Archive | October 2015

Debate Winners and Losers

Well I DVR’d the great “event” and caught it later, here’s my take:

THE BIGGEST LOSER, NBC, remember CNBC is part of NBC’s news division. A tip for NBC “news”, go back to Brian Williams, his made up stories are more credible than political hack John Harwood masquerading as journalist. Someone should tell him Halloween is on the 31st. But not to be out done, Becky Quick CNBC’s info babe should change her name to Becky Slow, hint from Journalism 101, research is your friend, try it some time.

THE SECOND BIGGEST LOSER, Jeb Bush, Jebs half hearted attack on Marco Rubio was easily handled. Rubio was everything Bush wasn’t, informed, quick on his feet, and prepared. For the good of the party Jeb, drop out.

THE INCIDENTAL LOSER, John Kasich. John’s attack on Trump was easily handled by Trump and John being unprepared for answering questions about his stint at Lehman Brothers showed he wasn’t ready for prime time. I liked him at the last debate, but I did mention that I thought he needed to move on from his constant drone of numbers from Ohio. Sadly he hasn’t and he has become an attacker instead of portraying someone with a vision for the future. This might play well if he’s attacking the other side, but not when he’s attacking those on the platform.

THE ALSO RANS. Rand Paul and Mike Huckleby. Rand needs to take a no-dose. I think the biggest issue for him is that the key issues in this campaign (foreign policy and the economy) are not the mainstays of his wheelhouse. And while he may have credible ideas on both he doesn’t present them with enthusiasm. And I’m saying this about a guy who was my pick going in. Huckleby is a great debater, and actually last night he played the compassionate conservative better than Bush. I like the guy, but we don’t need another W, liberalism light is just a weaker version of the policies that got us into this mess today.

THE OUTSIDERS, I don’t think the outsiders Carson, Trump, and Fiorino did anything to hurt themselves last night. Hardwood made Trump look measured, intelligent and reasonable, no small feet. Fiorino, is a great debater, but I always get the nagging feeling with her that resume is an issue. Unlike Hillary she had coherent and fairly consistent positions on everything which she articulates with ease. But like Hillary her Resume of accomplishment is fairly week. Yep, she was CEO but was she a success?

Carson, had a better night than last time. I think one of his strengths is his humility. He doesn’t claim to be the most well versed, only the most reasonable. He doesn’t claim to have all the answers, but does claim to have a core set of principles and the willingness to listen to good advice and adjust the details to stuff that will work. I suspect that’s his main appeal.

THE WINNERS, Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz are no doubt ready for prime time. Cruz combines passion with brilliance, you may disagree with him, but there’s a reason he was a top member of the debate team at Harvard.  I would dare say that as a policy wonk he would run circles around any of the other parties nominees. The biggest reason I hesitate on supporting him is people tend to like to vote for the best guy to have a beer with for President. And Cruz is almost too passionate, I think he needs to lighten up a bit on his presentation, he did that some last night. This is one of the reasons I suspect Hillary will not be as formadible a candidate as some assume.

Marco Rubio, did not have a bad moment last night. I can understand why many Democrat party insiders fear a Rubio candidacy the most. He showed a grasp of the issues, self deprecating humor, and didn’t have to fake it to present himself as an everyday person.

2012’s BEST CANDIDATE, Watching Gov. Christie last night I’m convinced he would have wiped the floor with the President in the debates in 2012. He is a master politician, no doubt the best natural politician on either side in the race. The problem is the country is sick of politicians.  To me these are the only candidates left in the GOP race worth considering, and in this order 1) Rubio, 2) Carson, 3) Cruz, 4) Florino, 5) Trump, and 6) Christie. All the rest should leave the building.

Demographics, Church, and Relevance?

Over the last fifteen years or so there has been a new movement within the Church. The church has tried to become more relevant to society. We even have a magazine based on the subject. First, let me make it clear I’m not attacking that movement, obviously the gospel should be revealed to people in the context of their culture, environment and lifestyle. There is no question Jesus approached people where they were at. He didn’t try to “churchify” people and make them presentable for the congregation or Temple in his case before he reached out to them. But there are a few questions and troubling things I see in the “lets make Church relevant” movement.

One, it seems to me that much of this movement springs up is in churches that are in upper middle class, sometimes wealthy communities.  It’s a lot easier to have an impressive multi media service with your churches own iPhone app if the tithe is bringing in hundreds of thousands not hundreds. And while I’ve argued for excellence what does it say about  our “target” congregation if they have to be entertained with expensive high tech multi-media in order to reached and have their lives changed?  And what does it say to the members of your community who are struggling and pull up in with a 15 year old car in a parking lot full of Lexus’s and Range Rovers?

Two, Are we in danger of Idolizing youth and good looks the same way the World does? If you look at celebrity culture one thing becomes blatantly obvious, many of our celebs never grow up. Wether married or single their lives seem to consist of partying or shopping. And their status is determined by the amount of bling they have and either where or who they show up with. Oh, as they get older they may show up at parties for causes, and their taste may change from beer to champaign but the truth is they never grow up.

In some ways I see the same in many churches, with the target audience for Music, and the Arts and even the message apparently between 25-35. Wether it’s the video displaying some young couple that looks like they just got back from and Abacrombie and Fitch modeling shoot to the music that sounds like a bad Coldplay-U2 tribute band. There are two issues with this.

First, when are we going to grow up? Wether it be simple messages that don’t require any consideration because we volunteer for the right causes or music that lacks even a shred of creativity or originality. And Second what about those who show up who 45 or 50 is in the rear view mirror? Didn’t Jesus die for them too? What if their divorced? If they aren’t able to physically participate in a marathon for food in the Sahara? Do they still have something to contribute? I’m not sure being relevant means targeting the same audience as Forever 21.

Three, How does targeting demographics effect the Gospels call to reach the whole world, Samaritans included? I use the word Samaritan included because Christ reaching out to the Samaritans is a vastly different meme from the “targeting” that many churches promote today to grow their ministries. I know I referred to age, but this transcends age to culture itself. How is it that a Evangelical Church in Birmingham MI can be 90% white while a church less than a mile and a half away in Southfield,MI with almost identical doctrinal beliefs can be 90% African American? It is said that the most segregated hour in the USA is between Eleven AM and Twelve PM on Sunday mourning.

Why are so few troubled by that and what chance does our society have for racial reconciliation when we can’t even do Church together?  I realize that many white churches care about blacks and participate in all kinds of ministries towards the inner city. But we go home to our lily-white burbs and rarely do we Worship together. Now I get it that the culture is different from preaching style to music what is relevant to most African Americans isn’t relevant to most white suburbanites. But doesn’t that just mean we have to try harder?

In this one way I suspect we are less relevant than we think in a world of Prada where hip-hop owns the pop charts while we’re hipsters and One Republic fans. But perhaps that’s the biggest pitfall of all in trying to target specific demographics and being “relevant”? To quote Tower of Power, “What’s hip today may become passé”