Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Does an Interest in Politics Have to Mean to Being a "Poor Christian"?

A question I have been often faced with is whether or not as a Christian, one should be concerned with politics. This can get awfully hairy, although in a purely one directional way. It seems that many Christians have a very hard time with anyone who attempts to take a stance on a political issue. Why is this?

I will attempt to think through some of the inevitable issues that are raised.

1) "God is bigger than the government, you should trust that His will be done".
I can see the point, as it is 100 percent true. The question is whether trusting that God's will be done and being an active participant in life are mutually exclusive. I believe that they are not. A great teacher of mine once said, "God who ordains the end also ordains the MEANS to that end". There is a reason we were not created as mindless robots, we have the ability and capacity to stand up for our faith and if necessary take a political stand against things that threaten what we hold dear.

2) "You should spend more time in prayer".
Yes, I have actually heard this one many times. Prayer is absolutely vital, and any Christian would benefit from as much time in prayer as possible. The debate has now become about the PERSON and not the ISSUE. A person's prayer life in this instance is irrelevant to the argument. Aside from logical fallacies, the purpose of prayer is not to always just sit back and wait for God to "fix it". We are to stand for Christ, not to go hide in a proverbial hole somewhere. Prayer is vital to our stand, but it does not prohibit our mobilization into action.

3) "The church shouldn't pick sides".
I don't really care if the church embraces the Republican party or not. I DO however care that the church more often than not refuses to support those who are pro-life, and who support our freedom as Christians. Not picking sides does not mean not standing for anything. The separation of church and state was intended by our founding fathers to protect the CHURCH from the STATE and not the other way around. In those days it was unfathomable that it would be reversed the way it has been, and the church itself seems to be convinced of the current interpretation that Christianity has no place in politics. Many in the government seem to be enjoying that falsehood. Our country was founded to give the citizens the freedom to at least complain and at most abolish the government and restructure it if the government started to abuse its power and threaten the inalienable (God-given) rights from its citizens. So why don't Christians even try identify threats to and thus hold onto these rights?

Christianity is not necessarily a religion of pacifists. The triune God is not a pacifist in any way. We as Christians are to love, but did Jesus stop loving us when he cleared the temple in holy anger? I'm inclined to think not. I am not advocating being argumentative, rebellious, or an all around pain in the posterior for no good reason, but I do believe whole heartedly that the majority of the church needs to step up to the plate and make it abundantly clear where a Christian should stand on certain political issues that are obviously going against what the Bible teaches. It is legal, and is not a problem with "submitting to authority", as long as it is done in the spirit of loving correction.

Two of the greatest thinkers of our time and advocates of the power of Christians' influences on politics, Frances Schaeffer and Chuck Colson, have much to say about the issue. A couple of excerpts will give the idea:

Chuck Colson wrote, "During the past half century, Americans have had before them a clear and menacing contrast between the free world and two regimes of terror: Nazism and Communism. Whatever the failures of our own system, it was obvious to all but the willfully blind that a free-market system was immeasurably superior to the alternatives. Yet today we can no longer simply point to that stark contrast, and as a result we must formulate a positive defense of the principles that undergird a free society. We must articulate the biblical principles that support economic freedom and a sense of vocation".

Frances Shaeffer wrote, "In this respect, we must remember that although there are tremendous discrepancies between conservatives and liberals in the political arena, if they are both operating on a humanistic base there will really be no final difference between them. As Christians we must stand absolutely and totally opposed to the whole humanist system, whether it is controlled by conservative or liberal elements".

Christians have a voice, and to use it in the political arena is not being less spiritual, it is letting your faith extend to all areas of life, not just in a box placed in the designated "spiritual corner".

Sunday, February 18, 2007

A Hymn that beautifully describes my relationship with Jesus Christ

In Christ Alone

In Christ alone my hope is found,
He is my light, my strength, my song;
This cornerstone, this solid ground,
Firm through the fiercest drought and storm.
What heights of love, What depths of peace,
When fears are stilled, When strivings cease!
My comforter, my all in all,
Here in the love of Christ I stand.

In Christ alone who took on flesh,
Fullness of God in helpless babe!
This gift of love and righteousness,
Scorned by the ones he came to save.
Till on that cross as Jesus died,
The wrath of God was satisfied
For ev’ry sin on him was laid;
Here in the death of Christ I live.

There in the ground his body lay,
Light of the world by darkness slain
Then bursting forth in glorious day
Up from the grave he rose again!
And as he stands in victory
Sin’s curse has lost its grip on me,
For I am his and he is mine
Bought with the precious blood of Christ.

No guilt in life, no fear in death,
This is the pow’r of Christ in me;
From life’s first cry to final breath,
Jesus commands my destiny.
No pow’r of hell, no scheme of man
Can ever pluck me from His hand;
Till he returns or calls me home,
Here in the pow’r of Christ I’ll stand!

© Stuart Townsend and Keith Getty.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Late Night Thoughts; Fueled by Dark Chocolate M&Ms

After working today with children hyped up on way too much Valentines day candy (much like I am currently), I came to a realization. There is absolutely no way that any kid of mine will act the way children of the postmodern era (especially the ones this far north of the Mason Dixon line) do. And yes, I understand that I have just possibly jinxed myself to someday bring a little terror of unrivaled defiance into the world, but regardless if said child more closely resembles Dr. Jekyll or Mr. Hyde, there will be a profound presence of the much ignored aspect of life called discipline.

Kids need to have an introduction to the concepts of absolutely right and absolutely wrong. Its kinda like absolutely dead and absolutely alive. There's not much gray area to be had there, unless you're John Kerry; he's in a strange middle ground that I fear will never be understood.

These are some of my rules for the free territory outside the range of the public schools' "sniper tower for traditional discipline" :

1) Do not bite, claw, hit, kick, slap, or otherwise attempt to maim anyone around you. If you do, you will lose more baby teeth at once than you bargained for. These teeth are not redeemable for tooth fairy money.

2) Contrary to popular belief, screaming and jumping on tables is not accepted as "just being dramatic". There will be no "please get down and be quiet". Brace yourself, youngin', there will be a storm a brewin' that hasn't been seen since it last appeared out behind grandpa's corncrib.

3) Creativity is reserved for paper, play doh, and things that people such has Bob Ross have deemed to fall into the category of "Artistic Mediums". Walls, counter tops, computers, and books do not fall into this category. If you make a conscious choice to draw on things that you know are expensive, upon application of punishment you will never want to remove your "art supplies" from their designated corner again.

4) If you are rude and disrespectful towards authority, you will not pass go, will not collect $200 and told that you're just "expressing yourself", you will have a sore rear end and will be, well, "humbled".

Remember, this is out of love for the child, but is also for the greater good and mental health of society.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

My Truck is Killing Mother Earth? EXCUSE ME?

Being that this is my first post, I will attempt to appease those who actually appreciate a literary device known as the paragraph. I can't tell you how many blogs I've read that just ramble on without a break in their thoughts for pages on end. Therefore, I will attempt to write in a somewhat orderly fashion as to not compel my 5th grade English teacher to quit her day job. I apologize in advance for any long, single sentences that should be broken up into 4, and the only preemptive explanation for this that I have is that I admire the way the Greeks wrote and am exploring a way to convert the ancient art form into English. Or I am just too lazy to read this over before posting. I like the former.

Going back to the topic of this post, I felt the profound need to address this extremist environmentalist issue and explore its rationale. On campus, I have been repeatedly asked "if [i] "have a minute for the environment" by obvious hippies who smell a bit too much like nature. At times I have wanted to say something creative like, "NO". Usually, however, fear of the "natural funk" wafting towards me at an alarming rate grips my heart, so I veer to the other side of the sidewalk and pretend to be vigorously chatting away on my "nature killing" phone. Now as a Christian, and an animal lover (both to eat and to pet), I am here as a steward of God's creation. I do support caring for the environment. The following is where I diverge from the cult of "Mother earth is dying and its our fault because of our evil desire to live comfortably".

The primary force behind this movement is the wonderful moneymaker the majority of the public affectionately refers to as Global Warming. Excuse me as I collect myself and do a few deep breathing exercises. All right, I feel that I can continue calmly. My first problem with this theory is that it is precisely that; a theory. Now the implication of something being classified as a theory is that as such, it has yet to be proved. Much like the theory of evolution, the theory of bigfoot, and so on. This is not to say that there is no data that might appear to lend itself to the idea, but as far as global warming goes (as well as the other two, but that's a whole 'nother can of worms), there are not only vast amounts of inconclusive data, but there are also evidences that point to the complete antithesis. Not only that, but global warming is far from a widely accepted scientific belief. What better group to ask about this than Greenpeace? Greenpeace conducted a recent survey on climatologists, and actually (thank goodness) released the findings. They found that 47% of climatologists don't think that global warming is imminent, 36% said it is possible, and a measly 13% said that it was probable. Please take a moment and reflect on the significance of this. So am I supposed to give up my truck to save the planet when it "could possibly help, some of us think, maybe..."?

I love the fact that things such as cow flatulence and volcanoes erupting actually produce more air pollution that humans could ever dream of, and yet I am pressured to think that I am a greater plague on this earth than Canada Geese in Fort Collins! (Sorry, local analogy). I'll give a suggestion to those of you who continue to be concerned about this dark haze that sometimes occurs around a large city. Are you ready? All right, here it is: drive away! The smog will be gone once you have spent 15 minutes worth of gas past the city limits. Or, to better benefit the earth, and to shed some pounds, ride your bike there.

Well, that's all that I have for this post. I know one thing, if I were flora or fauna, and global warming was happening, I'd be darned glad to get rid of horrible uncharacteristically cold winters such as this where I am twice as likely to die. In the words of a great bumper sticker I once saw, on a pickup I might add, "Stop Global Whining".