Here’s wishing you and yours a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. I’ll be back January 2, 2020.
Every human being who ever walked the face of the Earth has an innate sense that some acts are “good” and others are “bad.” Every known human society has had a moral code that defines what is good and bad.
But from where does that sense of right and wrong come? Are people born with it, or is it acquired over a period of time in which environmental, genetic and other factors combine to produce moral concepts?
Biola University Professor Sean McDowell takes up this question in the following video, including the familiar claim that the existence of moral judgements by humans can be entirely explained by science. Advocates of the latter view, he points out, commit the category fallacy in logic:
By Bret Bernhardt
No doubt this question has bounced around in the minds of nearly everyone who has worked on Capitol Hill, especially in the holidays, which is a time to reflect and take stock heading into a new year.
The long hours, relatively low pay, and frustrations that accompany working on the Hill all contribute to this season of evaluating whether or not to move on.
Something else that might factor into the question of whether or not to move on from the Hill is that most staffers are transplants from somewhere else. Continue reading “WORKING ON CAPITOL HILL: Should I Stay Or Should I Go?”
Have you ever experienced a tough time in your life when things just never seemed to go right, your friends and family were of no help, and even when you sought Him in prayer, God seemed not to care what happened to you? I have and odds are you will as well at some point, if you haven’t already.
King David experienced the same thing, but much more intensely, so intensely in fact, that he recorded it in Psalms 143:7: “Answer me quickly Lord; my spirit fails. Don’t hide your face from me, or I will be like those who go down to the pit.”
There is another Psalm that isn’t attributed to David, but which sounds very much like him. Psalm 102:1-3 puts it this way: “Lord, hear my prayer; let my cry for help come before You. Do not hide Your face from me in my day of trouble. Listen closely to me; answer me quickly when I call.”
Professor Sean McDowell of Biola University offers a challenging and encouraging explanation in this video for why God sometimes seems like He doesn’t care:
There are times when, no matter what the evidence shows, the conclusion to which it points is, for whatever reason, so difficult to wrap our minds around, or so contrary to what we have long believed, that we simply refuse to accept it.
That description undoubtedly fits a lot of folks working on Capitol Hill when the issue at hand is whether or not God exists. Probably no other issue in life is more subject to rationalization, avoidance and intellectual blinders.
When there are multiple factors pointing to a common causal conclusion, that’s significant but not necessarily decisive. When there are multiple factors from multiple categories of evidence that point to a common causal conclusion, that’s decisive.
J. Warner Wallace, NBC “Dateline” Cold-Case Detective, explains why in this video with “One-Minute Apologist Bobby Conway:
There’s a maxim from the 60s that says “everybody gets 15 minutes of fame” and maybe that explains why Russell Dye made the Style pages of The New York Times earlier this week.
Whatever the reason, the reality is Dye, a Republican communications aide to Rep. Jim Jordan on the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, wore a striking mint-green blazer and bow tie during one of the impeachment hearings and people noticed.
Dye is not alone, as another Jordan committee aide, Charli Huddleston, was seen on a stairway above a group of protesting Republican House members. The light was just right and it made her appear to either about to be beamed back to the USS Enterprise or taken up into heaven ala the prophet Elijah.
And don’t ask Janae Frazier, press secretary for Rep. Mark Walker (R-NC) about that pizza incident that made Twitter and then a bunch of other places, too! “I was like, ‘WHAT? All this for being hungry?’” Frazier told the Times Katherine Rosman.
Rosman also talked to several former Hill aides who shared some revealing stories about themselves and their experiences working in Congress.
You can read Rosman’s excellent story on these Hill aides who suddenly and unexpectedly found themselves in the spotlight by clicking here. Enjoy!
Recent Staff Moves, As Reported By Legistorm:
There’s a new deputy chief of staff for Rep. Bruce Westerman (R-Ark.) and the name is Jefferson Deming. Deming is moving up from the legislative director slot in the same office. He’s a 2012 Vanderbilt University graduate in political science and government.
As the accompanying photo from his Facebook page shows, Deming is seriously into moving up. Be nice to him, too, because he lists among his former jobs being a summer roustabout on an off-shore drilling rig. That’s no job for the faint-hearted!
Heather Sager is the new communications director for Rep. Cheri Bustos (D-Ill.). Heather got her law degree in 2010 from the University of Indiana School of Law and her BA in philosophy and international studies from Saint John’s University in 2007. This is her first Hill position, so welcome, Heather!
Every one of the 535 congressional offices has one of these, and every one of them requires continuous attention from at least one staffer and helps everybody else do their jobs.
They are the Constituent Management Systems (aka CRMs) that, according to legbranch.org’s Samantha McDonald and Melissa Mazmanian, “help offices manage the ever-growing volume of constituent communication.
“They enable communication with citizens by logging, tracking, and categorizing, and responding to incoming contact. When a person calls a Member’s office, attends a meeting with a Member, sends an email, postal mail, fax, or shares a social media post, that information is logged into the CRM.” But CRMs are not unmixed blessings and here’s why: Continue reading “WORKING ON THE HILL: If You Use Your Office’s CRM, You Need To Know This About That”
It’s a truism in much of today’s ecumenical efforts that Christians worship the same deity that Muslims do because both are monotheistic, that is, they each contend there is one god, not many.
The reality is that there are profound differences between the essential concepts of God held by orthodox Christians and the two major branches of Muslim belief.
Philosopher William Lane Craig contends the Muslim concept of god is “morally defective” and explains why in this video by first describing the Christian concept:
“As the greatest conceivable being, a morally perfect being, God must be all-loving. And this is exactly what the Bible teaches. The Bible teaches that God loves sinners, His love is impartial, it is universal, it is unconditional,” Craig says.
“And this is a world of difference from the god of the Quaran. According to the Quaran, god does not love sinners. God in the Quaran only loves those who first love him,” Craig continues.
“So that his love rises no higher than the sort of love that Jesus said tax collectors and sinners exhibit. They love those that love them,” he said. “The Quaran says god does not love the very people that John 3:16 says that God love so much that He sent His only son to die for them.”
Victor Yang has worked on Capitol Hill for three years, presently as legislative assistant to Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.), and previously as a staff assistant to Rep. Charlies Crist (D-Fla.) and an intern for Rep. Juan Vargas, another California Democrat.
Even if you’ve never met Victor, he may look familiar to you because he appeared on CNBC last week in the cable outlet’s “Millennial Money” series of profiles.
He talked at length about how he lives in one of the most expensive cities in America on a salary that is well below the median national household income of $55,880.28 (for 2018, the most recent available full year). Continue reading “WORKING ON CAPITOL HILL: Young Congressional Aide Reveals How He Makes It In D.C. On $45K”
Check out this five-part HillFaith series by Bret Bernhardt, former chief of staff for Senators Don Nickles (R-Okla.) and Jim DeMint (R-S.C.). Bernhardt has a wealth of experience, insider insight, how-tos and obscure terms (know what a “golden reference” is on the Hill?), plus lots of helpful links.
Among the attributes that most distinguish humans from all other creatures is our ability to perceive alternative courses of action and to make choices among those alternatives. That’s called “free will.” Our laws and system of justice assume we all have this unique ability.
But if we live in a material universe that is a product of and is governed only by the action/reaction processes of atoms and forces in motion, then there can be no such thing as free will. Our decisions to act in a certain way are nothing more than the consequences of those atoms reacting according to the sequence of causes and effects.
“No set of dominoes is held accountable for how they fall,” contends NBC “Dateline” cold-case detective J. Warner Wallace in the following brief video. “Dominoes have no choice in the matter because they fall in a certain way based on prior physical causes.” Think about it, are you just another domino?
Ever Wonder ‘Who Made God?’
That’s a question often posed by those who deny God’s existence, but, as Tom Hammond explains in “What Time Is Purple,” wondering who made God makes about as much sense as pondering where on the clock does the royal color appear.
“What Time Is Purple” is a mere 45 pages, but it’s full of clarity, logic and common sense about the most important questions we all think about it at one time or another. Be careful, though, as it may cause you to revise how you answer those questions.
To get a free copy of this challenging book, just click on its cover in the sidebar to the right and I will get yours in the mail ASAP.
NOTE: IF THE CONTACT BUTTON DOESN’T WORK FOR YOU, SEND ME YOUR SNAIL MAIL AT firstname.lastname@example.org.
John Lennox is the famous and brilliant Oxford mathematician and Christian apologist. David Rubin is the famous and brilliant web radio host and child of a conservative Jewish home.
What on earth might two guys of such different backgrounds have to talk about for an hour? Well, what could be more important than the question that has been center stage in Western culture ever since Nietzsche declared that “God is dead.”
This is an hour-long conversation, but I hope you will get yourself a cup of java, sit down somewhere quiet and give this delightful, stimulating and instructive conversation between two really smart, funny and honest guys your attention on this first Saturday of December 2019.
Recent Staff Moves, As Reported By Legistorm:
Anne Gordon returns to the Hill as tax counsel to Sen. Todd Young (R-Ind.) after a long absence. Gordon was previously an intern in 2002 to Rep. Jim Saxton (R-NJ). In between, Gordon was most recently with Pricewaterhousecoopers LLP. She received her LLM in taxation from Georgetown University Law Center and her JD from Boston College Law School in 2011.
Got a question for Rep. Norman Torres (D-Calif.)? New communications director Dan Lindner is who to call. He was previously in the same slot for Rep. Raúl Manuel Grijalva (D-Az.). Dan’s MA in political science came in 2011 from American University and his BA from San Diego State University in the same major was earned in 2006. And no, that is not a journalist Dan is cuddling in the accompanying photo. Continue reading “STAFF MOVES: Look Who’s Getting Promoted On The Hill”
He’s the most famous person who ever lived, so all kinds of people have expressed opinions through the centuries since His death and resurrection about who Jesus Christ was, ranging from “great teacher” and “unique moral leader,” to “deluded fanatic,” “Jewish Messiah,” and “religious ascetic.”
But who did Jesus think and claim He was? When He entered Jerusalem a few days before His crucifixion, the crowd spread palm branches before Him, a sign of their expectation that He would liberate them from Roman domination and oppression.
But they were mistaken, as were so many others since then and even today. The far more important question is who did Jesus say and think He was? The following video produced by Reasonable Faith is an impressive, enjoyable presentation of the answers: