About Me

My photo
Stoke on Trent, Staffordshire, United Kingdom
Broadcaster, musician, song writer, tea drinker and curry lover.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

The Patriot Academy

Let me tell you about a grassroots youth conservative organization that should give all forward thinking people hope in such dark times for this nation.

Patriot Academy is a five-day political training program where students aged sixteen to twenty-five learn about America's system of government from a Biblical worldview. Each summer, young people from around the nation come to the Texas State Capitol to form a fully functioning mock legislative body, drafting legislation, debating bills and passing laws. Students participate in interactive workshops on media relations, public speaking, campaigning techniques and the Founding Fathers' philosophy of government. Current and former elected officials and experts share their personal experience in government and discuss today’s most relevant issues.
Today, Patriot Academy is the premier conservative political training camp in the nation, training young people to effectively engage in every aspect of government, whether as an elected official or an active citizen. As students are equipped to effect change for the issues that matter most to them, Patriot Academy is fulfilling its vision to raise up a new generation to lead the change in America.
I have blogged about my friend Breanna before, but she has just returned from Texas after a fulfilling week which I am sure will have done her nothing but good as she plays her part in trying to effect change in the United States from the grass roots upwards.
Lately I had begun to despair that the country was heading the same way as the United Kingdom has done in years past. As a lifelong conservative, from a family of conservatives living in an overwhelmingly conservative part of the UK, I was dismayed to see successive socialist UK governments spend their way into trouble, and although there are now signs that this may be ending with the new government showing a desire for conservative prudence, it seems that now the US is hurtling headlong into extreme debt.
All of us who despair at this tragic set of circumstances, not to mention the other ways in which this once great nation is being pulled downwards into mediocrity should take courage - as I have - from young people like Breanna, who are finally giving me hope for the future here. They really ARE the future at a time when at a national level, there is a marked lack of conservative unity and - dare I say - credibility.
Thanks to the likes of Breanna, things really could change, and Patriot Academy is giving young conservatives the opportunity to effect the kind of change we actually CAN believe in.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Celestial Storms, and the Storms of Life

Last Sunday the Sun's surface erupted, sending a wall of ionized atoms directly at the Earth in what is called a coronal mass ejection. This solar tsunami reaches the earth's atmosphere today and is causing amazing light displays -- the aurora borealis, or Northern Lights --  as the solar particles collide with the oxygen and nitrogen atoms in our atmosphere, which then glow like neon signs, with often stunning results.

Due to the ferocity of this particular eruption, the aurora, which can usually only be seen in the very northern-most parts, such as Norway and Alaska, is being seen this week (culminating tonight, according to scientists) in more southerly locations, possible as far south as Portland, Oregon and Michigan, as well as all over northern Europe. The photo above was taken last night at Lake Superior. There is even a faint possibility that some activity might be seen as far  as Southern Oregon.

So last night I went outside to see if I could see anything as I looked to the north, but without success. I'll try again tonight. However, this did all start me thinking about how something as violent as a solar eruption can lead to something so beautiful as the Northern Lights, and then to how so often God can allow what we initially think are bad things to happen to us, but with a beautiful outcome.

I don't normally like to draw parallels such as this, because in truth, I find them a bit cheesy, but in this case I felt a real strong compulsion to talk about the connection. If we are honest, we probably all can point to instances where bad things have been used by God to bring glory to His name, and a beautiful resolution.

Maybe you are in the middle of a "solar tsunami" of your own. If you are, maybe a glance at these amazing Northern Lights pictures will remind you that God is in control, and can bring beauty out of the most violent storms.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Thoughts on Anne Rice

After having been asked to give my thoughts on my posting yesterday of Anne Rice's comments last week on quitting Christianity, here we go. Not a great deal to say, but for what it's worth...

My initial reaction was that Anne really doesn't have a handle on what being a Christian is. In saying "I quit being a Christian..." she is signaling her desire to no longer follow Christ, since that is what being a Christian is -- literal translation "little Christ". For someone who in the past, by her own volition has admitted to "trying" Christianity, this just demonstrates a lack of understanding of her own relationship with God and his people.

Anne's beef, it seems is with those who follow Jesus, and not with Jesus himself. That much is pretty clear from her other blog postings, and there is certainly a compelling case -- although not one with which I agree -- for turning one's back on Jesus' followers, since we have undeniably made an unholy mess of things for centuries.

Anne's confusion is compounded by her later admittance that she doesn't want to be a part of "..such a quarrelsome, hostile, disputatious and deservedly infamous group." Sounds like Christian denominations to me.

So what I want to do here is focus less on what Anne has said, because she is clearly confused and somewhat ignorant of the true nature of what it is to follow Christ. I would rather want to address what we do with the denominations and factions into which Christianity has fallen, and with whom I often share Rice's annoyance, embarrassment and frustration.

The key here is that I AM A PART OF IT. I cannot sit back and blame everyone else for making the same assumptions and pronouncements that I myself have made in the past, and continue to make. We are ALL part of a flawed group of people. What is important is that we recognize this and attempt to do something about it.

Nobody in their right mind would dispute that Christians have got it wrong -- horribly wrong -- over the past many centuries, but our challenge is to try and be better followers of Jesus and to mirror him as much as we can; to be the "little Christs" that our title defines us as.

On a side note, it is very hard to be a Christian by yourself, in isolation from everyone else. The Bible is clear that this is unwise, and therefore it is important to work your way through your life as a Christian in the company of other beginners.

It seems that Anne Rice has chosen to go it alone, and I for one hope that she doesn't become even more confused in her isolation.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Anne Rice Quits Christianity

Author Anne Rice posted the following 3 statements on her Facebook page last week. I would be interested to hear your comments...

“For those who care, and I understand if you don't: Today I quit being a Christian. I'm out. I remain committed to Christ as always but not to being "Christian" or to being part of Christianity. It's simply impossible for me to "belong" to this quarrelsome, hostile, disputatious, and deservedly infamous group. For ten years, I've tried. I've failed. I'm an outsider. My conscience will allow nothing else.

As I said [earlier], I quit being a Christian. I'm out. In the name of Christ, I refuse to be anti-gay. I refuse to be anti-feminist. I refuse to be anti-artificial birth control. I refuse to be anti-Democrat. I refuse to be anti-secular humanism. I refuse to be anti-science. I refuse to be anti-life. In the name of Christ, I quit Christianity and being Christian. Amen.

My faith in Christ is central to my life. My conversion from a pessimistic atheist lost in a world I didn't understand, to an optimistic believer in a universe created and sustained by a loving God is crucial to me. But following Christ does not mean following His followers. Christ is infinitely more important than Christianity and always will be, no matter what Christianity is, has been, or might become.”