Month: April 2016

A National Religion?

Sometimes we think we want something, until we give it some deeper thought. I hear and read Christians demand that Christ ought to be in our government. If they thought about that, they might change their minds. That has been tried more than once and it has not worked. There are reasons why.

One reason is that christianity was not made for nations, but for individuals. Jesus did not address nations in the form of “thou shalt”, but showed people how to live within governments. If we had a national religion, what would it be? Who would decide? It may not be us, and then what? We would long for a country that allowed us to find our way and even sow seeds of our faith for others.

Government would make mountains out of theological molehills even worse than church members do, and the result would be at least as bad, if not worse, than our own church arguments.

Another reason we do not really want a national religion is that religion is not to become a part of government. The problem with the two being involved is that government takes the division too far, and tends to prevent the two even appearing to touch one another. This is an overreaction to our own constitution, which prevents congress from making any laws regarding the establishing of a religion. Yet, government has made many laws regarding the establishing of a religion, and what religion’s boundaries are. Again, we are not free to practice ours if anyone withing a hundred miles even hears of it being done in a public way. The local township is made to dismantle all symbols of religion if one or two people are “offended.” This is not government minding its own business, but being in the business of religion.

I would like to see more Christians involved in government, since they would more likely make decisions on a moral basis; but that does not mean I would like Christianity to be our government. It was never meant to be in the first place.

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Challenges

Challenges are some of the best things offered us to become better people. If we can be better people, we will have the effect on others to make them better people. Can you see where this is going? When faced with a challenge, whether physical, spiritual or emotional, we either rise to the occasion or remain stagnant. In the medical world, de-conditioning is the term used to describe a certain atrophy that occurs from inactivity when healing from surgery. Especially if one is up in years, this can make the original problem worse.
Though challenges can be frightening, and we want to avoid them, we can’t. Eventually we will face something we never have before and we learn a lot from the ordeal. We can do each other a great favor by challenging our close friends and family. If we do so with love, we can keep each other moving.
Challenges are worth the effort, because they teach us to do something we didn’t think we could. This is what life is all about: stretching our boundaries to be more than we are now.

Backbones

Backbones are important. Without ours, we are limp, helpless jelly fish. We are not upright, stand-on-our-own creatures. We will be prey to those who crawl and creep and feed on our weakness. Physically we are pitiful if our backbones are missing.

Without moral backbones, we are no good to anyone. We are overcome with darkness and deceit. We will become slaves to our whims and momentary appetites that will take us to places we can’t imagine. Our effect on others will be to weaken them to our own pitiful level. We will avoid anything that takes discipline and getting up early. We will not feed ourselves with positive scriptural food. We will starve and be pathetic.

Emotionally we will cry and blame others for our failures. We will attempt to check out of this world multiple times, and may even succeed. Hard things will scare us and cause us to blame everyone we have ever encountered for our fear.

If we have a backbone we should use it to stand tall and fight every battle that comes our way. We should fight evil and look for the God who will fight for us and not apologize for his presence. If we don’t think we have a backbone, we should find the one given us at birth. We should stand up and be part of this world. We should look for ways to contribute to the good of the whole. Please make sure I have mine and motivate me to use it. I’ll do the same for you.

 

Life Goes On

Today we will honor and remember someone who is worth honoring. He was not famous nor infamous. He worked all his life and led an honorable, just, loyal and steady existence. His family, friends and co-workers have depended on him for a long time, and somehow he came through. He was humble, never being positive if he was doing it right, but nearly always did.

My sadness at losing my father-in-law was lightened last Sunday in church. (That’s the place a lot of things come together in our minds and souls.) He was to be buried; children cried and made other noises during the preaching. I didn’t mind because that is life and death. The womb’s product fills the grave in time. One life ends, another begins. Both offer their presence and do their part. One void is filled with another fulfillment. We move through each others’ lives and try to do it right, but will fail some of the time. Each is unique. There will never be another “us” on the earth. How God can give each her own fingerprint is beyond my imagination, but he does. He chose to.

His love keep us going, replacing us with others. It is as it should be because he made it that way. We accept it and stand beside a grave with tears. We welcome babies with tears. I like it that way. I like to participate in the coming and going. People will gather around our caskets and graves and say things about us. We are now creating what they will say. When we die, babies will be born the same day. Mourners will go from our grave and go somewhere and eat potato salad. That’s okay with me. They have to eat, and might as well eat something good. Meanwhile, I’ll be fine. This world is not my home, I’m just passing through.

 

Perspective

There are some things we need to keep straight if the world around us is to make any sense at all. We are the creature, not the Creator; we are the clay, not the potter; we are that which is being shaped, not the shaper. We do not interpret scripture; scripture interprets us.

We have and should have aspirations and plans. But we are not owed any of these. No outcome is guaranteed. In case we forgot, the world was here first. Man was the last of creation to be put here. Though it is clear that man was to be in charge of the earth, it is not to do as we please. We are still answerable to the One who conceived of the idea to create in the first place.

It’s okay to say these things. If someone is offended by their place on the planet, so be it. They are not the first to fuss, nor will they be the last. Others have cried, stomped and kicked up dust all around, but they did not get what they wanted. The rest of the world went about its business of keeping things going. Some people will die trying to get their way, but will not. They will be buried with their childhood still visible in their actions. They will wonder why they didn’t “get theirs”. What was “theirs” passed them by because they were looking for free stuff. Work went to someone else with some self-respect and motivation to do something worthwhile. In the grand scheme of things, we are but sinners needing saved. We are drowning in our egos and need to lighten the load so we can see the savior and be with him. Being weak is okay, because only then are we strong. That is a perspective we can live with.

Our Minds: Lost?

Our minds may be MIA. Rationality is an indangered thing among many who may actually vote in the upcoming election. From the idea that everything is free (to selected people) to the brawling campaigning we see in this political culture, we have fallen into a messy time of mob mindset.

We seemed to be ready to repeat history by acting like it didn’t happen. We pander to a few who believe every symbol conveys the worst attitudes possible. We have forgotten the dignity that has been our hallmark for a couple of centuries. Differences are no longer allowed, and there is only one way to disagree: destroy something.

Yet, there is still an overwhelming percentage of relatively silent people going about their business, or as George Bailey would say, These are the people “who do most of the working and paying and living and dying in this community.” We can and will stay the course, and survive another round of mayhem. Then we’ll keep on working and paying and living and dying. Our minds are still present.

Immediate Reform?

Building trust is not an easy, quick thing. Once broken, it is a long, hard journey of accountability and proving a reverse in behaviour, except in politics. It seems our memories are short when it comes to those who have “remade” themselves and claim to be different within a few short years.

It doesn’t seem to matter how serious the previous matter was, voters look to allow trust to be rebuilt with little or no change in a person’t character or integrity. Other than “I’m different”, we see little of it.

While everyone deserves a second chance, that isn’t true if nothing has changed. Overlooking moral, character, or even legal problems in a previous election cycle only encourages the same actions and as a result the elecorate basically get what we deserve. If a self-procalimed changed individual wants to try again, we can at least look for some trustworthy things to get our vote. I’m afraid many are past caring about that, if we hear what we want to hear.

Waking Up Offended

When you woke up this morning, what were your plans? Not necessarily for you work or home schedule, but for your attitude. Have you ever woke up planning to be offended? Me neither. There have been things that were bothering me; things that made me angry, problems I couldn’t solve or a number of other unresolved issues. But I can’t think of a time I have ever planned to be offended.

Yet, that seems to be the identity of some in our country. What’s more, they are encouraged to be so by those who make their living from offense. They stoke the fires of dissatisfaction, pushing the dissatisfied to do something about it, sometimes even destruction.

These pushers of unhappiness are doing a disservice, not giving a voice. They are taking advantage of needs that can legitimately be addressed, but can’t be except by threat and damage to people and property. This is not advocacy, but incitement. They are not courageous, but corrosive. They do not represent respectable ways of grievance, but are intent on holding hostage our better natures. I believe our better natures can ignore the threats, and work with those who can be heard by connversations and votes. I plan to be at my county caucus tomorrow, to influence things at my level. That voice can gradually surface to higher levels. But I don’t plan to go there offended.

Polls

Polls are amusing things. I know, pollsters are paid large sums of money to attempt to predict what will happen, especially in an election season. There are individual polls, university polls, combined polls, network polls, and every other conceivable way to monitor what peoplel are thinking and their intent

This is indicative of a deep-seated need we have to know what will happen. The issues of election possibilities are large, and the need to know how people will vote is equally large. The phone calls, written questionairres and street questions are all designed to answer the burning questions burdening all of us, or some of us.

What if we did not tell them? I have purposely avoided polls because I don’t want to be part of the many voices that make something from what I say. Many times, polls don’t ask the questions I want to answer, so I don’t think they necessarily convey my views. If none of us answered our phone, filled out the paper survey, or answered man-on-the-street questions, pollsters and news talkers would have much less to say. It would be the worst of all things: wait and see. That’s an exciting possibility. In the first elections, someone on a horse would ride up to notify the candidate that he had won, or lost. We can do it without the horses, but do it after the votes have been counted. I like that idea.

Elect Me, Or Not

I have always wondered what a person would be like if he decided to run for office, but really didn’t care if he was elected. How would he act? What things would he say?

I believe we have a candidate who at least began that way. One who already had power, money, and connections. One who already has fame (or infamy), and didn’t need to prove anything. That person would approach a campaign much differently than others.
I can’t speak for him, but I think I would be a different kind of candidate, certainly one “outside” the system. If I didn’t care whether I got elected, I would probably just say what came into my mind. I could say later I didn’t mean it, that I didn’t say it or that someone gave me bad information. I could say I have learned something since I spoke from the top of my head. I could fuss, bully, speak softly or roughly (whatever the situation called for) and still not care if people liked it or not.

If people liked it, I might get the idea I really want to be elected, and could add that to my resume. That could be part of my legacy. My children could say I was somebody. I was a leader. And, if people elected a person who didn’t care, they might just get such a person. How would that be? Do we want to find out? I was just wondering.