never really die.