Tuesday, February 05, 2008

China and Taiwan

Today's primary elections remind me of a worry I've had for a while.

It occurs to me that within the next decade the United States could face a far more difficult situation than terrorism - China.

China is growing strong economically, technically and militarily, and while I have no objection to a strong China, and I don't see why China couldn't be a good friend and trading partner (especially if it cleans up its human rights problems), I really don't want a strong China with a grudge against the U.S., simply because I don't want what could be an extremely serious war.

Unfortunately, there is a grudge - Taiwan. The U.S. is guarding Taiwan from China and that annoys the Chinese, who regard it as part of China. Whatever. I won't get into that.

But this brings me to my point. I think we should sit down with Taiwan and China and encourage them to cooperate and resolve their differences, and we should do it now while tempers are still under some level of control and we're not waving missles in each others faces.

For whoever becomes president, I hope he (or she) will make this a priority. Waiting until it is a crisis would be just plain stupid.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Fact, Faith, Feeling

Not long ago a young man told me he couldn't remember a single instance of God working in his life.

I think he is very mistaken and has simply missed what God has been doing, because when I look at his life I see God at work as he becomes a godly young man.

But I think I understand what he meant. I think he meant that he could not feel God working in his life. That I can relate to. The times I have felt God at work in my life are very few and very far between.

What helps me with this is remembering an old illustration that showed a train, with "Fact" as the engine, followed by coal car, "Faith," and then trailing along at the end was the caboose, "Feeling." The train can run without Feeling, but it needs the engine of Fact and the fuel of Faith in the coal car.

I believe a lot of Christians today unconsciously base their faith on feelings. I sympathize. I want good feelings, too. But feelings are the caboose; they're not critical. Live life based on the Fact of the Gospel fueled by Faith, and if Feeling comes along for a ride sometimes, fine, if not, que sera. And don't count on feelings always being there; they won't be; or always being pleasant; they won't be; and certainly do not base your faith on them.

Luther Movie

I don't know if I just missed it when it first came out, or if it never appeared in the theaters, or what, but I recently saw a DVD movie called, "Luther," about the life of Martin Luther. I don't usually recommend movies, but this one was really great. It did not sugar-coat Luther and it's intent was not to slam Catholics. And it was very professionally done.

From what I know of Luther, it did a great job of presenting his life - "warts and all," to quote another famous German (Frederick the Great, I believe). After I saw it, I recommended that our fellowship group watch it. We did and everyone seemed to really like it, and one guy said he thought he'd recommend it to our new pastor. So anyway, rent the DVD. I think you will really enjoy it and learn quite a bit about both Luther and the Reformation.