A pack, not a herd.

Grover Norquist lays out the case that America isn’t having a “libertarian moment”, it’s having a libertarian MOVEMENT

“So forget ‘moment.’ Think trend. And consider the once-impossible political shifts that have taken place over the past 30 years. The relevant dividing line is not right versus left or Republican versus Democrat but the expansion of individual liberty versus whatever and whosoever stands in the way.”

I agree. 

With the internet pervading almost every facet of our lives today, we have an unprecedented amount of information on which to base our decisions and make our choices. This explosion of personal empowerment hasn’t been seen since the invention of movable type, and that little gadget brought us Protestantism, democracy and capitalism. 

Not bad.

Of course, it also brought us the Thirty Years War and book bans, so with every blessing comes at least one curse. 

Despite the Democrat’s best efforts, we are also living in a period of broad and deep personal wealth. The poor are doing better than ever before, and while there is still much, much more work to be done, the trend around the world is towards improved economic health on all levels. With that increased economic clout comes the desire for increased political clout as well. It’s no coincidence that Tiananmen Square happened as Chinese citizens gained personal wealth: People with more money have more reasons to resent the government telling them what to do with it.

The world was a scary, unstable place in the 1700’s as parliaments gradually took over from absolute monarchs, and it was scary in late 1800’s as  progressive socialism infested the capitals of the world. We’re passing through the collapsing confines of the liberal nanny state, and if we’re lucky and work hard for it, we’ll end up walking into the bright light of a new day of personal freedom.

“listen: there’s a hell
of a good universe next door; let’s go”

-e e cummings

 
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September 26th, 2014 by exurbankevin

It’s a good day when Michael Barone agrees with me.

This has been a bugaboo of mine for quite a while now: We are entering into an era of increased personal empowerment unseen since the invention of the printing press. I don’t HAVE to watch the evening news to know what’s going on, I have my podcasts and RSS feeds. I don’t HAVE to limit myself to what’s on the shelves in the local Sears store, I have millions of e-commerce website to chose from. I don’t HAVE rely on a union shop steward to empower myself, I have the soapbox of a blog and the Rolodex of my LinkedIn contacts to help advance my career. 

And Michael Barone agrees: Big government and empowering technology do NOT mix

“Large” technology requires the standardization of masses of people, centralized command-and-control, conformity to social norms. Massive work forces and massive armies cannot operate optimally otherwise.

“Small” technology enables individuals to make personal choices, fashion their world to their own dimensions, deploy their own talents and pursue their interests in ways of their own choosing. Standardization yields to customization.

President Obama doesn’t seem to get this. He sees history as a story of progress from minimal government to ever-larger government. He’s only sorry that he hasn’t taken us farther on that track.

But history doesn’t proceed in a straight line; it moves around. “Large” technology made big government seem necessary in 1914. “Small” technology requires something different, something more adaptive today.

The deer now have guns. Obama and the big-government Democrats don’t get that, and now they face extinction.

 

 
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September 12th, 2014 by exurbankevin

Creating Christian Media For Men

Or CCMM, for short.

I’ve been rolling around ideas inside of my brain about getting men back into the church, and getting worship services back to being like worship and not like a concert. 

1. Break the Fourth Wall. And the Third Wall. And the Second Wall, too.
I realized what modern church worship really is meant to be, not worship, but rather, the halftime show at the Super Bowl. 

At a Super Bowl halftime show, musicians come out and sing the songs you’ve heard them sing on the radio for years, and the point of the show is to keep you entertained until the game starts up once again. The thing is, though, when’s the last time you saw a halftime show that didn’t stink? The last one that comes to mind is U2’s stunning 2002 performance, which was more than just about entertainment, it had a message that was meant for people who WEREN’T in the seats in the stadium or watching it on TV, namely the victims of 9/11. 

When was the last time you heard music in church that was meant for people NOT in church at the time? 

2. The Best Christian Music of Today Isn’t On The Radio.
There was a vibrant and exciting Christian ska culture in the 1990’s, and absolutely NONE of it made it into church. Ditto for Sufjan Stevens’ brilliant music or anything by Sixpence None The Richer or a host of others. There is some great Christian music out there today, but it’s not focused on making into churches on Sunday morning, it’s focused on the artistry and honesty of the message, not whether it makes it onto the radio. I’ll let Hank Hill sum up my feelings on this matter. 

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And please, stop trying drag the pop music of past into the sanctuary. The worst example of this I’ve seen happened a few years ago at my church in the Phoenix area, when the music of The Beatles was a focal point of the worship service. 

Let’s put aside the fact that because of their popularizing of Maharsi Yogi, The Beatles did more to bring new age philosophy into the West than anyone else before them or the VERY questionable suitability of some of their lyrics   and concentrate on the fact that this church decided to show how “hip” and “with it” they were by playing the music of  forty years ago in today’s sanctuary. 

Funny, but I don’t recall churches in the 80’s playing The Andrews Sisters to show young people how cool they were, although I’ll become a member of any church who plays the entirety of “A Love Supreme” on a Sunday morning. 

I digress.

The fact is, churches need to stop trying to be hip and start getting real, because honesty is the new hip.

3. Stop Talking About Relationships. Start Talking About Leadership.
Because, of course, if there’s one thing guys like to do, it’s talk about relationships and our feelings. Is there a time to talk about such things? Sure. Is Sunday morning the time to do it, surrounded by hundreds of strangers? Probably not. Get men in the seats by challenging them to go forth and change the world, not brood on the nature of  their relationships. 

4. Create Other Channels Of Contact.
Almost every modern church has a website. Many more churches have a Facebook page and post videos of their services and have podcast feed of their sermons. 

How many have a Spotify channel of music similar to what they play in church, or better still, music they DON’T play in church? What about custom channels for men, kids and teens? Why do worship pastors think their job is just to prepare music for Sunday morning? Aren’t we supposed to be worshipping God all the time, not just on Sunday morning? Why not have a “director’s cut” of the pastor’s personal music tastes as a way to get the know the man, not just the leader.

Christians are behind the curve when it comes to Internet, and that’s a shame, because the Internet is the greatest tool for personal empowerment since the invention of the printing press. The printing press put the Bible in the hands of the common man, which led to the evangelical, worldwide church. Christian’s haven’t had the same success with using the Internet as a witnessing tool, and that needs to change.

 
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September 7th, 2014 by exurbankevin

Daily Carry.

When I had my little misadventure last month, I was in the midst of testing out gear for a daily carry messenger bag to have near me no matter what. Something as simple as always having a ready and available source of water makes a big difference on a 2 hour road trip, and the bag has proven to be useful at least a half-dozen times since that day in St. Louis. 

I’ve finally sorted out what I want to have in the bag, and have a writeup on what did (and did not) make the cut over at Smart Suburban Survival

 
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September 2nd, 2014 by exurbankevin