What If We Think About Jesus Like A Detective? Or A Hill Investigator?

Whether you are a famous cold-case detective like J. Warner Wallace solving 30-year-old murders or a veteran investigator for a congressional committee probing contract fraud, much of what you do and how you do it is the same.

Take, for example, assessing the credibility of witnesses. Crime detectives and Hill investigators have to do that all the time as it’s one of their most important skills. What if witnesses don’t agree on all the details of an event? Is that reason to reject some or all of the witnesses?

For many critics of the Gospels, the fact Matthw, Mark, Luke and John provide four accounts that appear to differ on important details about the resurrection of Jesus disqualifies them as credible witnesses. And that in turn raises huge question marks about the Resurrection.

Wallace is well-known for his many appearances on NBC’s “Dateline” program where he showed America how he solved five stone-cold cases from decades back.

He knows about witnesses and in this video he shares four rules derived from California judicial procedures that he has used for many years and that helped him evaluate the credibility of the Gospel accounts of the Resurrection.

Enjoy.

http://coldcasechristianity.com/?p=13694

Does The Bible Demean Women (On The Hill Or Anywhere Else)?

It’s a truism in many secular precincts that Christianity has kept women in a subordinate position to men, but is that a reflection on the Bible that defines the faith or on the Christians who misused or misunderstood it?

With at least 100 newly elected women heading to mount the Capitol Hill steps above as a result of the 2018 midterm election, according to Kathryn Watson of CBS News, the treatment and status of women in America is certain to be a huge issue in the new Congress come January. (Photo above by Louis Velazquez on Unsplash)

Continue reading “Does The Bible Demean Women (On The Hill Or Anywhere Else)?”

Today’s Question For Hundreds Of Hill Staffers — What Now?

Tuesday’s 2018 midterm election is followed by a grim morning for hundreds of congressional aides. They work on the personal staffs of losing Democrat and Republican senators and representatives and, on the House side, on the outgoing Republican majority’s committee staffs.

Come the first week of January when the new Congress is seated, with Republicans in the majority in the Senate and Democrats controlling the House of Representatives, these aides will be out of work. It’s part of the rhythm of Congress as every two years, the seats of one-third of the senators and all 435 representatives are open. Many are re-elected, more than a few are not.

Continue reading “Today’s Question For Hundreds Of Hill Staffers — What Now?”

What About Christians And Identity Politics?

rawpixel

Call it “identity politics” or “multiculturalism” or whatever else you like, but America’s public discourse today is often all but dominated by analyses based on speakers’ respective racial, ethnic and cultural identities.

Democrats are deep into identity politics, while Republicans often find it repellant. There are Christians among both, but does the God of the Bible have anything of value to say to Democrats or Republicans on the issue of identity politics?

You bet it does, especially if you happen to work on Capitol Hill where the issues raised by identity politics are especially intense and urgent. So where do we start?

Continue reading “What About Christians And Identity Politics?”

This Mom Is A Great Argument for God

So you’re walking down a corridor of the Dirksen Senate Office Building during a break in a committee hearing and there on the floor is the word “MOM” spelled out in Cap’n Crunch.

Being a dutiful son or daughter, you love your mom, of course, so you stop to ponder  this odd sight, speculating for a few seconds about how it got there and then going on about your business before the hearing resumes. As the day continues, though, your mind keeps going back to that MOM because something about it is puzzling.

Continue reading “This Mom Is A Great Argument for God”

Why Work On The Hill … If There’s No God?

If that seems like an apples-and-oranges kind of question posed in the headline, be assured that it’s not. Think about it: Why would anybody put in such long hours, usually for low pay and little or no recognition on the Hill unless they are convinced that doing so will somehow advance them towards something that is both important and worthwhile.

And that’s the point of the question in headline. What gives your life its ultimate meaning and purpose? What makes you get up every day and slog over to Rayburn or Russell or another of the congressional office buildings to do your thing as a press secretary, case worker, committee flack, legislative assistant or whatever?

Is it to get experience and contacts, or develop a specialized knowledge or skill set, to set you up later to “earn the big bucks” working for some corporation, lobbying outfit or advocacy group? This is a question of central importance regardless if you are a liberal, Republican, conservative, Democrat, independent, Mug-Whump or don’t-have-a-cluer.

It also applies if you happen to be slaving away in the executive branch in a political appointee slot or a career civil service position. Ditto if you’ve already scored the big one, drive a Bimmer or Benz to work, routinely rub elbows with the rich-and-powerful and have the names and numbers for everybody who is anybody in this town in your cell phone’s contact file.

“This is a question of central importance regardless if you are a liberal,  Republican, conservative, Democrat, independent, Mug-Whump or don’t-have-a-cluer.”

So where am I going with this one? Right here, to The Poached Egg. Yes, you read that right, The Poached Egg. It’s a web site that “is a large and continually expanding virtual library of articles and essays compiled from all over the World Wide Web. Noted apologists, biblical scholars, philosophers, scientists, historians, students, and laymen all come together under this one site.” Founder Greg West is also the editor. He knows his stuff.

Check out this video discussion that lays out the basic underlying issue behind the question in the headline above. Then, I hope you will tell me what you think of it in the comments below — be it positive, negative, lukewarm, whatever.

Do You Really Believe What You Say You Believe?

That headline above poses one of the most important questions anyone can ever ask themselves. Unfortunately, it’s too often one of the last questions all of us ask of ourselves.

The question has a particular relevance for people working on the Hill. At the surface level, everybody in Congress, working for Congress, reporting on Congress, seeking to influence Congress and trying to get to Congress has beliefs, or at least claims to believe certain things.

But whatever you profess to believe, can you have absolute certainty that what you say you believe is what you actually believe? And how do you know the difference between the one and the other?

Believe it or not (did you catch the pun?), I’m not referring to the professed political, religious or ideological beliefs that shape appearances, what you seem to be or what you want the world to think you are. What I am talking about are the beliefs at the core of your being that actually define who you are and determine what you do.

Why is this such an important question for congressional aides? It’s not simply that aides by definition work for somebody else and thus are routinely called on to defend, explain, conceal, justify or rationalize away what “the boss” says or does. It’s important because such a fixation can make it even more difficult than it normally is to ask ourselves the headlined question.

Allow me to illustrate with an example from my own life and years on the Hill. Alcoholism runs in my family, a fact I was grimly aware of from a very early age. I saw what it can do, physically and emotionally, to people and families, the misery, pain, and emptiness. And I vowed early in my life to “never be that way.”

But then I came to Washington, D.C. and to the Hill. Booze was and is today quite prevalent. It’s not for nothing that Washington, D.C. routinely ranks among the top cities in America for per-capita alcohol consumption. A lot of people working on the Hill are only a few years past boozy campus cultures, which makes this a peculiarly relevant example.

If you’d asked me the first day on my first Hill job about drinking, I would have quickly said I would never let that become a problem, I grew up in an alcoholic home, saw what it did to people, etc. etc.

But then over the months and years that followed, it became easier and easier to declare those things but then do quite the opposite. Places like the Tune Inn, Hawk N Dove (remember that one!?) and Bullfeathers became regular haunts.

“Pub grub” (self-explanatory) and “draft beer” (or bourbon, or whatever)  and “networking” (jobs, allies) and “targets of opportunity” (come on, you know what this one means) became life fixtures. It became the major rhythm of my life — work during the day, keep working in the night, plus partying.

It took a long time but eventually I learned that sooner or later decisions do indeed have consequences in life and not just for me. Today, I thank my Lord Jesus Christ for the blessings of sobriety and a generous measure of the courage required for the honest self-awareness that requires regularly asking myself the headlined question above. Would that I had asked it sooner.

The point I’m getting at is this: The way to know if you really do believe what you tell yourself and the world you believe is to look at your actions and ask yourself: Are these the actions of somebody who believes X?

Jesus had no patience for hypocrisy, especially among those in high places. The 23d chapter of the book of Matthew in the New Testament is the “Woe to you, Scribes and Pharisees” scene in which He directly addressed the issue of personal authenticity:

“They do all their deeds to be seen by others. ***For they make their phylacteries broad and their fringes long, and they love the place of honor at feasts and the best seats in the synagogues and greetings in the marketplaces and being called ‘rabbi’ by others …

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and the plate but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. You blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and the plate, that the outside may be clean …

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within are full of dead people’s bones and all uncleanness. So you also appear outwardly righteous to others , but within you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.”

But this isn’t simply a question of saying one thing and doing another. It’s why we all do that so often. It’s that “within you” (and me, and everybody else) that is the problem. Too often, we know what we should do, but we go right on doing the wrong thing. The Apostle Paul put it this way at Romans 7: 15 — “For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate.”

And why is that? It’s that thing none of us these days wants to acknowledge exists but which is nevertheless an ever-present reality And the solution is something many folks working on the Hill scoff at, choose to ignore or have never heard about.

Want to know more? Let me buy you a cup of coffee or a sparkling water or whatever at one of the Hill office complexes’ cafes or restaurants, and we’ll continue what could prove to be the most important discussion of your life. It changed mine in more ways than I can count, all of them for the good.

*** Go here for an explanation of phylacteries and fringes in Jewish culture, ancient and modern.