Monthly Archives: September 2008

Sarah Palin―more than just a pretty face―the perfect VP for McCain.

On this blog we have had numerous comments questioning Sarah Palin’s ability to fulfill the role of vice president.  There is a tendency to want to compare her to Obama who is obviously running for president.  President and vice president are two distinctly different job descriptions and it is my opinion that Sarah Palin will have no problem more than adequately fulfilling the requirements of the office of VP.  I also believe that VP is a role well suited to a woman and that is what this post is all about.   

 

What does the Vice President do anyway?

 

According to the Constitution the role of vice president only involves two specific things beyond the general role of supporting and serving as a strengthening agent for the president.

 

1).  The Vice President of the United States is the first person in the presidential line of succession, becoming the new President of the United States upon the death, resignation, or removal of the president.

 

2) The vice president serves as the President of the Senate, and may break tie votes in that chamber.  The Constitution goes on to say, regarding the vice president, “He or she may be assigned additional duties by the president but, as the Constitution assigns no executive powers to the vice president, in performing such duties he or she acts only as an agent of the president.”

 

With this in mind, Sarah Palin’s job description as VP (aside from being around in case John dies and breaking the occasional tie) will be what John McCain needs her job description to be.

Walter Mondale, who is now 80 years old, is known for serving as the 42nd vice president of the U.S. under Jimmy Carter.  He is also known for being the first presidential candidate to choose a female running mate. Mondale chose Geraldine Ferraro to run along side him is his presidential bid in 1984.  Mr. Mondale understands the VEEP job well and was recently asked to weigh in on McCain’s choice of Palin. Mondale stated that a key question that would determine whether she was suited for the job or not would be to determine what role John McCain would have her in; he stated “ask John McCain how he sees Palin strengthening him in the role of President?” 

John McCain has answered this question clearly, in Minnesota at the RNC he told audiences he would make Palin, “the public face of the country’s drive for energy independence”; a job Sarah Palin is more than prepared for.  According to McCain’s website “As Governor, Palin is chair of the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission, a multi-state government agency that promotes the conservation and efficient recovery of domestic oil and natural gas resources while protecting health, safety and the environment. She also serves as chair of the National Governors Association Natural Resources Committee, which is charged with pursuing legislation to ensure federal policy in the areas of energy, environmental protection and natural resource management. 

Jerry Bowyer, a respected economist and contributing editor on CNBC said of Palin, Sarah knows the oil industry inside and out. She can back McCain in the defense of drilling, transporting and refining oil. Who knows drilling and the issues surrounding it better than the governor of Alaska?

The second role John McCain is expecting his running mate to fulfill was also made clear at the time of her nomination.  At the RNC McCain said he wanted Sarah Palin to continue developing her reputation as a government reformer. Later on the television show “The View” John McCain said “Sarah Palin is good for the country because of her reformer credentials, she will reform spending for lawmakers’ pet projects.” Palin is also extremely well equipped for this role.  She defeated incumbent Gov. Frank Murkowski of Alaska, before winning the governor’s seat in 2002 and ethics was the centerpiece of her campaign.  

In reference to Sarah’s role as a reformer, Clark Judge, who wrote speeches for President Ronald Reagan and now heads the White House Writers Group, a Washington public affairs company, said “No political figure in the US has more experience in taking on privilege and vested interests than Sarah Palin.”

In summary, the vice presidential job description becomes what the president desires it to be and Palin is a great choice because she meets McCain’s specifications and needs and meets them to a “T”.  Tim Shipman a reporter for the Sunday Telegraph in St. Paul Minnesota aptly reported on McCain’s ideas and strategies surrounding Palin’s nomination and nominations for his cabinet. 

On Sept 10th, Shipman wrote “Finding a substantial role for Mrs Palin is just one of Mr McCain’s plans for government. Campaign officials say that Joe Lieberman, the independent democrat… has been promised a job in Mr McCain’s cabinet. Mr Lieberman is pencilled in to become Secretary of State or Defence Secretary in what insiders say will be a “government of national unity on foreign affairs”.  Mr McCain has been seriously considering naming senior cabinet posts before the election, to emphasise the breadth and experience of his team and demonstrate that he plans to reach across the political aisle.  

In short, McCain’s choice of Palin was not a spur of the moment move based on her charisma value—or the “hottie” factor.  McCain has strategically thought through a team that he feels can support him well.  Sarah Palin just happens to be the key member of that team and is actually a perfect choice for vice president considering what McCain needs.  Even in regard to the age question, in my opinion Sarah is a perfect balance for McCain, she brings a youthful exuberance to the ticket while at the same time matching McCain’s reputation as a “maverick” and a reformer at every juncture.

Finally, perhaps the greatest asset Palin brings to the Republican ticket at this time is her gender. 

In reviewing a recent poll of “women only” done by the Lifetime channel some definite turn-arounds–indicative of who women will be voting for in November–became evident.  Bringing Ms. Palin to the Republican ticket has been a very galvanizing factor for the McCain campaign in terms of their posture with women,” said pollster Kellyanne Conway, for the Lifetime Network. Ms. Conway also reported, “more women will vote than men this fall – as has happened in every presidential election since 1964 – and they  will be a deciding factor. Less than two months ago, Mr. McCain was trailing Mr. Obama significantly among women, and now they are now pretty much neck and neck.” Among women who had supported Hillary Rodham Clinton in the primaries, this poll showed now 72 percent have swung to Mr. Obama and a strong 20 percent have changed sides to join Mr. McCain.

What is the reason for this turn-around and desertion to the other side by so many female democrats? It is quite simple many women in the Democratic Party feel betrayed and dismissed by Obama. They went for Hillary in huge numbers and the democrats didn’t hear there cries for female representation.  Sarah Palin on ABC news said she thinks Barack Obama regrets not making Hillary Rodham Clinton his running mate, off the cuff she told Charles Gibson, “I think he’s regretting not picking her now.”  In contrast McCain choosing a female running mate at this time was nothing short of genius on his part. 

I believe many women have realized that they would like to see female representation as part of the Executive branch of this government sooner rather than later.  Some of the evangelicals that are taking a look at Palin because of her pro-life stance may have difficulty with a woman as VP of our nation.  But personally, I am one Christian commentator who has no problem with the second highest office in the land being held by a female and I equally have no difficulty squaring this with my biblical beliefs. 

Women along side men in a complementary role in leadership can be found throughout Scripture.  Deborah worked with the Hebrew general Barak (not to be confused with Obama) to set the Jews free from oppression in the Old Testament book of Judges.  In the biblical narritive the text calls Deborah, “a mother over Israel.”  She is referred to as that because she did not try to lead as a man she led as the woman God had called her to be.  I believe that Sarah Palin also knows how to lead along side men with grace and sophistication and that she will lead as God has called her and positioned her to lead. Time will demonstrate that Sarah Palin was indeed a wise choice as running mate for John McCain and as I have avowed in other posts on this blog there is no doubt in my mind that Sarah Palin will prove to be the ideal female leader “for such a time as this.” 

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Sarah Palin, a candidate “for such a time as this.”

I am the proud grandmother of a granddaughter named Avery Grace who will be one year old this month.  My granddaughter is a very active one year old, beautiful in all ways, who also has Down Syndrome.  Because of Avery’s developmental disability you can imagine that I was very interested when I heard that the republican candidate for vice president Sarah Palin also has an infant son with Down Syndrome.  To say the least this gave me a new interest in the youthful candidate and caused me to make a point of listening to her acceptance speech. I anticipated that she might speak about her baby boy and I was not disappointed.    

 

When Sarah Palin introduced Trig alongside her other children at the RNC she said, “We were so blessed in April; Todd and I welcomed our littlest one into the world, a perfectly beautiful baby boy named Trig.”  Children, she said, with special needs inspire a special love. To the families of special-needs children all across this country, I have a message for you. For years, you have sought to make America a more welcoming place for your sons and daughters. I pledge to you that if we are elected, you will have a friend and advocate in the White House.”

 

Sarah Palin in a few short sentences had grabbed my heart and my hopes and tears came to my eyes.  I have to admit however that it was my emotions she had touched first and I had not yet had a chance to contemplate the gravity of her statements.  The next day as I perused the blogs to see what other viewers thought about Sarah, I came upon this quote, from Dr. Mark Mosert.  Mosert, a long time Christian advocate for those with disabilities explained:

 

Last night, “Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin put both her supporters and detractors on notice that people with disabilities would no longer be ignored in civic life.

 

Palin chose not to genetically discriminate against her unborn Down Syndrome child, Trig.  She chose to show him off (proud mom that she is) along with her other children.

 

She faced the camera squarely and said what no other politician on either side of the aisle has, so far, been willing or able to say:  That all people with disabilities matter, that they will no longer be ignored.  That they have a rightful and unmistakable place at the table of civic life.  That they are, before anything else, Americans.” 

 

My heart was lifted by Mosert’s optimistic interpretation of Sarah’s message.  In Mosert’s opinion the now VP candidate’s words represented sentiments that the families of those with disabilities could rally around.  Palin was choosing to actively acknowledge the value of people like Avery and her son Trig in a society that has tolerated aborting 90% of all in-utero babies diagnosed with Downs.  I tucked Mosert’s words away with Palin’s in my always hopeful grandmother’s heart and thought to myself “Thank God for Sarah Palin.”

 

Then on Sunday I was working the women’s ministry counter in our church lobby and I became aware of a young man passing me by.  It was Brandon, a young DS man from our congregation and as he strolled by he shot me a huge smile and an elated thumbs up, “I’m voting for McCain” he told me with pride. 

 

At this point his dad caught my eye and told me “Sarah Palin has given us all a good reason for getting politically active.”  Brandon’s dad nodded in affirmation at his son and said, “Brandon’s over eighteen and he gets to vote.”  “Yeah,” said Brandon “I’m an American.”  And with that, father and son were gone and I suddenly found my heart pounding.  I couldn’t help but think she’s like Queen Esther. “For such a time as this,” this young hockey mom from Alaska is gaining a platform to stand up for the rights of those with special needs not only that they might live but that they might be considered worthwhile contributors to our nation.” 

 

Whatever your politics, take note, Sarah Palin is engendering the confidence of a whole population of people and their families.  She is inspiring the hopes of a group who have desperately needed an advocate for years and her role is not being taken lightly.  I am only one grandmother from Colorado and I cannot guarantee who will win this election.  But I can tell you one thing: I am hopeful that regardless of who wins, our country will become a better place because of the light Sarah Palin has shed on all people with disabilities.  It is my hope that in the future citizens like Brandon, Avery and Trig will be recognized not only for the value they bring to society but acknowledged as an important part of the fabric of this great nation.

 

Note from Author:  Obviously the nomination of Sarah Palin for vice president has impacted my world and caused a reaction on many levels of my being.  How has this unexpected and controversial nominee caused an impression on your world?  How has she touched your heart? How has she caused you to think, differently perhaps?  How has she touched your life?  What hopes do you have tied to this influential woman?  Please comment.

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Two Reasons Why Blogging is not a Time-waster!

Reason #1 Blogging can be good for you; it is beneficial for people to share the contents of their heart in healthy ways.

Science research says:  Scientists (and writers) have long known about the therapeutic benefits of writing about personal experiences, thoughts and feelings. But besides serving as a stress-coping mechanism, expressive writing produces many physiological benefits. Research shows that it improves memory and sleep, boosts immune cell activity, and even speeds healing after surgery.”  (from Scientific American Magazine, May 2008).

The Bible says:  The Bible advocates sharing your true thoughts and feelings with God and with each other.  Jesus told his disciples that he considered them his friends because He felt it a privilege to reveal all the intimate details that He knew about His Father with them.  David held nothing back from God in His communiqués with Him in the psalms and we can expect he was just as candid in his personal relationships.  And Paul’s emotions as well as thought and experiences are written out with expressiveness and clarity in his epistles.  In Scripture we are also commanded to comfort each other with the comfort we have received from God (2 Cor 1:3-4) and to share freely with one another (Heb. 13:16).  Blogging is just another vehicle for “one another” ministry and an online community that shares God’s love through the written word is in my opinion a justified and much needed extension of the Body of Christ.

…but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you.  John 15:15 (NKJV)

 

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.   2 Cor 1:3-4 (NIV)

 

But do not forget to do good and to share, for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.

Heb 13:16 (NKJV)

 

Reason #2 Blogging gets you connected!

Scientific research says:  “Blogging can help you feel less isolated, more connected to a community and more satisfied with your friendships, both online and face-to-face, new Australian research from University of Technology in Melbourne, has found after two months of regular blogging, people felt they had better social support and friendship networks than those who did not blog.” (from ABC Science Online Mar 3, 2008)

The Bible says:  The Bible stresses the need for connectivity in the Body of Christ.  It is important that Christians feel a part of a dynamic community for fellowship and support. Humans were not designed for isolation but for relationship.  We all know that men and women were not meant to live alone (Gen 2:18) and it is not good when human beings find themselves separated from the regular companionship of others.  With this in mind utilizing the internet is a great way for people to reach out and connect.  Blogging is an especially useful vehicle for single individuals who live in solo conditions because it is a way to be in contact with others from the restful recesses of your own home.  If you have not yet tried blogging—try it you’ll like it!  It gives you a chance to know others and be known—and that is always a very great thing.

We should help others do what is right and build them up in the Lord.  Romans 15:2 (NLT)

 

And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another. Heb 10:25 (NLT)

 

What are the things you find interesting about the phenomenon we call blogging? Feel free to share how interacting with the cyberspace community has changed your life for the good or for the bad.  Also discuss how “blogging” in particular has benefited you. 

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Please Feel Free to Comment! Blogging Basics for Beginners

Our blog Women at Crossroads has been up and running for a while now and many of you are checking us out, however few are participating.  It occurred to me that some of you may be clueless about what blogging is or not know how to comment on a blog.  So, in the name of interaction and fellowship, I have written out some basics to help you get started.  Please take a risk and contribute to this blog because it is the only way we will get this online community up and started!

What is a Blog?

A Blog (a contraction of the term “Web log“) is a web site, usually maintained by an individual, with regular entries of commentary, descriptions of events, or other material such as graphics or video. Entries are commonly displayed in reverse-chronological order. “Blog” can also be used as a verb, meaning to maintain or add content to a blog.

Many blogs provide commentary or news on a particular subject; others function as more personal online diaries. A typical blog combines text, images, and links to other blogs, Web pages, and other media related to its topic. The ability for readers to leave comments in an interactive format is an important part of many blogs. (from Blogs, at Wikepedia.com).

You can leave a reply or comment to a particular post on a blog by clicking on the title and then going to the reply/comment box at the end of the thread (a thread refers to a post and the replies following the post) and entering your own comment.  You will be required to leave an e-mail address (it will not be made public and will only be viewed by the blog author) and a name.  The name can be your real name, a nickname or pseudonym.

The Women at Crossroads Blog Interaction and Comment Policy

I will enjoy interacting with you and gladly welcome your comments. To ensure that comments enhance and do not detract from this blog, and because so many of us are beginning bloggers I’ve created the following comment policy.

A Word About Blog Comment Moderation

In order to maintain the integrity of the blog and its content all comments on Women at Crossroads will be moderated. “Comment moderation” means all comments will be read and reviewed before they appear on the blog.  I will work hard to review and approve comments as quickly as possible, but please realize that it may take some time to review all comments and do not resubmit your comment if it does not appear right away.

The Language, Length, and Format of Blog Comments

This blog has a unique audience with morally conservative sensibilities and opinions. That said, please avoid harsh language and any use of profanity and keep in mind that threatening language is not allowed nor will it be tolerated.

Ideally, your comment should be under 200 well chosen words with paragraphs as necessary; remember as you are writing your comments that whitespace makes the content easier to read on a computer screen.

If you have any questions about blogging or protocol for participating here at Women at Crossroads, please include your questions through utilizing the reply or comment box at the end of this thread. Remember click on the title of this post to gain access to the reply box.

 

 

 

 

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Sacred Places of the Heart

 

Throughout God’s Word a recurring metaphor becomes evident; faithful believers are likened to travelers or pilgrims on the road of life.  Psalm 84:5 declares, Blessed is the man whose strength is in You, whose heart is set on pilgrimage.  A pilgrimage is a long journey to a sacred place, especially one of exalted purpose or moral significance.

The idea of pilgrimage is introduced in Genesis. God reveals himself to Abram and requires of him that he leave his homeland and go to another land of God’s bidding.  Now the Lord had said to Abram: “Get out of your country, from your family and from your father’s house, to a land that I will show you. I will make you a great nation; I will bless you and make your name great; and you shall be a blessing…in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”  Gen 12:1-3 (NKJV).  Why did God call Abram out from his familiar surroundings? God knew he needed to be removed from old friends and situations that might hinder his full obedience to Him and that his departure would provide a definite step of faith.  God has, throughout the centuries, required his people to come out from among the world and to be separate.  We are special people with a special destination – heaven – and as Christians we are all pilgrims. We have realized that this world is not our home and we have started our trek to “our Father’s house.” 

 

 

Hebrews 11 gives a long list of Bible characters and explains, All these people died still believing what God had promised them. They did not receive what was promised, but they saw it all from a distance and welcomed it and they agreed that they were foreigners and nomads here on earth. Heb 11:13-16 (NLT). According to this passage, all the faithful characters listed shared a common understanding that they were pilgrims, sojourners, travelers and nomads—human beings just visiting this planet on their way to their true and promised habitation.

 

 

In reading the accounts in the Bible of the lives of the many pilgrims that have come before us, it is clear that life’s journey is almost never a simple excursion.  Instead the path God provides is almost always a circuitous expedition over extremely adventurous territory.  As Christian sojourners our hearts are on the road that leads to heaven and God, but the places of the heart we must visit on the way offer unique and varied challenges. 

 

 

As we traverse this foreign land we can be assured of many side trips to “spiritual locations” along the way.  Like required stations or stopovers along life’s journey, there appear to be compulsory sites we must all experience.  Many places of the heart described in the Bible have geographical titles that tie them to a metaphorical map of life’s journey.  Similarly to our predecessors who followed the Lord through literal deserts and valleys and like those who climbed actual mountains in order to be obedient, those on “spiritual” pilgrimages also take visits to places both uncertain and sublime. 

 

 

Visits to the desert, the valley, the high seas, the fruitful places and the mountaintops are among those sacred places that we all have an opportunity to discover.  They are inevitable sites of the soul that God’s itinerary almost always dictates and has in store.  The Bible provides rich symbolism to be researched and understood about each of these sacred stopovers that are so common to God’s people.  Much can be gleaned as we interpret the imagery of Scripture and apply the wisdom and experiences of other pilgrims who encountered these sites along the way. 

The desert or wilderness is an arid expanse of land that is unsettled, usually used as pasture for animals and is suitable only for the nomadic lifestyle. A sojourn in the desert or wilderness in the Bible is associated with seasons of temptation, solitude, persecution and barrenness.

The valley is a tract of low lying land between mountains. The valleys of ancient Palestine were mostly dry, rocky, glorified riverbeds where occasional torrents caused flash floods during the winter.  In Scripture, the valley symbolized low times of affliction, pain and vulnerability.

 The mountains of the mid-east are known for their stark appearance. They have no great forests on their slopes and are instead characterized by cliffs, crags and rock overhangs. The mountains symbolized strength and steadfastness.  They depicted God’s power and were the backdrops of great spiritual events and revelations.

The sea refers to the Mediterranean and the Jews had a natural tendency to shrink away from the sea. Traversing the sea was associated with great danger, little control and constant fear.  To pass through the “deep” was symbolic of passing through a time of heavy affliction wrought with tossing waves and storms.

Fruitful places or gardens in biblical times were usually walled enclosures, in which there were paths that led among the trees and foliage.  An individual could rest among arbors decked with aromatic blossoms and enjoy the effect. Gardens were used as sacred places and fruitful gardens symbolized prosperity.

 

We can look into the lives of Scripture’s pilgrims, compare notes on their journeys and learn from their successes and failures. The question becomes “how did those who came before navigate their course through life and how will I navigate mine?” Peter in his epistle warns Christians, “And remember that the heavenly Father to whom you pray has no favorites. He will judge or reward you according to what you do. So you must live in reverent fear of him during your time as “foreigners in the land.” For you know that God paid a ransom to save you… 1 Peter 1:17-19 (NLT)

The apostle Peter believed that we should be wise and fear the Lord because of the lessons others had learned during the times of their pilgrimage. We should pay attention and realize we are also foreigners on a sojourn paid for through the precious blood of our Savior.  I agree with Peter and I would add we should not be accidental tourists along life’s path because each place we are fortunate enough to visit has a beauty and a lesson of its own. I think what we often fail to realize is that each place is actually a meeting place with our God and a site to be savored and walked through with Him.  Each of the sacred places of the heart, even the difficult places, give us an opportunity to grow closer with Him and to know Him in deeper and more intimate ways. 

 

Fellow pilgrims, October 17-19, 2008, the Women at Crossroads are heading to Winter Park for what we hope will be a life-changing women’s conference.  Grab your backpack and your Bible, because spending a weekend adding to your understanding of Sacred Places of the Heart is bound to impact your relationship with God in countless beneficial ways. 

 

  

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