Monday, January 29, 2018

Review of The City that Does Not Age

Americans cannot identify with a modern city built over top of ruins that reach back to the fifth century BC, and even earlier—in other words, a city continuously inhabited for over 2400 years. But that is the situation of modern-day Sofia, the capital of Bulgaria, once known as the ancient Thracian city of Serdonpolis. Bistra Johnson has compiled an interesting and comprehensive record of the history of this remarkable place in her book, The City that Does Not Age.

After a prologue that introduces the reader to the topic, Johnson begins to trace the history of Sofia through Thracian and Roman times. The city figured significantly in the history of the Roman Empire as it sat astride the Via Militaris, the Roman road which stretched from Constantinople (modern Istanbul) to Singidunum (modern Belgrade).

As the Roman empire declines through internal assassinations and external threats of the invading Germanic tribes throughout the Middle Ages, Johnson does an excellent job of tracing the volatile fortunes of Sofia, as the welfare of the city rises and falls under different leaders and foreign overlords.

After the crusades the city succumbs to the Ottoman empire, which maintains alternately loose and close control of the city, ultimately resulting in the somewhat peaceful if decidedly tenuous coexistence of local Christians, Muslims and Jews. The level of detail of Johnson’s research and her use of primary and secondary sources pays off as she is able to relate many fascinating accounts of both major and minor events during the period.

The liberation of Sofia from Ottoman domination, and the eventual attaining of Bulgaria’s independence is carefully chronicled. She includes a section on the resurgence of the arts and intelligentsia of the city, as well as its entrance into the modern age. The changing loyalties and fortunes of the city from the beginning of the 20th century until the end of the Soviet era complete the story, bringing the reader to Sofia’s present status as the capital of Bulgaria. Johnson includes a bibliography and an excellent index.

One of the notable tasks Johnson has accomplished is giving the reader an understanding of the significance of Sofia to the larger history of Europe. The city’s location on the Balkan peninsula made it a strategic prize, the control of which gave armies and nations a means of projecting power and influence over a much larger area.

There are some negatives. Two difficulties which frequently bedevil independent authors are apparent in this book: the cover is not impressive, nor is the formatting and editing. Every writer needs a good, professional editor and Johnson is no exception. Even so, her writing is solid though a little uneven at the beginning of the book and the very end.

If I was evaluating on the editing alone I would give this book three stars at most. But the excellent historical account and the strength of the research combine to make this book a good read, well worth the effort. All things considered, I’m giving it four stars.
[Full disclosure: I received a complimentary copy from the author for the purposes of review.]

Friday, January 5, 2018

Review of David Powlison's Making All Things New

Making All Things New: Restoring Joy to the Sexually Broken” is an outstanding book, suitable for both counselors and counselees, and in all probability needed by both (and for the same reasons). Even if we’ve never crossed the line in sexual sin (possible, but highly unlikely in light of Matthew 5:27-28), we’ve all been tempted to find our comfort in resources other than God Himself. That’s ultimately the issue David Powlison addresses.

Though expressing himself in prose Powlison writes like a poet, with deep empathy and suffused with understanding and hope. The intended audience includes both the victimized and the victimizer, and both men and women. This book is no “bible band aid,” but is a theologically responsible, Christ-centered look at the knotty problem of sexual sin.

Powlison spends Chapter 1 orienting the reader to his approach; it is grounded in the realities of the biblical Christian faith: sexual fidelity is good, sexual sin is wrong, and Christ alone can transform the unfaithful into the faithful. The reader is questioned in Chapter 2 about where he or she stands in relation to the topic of sexual brokenness. Hope wrapped in warm understanding of life’s suffering and difficulty is offered. The road of healing is characterized as “walking toward the light,” a metaphor that disabuses us of the notion of quick fixes, all the while holding forth hope for the future.

In Chapter 3 he explores the wide varieties of behaviors that can turn God’s wondrous gift of sex into tragic darkness. At each turn he reveals how such behaviors fall short of and pervert God’s good intentions, and how God in Christ draws near to offer deliverance and healing to both the victim and the predator.

Chapter 4, Renewal is Lifelong, is outstanding. Though aspects of sanctification are indeed crisis events, and God does sometimes deliver in a single stroke, more frequently the process is a long one involving progress, regress, and sometimes standing still. Both healing and growing in obedience are challenges requiring endurance and patience. For biblical counselors, this is a helpful corrective to some of Jay Adams’ earlier writings. One could get the impression from, say, “ChristianCounselor’s Manual,” that nouthetic counseling fixes problems in a relatively short time. Sometimes it does. But the more frequent experience (and I think Adams would agree) is that progress in overcoming habitual sin issues is often slow, beset with setbacks, and in many cases continues until the end of life. Powlison makes the important point that the crucial issue in sanctification is that we are oriented in the right direction—towards Christ.

In Chapter 5, Powlison pulls the dirty veneer off long-term sexual sin, demonstrating that there is more going on in the heart than simply the fall to lust. In fact, what’s going on in the heart might be even more abominable: a reduction of grace to an inverted retribution theology (“I serve You, but You haven’t given me what I want, therefore I will take revenge by indulging in sexual sin”).

In Chapter 6, Powlison discusses some of the motives that might be at work behind sexual transgression, and some of the motivations that might be behind a victim’s responses.

Chapter 7 is spent peeling back the layers of the onion to show that the battle is not simply against the outward, obvious, “big” sin. There are progressive levels of sin and temptation on which the battle for Christ-glorifying purity will be fought, some of which are so subtle and insidious we can barely detect them except in retrospect.

Powlison reminds the reader in Chapter 8 that the goal is much larger than merely not sinning: it is Christlikeness. God’s words to us, “I am with you,” become the focus of the final chapter, in which Powlison encourages us to “get down to today’s skirmish in the great war.”

David Powlison is a gifted counselor and writer: this book just might be Powlison at his best. Highly recommended.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Review of Paul Copan's Is God a Moral Monster

This is a really good book. Copan does a great job handling the assaults of the New Atheists and working through difficult texts of the Old Testament (including the so-called terror texts). Copan deals with slavery, the Bible's treatment of women, holy war, and several other topics that often give Christians (and atheists!) problems. While I gave the book 5 stars for its basic excellence, there are a number of minor points I would raise questions about had I the time or were I myself a better scholar. I'll just mention two.

Copan frequently resorts to the language of exaggeration in his dealing with OT texts. Scripture certainly does use hyperbole in places, but I'm not convinced that it does so as often as Copan suggests. Sometimes this appears to be an argument of convenience.

Copan also goes in several directions regarding the Conquest that I felt were sort of weak, such as giving credence to the Infiltration theory of the Conquest. The account in the Bible of the crossing of the Red Sea and of the Jordan, in my view, pretty much vitiates the Infiltration theory. Both speak of sudden mass movements, and Joshua speaks of a sudden overthrow of the Canaanite dominance of the Promised Land. The fact that Canaanites continued to live in Canaan after the Conquest does not change the basic facts. Copan's resort to studying some of the various Hebrew words surrounding Israelite warfare merely opened the possibility for his interpretations (words do, after all, possess a semantic range), but certainly did not demand (or even suggest) his interpretations. Copan seems to acknowledge this in places with several "even if" statements.

Anyway, the book is excellent. All the chapters are good; the final chapter is outstanding. Well documented, well argued, this is certainly a book that should find a place on your apologetics shelf.

Friday, November 24, 2017

Review of Cormac McCarthy's No Country for Old Men

No Country for Old Men is a tale as bleak as the west Texas landscape in which it is situated. A hunter
stalking antelope stumbles across a bloody murder scene, the denouement of a drug deal gone sour. He makes a bad decision, plunging into a roiling current of events from which he is unable to extricate himself—or his loved ones.

McCarthy’s characters are presented in a deep, psychological complexity, a rich counterpoint to the desolate setting. The reader is provided a window into the self-doubt of the local county Sheriff Ed Tom Bell, who struggles to solve the crime even while haunted by events in his own past. Bell searches for the trigger man, a psychopathic killer who justifies his murders by a contorted fatalism. I suspect the reader is hearing McCarthy’s own voice through the reflective ponderings of Bell: in some ways the book functions as a lament of the state of modern American culture.

McCarthy’s writing style demonstrates the truth of a principle of good writing: “sometimes less is more.” The barren ambiance of the Texas terrain is underscored by his beautifully-constructed minimalist prose. When you pick this book up, you will have a hard time putting it down. Five stars.

Friday, October 6, 2017

The Church has a Hearing Problem

Probably the most common expression in my lexicon of spoken words is “huh?” You see, I’m hard of hearing. Not deaf, but I have a hard time with the frequency range of the spoken voice. Sometimes, my wife says, it seems to be selective.

So let’s talk about Jeremiah [I know—that wasn’t a very smooth segue].

Jeremiah’s ministry took place during the sunset years of Judah: late seventh century BC, early sixth century. God was bringing judgment upon His people (very important point: on His people) through the agency of Nebuchadnezzar and his Babylonian juggernaut of an army. Just before the hammer fell, God extended to Judah the final offer of clemency: Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, “Amend your ways and your deeds, and I will let you dwell in this place.” (Jeremiah 7:3, NASB95)

But it was falling on deaf ears: “Behold, you are trusting in deceptive words to no avail. Will you steal, murder, and commit adultery and swear falsely, and offer sacrifices to Baal and walk after other gods that you have not known, then come and stand before Me in this house, which is called by My name, and say, ‘We are delivered!’—that you may do all these abominations? Has this house, which is called by My name, become a den of robbers in your sight? Behold, I, even I, have seen it,” declares the Lord. (Jeremiah 7:8–11, NASB95)

The chapters that follow double-down on exposing Judah’s apostate behavior. “At that time,” declares the Lord, “they will bring out the bones of the kings of Judah and the bones of its princes, and the bones of the priests and the bones of the prophets, and the bones of the inhabitants of Jerusalem from their graves. They will spread them out to the sun, the moon and to all the host of heaven, which they have loved and which they have served, and which they have gone after and which they have sought, and which they have worshiped. They will not be gathered or buried; they will be as dung on the face of the ground.” (Jeremiah 8:1–2, NASB95)

“Which they have loved … served … gone after … sought … and worshiped.” Whoa! It was a thorough-going departure from the true and living God. Note well: these are God’s people turning from God. In a very memorable turn of phrase, their apostasy is described in these words: “Be appalled, O heavens, at this, And shudder, be very desolate,” declares the Lord.For My people have committed two evils: They have forsaken Me, The fountain of living waters, To hew for themselves cisterns, Broken cisterns That can hold no water.” (Jeremiah 2:12–13, NASB95). God says of the depth of the sin of His people, “Were they ashamed because of the abomination they had done? They certainly were not ashamed, And they did not know how to blush; . . . ” (Jeremiah 8:12, NASB95)

They did not know how to blush. Wow! God’s people, no less.

I’ve seen and heard a lot of believers making noises about “God’s judgment on America, because of America’s sins.” This is a refrain that is commonly heard after natural disasters, such as hurricanes, and unnatural disasters, such as the mass killing in Las Vegas.

And I want to say, “Not so fast, Christian.”

You see, God will (and does) judge the sins of mankind generally. Prime example: the flood. Another prime example, the Canaanites. But there is in Scripture the principle of a preservative, a preservative that delays judgment upon a wider people. Remember the conversation God had with Abraham shortly before destroying Sodom and Gomorrah? If only ten righteous men could be found there, God would restrain His judgment (Genesis 18:32). Was that a one-time deal, a spiritual blue-light special? No, because God says something very similar in Jeremiah: ““Roam to and fro through the streets of Jerusalem, And look now and take note. And seek in her open squares, If you can find a man, If there is one who does justice, who seeks truth, Then I will pardon her.” (Jeremiah 5:1, NASB95). This is a double-barreled statement, we’ll come back to it in a minute.

Clearly, if there was one (not even ten!) righteous man in Jerusalem, it would be spared.

Here’s the point: God’s judgment was falling because His own people were behaving like the unregenerate nations around them. I’d like to suggest that we, the Church, should consider whether or not WE are the cause of judgment in our day: “Why do you call Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?” (Luke 6:46, NASB95). It might be wise to take a second look at the letters to the churches in Revelation 2-3.

Maybe it’s the Church that has the hearing problem. How many are sitting in the auditorium on Sundays and engaging in secret sin on Mondays? How many Christians are ignorant of their Bibles, not because they are dumb but because they have no desire to read them? I’m amazed by the number of people I talk to who are living together, and/or having sex outside the bonds of marriage, and yet call themselves Christians. How about the Christian parents who are diligently teaching their children to worship sports, relegating corporate worship to a secondary priority that happens only if their team has no game on Sunday morning? How about those Christians who live for camping on the weekends, and tolerate corporate worship only if the weather is bad?

How about the coldness and hardness in my own heart?

By the way, I am well aware that “they are not all Israel who are descended from Israel” (Romans 9:6). God’s people were, in Jeremiah’s time, a mixed multitude. But so is the visible Church. The visible Church today has many who say “we are delivered, we prayed a prayer,” who then go on thinking they may safely continue in their sins. What exactly did you think Jesus was saying in Matthew 13? “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a dragnet cast into the sea, and gathering fish of every kind; and when it was filled, they drew it up on the beach; and they sat down and gathered the good fish into containers, but the bad they threw away.” (Matthew 13:47–48, NASB95)

At the very least, we believers have failed to be a preservative in our own nation. Perhaps we shouldn’t blame the abortionist and the homosexual for God’s judgment. Those are sins, to be sure. But the real answer might be a lot closer to home. Do we, the Church, even know how to blush over our own sins?

Oh, and one more thing. That righteous man God was seeking in Jerusalem, whom if He found He would pardon His people? God did find Him—or, rather, God sent Him. His name was Jesus.

Monday, September 4, 2017

Book Review: Ancient Rome, The Rise and Fall of an Empire

Great book. I'd known bits and pieces of the history of the Roman Empire, but this book gave me a much fuller picture. If the Pax Romana quelled wars in the greater Mediterranean region, the Romans themselves enjoyed very little of it. There was such a struggle for power between the emperors, the wannabes, the generals, that the internal history of Rome seems to be a history of assassination, rebellion, and revolution.

Baker demonstrated that one of the chief causes of turbulence--something that the political powers and usurpers cynically used to their advantage--was the disparity of income between the senatorial class and the plebs. At first I wondered if he was simply importing modern frustrations into an ancient history. But he soon proved his point by his frequent quotation of first sources.

Well-worth reading. Baker's writing is crisp, at times dryly humorous, well-paced, always engaging and heavily documented. Highly, highly recommended.

Monday, July 31, 2017

Local newspaper publishes a story on my books

The Early Bird, a local Greenville newspaper, published a story by Susan Hartley on my books. Here's a big thank you, as the works of independent authors rarely get much attention. You can read the article here.

Sunday, July 9, 2017


For the benefit of my friends, family, and readers who do not attend Bible Fellowship Church, I’d like to explain a recent leadership transition at BFC.

On July 1 Pastor Scott Gruber was promoted to the position of Senior Pastor at my request. Our church uses a multiple-elder model, and one of the functions of the Board is to identify that elder who will serve as the Senior, or Lead Elder.

I have occupied that position for almost fifteen years, and for the last several have felt that it was time to move Pastor Scott into that position. He’s well qualified, is an excellent preacher, and has an eye for planning and vision. Our church will flourish under his preaching and leadership.

My duties will now fall primarily in the area of counseling, teaching and Christian Education. I will preach when Pastor Scott needs a break or goes on vacation. Pastor Scott and I would like to broaden the counseling opportunities and resources we can offer to the community, and I’ll be taking the lead in that.

For the last three years or so I have been letting the congregation know that this transition was approaching, preparing them by speaking of it frequently as I preach. I am gratified that the shift has gone smoothly and has been well accepted by the BFC congregation.

When pastoral leadership changes, it often generates questions.
  • Who initiated this? I did. No one else even suggested it or intimated it. No one is pushing me out of BFC. From start to finish it was at my initiative and I led the process.
  • Why did you do it? Because I believe BFC is ready for the change and in fact needs the change to move forward. From my perspective, it is the culmination of 2 Timothy 2:2 in my ministry: “The things which you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, entrust these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also” (2 Timothy 2:2).
  • Are you retiring? No.
  • Where will you and Doris go? Nowhere. We’re staying right here and continuing to serve BFC as an elder.
  • Will it be difficult for you to accept Pastor Scott’s leadership? No. For the last three years or so I’ve been letting him make a lot of the decisions. I’ve been intentionally moving him into more leadership roles. I’ve enjoyed and been fed by his preaching.
  • Will it be difficult for Pastor Scott to assume leadership if you remain at BFC? No, I don’t think so. Pastor Scott and I have talked about this. We work together very well and he knows that I respect him and his abilities highly. If you find me telling you, “Well, let’s check with Pastor Scott on this,” it’s my way of gently reminding you that he’s now leading BFC.
I look forward to continuing to serve at BFC. We have no plans to go elsewhere. I will be excited to see the new blessings the Lord brings to our church through Pastor Scott’s leadership! In my opinion, this is how you do a pastoral transition the right way, and I'm thankful the Lord has blessed the process.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Are you stuck in the cosmic machine?

Have you ever felt that life was essentially unjust? That you were being ground to dust between the gears of a cosmic machine that was deaf to your cries of pain? Are you approaching a point at which your only shred of control in a personal world spinning out of control is to rebel against life itself, to hate life?

Oddly enough, you might come to this conclusion whether you are immersed in pleasure or drowning in suffering, soaked in sin or walking in righteousness. The world’s wisest fool (Solomon), and the world’s most righteous sinner (Job) both came to the same conclusion: they hated life.

King Solomon is described in Ecclesiastes chapters one and two as a man with such immense wealth that Bill Gates looks impoverished by comparison. In his own words, Solomon withheld no pleasure from himself: All that my eyes desired I did not refuse them. I did not withhold my heart from any pleasure . . . (Eccl 2:10). Solomon pursued meaning in accomplishments, buildings, agriculture, sex, alcohol, various pleasures, fame, wealth, wisdom and knowledge—in other words, in virtually every arena of human endeavor. To top it all off, he had power untold as the king of Israel’s golden age. And what did it all produce? Despair. In his own words: So I hated life. . . (Eccl 2:17).

Job is described as a wealthy man, the greatest of all the men in the east (Job 1:3). God’s own valuation of His servant is remarkable: Have you considered My servant Job? For there is no one like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, fearing God and turning away from evil (Job 1:8). And yet when great suffering descended upon Job, his steps faltered and he expresses despair very similar to Solomon’s: I loathe my own life; (Job 10:1).

What gives? How is it these two very different men with very different experiences wind up in despair expressed in very similar ways?

In essence, Solomon was living “under the sun.” In other words he was not denying God’s existence but was denying that God makes a difference. The fact that God exists was to Solomon irrelevant to life in a fallen world. God was to Solomon a transcendent distant judge who would render final verdicts, but not an immanent Shepherd who cares for our souls. Life was a cosmic machine in which it doesn’t really matter what we do, because all that we accomplish would be left to the one who follows us, and who knows whether that one will be wise or foolish? God was there, Solomon acknowledged, but his goodness was in question.

Job was utterly convinced of God’s sovereignty: “With Him are wisdom and might; To Him belong counsel and understanding. Behold, He tears down, and it cannot be rebuilt; He imprisons a man, and there can be no release. Behold, He restrains the waters, and they dry up; And He sends them out, and they inundate the earth” (Job 12:13–15).

But he had lost confidence in God’s goodness. Job felt that God was being unjust, “What did I do to deserve this?” How then can I answer Him, And choose my words before Him? For though I were right, I could not answer; I would have to implore the mercy of my judge. If I called and He answered me, I could not believe that He was listening to my voice. For He bruises me with a tempest And multiplies my wounds without cause. He will not allow me to get my breath, But saturates me with bitterness. If it is a matter of power, behold, He is the strong one! And if it is a matter of justice, who can summon Him? Though I am righteous, my mouth will condemn me; Though I am guiltless, He will declare me guilty. I am guiltless; I do not take notice of myself; I despise my life. It is all one; therefore I say,He destroys the guiltless and the wicked’ (Job 9:14–22).

The similarity between the wise fool and the righteous sinner that led them both to despair in such different circumstances lies in the fact that they had lost touch with the nearness of God, the immanent care of God, the love of God, the overwhelming goodness of God. Solomon couldn’t see it because he was living as if the existence of God bore little significance to life other than ultimate judgment. Job couldn’t see it because he assumed his suffering was unjust: he had no category in his theology of suffering that would encompass suffering not because of personal sin but for the glory of God (a theology that waited upon the coming of Christ). Indeed, the challenges Job hurls at God are answered in Christ: Have You eyes of flesh? Or do You see as a man sees? Are Your days as the days of a mortal, Or Your years as man’s years, That You should seek for my guilt And search after my sin? According to Your knowledge I am indeed not guilty, Yet there is no deliverance from Your hand (Job 10:4–7). Christ indeed was not guilty, yet there was no deliverance for Him because redemption for Solomon, Job, you and I was hinging upon the death of the sinless Lamb of God.

There was a time that David was caught up in despair too, as he relates in Psalm 73: But as for me, my feet came close to stumbling, My steps had almost slipped. For I was envious of the arrogant As I saw the prosperity of the wicked (Psalm 73:2–3). But after working through his anger, bitterness, and his sneaking suspicion that God was unjust, David comes to a conclusion that is helpful for you and I when we feel hopelessly and helplessly tied to the rails of God’s sovereignty: Whom have I in heaven but You? And besides You, I desire nothing on earth. My flesh and my heart may fail, But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. For, behold, those who are far from You will perish; You have destroyed all those who are unfaithful to You. But as for me, the nearness of God is my good; I have made the Lord God my refuge, That I may tell of all Your works (Psalm 73:25–28).

If you know Christ, you are not stuck in a cosmic machine. Rather, you are an actor on the stage of a cosmic contest in which God’s righteous judgment is being vindicated, and His mercy and grace are being revealed. The most fundamental piece of your faith to cling to when life is tumbling down around your ears is also the simplest piece of theology: God is good. You are good and do good; Teach me Your statutes (Psalm 119:68).

His infinite worth is best proclaimed by those who are satisfied in Him, even in times of great suffering. Your life is not devoid of meaning, as Solomon thought, nor is it empty or futile. Because of Christ, all that you do, all that you suffer, all that you attempt in Christ’s name has significance, whether or not you see the result in this life. That's part of what it means to walk by faith.

Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord. (1 Corinthians 15:58)

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Are your politics and your faith at war with each other?

Although there is much in the article outlining Tim Farron’s withdrawal from political life I would want to disagree with, it certainly exposes a modern-day truth: there is tension between contemporary political liberalism and Christianity. Here is the salient paragraph:

Tim Farron just resigned as leader of the U.K.’s Liberal Democratic party, and his statement explaining why should enter the history books: “To be a political leader — especially of a progressive, liberal party in 2017 — and to live as a committed Christian, to hold faithfully to the Bible’s teaching, has felt impossible for me,” Farron said.
The religious left will invoke Scripture when it appears to support their chosen pieties (such as social justice) and will condemn Scripture when it affronts their moral choices (chiefly revolving around sex). In other words, their invocation of Scripture is wholly opportunistic.

Setting aside the even greater and more fundamental problem for the religious left (regarding the identity, nature, and character of God Himself), there is a massive problem for the religious left as they seek to hitch their faith to their politics, a problem that has immediate and far reaching political implications. And that problem is the nature of man.

Three definitive biblical propositions expose the tension for the religious left. First, man is created in the image of God (a proposition having huge implications on how human life is treated, abortion, euthanasia, personal liberties, etc.). Second, man is by nature a hopelessly corrupt sinner—a violator of God’s law (a proposition which reaches into the foundations of political/economic systems and determines whether they will, or will not, result in human flourishing). Third, man is a morally responsible creature that must be held accountable for his choices in this life, and will be held accountable by God for his choices when this life ends (a proposition touching on civil and criminal law, social justice, and far more).

All three of these most basic biblical assertions are rejected out of hand by the philosophic underpinnings of leftist politics. For the thoughtful religious liberal this causes tension, a cognitive dissonance that will hopefully reach a crescendo demanding a personal reevaluation, as it has apparently done with Farron.

How do religious liberals handle the tension? Some are simply unaware of either the foundations of their politics or their faith, or both. Some choose to look the other way, pretending not to see the problem. For others, I suppose, their politics are more ultimate than their faith. But some, those who are committed to their faith, will awaken to the problem—and do something about it.

We all live with some degree of cognitive dissonance. I personally find Christ-less conservatism far more stinky than political liberalism. This short essay is not a sales job for conservatism, nor a screed against liberalism. What it is, is a challenge. Are the foundations of the political system you support irreconcilably opposed to the foundations of the faith you profess? 

It’s a question worth asking.