Tag: tyranny

Entitlement is our prison

Many different things in our society seem to have a common thread: Entitlement. This is a far cry from mere rights or exercising one’s rights. It even moves beyond can vs should into the realm of demand. Entitlement is the superhero of selfishness. It ejects logic and common sense and only seeks it own, to the detriment of others. Entitlement begs this question: Have we become a society of overgrown preschoolers?

Entitlement in politics. Solution: Attack the problem not people.
In recent months I’ve seen people destroyed for merely defending a political figure… by the same people who believe bullying is bad and that people should be accepted for who they are. We see this happening on a larger scale in the news as well. The glaring hypocrisy is baffling as people cry out for our ability to get along, or the dismal culture of our politics. Here’s a solution, stop attacking people and start focusing on the issues. Move beyond platitudes of political viewpoints into the depth of actual issues. Freedom of speech doesn’t equate to slander, libel, etc. We also have the right to remain silent, to listen, and to understand before being understood. This happens when we focus on attacking the problem and not the person.

Entitlement in public service. Solution: Just say thanks.
In recent months I’ve seen public servants taken advantage of, and I’ve seen public servants act as tyrants. Public servants are part of our community. They’re our neighbors. Public servants are not our slaves or our employees. While they work for our benefit, there is a tone of humility and appreciation we should have towards them. We should view them as partners. Be appreciative while dealing with your frustrations. At the same time, public servants are not kings. Power tripping or demanding homage misses the glory of public service, which is to humbly serve your community. While it is ashamed some are taken for granted, sometimes not being noticed means a job well done. Gratefulness goes a long way.

Entitlement in the marketplace. Solution: Be civilized, we’re not barbarians.
Black Friday news demonstrates this point well. Too often we forget where we came from. A BIG thing we can learn from other cultures is the need to SLOW DOWN AND RELAX! We all get that your time is important, but will the person who never made a mistake please raise their hand? If we want to be listened to and served well, do not others in the room deserve that same treatment? Too often we see people flipping out, going overboard, and generally getting sue happy. The key to being civilized is truly treating others the way you want to be treated. This includes how you want to be treated when you make a mistake or are overwhelmed.

Entitlement in the culture. Solution: Remember its not about you.
It’s not about you. You are not the center of the universe. You have a right to speak, but you also have a right to listen. Your have a right to pursue happiness, you also have the right to work hard when things don’t go your way. You have a right to be served, but also a right to be patient. You have a right to be cared for, but also a right to sacrifice. You have a right to be thanked, but also the right to be grateful for the ability to bless others. While you should take care of yourself, others have the right that you do the same towards them. Living in a civilized community only works if you realize its not about you.

The bottom line:
Entitlement is one of the worst prisons to be in. It is a cancer so malignant that it breeds chaos, injustice, abuse, and hate. At the end of the day entitlement forms you into a lonely tyrant lacking any joy or peace. Perhaps it shouldn’t be culture we are frustrated with, but rather the person we see in the mirror each morning. Jesus gives a way out of this mess. While he rightfully was entitled to all, he gave that up. Love, humility, and servanthood will get more done then entitlement ever will. If Jesus demanded entitlement, we’d all be in Hell. Perhaps true freedom isn’t in demanding our rights, but instead giving up our rights is the service of others.

The opposite of freedom is tyranny

IMG_2306I’ve had many conversations with believers who hold socialistic views from a seemingly biblical standpoint. While the marriage of church and state is disaster, it is essential for both to be in the public square. The marriage of church and state is disaster, yet too many vouch for that idea. Secularism/socialism is also disaster. What is a biblical solution to this seeming paradox? Freedom! Freedom is a consistent theme throughout Scripture. Ultimately, tyranny is the absence of God whereby humanity rejects God and is unable to govern itself. Socialism has the appearance of justice, but in the end it is anything but just.

Socialism is government codified legalism
Are you for or against legalism? The answer is obvious, a whole book of the Bible decries the false gospel of legalism. Why then, if for freedom’s sake Christ set us free, would we yield to a governmental structure that is legalistic? The common thread I am hearing from “christian socialists” is not congruent with biblical thought. This is often couched in the “tax the rich” or “universal healthcare” discussions. For, those with more should help those with less. Such is a true biblical principle, but not when mandated. Forced outward conformity does not produce inward change. Besides, there are selfish socialists too. Further, people can covet power as much as money.

Socialism is stealing not generosity
“Tax the wealthy to lower interest rates for college students.” If one were to take money from a wealthy person to pay for a nobel thing such as education, one would be in jail for stealing. The money was not theirs. If one could get the government to tax that money away, which is still not theirs, such is considered ‘noble.’ This coercion may give the appearance of generosity, but lacks the heart change God is concerned with. It is forcibly taking one’s private property and giving it to another. The justice of this is questionable at best.

Self interest is not selfishness
The problem with “christian socialism” is the merging of self-interest with selfishness. The acquisition of wealth to leave an inheritance is wise. Being stingy and lacking generosity is unwise, especially concerning the poor, as one is to love their neighbor. If by coercion we take what is not ours via the government, how then does a person have the resources they desire to help their neighbor, friends, and family? When you or I are forced by coercion our compassion decreases, not increase.

Ponder this…
Write down a couple of people or families you wish you do more to help. With that in mind, about 40-50+% of our money earned goes to taxes. Moving more towards socialism means more will need to be taken from you. Pretend you’re rich, and in the name of justice the government takes more of your revenue, inhibiting your ability to help your neighbor. By having less of your money, you’re ability to build a business to employ others is diminished. Ask this question: How do African-American families, who have been gravely wronged from past sins of our country, build up generational wealth? It is in the self interest of our families to build wealth and security. It is also in our self-interest to be generous with our wealth to those in needs. Socialism inhibits both.

The Big 10
The Bible teaches private property. Do not steal, and do not covet make little sense without such. People have equal dignity or do not murder, the Sabbath, and not bearing false witness makes little sense. God will judge, or the first couple commandments make no sense. In his judgments both nations and people are included. The core is actions based on an inward belief system. If we become a “christian socialist” nation, does our outward performance match the nation’s heart or will our nation be judged for taking that which was not ours? Will we be judged for ruling as the gentles do?

Acts and all things in common…
Acts describes sacrificial generosity, not socialism. The church started with nothing and holding to “the way” was socially unacceptable. The radical sacrifice from a changed heart, not governance, allowed the church to be established. Because of this Gospel a greater concern- people’s salvation- was at heart. Now whether a prisoner, slave, workman, employer or rich, the issue was mutual respect under the equality of the Gospel AND to use one’s station in life as a platform to share the Gospel.

The Gospel is shrewd
In the Gospel and becoming more like Jesus, the issue of slaves submitting to their masters and teaching on contentment is not an endorsement on slavery to the neglect of freedom. It is a keen shrewdness centered on heart change. Submission to government is not a blind thing, but rather a shrewdness of “overcoming evil with good.” Why? Ultimately the Gospel is the truest source of freedom. And the promotion of that freedom doesn’t come from claiming rights, but rather in loving submission. Not blindly, but with wisdom and shrewd living. In the Gospel we have freedom. In that freedom we willingly set aside rights and property to spread the Gospel. Not by compulsion, but as free people.

The bottom line:
Freedom is an efficient mess and tyranny is inefficient graveyard. Only God can rule justly, and given our fallen state, only freedom can pragmatically counterbalance our propensity to tyranny. Socialism, as a Christian choice for governance, is essentially codified legalism. It may give the outward appearance of justice, but it fails the heart. The inefficient reality of socialism will ultimately lead grave injustice. In the name of justice, socialism will erode our ability to love our neighbor, and act in the self-interest of our family and friends. Let’s be a voice for freedom.

Boys, Pencils and Guns

IMG_3353By today’s standards, I’d have life at Gitmo. Why? In school I had the gall to make a thermo nuclear detonator (based on the Martian’s design from bugs bunny), stolen from an encoded data disk (a He-man shield from BK). What was my dad thinking!? I could have grown up into a terrorist bent on trying to take over the world (Pinky and the Brain)! How could a West Point graduate allow his son to be so violent?

Rule #1 Use your imagination
In the heart of a boy is the desire to spar. Included in this is a heart of justice, honor and FUN! I played cops and robbers. I played army (hoo-rah!). It was pretty simple: good guys won (always barely, but sometimes by epic proportions that make Lord of the Rings seem like a cartoon) and the bad guys always lost (but seemingly were able to come back and fight again).

Rule #2 Guns kill and life is precious
I was never allowed to point a gun at a person. By gun I mean any veneration of such. When older, dad reluctantly allowed me to play lazer tag. Why? Because guns kill people and life is precious. I was not allowed to let my sisters be bad guys. And all black-ops sniper missions against said sisters were promptly aborted (those pesky West Point Grads). In playing with guns I was taught respect for the weapon and for life. By gun it didn’t matter if it was a toy, a gun was a gun.

Rule #3 A man’s job is to defend against evil & injustice
Call it old school, but I was taught there was evil and we need people willing to stand against evil. I was also told that is a man’s job, the honorable thing to do, and the harder choice. This lead to a profound respect for those serving in the military, law enforcement, emergency responders, and those who proclaim freedom. Why? Because there is evil out there and there is such a thing call tyranny. Learning about this starts in childhood. A gun-pencil boy today may be a police officer defending you tomorrow.

Rule #4 Teach boys how to play with guns
Rather than scold boys for turning pencils into guns, teach them to point guns at tyrants, despots and murders, or targets, deer, wolves, zombies and storm troopers. Teach them that life is precious. Teach them that all guns are dangerous and should be treated as they’re loaded. Teach them to not point guns at people (especially mom). Cheer them on as they vanquish evil, rescue those trapped by tyrants or save you from T-Rex! (Tip: Boys, should your gun fly out of your hand and shatter a window, saying you’re fighting against bad guys won’t work. You’ll pay to replace said window.)

The bottom line:
Take a boy’s gun away and you send him to the darkside. He’ll either learn to despise authority and be like Vader or he’ll lose the soul of what it is to be a boy growing up into a man. Anything can be a gun. Why? Cause boys like to spar. Boys like to problem solve. And, boys need to learn to defend justice and protect the innocent. When a boy picks something up and it magically becomes a gun, he is asking to learn about honor and justice. Don’t take his gun away, answer his question!