Aviation is my hobby, and I grew up in the middle of the grand quest to “put a man on the moon and return him safely to the earth” by the end of the decade, bequeathed to us by John F. Kennedy. I thought I knew about everything there was to know about the space race. Then I saw Hidden Figures, (Rated PG for mild language) and learned a beautiful back story to the Mercury space program that no one should miss.

The film centers around three gifted mathematicians who overcame racial and sexual discrimination to make significant contributions to America’s ultimate aerospace achievement. Mary Jackson (Janelle Monae) is a spunky math whiz who, “would already be an engineer,” if she were a white man. Dorothy Vaughn (Octavia Spencer) is just as smart, but also a wise and wily leader, as she positions her cadre of “colored computers,” a whole division of black female number crunchers working for NASA in segregated space at Langley, Virginia, to become indispensable programmers of the new IBM machines that will soon take their place. But Katherine Johnson (Taraji P. Henson) is the real Brainiac of the bunch, and the central figure in the film. Her skills in analytical geometry get her assigned to the Space Task Group led by Al Harrison (Kevin Costner) where she soon becomes invaluable. It’s her relationship with Harrison, and her conflict with direct supervisor Paul Stafford (Jim Parsons), as well as “the system” of segregation, that make this story so compelling.

The real strength of Hidden Figures is that it humanizes the story of segregation in America without overplaying its hand. It does that because it is the true tale of the way three brilliant women experienced and overcame racism in the most mundane of matters. I don’t want to spoil it for you, but the bathroom and the coffee pot are more compelling in this film than the rockets and IBM machines.

More important than all of those things, however, is that the biblical worldview is on clear display. Although we are all created equal in the image of God, inequality is real in more ways than one. We are differentiated not only by skin color and sex, but also by brains and character. Katherine’s mathematical skills, the depth of Dorothy’s wisdom, and Mary’s tenacity make them stand out above the rest, black or white, male or female. But their needs for dignity, respect, and opportunity are shared by all.

The Fall is also present: our capacity for hypocrisy and rationalization on full display–but so is Redemption. The mission, the grand quest not only to beat the Russians, but also to explore the great beyond, reveals the foolishness of discrimination better than any sermon. Everyone is needed to accomplish the goal, and things like segregation just get in the way.

Finally, the world is changed, not just because man made it to the moon, but because three black women helped him get there.


The inauguration of Donald Trump as the forty-fifth president of the United States is just two days away and many Americans still cannot believe it’s happening, or how he won in the first place. Some say, “The Russians did it!” Others point to corruption in the Clinton camp that predated any FBI investigation. Most, however, miss a critical moment in the last debate when Mr. Trump described late-term abortion, and called it “not acceptable.”

Clinton’s connection to and unconditional support for the abortion industry were pillars of her campaign. Trump’s statement, connected to his promises to repeal Obamacare– which promoted, mandated, and funded abortion at every turn–and to nominate conservative justices to the Supreme Court, who will no doubt hear more challenges to abortion rights, probably did more to persuade conservative evangelicals to hold their noses and vote for him than anything else.

Regardless of Mike Pence’s and other notable evangelicals’ support, whether or not conservative Christians have made a deal with the devil remains to be seen. I give it a fifty-fifty chance of being just that. What is clear is that the cultural winds are shifting away from abortion and in favor of life.

Some notable facts are worth mentioning:

The callousness and corruption of the abortion industry have been exposed in stories like that of late-term abortionist Kermit Gosnell, and Planned Parenthood’s sale of baby parts for profit. Gosnell, the Philadelphia abortionist who catered to immigrants and minorities in a grimy inner city clinic, was convicted on three of eight counts of murder for taking the lives of infants who survived birth in his facility. A documentary movie about Gosnell and the abortion industry, American Tragedy, has been produced and is now making its way across the country.

Planned Parenthood representatives were filmed making deals for baby parts, and bragging about how careful their abortionists were to preserve vital organs for research during the process. The mammoth abortion provider viciously fought back against the producers, The Center for Medical Progress, managing to have them arrested and charged for tactics developed by news organizations like 60 Minutes. But all charges were dropped and, most importantly, the truth got out.

The Freedom of Choice Act, which Mr. Obama promised to sign in his first term, and would have made it illegal and actionable in all fifty states to restrict abortion in any way, never made it out of committee.

Twenty states have passed incremental restraints on abortion and more are on the way.

Obamacare and its onerous mandates requiring all insurance plans to fund and all healthcare providers to offer abortion, have been resoundingly rejected in a national election.

Most encouraging of all, abortions in the United States dropped below one million for the first time in over forty years.

Those of us who have prayed, paid, and worked to end abortion for the past forty-four years have much for which to give thanks. But we dare not put our hopes in this, or any other, president or politician. We need to keep praying, keep paying, and keep working until every human life, inside the womb and out, is equally valued.


                                                                                                                                              Ecclesiastes 11:1-6

Many people are celebrating the election of billionaire Donald Trump as the greatest hope for economic expansion since the Reagan era. Deutsche Bank’s chief economist, David Folkerts-Landau, predicts growth in the 2018 American economy of double the 1.5% rate in 2016.[1] But financial markets loathe uncertainty, and even with his Wharton Business School training and personal success, Trump the business man is harder to nail down than the most Teflon-coated politicians. Nevertheless, says Folkerts-Landau, “While Trump introduces higher uncertainty, this is better than the near certainty of the continuation of a mediocre status quo.”

Excitement breeds irrationality, especially in investing. That’s why having King Solomon’s advice on wealth management is so important as the Trump era looms: it looks at risk and reward through the crystal clear lens of a biblical worldview.

Who is Solomon? Only the wisest and wealthiest man who ever lived, the Warren Buffett of 1000 B.C., except that Solomon makes Buffett look like a B-grade celebrity.

Not counting the assets he inherited from King David, or the taxes he levied on Israel, and other tribute he received, Solomon’s annual income in gold in today’s dollars was roughly $1.1B. He ruled for forty years. Do the math and it’s no surprise that when Solomon spoke, people listened.[2]

Solomon saw two hazards connected to money management: greed and sloth. Greed consumes us with the search for wealth. Sloth induces poverty, and all the troubles that go with it, through either laziness or adversity. Both are results of the Fall. Solomon’s three-fold advice protects us from them.


Keep in mind that in his earlier book, Proverbs, Solomon talked a lot about hard work and diligence. He’s assuming at this point that you’ve done the basics, learned to live within your means, gotten out of debt, created an emergency fund, and begun to set some aside for old age, and you have something with which to invest. Now, he’s saying “Diversify your investments. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.”

I’ve been investing, and watching others invest successfully, for over thirty years and they all have the following in common: They never invest in something they don’t understand, they aren’t gambling on a get-rich-quick scheme, and they all diversify.


The wind is going to blow, and the rain is going to fall, and sometimes it’s going to blow and rain on you and your investments. You can’t wait until you are absolutely certain that everything you invest will pay off because one hundred percent certainty is impossible after the Fall. Some risk must be assumed. Invest anyway.

Basketball star and billionaire business man Michael Jordan knows about risk. “I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career,” he says. “I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.” [3]

Some of us go through life with a hyper-security mindset, afraid to risk, whether money, creativity, time, effort, or love, afraid “to take the shot,” because we are afraid that we will not receive back what we put in. Guess what? THAT’S RIGHT! Invest yourself, invest your gifts, invest your money, invest your love in people, in ministries, in businesses, and I can guarantee you will lose, at least some of the time.

But I can also guarantee the corollary: If you never take the risk, if you wait till you think everything is just right, you will never gain anything, ever. You will wilt on the vine. Trust God and take your best shot.


Since you can’t know all of the variables, you can’t control all of the conditions, and you can’t predict which investment will win and which one will lose, don’t waste worry over the unknowable and impossible. Make full use of each day you’ve been given. Sow your seed in the morning, but don’t stand there fretting over it, saying “hurry up and grow!” Go find something else that needs doing, some other avenue for investing your time and energy, and stay at it till the sun goes down. Be diligent.

Be Diversified, Be Diligent, Be Daring. If you do those things, at least one and sometimes many of your investments will pay off. You will find financial success.




THE OLD MAN’S EGGS: Three Worldview Questions for 2017

An old man with a cane is struggling to get his groceries out of the buggy and into his car. One bag drops to the ground, breaking most of the eggs inside. What should you do: Ignore him and walk on by? Stop, help him pick up the bag, and maybe give him your eggs? Push him down and take his wallet?

I’m willing to bet nobody chose option three.

The way we answer such questions tells us not only about our character, but what we believe about the existence of objective moral truths. No one believes option three is morally right, even the thugs who might take the money and run. It is testimony to the biblical idea that the requirements of the law are written on our hearts, our consciences also bearing witness.

In other words, whether we admit it, or not, whether we want to believe it, or not, we do believe in objective moral truth every bit as much as we believe in scientific truth, like gravity.

The problem, the thing that creates so much confusion for so many of us as we try to sort through answers for today’s difficult questions on things like social justice, abortion, and same sex marriage, is that we are attempting to live with competing and conflicting worldviews. We wouldn’t take the old man’s wallet, but we can’t explain why someone else shouldn’t.

What’s a worldview? Your worldview is the grid through which you understand and interpret all of life. It answers four questions that are basic to everything else: Where did we come from? What’s wrong with us? How are the problems of life best addressed? Where is life headed in the end?

The reason we can’t offer anything more than an exasperated, “It’s just wrong!” to taking the old man’s wallet is that we are attempting to blend traditional morality with pluralism and post-modernism.

Traditional morality is based, more or less, on the biblical worldview (think: creation, fall, redemption, restoration) and agrees that there is such a thing as objective moral truth. Pluralism says that there are many possible worldviews and many possible truths, each with equal validity. Post-modernism says there is no such thing as truth, that meaning is completely subjective. A thing only means what the individual observer says it means. It’s like the old joke about the three umpires. The first one says, “I calls ‘em as they is.” The second says, “I call’s ‘em as I see’s ‘em.” And the third says, “They ain’t nothin’ till I calls ‘em.”

So here’s a three-part challenge for 2017:

First, what is your worldview? Is it consistently biblical? Pluralistic? Post-modern? Or some combination thereof?

Second, ask yourself if it actually fits observed reality. Is someone helping the old man with his eggs, or is someone robbing him, and if so, why?

Third, ask yourself which worldview your life is conforming to, the one you say you believe, or one of the others, or some amalgamation thereof?

My hope and conviction is that as we answer these questions the fog of confusion will clear and uncertainty will give way to confidence.