A great piece on Judicial review!

Truth on the Market

Imagine if you picked up your morning paper to read that one of your astronomy professors had publicly questioned whether the earth, in fact, revolves around the sun.  Or suppose that one of your economics professors was quoted as saying that consumers would purchase more gasoline if the price would simply rise.  Or maybe your high school math teacher was publicly insisting that 2 + 2 = 5.  You’d be a little embarrassed, right?  You’d worry that your colleagues and friends might begin to question your astronomical, economic, or mathematical literacy.

Now you know how I felt this morning when I read in the Wall Street Journal that my own constitutional law professor had stated that it would be “an unprecedented, extraordinary step” for the Supreme Court to “overturn[] a law [i.e., the Affordable Care Act] that was passed by a strong majority of a democratically elected Congress.”  Putting aside the “strong majority” nonsense…

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Four Benefits of Fasting

Why should we fast? In our hectic, minute-to-minute world, why would anyone voluntarily choose to forgo the essential nourishment of daily meals? Some would say we fast in order to refocus our hearts and minds on what’s really important, in order to serve God better, but when your stomach is angrily protesting the lack of food, how can you focus on God?  What are the benefits of fasting, both spiritual and otherwise?

These are some of the questions that can nag at the mind and make one wonder if this particular spiritual discipline is very profitable or even relevant today. Richard Foster, the author of “Celebration of Discipline” gives some insight into what fasting is for: “Fasting reminds us that we are sustained by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God (Matt 4:4). Food does not sustain us; God sustains us.”

Fasting is First of All Spiritual

“Is this the kind of fast I have chosen, only a day for people to humble themselves? Is it only for bowing one’s head like a reed and for lying in sackcloth and ashes? Is that what you call a fast, a day acceptable to the LORD? Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke? (Isaiah 58:5-6)

For the Christian, fasting is first and foremost a spiritual exercise. It’s about refocusing our minds on who God is, on what he provides for us (both spiritually and physically) and on knowing him better. As the prophet Isaiah wrote above, true fasting involves following the example of Christ and serving the needy.

So let me give you four benefits of fasting to help motivate you to take advantage of this chance for spiritual nourishment.

Four Benefits of Fasting

1.) Fasting reminds us that our physical hunger is a mere shadow of our spiritual need

Christ said, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.”

So often, we were are angry, frustrated, or otherwise in need, we think the solution consists entirely in a physical remedy. If I’m hungry, I eat. If my bank account is low, I take on another job and cut back on expenses.

While these are all necessary responses to real world situations, we miss the larger picture if these are the only ways we respond. Trials in our life are an opportunity to come before God and ask Him for help, like David did. “I put on sackcloth and humbled myself with fasting” (Psalm 35:13). God promises to meet us in those times when we are weakest (2 Cor. 12:9).

2.) Fasting frees up additional time to spend in prayer and fellowship with God.

It’s an oft-repeated lament in our culture today that we are too busy, too preoccupied, and don’t have time for the important things in life.  Fasting frees up meal times for prayer and reflection. While we contemplate the food we are missing, we can take time to meet those spiritual needs that often get forgotten.

3.) Fasting reveals the things that control us.

What are the idols in our lives that control us? For many, food is something we pursue with greater vigor than Christ, making it an idol. The Apostle Paul wrote: “Everything is permissible for me”–but I will not be mastered by anything.”  (I Cor. 6:12)  “No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.”  (I Cor. 9:27)

Too often, I find myself making excuses for not doing what I should be, because of my physical wants. “I’m too tired this morning, I think I’ll sleep in instead of going to church” or “exercising is too painful because of my knee injury, I think I’ll watch a movie instead.” As pathetic as this sounds, we’ve all been there.  Fasting is just one more way we can remind our bodies that they serve us, to be used for God’s glory.

4.) Fasting frees up resources that can be used to help others.

Finally, fasting frees up resources that can be used to help others.  The chief accusation against the fasters in Isaiah 58 was that they denied themselves without serving others.  Their fast was contrary to the will of God because it had nothing to do with living out God’s heart for the poor.  When we fast food, television, movies, coffee, etc., we have an opportunity to take that money or time and invest it in the lives of those around us. Here at 58:, our goal is to help people incorporate that kind of sacrificial living into a way of life.  We believe that this is nothing less than what the bible requires of us, and that if enough Christians join together in this way, we can end extreme global poverty.  Will you see the power of fasting in your own life and the world around you? Will you join us?

On Being a Man

Here are two of my favorite passages on Manhood.  I miss the old days when boys were expected to make something of their lives beyond a few bucks to blow on movies and entertainment, and earn the right to be called “a man.”  Fatherhood has never been easy, but there used to be a day when there were more of them, more of them who guided and nurtured the next generation, teaching them that truth, honor and the dignity of a woman were things worth fighting for.  I’m proud to have a father who has done his best to teach me some of these things.  The following two passages are from men who I think represent some of those ideals:

Rudyard Kipling

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or, being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or, being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise;
If you can dream – and not make dreams your master;
If you can think – and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with triumph and disaster
And treat those two imposters just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to broken,
And stoop and build ’em up with wornout tools;
If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breath a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: “Hold on”;
If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with kings – nor lose the common touch;
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you;
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run –
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And – which is more – you’ll be a Man my son! 

The Battle of Life
by Theodore Roosevelt

“It is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming, but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself for a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat.”
“Citizenship in a Republic,”
Speech at the Sorbonne, Paris, April 23, 1910

Oh Christmas Lights, Keep Shining On.

“Christmas night, another fight
Tears we cried a flood
Got all kinds of poison in
Poison in my blood
I took my feet
To Oxford Street
Trying to right a wrong
Just walk away
Those windows say
But I can’t believe she’s gone
When you’re still waiting for the snow to fall
Doesn’t really feel like Christmas at all
Up above candles on air flicker
Oh they flicker and they float
But I’m up here holding on
To all those chandeliers of hope
Like some drunken Elvis singing
I go singing out of tune
Saying how I always loved you darling

And I always will

Those Christmas lights, light up the street.
Down where the sea and city meet.
May all your troubles soon be gone,
Oh, Christmas lights, keep shining on.

Those Christmas lights, light up the street.
Maybe they’ll bring her back to me.
Then all my troubles will be gone,
Oh Christmas lights, keep shining on.”

-“Christmas Lights” by Coldplay

   Ah, to write again. It’s been so long, but it is very cathartic.  I’ve missed getting to put words together for fun, instead of solving problem sets or writing papers.  I never really considered myself a writer, but I find more and more that the only way for me to wrest some thoughts from my restless consciousness is to nail them to a page.
    Christmas is a good time for reflection, for taking in the previous year and looking ahead to the next.  In less than a week, 2010 and a whole decade of memories will be behind me and it’s worthwhile to sift through them and try to learn some lessons.
    I have a pernicious habit of always wishing to relieve the past, especially when there have been painful lessons contained therein. So often, I’ve said to myself “if I’d only known that at the beginning of the semester, oh how different my life would be now!”  Yet, it’s encouraging to look back at God’s gentle, yet firm hand in my life over the last 6 years, constantly guiding me and lifting me out of the hardest struggles, just when I thought I couldn’t take anymore.  If I was the man today, that I was three years ago, I never would have survived the crises placed in front of me. Nor are we alone, God gives us friends and family to walk with us, to counsel us and console us through these times of growth.
      When we hurt the most or when human love has failed us, it’s common to ask “What is love and is it even worth it?” God’s response: In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another” (1 John 4:10-11). This is what Christmas is all about.  Jesus entered into this world, became broken, despised and undignified because God loved us!
    I daresay I’ve struggled with unrequited love more than once in my life, and who hasn’t?  The burden placed on a Christian man who seeks to live out traditional norms of courtship can seem overwhelming and anachronistic in this modern age.  As Christian men, we’re called to pray about pursuing a girl beforehand, to initiate a relationship with her at the proper time, to submit to accountability with the responsible men in her life, and after all this, to give the girl the necessary time and space to evaluate our lives, character and suitability as a potential husband.  And what if she says “No, I’m sorry, but you’re not sufficient?” As Heath Ledger’s opponent in “A Knight’s Tale” says, “You have been weighed, you have been measured, you have been counted and you have been found wanting.” What then?  Have we built our whole identity as men around our prowess with women, around successfully capturing the affections of that one woman in a million who will make us happy? Are we so preoccupied with getting the love of “the one,” that we’ve forgotten the everlasting love of “The One” who died for us? Have we fallen for the “Summer Finn” effect?
    I never really realized how Jesus stands as the perfect example of manly courage and love until I experienced rejection.  We cry to God, saying “Lord, how could you let this happen to me?  How am I supposed to handle the fact that the person I love doesn’t love me?”  To men, it often seems unfair that we should have to lead things in a relationship, that we should be the first ones to make our intentions known. “Couldn’t she just leave you hanging and throw your feeble attempts at honor and chivalry over her calloused, “liberated,” feminist, shoulder?”  But then Jesus stands as a reminder that God loved us even when we didn’t love Him, that he stepped out and took a risk on us for love, even though he knew that we would reject him initially, that we would spit on him and curse him, and yet, he took the risk anyway.  God knows more about unrequited love than you and I could ever comprehend, so when she doesn’t call or tells you things just aren’t going to work out, just remember, she was never the one meant to love you unconditionally in the first place.  Take courage and follow your Master, there are still risks worth taking.

New Blog

Hey Guys,
  I’ve previously tried to get into the spirit of blogging, but without much success.  Now that I find myself coming to the end of my time at Cornell, I think it’s high time I began writing and processing everything that’s happened during my time here, as well as the last 6 years.  Life really has flown by and it’s hard to see everything that God has been doing during this time unless one takes the time to reflect on it.  Here’s to hoping my reflections are worth something to all of you.

In Christ,

Adam J. Woodward

Coming Home from Cornell…Briefly

Hey Guys,
This blog idea is fantastic. I’m glad I have a place to keep up with what’s going on with everyone. Just an update on my life right now:
I’m wrapping up my 3rd year of college, but my first here at Cornell. It’s been a tough two semesters; Chemical Engineering hasn’t given me any breaks, but I’m sure Uncles Dan and Mike can relate. I’ve been considering changing my major to a dual Chemistry/Government degree, so I can pursue both passions, but we’ll see how that works out.
Campus Crusade for Christ has been a huge part of my life here at Cornell. I’ve made a lot of good friends and really had the chance to be seriously mentored by older Christians for the first time. Cornell can be a pretty dark campus spiritually, and these relationships have encouraged me to fight the good fight, share my faith, and avoid most of the temptations associated with college life. I’m also part of the College Republicans, Cornell Coalition for Life, and I’ve recently started writing for the Cornell Daily Sun, our campus newspaper.

I’ve been to the old store Grandpa ran near Binghamton. It’s funny to think I’m living only 45 min from where the family began. I can see why Grandma and Grandpa left here though, the weather is ridiculous! It’s terribly cold for way to long, and then all of a sudden the weather changes like a person with bi-polar disorder. Case in point, a week or two ago it got up to 90 degrees, and then 48 hours later was in the lower 40s. It’s hard to keep up with what to wear.

We made the 20 hour drive from Ithaca, NY to Panama City, FL. On the way we stopped by the house to see the family.
Me and Sarah P, enjoying the fine desserts made by all the girls.
This is how we celebrate Birthdays in Crusade. Lots of Cake…on the face. My friend Sammy got the worst of it here.
These are some of my friends from Crusade, who all graduated this year. We’re a pretty diverse group of people.
I was the MC for Cru Dessert, an end of the year event where we reflected on the semester and what God has done in our lives. This is me and some friends at the Campus Crusade Big break conference in Panama city. We spent an awesome week at the beach during MTV’s “Spring Break” party, sharing the gospel with people and getting to know other Christians from around the country.

Here’s a picture of me horsing around with Jack Betts, one of the Crusade staffer’s kids.