Outlines: Done.

February 25, 2008

Yesterday, I finished one of the most monumental school projects I have ever had to complete–Outlines for Doc Halstead. Here at The Master’s College, this assignment is almost legendary. Each semester, Doc offers a New Testament Survey course, and Outlines is the main assigment.

Let me give you a little glimpse into Outlines. I just finished the first set of Outlines for New Testament II. In this set Doc breaks the books of Romans and 1 Corinthians down into 57 sections (29 in Romans and 27 in 1 Corinthians.) For each section, the student must come up with a title for the section, analyze it (or interpret it), and respond to it (or write how to apply it.) By the end of the project, each outline was taking me about 30 minutes. It took me longer at the beginning.

While it is a beast of a project, it is a great assigment. I loved going through Romans and 1 Corinthians section by section and analyzing it and trying to truly grasp the meaning of these rich texts. I also enjoyed how the “Response” section of the Outlines forced me to see how God’s Word applies to my life.

Yesterday was somewhat of a reflective day as I did outlines. I was finishing up, so I was in 1 Corinthians 15. A year ago yesterday, I remember reading the same passage of Scripture–but in a very different setting. I was visiting the Garden Tomb in Jerusalem for the first time. This chapter makes a compelling case for the importance of the resurrection. It makes clear what the consequences would be if there was no resurrection, but it also shows the wonderful consequences that are true because the resurrection DID happen. We have a reason to put our lives in danger for the sake of the gospel. We know that death has been defeated. We know we have glorified resurrection bodies to look forward to.

One of the most encouraging parts of this chapter is in the last verse, where Paul reminds the readers that their labor for the Lord is not in vain. As we get caught up in the routines of life, it is easy for us to think of many of our consistent, mundane labors as “vain.” But the Bible makes it clear that this is not the case. To understand this, we must think with an eternal perspective–or a resurrection perspective. We might not understand the purpose of many of our labors until eternity. Until then, we must–by faith–always give ourselves fully to the Lord.

This verse gives me so much encouragement in the midst of the busyness of school. Whether I am working on homework, talking to a guy on my wing, or having my devotions, I know my labor for the Lord is not in vain.

It’s pretty cool I got to learn that for homework.

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The saga continues in the most interesting primary campaign of my lifetime.

On the Republican side, John McCain has the nomination all but wrapped up. Romney, who dropped out of the race a week and a half ago, has since endorsed McCain, who will soon have the delegates needed to secure the nomination. The only real contender left is Huckabee. While Huck has won some contests, McCain continues to add to his delegate count. Again, I’m pleased with how this is turning out; I think McCain is the Republican’s best shot in Novemeber.

On the Democratic side, Barack Obama won his 9th straight contest tonight. He has now surpassed Clinton in the delegate count, but the race remains close. It seems to me the Democratic establishment favors Clinton–she is much more experienced. However, the voters continue to come out for Obama, who clearly has the most momentum of any candidate right now.

Another interesting thing to note is that the voter turnout is much higher on the Democratic side. When I watched Obama’s victory speech on the night of the Iowa Caucuses, I had this feeling that I was listening to the next President of the United States. I still feel like that is the most likely outcome, but there is still much campaigning to be done! So keep paying attention.

I’m hoping to post a blog not related to politics soon…

This week has been the most important one yet on the road to the White House in 2008.

First, there was Super Tuesday. On the Republican side, John McCain did the best, winning New York, California, and several other states while accumulating a large lead in the delegate count. On the Democratic side, the vote was very close (almost 50-50) between Clinton and Obama. Clinton holds a slight edge in the delegate count according to CNN.com.

Second, there was Surprise Thursday. Mitt Romney dropped out of the race. Romney had the support of much of the conservative establishment and was viewed as having the best chance to beat McCain. I was pleasantly surprised by this announcement. Romney strongly stated that Republicans need to rally around the nominee because of the important implications of this election for the future. This narrows the race on the Republican side to essentially McCain and Huckabee, and with his vast lead in the delegate count, McCain will likely be the nominee.

I endorse McCain for President. While I voted for him on Tuesday, I did go back and forth between him and Romney for a while. But now that the race is essentially down to two, I strongly support McCain over Huckabee for the Republican nomination. Here are a few of my reasons.

Foreign Policy. Of all the Republican candidates, McCain is certainly the stongest in this area. Not only did McCain serve in the military, he has proven to be a reliable voice on foreign policy in his time in the Senate. Throughout the Iraq War, McCain’s criticisms and suggestions have been incredibly accurate. At the beginning, McCain said we needed more troops. It turned out he was right. Last year, McCain supported “the surge” from the beginning, even though it was not popular. Guess what–the surge worked. If there is one Republican I want as Commander-in-Chief, it is John McCain. As for Huckabee, my first impressions of his foreign policy came from the time he jokingly said that he was not an expert in foreign policy…but he did stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night. When it comes to commanding the most powerful military in the world, I want John McCain.

Economic Policy. Over the last couple years, I have become discontent with the Republican Party over one important issue–they have begun to spend like Democrats. What happened to fiscal responsibility? John McCain knows that the government needs to cut spending, and I believe he has the spine to back up that campaign pledge. I believe this because McCain has a track record of doing what he believes to be right even if it is unpopular (e.g. the surge). When Congress sends earmarks and pork-barrel spending to his desk in the Oval Office, he will not be afraid to wield the veto stamp. As for Huckabee, his idea of good fiscal policy is the Fair Tax. This proposal has a couple big problems. Very few economists think it is a good idea, and it will never get anywhere in Congress. Again, in the area of economic policy, I support John McCain.

Electability. A realistic political participant must consider this factor, especially in choosing a nominee. John McCain can fight and win against Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton. In fact, he may be the only chance Republicans have of regaining the White House despite the party’s current unpopularity. He has always been popular among moderates or independents, who may very well vote for him instead of a liberal Democrat. Also, the Republican base will come out to vote against Obama or Clinton. On the other hand, I do not like the idea of a nomination for Mike Huckabee and a national campaign featuring a Fair Tax economic policy and a Holiday Inn Express foreign policy. John McCain can win in November.

Let me make it clear that I do not think that McCain is the perfect candidate or that he will be the perfect president. Also, I am not saying that there is nothing to like about Huckabee. What I am saying is that I think the McCain is the clear choice for the nomination of the Republican party, and I look forward to voting for him in November.

Until next time, pay attention.

The stage is set for a political showdown in each party. You might even say that the race has reached the “Final Four.”

It is essentially a two-person (can’t say “two-man” anymore) race in both parties. For the Democrats, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton continue to slug it out in a contest in which there is no clear front-runner. On the Republican side, John McCain and Mitt Romney have established themselves on top of the field. (Some Huckabites might disagree, but even though he may win a state or two on Super Tuesday, I have as big a chance of getting the nomination.) Between McCain and Romney, McCain’s victory in last Tuesday’s Florida Primary has given him a slight advantage at the moment.

So what’s next?

Well, after the Super Bowl has played out, all eyes will turn to the biggest political contest yet in 2008–Super Tuesday, which CNN.com calls a semi-national primary. A whole slew of states will have their primary contests this day–including California, New York, and Illinois. Hundreds of delegates are at stake, and I will finally get to cast my own vote (not totally sure who I’m voting for yet, but I might post on that Monday.)

I think McCain will do better than Romney on Super Tuesday, but neither will get enough delegates for the nomination. As for the Democrats, I have no idea. Dr. Stead, my American Political Thought II professor, is hoping for a brokered convention.

This is only getting started–keep paying attention.