Monday, October 22, 2007


Your missionary to Capitol Hill, Washington, DC, Rob Schenck, reporting:

This past week was a whirlwind. In order of importance it involved clear direction from the Lord on a number of issues; big family matters and, finally, big presidential race issues!

I’ll start from the top: We’ve prayerfully settled on a five-year plan that includes some very big developments on the ministry front. You’ll hear all about them at our upcoming 25th Anniversary gala, Saturday, November 17. If you haven’t already secured your tickets, please do it now as seats are filling very fast!

On the family front, my Mom and Dad are in a wonderful Catholic nursing facility back home in Buffalo, New York. (Their preference!) Both need round-the-clock care and they feel much more secure in a medical environment. It’s excruciating to be more than 500 miles away, so my brother and I get up there as often as possible. (Our two older sisters live near to the home and look after my folks, which is a huge relief. That’s in addition to the Sister who runs the place who sees each resident as her ministry charges!) Never-the-less, this past week was a crisis.

It was one of the few Sundays in the past several months that I wasn’t out preaching somewhere in the country. I thank God I wasn’t out because when I got the call that Mom had plunged into a sudden and deep dementia, I immediately ran for the airport. Every affordable flight was sold out but my Dad’s tutelage in how to get things done paid off again. I offered a young college student a handsome sum of money to take a later plane, which opened one seat for me on the earliest possible flight!

I found Mom in a disturbing psychotic state when I arrived. She saw fires in her room, talked with imaginary people, uncharacteristically barked in anger at everyone, including my Dad, her husband of 52 years, whom she no longer knew. It was painful to watch, and even more painful to be unable to do anything about it. But it didn’t take long for my sisters and me to determine things just didn’t add up. For one, dementia doesn’t usually come on so suddenly. We looked elsewhere—to her many prescription medications. We narrowed it down to one new drug that had recently been introduced to help control her worsening Parkinson’s disease. I asked for a PDR (Physicians’ Desk Reference, a sort of pharmaceutical encyclopedia) and discovered the drug can have psychotic side effects. We demanded she be weaned off of it immediately. Within hours Mom blossomed back into the joyful, lovely, happy woman she has always been with full cognition and recall! Praise God!

Here’s my thanks and prayers for my fellow middle-aged “sandwich” generation members who, like Cheryl and me, are helping launch adult children while saying hello to elder parent care. It ain’t easy—and boy, don’t I know it! (What do I have to complain about? My brother, Paul, still has four under-age kids at home while sharing this responsibility for our parents!) May the Lord help us all to do right by those He gives us!

OK, now onto the presidential race: Last week I attended the Values Voter Forum here in Washington. All the candidates were invited, but only Republicans showed up. I won’t comment on all of them, but I will tell you the ones who really impressed me.

First, the winner of the Values Voter straw poll, Mitt Romney: You know I met with the former Massachusetts governor back in March. (I had actually talked with him one-on-one a year earlier, but only briefly.) He impressed me before and again this past week. Romney’s speech to the attendees focused on family, for which he is a shining example of convincing personal experience. (Married 37 years to the same woman; five outstanding sons and ten grandkids!) Gov. Romney rightly said the family is the building block of society. (See my book on the Ten Commandments, Ten Words That Will Change A Nation, chapter 5.) He stated unequivocally that he will be a pro-life president; he will re-instate President Reagan’s family impact statement for all government programs, policies and initiatives; he will use the presidential bully pulpit to promote chastity until marriage; and he will back a constitutional amendment defining marriage as limited to one man and one woman. It really rang true—and it rang the bell with attendees. (In the audience were many of the most significant pro-life, pro-family and pro-religious freedom advocates in the country.)

The other outstanding presentation was little known former Governor Mike Huckabee of Arkansas. He’s an unquestioned Evangelical (a former Baptist pastor) with an illustrious record of leadership in his home state. He has an unbroken history of being absolutely right on all our critical social and moral concerns. If you saw his recent appearances on any of the talk shows, you know he’s also a fabulous communicator—a critical skill he shares with Mitt Romney. Still, with all those important elements, there was an air of doubt among the people I spoke to about whether or not Huckabee has the internal drive and organizational ability to pull off a victory in the most difficult, challenging and demanding contest on earth. It’s looking more and more inevitable that Hillary Clinton will be the Democrat nominee. Let’s be gut-level honest: The real question is, Does Mike Huckabee have the dynamism, charisma, star-power and good-looking contrast to go up against her celebrity stature? That remains to be seen.

As far as the other would-be nominees who appeared at the Values Voter Forum, I can’t identify another “player.” Rudy Giuliani’s recalcitrant pro-choice position presents a virtually insurmountable obstacle to winning any appreciable percentage of pro-life votes. Fred Thomas did not seem to excite the room and I wasn’t there for the others, but neither was there much post-event chatter about them.

This is a difficult and challenging political season for all of us. I haven’t endorsed anyone—and I probably won’t. For now I am following Jesus’ instructions to His disciples, “Watch and pray.”

More later . . .

Rev. Rob Schenck
Faith and Action
109 2nd St., NE, Washington, DC 20002

P.S. After I wrote the above post, I received this from Chaplain Gordon James Klingenschmitt (or "Chaps," as so many know him), famous for being thrown out of the Navy for praying publicly in Jesus' name. I didn't know anything about this incident regarding Ambassador Alan Keyes, but I include it here for your assessment: