Farewell to Another Mentor

In September of 2004, I walked into a classroom of a man who quite frankly scared me to death. I hated math, but was still faced with a college algebra course my first term in college. To say I was terrified does not begin to describe my emotion. I would like to say that Dr. John S. Robertson was quick to alleviate my fears, but this is not the case. The more he lectured, the more terrified I became. This was a man whose brilliance was as intimidating as his bold red suspenders were distracting.

I still hate math. But, over the course of the next two years, and with the benefit of retrospect, I learned so much more from him than I ever imagined. He demonstrated to me how to manage a classroom. He showed me how to reward students who make an effort. He strove to reassure me that it was possible to be both a man of science and logic while being a man of faith. He introduced me to the world of Biblical apologetics. While we did not share the same denomination, we did share the same faith and he taught me the importance of being able to defend and describe what I believe.

He was also the faculty advisor for the GMC Amateur Radio Club, of which I was the only member. On the occasions where we would have meetings, we would sit together long after formal adjournment and discuss things related to radio, to science, to faith, and to life. Without realizing it was happening, I was being given a model of the liberal arts experience.

Dr. Robertson and I fell out of touch after his retirement, which is something I hate. But, I can still see his influences each time I stand before a classroom, each time I engage in a theological discussion, and each time I am trying to make sense of a math problem. He had a tremendous impact on my life, as I am sure he has on countless others during his years of teaching at the United States Military Academy, Georgia College, and Georgia Military College. He passed away last week; I didn’t find out until the funeral was in progress. Since I was not able to pay my respects in person, on behalf of all of his former students, I say thank you. You will be missed.

Obituary

I don’t have a picture of us together, but this is pretty close. If I remember correctly, he took this picture while we were operating a Special Event Station at the GMC Business Office.

Hello, Session

Today marked the opening of the 2013 Session of the Georgia General Assembly. As I watched the Oath ceremony via web broadcast, it brought back a swarm of memories from my internship in 2007. So, I thought I would share a few of the images from those few months with you.

One of the things I got to do early in my internship was to attend the Inaugural Ball for Governor Sonny Purdue.
One of the things I got to do early in my internship was to attend the Inaugural Ball for Governor Sonny Purdue.
To date, this is still the best dressed I've ever been. This was with my friend Jade Morey, who was in College Republicans with me at the time and now also works at Georgia College.
To date, this is still the best dressed I’ve ever been. This was with my friend Jade Morey, who was in College Republicans with me at the time. Now, she also works with me at Georgia College.
This was my HUGE work station in the committee room for Ways and Means in the House of Representatives.
This was my HUGE work station in the committee room for Ways and Means in the House of Representatives.
In addition to getting to getting to work in the capitol, we were invited to many different receptions. This one was hosted by the University of Georgia. They brought along the mascot (Uga V at that time) for pictures.
In addition to getting to getting to work in the capitol, we were invited to many different receptions. This one was hosted by the University of Georgia. They brought along the mascot (Uga V at that time) for pictures.
This was the group shot of all of the House Interns.
This was the group shot of all of the House Interns.
This was my picture with the governor, taken on Valentine's Day. I forgot until I was already at work it was picture day, or else I would have NOT worn that tie...
This was my picture with the governor, taken on Valentine’s Day. I forgot until I was already at work it was picture day, or else I would have NOT worn that tie…
This was my official headshot, GC colored tie and all.
This was my official headshot, GC colored tie and all.

I can honestly say that my internship was one of my favorite experiences in college. If you’re interested in it, let me know and I will be glad to answer any questions, at least about the program in Georgia. Even though it has been quite a few years, I still get excited at the thought of it.

Reaction to the Election

I will go ahead and say this as a disclaimer, this post will probably make people mad. But, this has been weighing on me.

I am disappointed by the election. I’m not going to even avoid that statement. I never liked Mitt Romney, but he would have been better than what we have had for the past four years. But what has grieved me was more the response from my fellow “conservatives.” From people I have considered friends over the years and who claim the name of Christ, I have now heard talk of succession, assassination, and open revolt. How ignorant of history and Biblical doctrine can you be?

Obama did not win the election. Republicans gave it to him. They abandoned the principles by which they once stood to nominate someone they thought could be competitive. It didn’t work in 2008, and it didn’t work in 2012. I am no prophet, but I’m willing to bet it will not work in 2016 either. Judging from the election and the ads, the average individual could not tell you one thing the party supported. What would they know instead?

  • Defeat Obama
  • Repeal Obamacare
  • Taxes are bad
  • Debt is bad

That is not any way to run a campaign, or win hearts and minds. Don’t tell me what you are against, tell me what you are for. Plant your standard, hoist your flag, and be an advocate for SOMETHING.

Instead of attacking Democrats, tell me what you would do and how it will make my life better. Talk about the proper role of government and the 18 paragraphs in Article 1, Section 8 where that is found. Talk about how the 10th Amendment leaves everything else to the states. If Massachusetts wants a health care system, they can have it. But, Massachusetts and Illinois cannot make Georgia have it.

Talk about personal responsibility. It is much larger than welfare. The same mindset applies to many other areas, from students saying “just give me a B” and helicopter parents swooping in to save the day, and threaten lawsuits when a deserved grade is received.

The response to Tuesday’s results has been far more depressing than the actual event itself. The defeat was political. Why we lost was spiritual. I have news for the world. Mitt Romney is not the Messiah. He will not be able to save the world, or the country. That is a role for Jesus Christ, and for him alone.

Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same:
Romans 13: 1-3

God was not surprised by the outcome. He knew the results far before he laid the foundations of the world. So, what is the point in running around talking about the world ending? How do you think you running around talking about treason honors the Lord?

The king’s heart is in the hand of the Lord, as the rivers of water: he turneth it whithersoever he will.
Proverbs 21: 1

You want to win in 2016? Pray for a revival instead of a victory. The church has turned into a compromising pile of vomit (no, not too strong of a word, read Revelation) before the eyes of the Lord. In the Lord only is our salvation. Not a presidential candidate, not a policy, not a program. None of that will work. Most of the laws which have caused so much controversy would have not been necessary if the Church had been doing its job.

You want to avoid gay marriage  Focus on building strong marriages and keeping that covenant sacred. There is no scale of sin. Sodomy is no worse than adultery,  fornication,  or idolatry. Yet, while sodomy causes outrage, the others are tolerated on a daily basis, even among church leadership!

You tired of the social welfare programs? When was the last time you gave money to the poor? When was the last time you fed the hungry? If the body of Christ did it, the government would not have to start new programs.

You want the government to be responsible? How much are you in debt? Do you accept responsibility for your actions, even the really dumb ones, or do you want someone to get you out of it? Ever had a ticket fixed? That’s a bailout.

We as individuals, and as the Church, need to get our own house in order. Then, when we talk about these issues, our hypocrisy will not be a nausea causing stench to the nostrils.

A really unusual class

It is always fun when you walk into your classroom, and you realize that sitting in your class that period are the University President, the Vice President for External Relations and University Advancement, the Associate Vice President for Strategic Communications, the Director of Alumni & Parent Relations, several other professors (some quite noted in their field), and a member of the United States House of
Representatives. I knew several of them were going to be there, but it was quite overwhelming at the overall turnout.

Rep. Paul Broun was the guest speaker for my class yesterday. While I wish I could take credit for it, it was actually Gregg Kaufman, the campus Coordinator for the American Democracy Project.  I did manage to get a few pictures during the course of the Townhall style meeting. There was a panel of students who asked questions, and then the audience had a chance to submit questions as well.

Constitution Day, and a guest

Source: National Archives and Records Administration

There are days in history which speak their own importance. No one questions July 4th as a national holiday in the United States, nor should they. But what about September 17th? Is this day any less important? The Declaration of Independence was vital to the creation of this country, and yes, set forth some basic principles of governance. But, the Declaration is not the document that has governed the United States since that humid summer day in 1776.

But the principles set forth in the Declaration were just that: Principles. The United States as we know it did not come into existence until overly a decade later. On September 17th, 1787 the Constitutional Convention approved the document which we now call the United States Constitution. While the government would not be officially established under this document until March of 1789 following ratification, this is the day we celebrate the document itself.

This document was not without controversy, both during the convention (which had been called to amend the Articles of Confederation, not replace them) and during ratification. But, in the end, the Constitution was ratified based on a compromise which included the addition of a Bill of Rights.

Today, we celebrate the constitution. We celebrate the separation of powers. We celebrate the checks and the balances. We celebrate the republican form of government. But most of all, we celebrate “An empire in many respects the most interesting in the world.”[1] Hamilton goes on to write:

It has been frequently remarked that it seems to have been reserved to the people of this country, by their conduct and example, to decide the important question, whether societies of men are really capable or not of establishing good government from reflection and choice, or whether they are forever destined to depend for their political constitutions on accident and force. If there be any truth in the remark, the crisis at which we are arrived may with propriety be regarded as the era in which that decision is to be made; and a wrong election of the part we shall act may, in this view, deserve to be considered as the general misfortune of mankind.[2]

Georgia College marked today by taking over my class (literally, I teach in the Auditorium) for a guest speaker. Dr. Bruce Stinebrickner was outstanding. I’ve heard many Constitution Day lectures, but this one was out of the park. Instead of doing as is typical and focusing on the Bill of Rights, he walked through a few features which made the body of the document unique. The three branches of government with full separation of powers only exist in one other country. With most other democracies, if you control parliament, you control the executive by default. Then he went on to who involved the public is in the nomination process. Most nominees are selected by the party insiders, not by the general population.

So, from this “reflection and choice” we have a document which has governed the United States for over two centuries with only 27 formal amendments. Political discussions aside, it is my firm belief, that this document has indeed been a prevention to the “general misfortune of mankind.”

Dr. Stinebrickner addresses three classes, and quite a few visitors, in the packed house at the Arts & Science Auditorium. Yes, that is the room where I teach twice a week.
And this was the view from the VIP section. Or, the section for the most junior part-time faculty member who was running the sound and assisting with the smart board. This space is also commonly referred to as the Green Room.

[1] Federalist 1, para 1.

[2] Ibid.