Archive - May, 2009

Interview with Aurelio Barreto, President of C28

Mr. Aurelio Barreto is the President and CEO of C28, a Christian retail store chain which sells Christian clothing, music, jewelry and accessories. C28 stands for Colossians 2:8, and the phrase “not of this world” (NOTW), which can seen on the back of cars and on T-shirts all over the place. You’ll see a flashing icon on this blog–that’s them. Check them out–they sell attractive, professionally designed, high quality clothing and jewelry which winsomely presents the gospel. I asked Aurelio if he’d be kind enough to answer a few questions for us.

What was your religious background as an adult, and how did God call you to Himself?

I grew up Catholic and did all the right things as an adult, but while I was a teenager I went from drugs to girls and then as an adult to being a moral man. After selling my $62 million dollar business and retiring at age 37, I realized first hand that all the money, power, influence and success of this world could not buy me the happiness and peace I was looking for.
Why did you start a T-shirt company?
After giving my life to the Lord Jesus, I began changing and wanting to glorify Him. I began praying about serving Him. At first I thought I would be a pastor, I thought about being a missionary, but that was only until I realized that God wanted me to do everything as unto the Lord. I realized that my gifts and talents were in business and that I could truly glorify Him through business. When He gave me the idea of a retail store I thought, “Dear God, why retail of all things? I will certainly lose everything. Please God, just point me to ministries where I can donate a couple of million to and I can serve You.” I thought I would lose it all. At first we were losing $50K per month. After the first 4 years of operations I finally surrendered the business over to Him 100%. I told Him I had no idea what I was doing and was afraid I would lose it all. I told Him that if things were going to work, then He would have to take charge. That very year after surrendering the business over to Him was the very first year we had a profit, and now we have been profitable for the past 5 years ever since. All praise goes to God. And what matter most is that over 13,000 people have prayed to receive Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior since we started 9 years ago. I have seen and witnessed changed lives that are now bearing much fruit.
You said that after 4 years of operations you finally turned over your business to God 100%. What did this look like?
Basically, it was a surrender of the mind. That I could actually trust God to not just take care of the business, but actually do better than I could.
In what ways (if any) do you now believe that you were behaving/thinking inappropriately the previous 4 years?
Always taking charge instead of waiting on the Lord. Not being so quick to exercise my God-given rights as opposed to waiting upon the Lord to give me His clear directions. I needed to trust God to do what only God can do.
In just a few sentences, what do you hope for your T-shirt company to accomplish?
Expose people to God’s Word. Shirts are read an average of 300 times by people who otherwise would never step into anything Christian. As Christians, we assume that everyone knows about Jesus and the unfortunate reality is that the majority has no clue.
What resources have helped you as a Christian businessman, particularly in a leadership role?
The Lord Jesus. The Bible is totally about business. Jesus Christ was a carpenter, back then that was business. Our company’s mission is to glorify God by sharing the life-changing gospel message of grace, truth and love found in Jesus Christ. We seek to do this through prayer, evangelism, and God’s written word on apparel. Our mission statement, vision, message and values are posted on our website.
What practical measures have you placed in your life to battle materialism?
It truly is about God’s grace. The same grace that God used to save me is the same grace that keeps me looking to Him. There is nothing bad with money, but it is the “love” of money that kills a person. The parable of the talents is clear about multiplying whatever God has given a person. Whether it is time, talents or treasures, we are to multiply them for God’s glory.

Do you have any significant involvements outside of your role leading C28?

It seems like God has me speaking and doing evangelism 1-2 times per week. I also serve on 3 boards of directors for different Christian organizations: Woodcrest Christian School for 8 years; Haven Ministries for 6 years; and CBA for 2 years.

The Gospel and Marriage

“The cross makes a stunning statement about husbands and wives: we are sinners and our only hope is grace. Without a clear awareness of sin, we will evaluate our conflicts outside of the biblical story–the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross–thus eliminating any basis for true understanding, true reconciliation, or true change. Without the gospel of our crucified and risen Savior our marriages slide toward the superficial. We begin to make limp justifications for our sinful behavior, and our marriage conflicts end, at best, in uneasy, partial, negotiated settlements.”
–Dave Harvey, When Sinners Say “I Do”: Discovering the Power of the Gospel for Marriage

Robert George on Sonya Sotomayor (and Prop 8)

On Issues Etc. today.
HT: James H. Grant

Identity Politics and Sonia Sotomayor

Writing for the National Journal Magazine, Stuart Taylor has a pair of outstanding articles, both written before Ms. Sotomayor was nominated for the SCOTUS, which very helpfully explain the concern of her playing identity politics.
The case you’ll be hearing about:

Frank Ricci, a firefighter in New Haven, Conn., worked hard, played by the rules, and earned a promotion to fire lieutenant. But the city denied him the promotion because he is not black. Ricci sued, along with 16 other whites and one Hispanic firefighter.

How did this happen?

Ricci studied for eight to 13 hours a day to prepare for the combined written and oral exam in 2003 that he hoped would win him a promotion. He spent more than $1,000 buying the books that the city had suggested as homework and paying an acquaintance to read them onto audiotapes. (Ricci is dyslexic and learns better by listening.) And he got one of the highest scores.
But Ricci and other would-be lieutenants and captains with high scores did not get the promotions they expected. The reason was that — because not enough black firefighters had done well enough to be eligible — New Haven decided to discard the test results and make no promotions at all.

Naturally, Ricci and his colleagues sued. And Sotomayor was among the judges who supported New Haven’s decision to discard the test results. Read the whole thing. Taylor’s conclusion:

“Most working- and middle-class white Americans don’t feel that they have been particularly privileged by their race,” Obama said in his much-acclaimed March 18 speech about race. “So when they … hear that an African-American is getting an advantage in landing a good job or a spot in a good college because of an injustice that they themselves never committed … resentment builds over time.”
So it does. But based on Obama’s record and the views of the civil-rights specialists on his transition team, there is every reason to worry that he will appoint civil-rights enforcers, judges, and justices bent on perpetuating the race-based discrimination against whites (and Asians) in many walks of life that is exemplified by the New Haven firefighter case.
I suspect that deep down, Obama would appreciate the simple injustice of the New Haven firefighter case. It would be most interesting to find out.

Taylor’s second article was written just a few days ago. It contains this quote from Sotomayor:

“I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion [as a judge] than a white male who hasn’t lived that life.” — Judge Sonia Sotomayor, in her Judge Mario G. Olmos Law and Cultural Diversity Lecture at the University of California (Berkeley) School of Law in 2001

And these thoughts from Mr. Taylor about her speech at U.C. Berkeley (my Alma Mater):

Sotomayor also referred to the cardinal duty of judges to be impartial as a mere “aspiration because it denies the fact that we are by our experiences making different choices than others.” And she suggested that “inherent physiological or cultural differences” may help explain why “our gender and national origins may and will make a difference in our judging.”
So accustomed have we become to identity politics that it barely causes a ripple when a highly touted Supreme Court candidate, who sits on the federal Appeals Court in New York, has seriously suggested that Latina women like her make better judges than white males.
Indeed, unless Sotomayor believes that Latina women also make better judges than Latino men, and also better than African-American men and women, her basic proposition seems to be that white males (with some exceptions, she noted) are inferior to all other groups in the qualities that make for a good jurist.
Any prominent white male would be instantly and properly banished from polite society as a racist and a sexist for making an analogous claim of ethnic and gender superiority or inferiority.

Read the whole thing.

CA Supreme Court Upholds Prop 8

Great news out of San Francisco, CA this morning. The Supreme Court’s website appears to be jammed right now, but the news will soon appear.

The California Supreme Court on Tuesday upheld same sex marriages that were already performed but upheld voters’ rights to amend the state constitution banning gay marriage.

Judge Sonia Sotomayor: Court is Where Policy is Made

Krauthammer Reacts To Sotomayor Pick

Columnist Charles Krauthammer discusses the identity politics of Supreme Court Nominee Sonia Sotomayor. He also discusses how the Sotomayor selection may placate the left-wing of President Obama’s party:

Sonia Sotomayor – Supreme Court Nominee

It is being widely reported that Ms. Sonia Sotomayor is President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee. Briefly, Sotomayor was first appointed by President George H.W. Bush to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York in 1992. She served there until 1998, when President Clinton appointed her to the U.S. Appeals Court. Clinton’s nomination occurred in 1997, but her confirmation took about 1 year.
The Administration is hoping for hearings in July and a confirmation before summer recess. The case for Sotomayor: Compelling personal biography (raised in housing projects in the Bronx, later attended top law schools, has had a lifelong struggle with diabetes). In her Senate confirmation to the U.S. Appeals Court, Sotomayor won the support of 25 Republicans, including eight senators who still serve. The case against Sostomayor: Jeffrey Rosen, writing for the left-leaning The New Republic, writes (in part):

The most consistent concern was that Sotomayor, although an able lawyer, was “not that smart and kind of a bully on the bench,” as one former Second Circuit clerk for another judge put it. “She has an inflated opinion of herself, and is domineering during oral arguments, but her questions aren’t penetrating and don’t get to the heart of the issue.” (During one argument, an elderly judicial colleague is said to have leaned over and said, “Will you please stop talking and let them talk?”) Second Circuit judge Jose Cabranes, who would later become her colleague, put this point more charitably in a 1995 interview with The New York Times: “She is not intimidated or overwhelmed by the eminence or power or prestige of any party, or indeed of the media.”
Her opinions, although competent, are viewed by former prosecutors as not especially clean or tight, and sometimes miss the forest for the trees. It’s customary, for example, for Second Circuit judges to circulate their draft opinions to invite a robust exchange of views. Sotomayor, several former clerks complained, rankled her colleagues by sending long memos that didn’t distinguish between substantive and trivial points, with petty editing suggestions–fixing typos and the like–rather than focusing on the core analytical issues.

Unfortunately, Sotomayor is an advocate of affirmative action, identity politics (highlighting race and gender over against intrinsic, objective criteria) and a woman’s “right” to abortion. And from a more conservative perspective, Ed Whelan, writing the The Corner (National Review) offers a negative evaluation of Sotomayor’s sense of fairness.

Sarah Palin To Write Memoir with World Magazine Editor

HarperCollins, slated to release Gov. Sarah Palin’s as-yet untitled memoir in the spring of 2010, announced that World Magazine Features Editor Lynn Vincent has been signed on as Palin’s collaborator. Vincent, 46, has collaborated on four previous memoirs, including Same Kind of Different As Me: A Modern-Day Slave, an International Art Dealer, and the Unlikely Woman Who Bound Them Together, which has sold nearly half a million copies and has stayed on the New York Times best-seller list for more than 59 consecutive weeks. The book has helped raise more than $30 million for homeless shelters nationwide.
As a regular reader of World Magazine, I’m encouraged by this announcement and look forward to the Palin/Vincent book.
HT: World Magazine Press Release

The Real Pregnancy Crisis

In 2007, about 40% of American children were born out of wedlock. Perhaps surprisingly, only 23% of these non-marital births were to teens. None of this should come as a surprise, says Bradford Wilcox in a recent Wall Street Journal opinion piece, given that a 2003 Gallup Survey found that 64% of young adults age 18 to 29 thought that having a baby out of wedlock was “morally acceptable.” Writes Wilcox:

But a number of academics and advocates who track family issues are more than willing to provide intellectual cover to contemporary young adults’ laissez-faire approach to childbearing and marriage. For instance, Stephanie Coontz, the director of research at the Council on Contemporary Families, wrote on the New York Times “Room for Debate” blog that “policymakers and researchers need to discard one-size-fits-all generalizations about the causes, consequences, risks and benefits of different family forms. Average outcomes from married and single parenting hide huge variations” in child well-being. Likewise, Silvia Henriquez, the executive director of the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health, urged readers to resist the temptation to “present single motherhood as a problem in itself.”

Read Dr. Wilcox’s response.

Page 1 of41234»