A Bar for Christians

A few years back a new building was built in my town. Before it was officially opened I was invited to come in and pray over it. It was a sad day.

The building was the office of the county coroner. There was nothing wrong with the building. It was very new and clean and seemed to be well built. But it was a sad day because every room I walked in existed for one purpose.


I knew that it was just a matter of days, maybe hours, until lifeless bodies would lie in the examining room while grieving family members tried their best to handle the pain.

The last room I visited was designed specifically for those who were grieving. There was a window for family and friends of the deceased to look through, apparently to identify their loved one. On the wall just below that window, about waist high, there was a bar. One of those bars you see on the side of the stall in a handicapped restroom. Of all the things I saw that day, this is what has stayed with me.

I grabbed it and thought about the hundreds and hundreds of hands that would cling to that bar as their eyes looked through the window and their knees grew weak. For many, this bar would be their only hope.

But not for Christians.

The bar we have to cling to does not come and go with new buildings. It is constant. It has always existed, even before us. And if we find ourselves on either side of that window, it will still be there. That bar is the goodness of God.

You are good and do good; teach me your statutes. The insolent smear me with lies, but with my whole heart I keep your precepts; their heart is unfeeling like fat, but I delight in your law. Psalm 119:68-70 (ESV)

We don’t know all of the details surrounding this Psalm. We just know that the author was not immune to suffering. He knew what it was like to have his reputation smeared and to be haunted by wickedness. But through it all he remained in God’s word. And it was there that he found something to grasp. The goodness of God.

God’s goodness is not dependent upon our assessment of the goodness of a particular situation. Rather, it is only through his goodness that we are able to see any goodness at all.

It is good for me that I was afflicted that I might learn your statutes. The law of your mouth is better to me than thousands of gold and silver pieces. Psalm 119:71-72 (ESV)

Christians are not immune to the sting of death. Not yet. Our knees still get weak and our eyes still fill with tears.

But we have been given something to cling to during those times. We have a Good Shepherd who calls us to come to him, laying our burdens down and finding rest for our weary souls.

Jesus promises that one day that building will not exist. My friend will be out of a job. Neither one of us can wait for that day.

But until then, we all cling to the Good Shepherd who conquered death for us.

Your Best Halloween Now: An Exegetical Analysis of America’s Most Awkward Holiday

Halloween was invented by four college roommates in the late 1970s. They were staying up late one night listening to Black Sabbath when they suddenly realized that they had run out of candy.  The four lads worked their way down the hall, begging for more candy from their neighbors and a tradition was born.

One of those roommates went on to start Google.

The other invented Facebook.

The third, seeing the potential in this new tradition, bought a pumpkin farm and made billions.

Not wanting to be outdone, the fourth one became a pastor and started a new Halloween tradition. He knew that Black Sabbath wouldn’t go over too well with his church but he was convinced that the candy would be a hit. So one Halloween he told everyone to put a bunch of candy in the trunk of their car and hand it out in the church parking lot.

He called it Junk in the Trunk.

The next year a few disgruntled members got together and made him change the name to Trunk or Treat. After that, some seminary bloggers decided that they didn’t like that name so it was changed to Gospel Centered Candy Sharing That Is Not the Result of Moralism or Legalism but Strictly the Overflow of a Pure Heart. It had a nice ring to it so that’s what churches have been calling their Halloween festivities ever since. Well, at least the good churches. The rest settle for names like Fall Festival.

Like most traditions, as more time passes we need to be reminded how to conduct ourselves. Manners, it seems, are easily forgotten. So here are a few reminders to help you make the most out of America’s most awkward holiday without regretting it ten years from now.

1. Keep your color.

It is never cool to become a different race for Halloween. White folks, I don’t care how much you love Sanford and Son and how many black friends you have who say that they don’t care, do not, under any circumstances, show up to a party dressed as Lamont.

“But,” some will say, “you don’t understand. If I don’t paint myself to look like a member of another race then I’ll get kicked out of my fraternity at Auburn.”

So be it. You shouldn’t be paying for your friends anyway. Especially friends that make you act like an idiot. And why did you go to Auburn in the first place?

2. Keep your gender.

I heard some girl on the news say that she was offended that guys would dress up like a girl for Halloween. Me too. But her reasons were different. “My gender is not a costume,” she declared.

Halloween has a way of bringing out the oddities of our culture. It has become perfectly normal for people to change their gender the other 364 days of the year and use whatever restroom they choose. You can even have a surgery and take some pills to help you change your gender. And if certain politicians have their way, this kind of activity will soon be declared a civil right and funded by all the people who are content with their particular gender. So, if I’m understanding this correctly, costumes aren’t offensive if they are permanent.

I’m lost on this one.

Just to be safe, if you’re over the age of 18 never wear a costume. Ever. Especially the permanent ones.

3. Tone down the boycott.

A lot of folks aren’t fans of Halloween because of its pagan origins. That’s fine. There certainly is a creepy element to the day. But before you start looking down on those who don’t have a problem with a little neighborly candy sharing, consider the not-so-biblical origins of most of the other things you participate in.

Your city is probably named after a guy that wasn’t exactly the best husband and/or church member.

Your car was probably made by a guy who worships a few hundred different gods and uses the proceeds of his labor to find even more gods to worship.

So unless you live in the lovely city of Trinitarian and drive a Predestination 2000 LX Coupe, turn the boycott talk down a few notches.

Look, it’s not a good idea to dress your kid up as Lord Fire Demon, Ruler of the Snake People. But there is a good chance that the kid down the street already has his Lord Fire Demon cape laid out and ready to go. And when he comes knocking on your door, don’t hide behind the couch and don’t hand him a pamphlet reminding him of how Halloween was invented by four college buddies who liked Black Sabbath.

Just hand him a few packs of M&Ms and then invite him to your church’s annual Junk in the Trunk festivities.

Or whatever it is they’re calling it these days.

Raising Country Music Failures

I own a four wheel drive automobile.

I live in a small Georgia town that has a prominent water tower.

I can’t play an instrument or sing.

By my estimation, that qualifies me to have a hit song on a modern country radio station. Be sure to keep an eye out for me the next time the fair comes to your town. I’ll be singing my hit, Me and Linda Lou Having a Ball Under the Water Tower (Linda Lou is My Truck’s Name). Catchy, huh?

Success is king in our culture. That’s why we have so many famous singers who, well, can’t sing. It’s why every major athletic accomplishment is met with skepticism from a fan base that’s heard one too many stories about performance enhancing drugs. And it’s why parents spend thousands of dollars and even more hours so that their kids can learn from the best in whatever particular field it is that they want them to succeed in.

For many parents, success is the destination. Character is the journey. And they want that journey to be as short as possible.

My son took a test on Monday. It was over a book that he wanted to read. The book is way above his reading level but he showed an interest in it. When he started to read it, my wife and I encouraged him and quizzed him along the way. He seemed to grasp all that was happening in the story.

And then came the time to take the test.

He got a 20. That’s a 20 out of 100. The less politically correct way to say that is that he failed. He got an F. In bold, red ink.

It really tore him up.

But I couldn’t have been more proud.

My son tried something. Something hard. And he failed. Hard.

If we’re willing to do the work of parenting, instead of passing the job off to a coach, teacher or pastor, we will see that moments like these provide opportunities to shape our kids into men and women of character.

Today, trophies aren’t earned. They’re given. Just sign up for the team, try to look busy for the duration of the season and get your trophy when it’s all over.

Integrity doesn’t work that way. It can never be given. It can only be earned. And quite often the payment comes in the form of failure. Crushed expectations, bruised egos and humbled spirits are the mounds of clay from which character and integrity are molded.

So maybe we’re missing something in the mad dash to see our kids succeed. Maybe this pursuit of success is driven by our fear of seeing our kids fail like we did. And, as is usually the case, our fearful reaction causes much more harm than good. Paul David Tripp calls failure a needed pathway to the destination of character. If he’s right, and I think that he is, then our pursuit of success is really just a part of an elaborate Ponzi scheme where we give more and more in hopes of a big return. But like today’s modern country singer, our kids are left with a few of the side effects of success but none of the substance.

The pursuit of success tells us to make our kids do hard things so that they can be the best.

The pursuit of character tells us to make our kids do hard things so that they can fail.

When success is the goal, failure is the enemy.

When character is the goal, failure is an opportunity.

My son knows that he failed. But he also knows that he is loved by two parents who are very proud of him. We’re not proud because of some grade. Grades are just a small part of the journey. Sort of like trophies. We’re proud because with each failure and the determination to try again, we’re seeing the destination get closer and closer.

Character is the destination.

Southern Baptist Snake Salvation

I’ve never known a snake handling pastor before. I did know a pastor who managed to get poison ivy in his lungs one time but that’s about as close as it gets. But there are several pastors, perhaps you are one of them or you learn from one of them, who are living a lifestyle just as deadly and just as theologically off base as snake handling reverends.

Jamie Coots and Andrew Hamblin are snake handling pastors who are featured on The National Geographic Channel’s Snake Salvation. For Coots, Hamblin and their followers, taking up poisonous snakes is just as important as baptism and the Lord’s supper. One follower even said that he wouldn’t be saved if he quit handling deadly snakes during worship services.

This faulty theology cites Jesus’ words in Mark 16:18 as verification of the practice.

“They will pick up serpents with their hands.” 

Jesus wasn’t referring to the practice of hunting rattlesnakes, playing with them in church and calling it an ordinance. Paul’s snake handling experience is more in tune with Jesus’ words.

When Paul had gathered a bundle of sticks and put them on the fire, a viper came out because of the heat and fastened on his hand. When the native people saw the creature hanging from his hand, they said to one another, “No doubt this man is a murderer. Though he has escaped from the sea, Justice has not allowed him to live.” He, however, shook off the creature into the fire and suffered no harm. They were waiting for him to swell up or suddenly fall down dead. But when they had waited a long time and saw no misfortune come to him, they changed their minds and said that he was a god. Acts 28:3-6 (ESV)

No snake hunting. Just the power of God when the unexpected happened. Plain and simple.

But still Jamie Coots, Andrew Hamblin and others like them regularly leave their families behind in order to go hunting for a few snakes and the favor of God. Remove the snakes from that scenario and you’ve just described the lifestyle of many evangelical pastors and church leaders.

Sure, we would never say that 70-hour work weeks earn God’s favor. But it will earn the church’s favor. And really, isn’t that just as good?

It’s not.

And calling it “the Lord’s work” doesn’t make it better.

You are much more likely to do “the Lord’s work” while you take the kids outside so your wife can have a break than you are if you spend your evening hours away from your family in some meeting working out the details of Christian skate night at Big Ralph’s Roller Barn.

The men on Snake Salvation repeatedly tell their wives that the church comes before them as they head out the door, leaving their bride to care for their 8 children so that they can find new snakes to play with. And usually, the wife submits.

It’s hard to argue with the Lord’s work, isn’t it?

In his letter to a young pastor named Timothy, Paul puts things in a different order for those who lead the church.

“He must manage his own household well, with all dignity keeping his children submissive, for if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he care for God’s church?” 1 Timothy 3:4-5 (ESV) 

Paul’s message is clear. If you really want to lead the church well, your family must come before the church. Not before Jesus. But definitely before the church.

But that’s a hard message for people pleasers and those seeking justification by man’s approval. Telling someone in your church no so that you can make it to your daughter’s dance recital might win you a few enemies and it might earn you an unwanted reputation.

“That pastor is okay. He just doesn’t visit enough.”

Fine. Just remember that the same thing was said about Peter and James and John (Acts 6:1).

Eventually, snake handler’s get bit, their wives get mad and their church scatters. Theirs is a lifestyle that lends itself to death, both physical and spiritual.

Evangelical pastors who let others manage their time for them get bit too. And because they worked and lived as if it all depended on them, once the inevitable happens, they leave in their wake a worn down family and a confused church. Theirs too is a lifestyle that lends itself to death, both physical and spiritual.

A pastor friend of mine was confronted by his wife about an affair. His heart sank. He was shocked that his wife knew anything about his mistress. It turns out, she knew more about the other woman than he did.

His mistress was the church that he pastored. Heartbroken, his wife told him that he seemed to love the mistress more than her.

He couldn’t argue with her.

It’s hard to argue with not doing the Lord’s work, isn’t it?

A Brief Personal History of Hiding God’s Word

The first movie I can remember seeing in a theater is The Amityville Horror. It’s a delightful tale of a family that moves into a house that talks to them. I couldn’t have been more than four when I saw it. I have no idea how my mother let that one slip by.

“Mom, can we see Star Wars?”

“No. Somebody said something about it being new age. Let’s try this movie about a family that buys a house that talks to them. Come on kids!”

Needless to say, that movie really messed with me. I had nightmares for years. I dreaded going to bed. Sleep was a chore that I never could really complete. That’s not a good place for anyone, especially a kid.

Eventually, my mom gave me some good advice. She told me to put my Bible under my pillow when I went to bed at night. Her point wasn’t that there were magical powers in my Bible. It was just her way of helping me to remember that Jesus was with me.

A little while later, after the dreams had stopped, I told a relative about the Bible under my pillow. The relative scoffed.

“Well that’s silly. Now you’re going to have to carry your Bible with you wherever you go.”

I think that was what my mother was going for all along. It worked.

Years passed. I was in a 9th grade math class, scared to death and wondering why the numbers were being replaced with letters. Everyday I worried about failing math. And then I remembered what my mother taught me about the Bible.

So the next day I brought a pillow into class, put my Bible under it and fell asleep in the floor. My teacher didn’t get it.

Actually I just brought in one verse, written on my math notebook. And no pillow.

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. Isaiah 43:2

That verse didn’t help me with understanding how to find x. But it did help me to remember the goodness and presence of Jesus. By the end of the year I had Isaiah 43:2 memorized. Sadly, that never was a question on a math test.

Now that I’m grown up, I don’t have very many bad dreams and I’m done with math class. But I still need God’s word. I’m not the type that can memorize huge portions of scripture. I have to write it down and carry it with me. This week I wrote down two new verses on a piece of paper. I couldn’t help but look back, almost four decades ago, to the time that my mother taught me what it meant to hide God’s word in my heart.

I have two kids of my own now. Occasionally they have bad dreams. A few nights ago, in that weird state of being sort of asleep, I heard the sound of two small feet finding their way through the darkness and to the side of my bed.

“Dad, I had a bad dream.”

I never let my kids watch horror movies so it must be all of those Falcons games that are causing the trouble. Either way, I got up and walked my son back to his room. When I was helping him into bed I noticed something under his pillow.

It was a book.

The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis.

A few nights before my wife told him about how I used to sleep with my Bible under my pillow. He couldn’t find his Bible so, in his mind, this was the next best thing.

Parents, our kids are paying attention. They are watching and listening to us. They are impacted by our mistakes. But God has a way of redeeming those mistakes. Like the times when he uses moms and dads to teach their frightened children what it means to hide God’s word in their hearts.

It is good for me that I was afflicted, that I might learn your statutes. The law of your mouth is better to me than thousands of gold and silver pieces. Psalm 119:71-72 (ESV)

When The Darkness Is Deepest

Maybe God is punishing us. Or maybe he’s just allowing us to deal with the natural consequences of our rebellion against him. I don’t know. He hasn’t told me. But we don’t need a special word to know that we are living in dark times. That much is obvious. Here’s the thing about darkness. You’ve probably heard it said before. Light shines brightest when the darkness is deepest.

Christians should be leading the way in calling attention to and fighting against the darkness. But, if we’re not careful, we will find ourselves in danger. We can become so consumed with the darkness that surrounds us that we forget about the light that is in us (Matthew 5:16). And as a result we can develop a reputation of only being against certain issues while never really being for anything. Okay, so maybe we’re already there. But it doesn’t have to stay that way. We can change.

No matter how dark things are, God is always working. And he is always good. If we really want to see his good work, we just have to pay attention. Whether we notice it or not, God’s grace and mercy, his love and goodness, are on display in millions of ways each day.

Like the smile of a small boy. This morning, I wanted to hug my son and tell him that I love him. So I did. He was sitting at the table and eating carrots. As I walked away from him he made a request.

“Dad, I want to go hunting with you and I want to use my bare hands just like you.”

He smiled.

Apparently my kid thinks that I can kill an elk with my bare hands. He doesn’t need to know the truth just yet.

This is God’s grace. It is a light in a dark world.

Consider also the followers of Christ whom God has placed in key leadership positions. Men like Al Mohler. Mohler is the president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. Earlier this week he gave an address at Brigham Young University, Mormonism’s central institution of higher learning. One might expect someone in Mohler’s position to water down his beliefs and deliver a lecture on how faith in something is good enough for salvation and, therefore, Mormons and Christians are one in Christ.

That didn’t happen.

“I am not here because I believe we are going to heaven together. I do not believe that. I believe that salvation comes only to those who believe and trust only in Christ and in his substitutionary atonement for salvation. I believe in justification by faith alone, in Christ alone. I love and respect you as friends, and as friends we would speak only what we believe to be true, especially on matters of eternal significance. We inhabit separate and irreconcilable theological worlds, made clear with respect to the doctrine of the Trinity. And yet here I am, and gladly so. We will speak to one another of what we most sincerely believe to be true, precisely because we love and respect one another.”

Mohler’s combination of love, truth and courage is another reminder of God’s grace. Yet another light in a dark world.

There are thousands of others like Al Mohler. Men and women who you may not agree with on every issue but who stand tall with their feet firmly planted in the truth. There are even men and women like that in Washington D.C. It is not my intention to name names. That would only lead to partisan bickering. We should just remember that God is not confined to working in and through one political party. He isn’t intimidated by the godlessness of cities like Washington D.C. Just as he did thousands of years ago through people like Joseph, Daniel and Esther, God has people who are representing him in dark political arenas.

They are reminders of God’s grace. They are lights in a dark world.

I do not know what the future holds for our country. I do know that the present is quite dark. But that just serves as a greater opportunity for the Light to shine. You can see it in the smiling faces of a husband and wife who have been married for 50 years. You can see it in the perseverance of a young woman who clings to Jesus after another miscarriage.

They are all reminders of God’s grace. They are lights in a dark world.

And they remind us of a world that awaits those who have put their faith in Christ. A world where there is no darkness because it has been finally and forever defeated by the Light.

And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and its lamp is the Lamb. By its light will the nations walk, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it, and its gates will never be shut by day—and there will be no night there. They will bring into it the glory and the honor of the nations. But nothing unclean will ever enter it, nor anyone who does what is detestable or false, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s book of life. Revelation 21:23-27 (ESV)

13 Kids

I’m the pastor of a medium-sized church in a small town. We don’t have a coffee shop in our church. There’s not even one in our town. We do have a place where people can buy, sell or trade cattle and I’m sure that there’s plenty of coffee there.

Even the people in my small town, when they visit our church, are shocked at how geographically isolated we are.

“Man, y’all starting some kind of Branch Davidian compound out here? I like to never found this place.”

By most standards, our church isn’t very influential. CNN never calls asking me to come on the air and elaborate about my last sermon. We aren’t working on a way to use satellites and drones to dig wells in underdeveloped countries.

In order to be really influential, some say, you have to be in a city. That’s where the culture makers and shapers live. And if you can reach them, you can impact the culture with the gospel. Therefore, move to the city. Get out of the country as soon as you can. Head for the skyscrapers!

I understand the sentiment. I’m not concerned with starting an urban versus rural ministry civil war. The gospel is needed in both contexts and Jesus sovereignly equips and places people to represent him where he sees fit.

Jesus has seen fit to place me in a medium-sized church in a small community and I couldn’t be happier. And while our church may never start an international movement, we do have an impact. A small impact. But just because an impact is small doesn’t mean that it is insignificant.

Last Sunday, I got a gift from some kids in our church. It’s a piece of art. In the middle of the white canvas a teenager painted a cross. Inside of the cross she wrote a Bible verse.

Train a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not turn from it. Proverbs 22:6

Around the perimeter of the canvas there are 13 tiny handprints. They belong to children in our church. Each kid’s name is written on his handprint.














Monday morning I was hanging this picture in my office when a man walked in. He’s old enough to be the grandfather of the kids whose names are written on that canvas. He’s not the type to preach a sermon, teach a class or start a movement. He’s a farmer. And he loves Jesus and the Church Jesus died for.

When those 13 kids in our church become men and women, that’s where I want them to be. For now, I’m not concerned with whether or not they will start a movement, preach or teach. I just want them to love Jesus and the Church Jesus died for.

I think we’ve got it all wrong on impact and influence. We think that it always has to be big. Usually, it isn’t. In fact, to the human eye at least, it has a way of looking really small. Like when a group of older farmers and retirees pour their lives into 13 kids with tiny hands.

Those hands won’t be smooth and tiny forever. As time passes by they will collect a few scars and grow bigger. And when the physical growing is complete, may the spiritual growth continue.

All because of the impact of a medium-sized church.

And a very big God.

Things To Consider When Looking For A Solid College To Attend

1. Does it have a snack bar? (0:33)

2. Will there be canoes available? (0:55)

3. Does the ladies dorm look like a hotel one would find in the Swiss Alps? (1:05)

4. Does the men’s dorm look like an apartment complex in Dunwoody, Georgia? (1:25)

5. Are there at least five dead animals in said men’s dorm? (1:29)

6. Could Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman have been filmed there? (1:32)

7. Salad bar? (2:12)

8. Skirt volleyball? (2:18)

9. Is there a special wall to protect skirt volleyball players from heathens and their basketball games? (2:20)

10. Will people be locked in a glass cage and forced to play racquetball for hours and hours in order to be studied for scientific purposes? (2:25)

11. Is there a pool that no one is allowed to use? (2:30)

12. Are there gender based weight rooms? (2:35)

13. Oh, I almost forgot. Do they have books and a place to read them? (2:47)

14. Do the classrooms come with desks that were taken from a third grade classroom? (2:52)

If you can somehow find an institution that offers all of this, then you have obviously found the place to be. You’ll thank me later.

The Devil’s Dictionary of American Politics

One of the tricky things about our language is that words often have multiple meanings. Take the word dude, for example.

“What’s up, dude?”

Here, dude means fellow or friend.

But the same word can also be an expression of shock or awe.

“Hey, Cheese Puffs aren’t buy one get one free at Kroger anymore.”


Nowhere is the multiple meaning of our words more clear than in American politics. You’ve probably heard it said before that the Devil is in the details. In his book The Devil’s Dictionary of the Christian Faith, Donald Williams elaborates on that saying. “Remember: the definition is what the Devil wishes were true, period, and which is, in fact, true all too often.”

Here’s how the Devil is getting his wish in the language of American politics.

Affordable (adj.): When the government gives you something that neither you or they can afford by forcing a completely different group of people to pay for it thus making it free. Well, free for them at least.

Anarchist (n.): Any individual or organization that has a problem with the federal government spending trillions of dollars to make sure that your flower bed has the proper ratio of weeds to pine straw.

Bipartisan (adj.): When politicians who represent opposing viewpoints come together to really stick it to the American people.

Cut 1 (v., archaic): To decrease the size and spending of government; 2 (v., current): An act of terrorism that would prevent millions of Americans from being provided with much needed smart phones, Curious George cartoons and ridiculous pieces of art placed inside of funny looking library buildings.

Debt (n.): Money that American politicians borrow from other nations or institutions under the assumption that it will be used to help average American citizens. In the rare event that this money is ever returned, it will be at the expense of those same average American citizens. And their children. And their children’s children.

Democrat (n.): A member or supporter of the most compassionate and caring political party that has ever existed.

Extremism (n.): The belief that one should be able to say what he wishes, worship where he wishes, own a firearm and put as much pine straw in his flower garden as he so desires.

Freedom (n.): A citizen’s privilege to choose whether his rights will be taken away by a republican or a democrat.

Gun-Control (n.): The belief that government should use its own evil weapons to take away evil weapons from citizens that is grounded in the assumption that only government agents and American funded international drug lords have enough inherent goodness to overcome the evil of such weapons.

Politician (n.): A person elected to represent a group of citizens by acquiring as much money and power as possible, all for the good of those citizens, of course.

Republican (n.): A derivative from Latin meaning to sell one’s soul and cave in at the last minute.

Sacrifice (n.): A citizen’s patriotic duty of either voluntarily or involuntarily giving up rights so that government can protect him from himself.

Terrorist (n.): A Christian mother of five who drives a mini-van, loves her husband and kids, pays for her own groceries and voted for Ron Paul. Not to be confused with people who use anything at their disposal to do as much harm as possible to the American republic while benefiting themselves. See politician.

Tragedy (n.): A really awesome opportunity for politicians to acquire more power for themselves and take away more rights from citizens by appealing to the emotions or fears of those citizens.

War (n.): The political strategy of making a bad situation worse by talking about it more, “getting tough” on it and spending trillions of dollars on it. Examples include but are not limited to the War on Drugs, the War on Terror and the War on Poverty.

So now, the next time you turn on the news and hear about a bipartisan effort to bring about gun control, you can turn to your friend and say, “Dude! This ain’t good, dude.”