Throwing Baptists under the bus is one of the easiest things to do. Baptists do not fit in any neat category. History of the movement is quite messy, like many other things. The movie Footloose was a reaction to some flavors of Baptists. Then there … Continue reading Why the rapture minded and Baptists are wrong, and other tips on writing a successful post Part 2
Avoiding politics is laziness
A growing trend are those who disdain discussions of politics. Sadly, this is why politics is caustic. I am asserting that the avoidance of politics is a major problem, for Christians as well. This mindset costs us liberty and truth. Political avoidance allows us to chuck our discernment, life of thought and even empathy in exchange for the illusion of a good life. We need to be more politically astute.
If people knew…
While attending a leadership conference in Washington DC a democrat chief of staff stated, “If the American people truly understood how things work we would not get away with all that we do.” The purpose of the conference was to educate and help people to better understand. The implication at the conference is there is an inherent system of corruption. Playing off the ignorance of people should be unsettling to us.
Politics is truly local
The complexities of getting something done is profound. The hoops to jump through at various levels of government at times is absurd. We invest too much focus on national or federal politics and not enough on state or local politics. For example, much issues people have with Common Core is actually a state vs school board issue, not a Federal take over issue. Often what frustrates educators and then parents is changes made in state capitals, not DC. Who are your state representatives? Don’t know who they are? There is a key problem.
For civil government to work, character and morality are essential. The result of losing character is the mess we have today. For example, many are against vaccinations. Much of this comes from a distrust of various institutions and government itself. Another example is the litigious society that we live in. Much of the vitriol in politics is a result of a loss of character. This is where religion plays a critical role in the life of a society. It’s presence in the public square is essential. A secular society in inherently unstable, as is state run religion.
Politics is determined by those who show up. Top down approaches rarely do well. Top down is great for emergency management, but it is lousy for societal change. Again, politics is profoundly local. Much of the injustice we see stems from not showing up where it counts. Politics is a reflection of us and the reflection of injustice demonstrates out absence. Protesting is a sign of laziness where we didn’t show up. Mobs rarely lead to justice.
God created man to be free. While I orient my life on the Bible as the way and truth and life, that should not be forced on anyone. In a free society there will be many and even opposing views. This also means that those from a secular viewpoint should not impose their views as well. Too many people are trying to get the government to do their bidding. This inevitably leads to tyranny, whether state religion run societies or fully secular societies. (Even secularists have their fundamentalists.)
The bottom line:
We need to be engaged in politics. A professor drilled into out heads the process: Think. Judge. Redeem. We need tor read and study issues more broadly. Judge the issues on their own merits. Finally, see if the issue should be discarded or redeemed for good. If, like many, you hate politics, remember this: We the people, we the problem. It’s time we show up, for politics at best is living at peace with our neighbors. That can only happen if you show up.
Politics: What I am FOR
Political discussions are often interesting. Too many try to avoid them, which is why we have the mess that we’re in. An informed populace is essential to a free country. Sadly, many are not informed or have not thought through things. Often people try to pigeon hole: Oh, you’re a liberal. Oh, you’re a conservative. (Hysterically, even the no labels crowd does this.) As today is voting day, here is what I am FOR:
I am for individual soul liberty.
I believe one is answerable directly to God and that no religion should be forced upon them. This means people may live according to their conscience. Galatians says that it is for freedom’s sake that Christ set us free. Freedom is no small matter. This also means that religious views and discussion have a place in the public square, especially in matters of life, liberty, justice, and privacy.
The beauty of business is that it’s a free exchange of goods without coercion by a government. Central control, central planning, crony capitalism end up being inefficient and tyrannical. Free markets also opens up opportunity for anyone. Prices are determined by the market, not by government interference.
Rule of law
Rule of law limits tyranny. Rule of man is it ends up in tyranny. Many of the issues we struggle with today is because of rule of man either by executive order or by oligarchy of the current judicial system. Deference should be to the people, not to judicial whim or executive fiat. Both the executive and judicial branches have assumed too much authority.
Government promoting good, restraining evil
I believe the role of government is to promote good and restrain evil. This obviously requires rigorous discussion on what is good. This also means governing with the reality that evil exists. When government steps beyond this, I believe it steps beyond it’s God ordained role. I believe that higher levels of government should be limited, with deference to lower lower levels. This means a limited federal government, robust state governments and vibrant local governments.
While exceptions exist, the rule is that things are best with healthy, intact families. Family dysfunction creates massive loads of stress and the problems associated therein. Laws, safety nets, etc should consider the nuclear family as a primary concern. Many of our safety nets undermine fatherhood. There is a direct correlation between fatherless homes and crime, poverty, etc. This also means we view children as life not as an inconvenience, including the unborn.
Conservation, compassion and responsibility
We should leave things better than what we find them. I believe that a country that has safety nets is compassionate. I also believe that compassion also means helping people achieve their personal responsibility. These ideas bring out the best in people by promoting the good that they can offer, while also restraining the evils of laziness, irresponsibility, and exploitation. Natural resources are for our good and should also be cared for. This includes people, which is society’s greatest resource.
Cautious foreign policy
Government should act with the understanding that evil exists. A robust military is essential. At the same time, intervention in other affairs should be done with caution for the reasons stated above. A more prudent course of action in foreign policy would do our country well. Both isolationism and over assertiveness is unwise.
Civility and vibrant debate
I think in all matters we can be civil. We can and should have robust debates about critical issues. The current oligarchy nature of the judicial branch, over reach by the executive branch, and the polarization by two political parties and media undercuts this ideal. We have a bigotry and civility problem in our country. We are all share the blame.
Happy 4th of July? Kind of…
Liberty and freedom are not an easy life. It’s hard. It requires character, strong morals, strong education and generosity. I believe greatest freedom is found in the Gospel and no where else. While the Gospel is my main focus, its important to engage in civil discourse for the betterment of my country. It’s hard to celebrate independence day this 4th.
Too often churches put political issues in front of the Gospel. A political party is not our savior, and while the Bible speaks to many and all situations, one’s primary need is a relationship with Jesus. Too often throughout history the church sold it soul to a political party- right or left- and not keeping their focus on Jesus. At the same time, I don’t think a focus on the Gospel requires complete silence on civil discourse.
Personally, I’m conservative. I’m pro liberty and anti-tyranny. This does not mean I’m for dirty water, air, etc. It does not mean I or others like me lack compassion, love, sincerity, mercy or grace. In fact it’s quite the opposite. What I have in full measure is a love for and a passion for liberty. It’s too easy to lose liberty out of connivence. It’s too easy to lose liberty in the name of compassion. Freedom isn’t free, isn’t easy, and isn’t natural. In liberty there is a chance for the soul to prosper. In tyranny souls are crushed, dreams diminished and hopes faded. Liberty breaths life.
The tone of civil discourse in our country is beyond sad. This is deeply troubling, and as Christians we should promote a gracious and reconciliation tone to discourse. Regardless of view- left or right- the tone is caustic, the attacks ad hominem, and the results bleak. This is why character and a strong moral foundation are essential to freedom and liberty. Our tone needs changing.
I’m greatly dismayed at the healthcare bill that was upheld by the Supreme Court. All the good of the bill does not out weigh the shift made from liberty to tyranny. By even saying that one is accused of being mean-spirited and wanting people to die in the streets. Liberty is much a life issue as healthcare, for many have died under the hand of tyranny. Look at our nations birthday for an example. You cannot sacrifice one vital principle liberty- for another- compassion/mercy.
Two attacks within the last couple years occurred on religion by the government. One regarding a Christian school teacher. The case was upheld in favor of religious liberty (a rare 9-0 supreme court ruling). The second is against the catholic church via the healthcare law that the Supreme Court upheld. As many have a differing view on contraception from the catholic church, one must pause for a moment: The issue is liberty. If it were an issue you cared about, you’d take a much different stand.
Not a fairy tale
The revolutionary war is not a fairy tale. The colonies sought liberty from tyranny. If we are not careful we can walk right into what so many died to escape from, and what many today are crushed by. With the problems we face as a nation, tyranny isn’t the answer. Read the Declaration of Independence. At that moment in history codified that we are free. It is not a historical cliché. Liberty a priceless treasure.
Life & Religious Freedom vs Connivence
The news of late stands as alarming. Given an issue with a nonprofit wanting to stop funding for planned parent hood, the healthcare mandate on contraception, churches not being able to meet in public schools when such are not in session, small groups not allowed to meet in homes, it should give one pause. Life and freedom are fragile things.
A society is measured by how it treats life. What concerns me about discussions of late is how pregnancy is treated. To be frank let me say this: Children are not pets. Life should be celebrated regardless of where it comes from. While I believe abortive contraception is wrong, the issue isn’t contraception. The issue is how we as a society view life. Are we at the point where life is only ok when it’s convenient? Societies have often found themselves on this slippery slope and millions die as a result.
Jesus died for all sin. Abortion is no doubt a sensitive topic often treated without grace. At the same time it must be clearly stated that all life is precious. If life is only precious through the lens of connivence, then as a society we’re in very dangerous territory. We fight for life when cancer is involved but as a society fall silent when birth is involved. It seems the greatest sin in our society is being inconvenienced.
A society is also measured by how it handles religious freedom. Religion has been the cause of war and discrimination. It has also been the cause for equality and life. By stating religion I’m including atheism as a religion as its system of belief and practice, as it’s fallout is like that of other religions. A war on religion is a war on freedom itself. For once a society tries to control religion tyranny is close at hand.
Having baptistic beliefs, I’m a firm believer in individual soul liberty. The first amendment was largely promoted by Baptists. In Virginia Baptists preachers, a minority, were thrown into prison for preaching without a license. Individual soul liberty means one has the choice of what religion they are to follow and should not be coerced into a system of beliefs, such as the Anglican or catholic church. This was a reaction to religious intolerance of the old world.
Interestingly, freedom of religion isn’t convenient. Nor is the freedom of assembly convenient. The first amendment is a foundational principle to freedom and our country. Without it we’re left with tyranny which is sadly already taking root. Our society does not, nor should it grant the right of freedom from religion. Given actions of late, however, one wonders what direction we shall take. If I were the press I’d be worried, for if religion and assembly are hindered, freedom of the press could be next.
The bottom line:
Are we a society willing to give up freedom at the altar of connivence? We’re constantly sacrificing morality in the name of freedom, but freedom is fast being sacrificed as well. What will we do when suddenly tyranny ceases to be convenient and we already gave up the freedoms that help keep tyranny in check?