parenting Politics

So here’s the deal

In the dog days of summer, Washington D.C. is in the hottest place on earth.

This morning the Supreme Court issued their ruling upholding the major points of the Affordable Healthcare Act. (read the ruling, keep up with the New York Times live blog if your heart can handle it.)

By the end of the day both sides will claim victory. Both presidential candidates will make statements. Polls will be taken. Extremists will parade in front of cameras.

God bless America. (Said in a cynical tone.)

Here’s the deal. This isn’t the America I want to live in. This isn’t the America I want my kids dreaming about. This isn’t the America I read about in history books and biographies. United we stand, divided we fall.

Until we decide to unite, we are falling. It’s not the economies fault. It our fault. When we decide we, the people, will move forward. But right now we are stuck in inward-focused circles of bandaid application.

That said, I’m thankful that the courts are stepping in, pulling away from the politics far enough to help us move forward. I actually see today as an amazing day for those with aspirational goals in the legal field. (With the Jerry Sandusky decision last week it’s been a very big 7 days for the courts.) I am intrigued that Bush’s choice for Chief Justice sided with more liberal appointees. I think it shows the strength of Bush’s choice.

I’m tired of the divisions. I’ve got no pride or allegiance to a party. It’s not that I’m unwilling. It’s that I’m bored of it. Division doesn’t get me nearly as excited as forward progress.

I’m not naive. I know politics are brutal. But I don’t think our future as a nation lies in having elected officials stand opposed on everything just for the sake of standing opposed to every view. In this case the irony is really delicious. Obama passed a version of Romney’s law. So Republicans loved it when the conservative governor passed the law in a liberal state. But when the President passed Romney’s law at the federal level it became a liberal against conservative thing. Romney, the original author of the bill, had to stand opposed to his own idea for the sake of winning his parties nomination.

Republicans were for the Affordable Healthcare Act until Democrats were for it. Then they stumbled all over themselves throughout the primaries trying to convince everyone they were against it, and were always against it, even when they were for it in Massachusetts.

That’s what I mean. We need to stop disagreeing simply  for the sake of disagreement. We, the people, aren’t stupid. We hold this truth to be self-evident: Politicians will say whatever it takes to get lobbyists to write them checks. 

But this check of disagreement is being cashed by people like you and me. Both parties are guilty for the game is no longer Republicans vs. Democrats, but rich vs. poor. National politics has become the rich man’s WWE where both parties put on a show for the sake of getting the redneck’s inside the belt to write them checks.

Again, this isn’t my dream for our country. This isn’t the dream I want my children to aspire to.

I want my kids to see that two people who disagree can come together and make a joint decision for the good of others. Just like mom and dad make compromise after compromise for the sake of our family, I want them to know that compromise is a virtue.

This carries over directly to our faith, doesn’t it? I love that my kids are growing up in a home where mom and dad try to hold loosely to their personal convictions for the sake of the body of Christ. How pathetic would the Gospel be if we only worshipped with people we got along with? How pathetic would it be to only hang out with, be influenced by, and study things from a single perspective. Yes, we are conservative evangelicals. That’s who we are. But we make the conscious, hopeful choice to identify ourselves with Christ more than we identify ourselves with a theological heritage.

For the record: I’m in favor of a nationalized health care system. I’d like to see it illegal for drug companies to market to the public. And I  think all insurance companies should be not-for-profit, like the BlueCross system started as in the 1960s. So I’m not pumped about the decision today because I feel like it’s not the reform that is  truly needed.

Photo credit: Tosh at SCOTUS by Mark Trimble via Flickr (Creative Commons)
Christian Living illustrations

Leave the Ignoble Behind

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to heaven, we were all going direct the other way – in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.

~ Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities

Pretty up-to-the-minute for something written in 1859, right?

Each generation believes it has created it’s own extremes. In fact, it’s an age-old trap that has just been carried forward. The sin of our forefathers still destroys us.

The litmus tests of extremists are in full effect today and are just as unproductive as ever. Their bi-product is never progress, only pain.

  • You’re either an evangelical conservative or a mainline liberal, chose a side.
  • You’re pro-LGBT or your anti-LGBT, which is it?
  • You’re either pro-union or anti-union, take your pick.
  • You’re a tea party love or a hater.

As if the middle ground were the enemy. As if being reasonable and understanding all sides of issues were not possible. As if compromise and working things out were akin to selling your soul to the other side.

In truth, Jesus asks us to reject the ignoble extremes to live in the noble tense middle.

A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.
John 13:34

Christian Living

In defense of blunt

Some writers have explained the English constitution thus; the king, say they, is one, the people another; the peers are an house in behalf of the king; the commons in behalf of the people; but hath all the distinctions of the people; but this hath all the distinctions of an house divided against itself; and though the expressions be pleasantly arranged, yet when examined they appear idle and ambiguous; and it will always happen, that the nicest construction that words are capable of, when applied to the description of some thing which either cannot exist, or is too incomprehensible to be within the compass of description, will be words or sound only, and though they may amuse the ear, they cannot inform the mind,for this explanation includes a previous question, viz. HOW CAN THE KING BY A POWER WHICH THE PEOPLE ARE AFRAID TO TRUST, AND ALWAYS ABLIGED TO CHECK?

Thomas Paine, Common Sense – January 1776

Thomas Paine, and his best-selling pamphlet, united ill feelings towards King George and solidified the people into a full-fledged declaration of independence from England and the war which followed.

Words, written bluntly, did that.

Paine didn’t dance around things or talk about them in a way so as not to offend. He went for the jugular with his pen and twisted when he found a vein so as to cause maximum damage. He went for the kill and got it.

As I’ve been reading Common Sense it reveals to me over and over again a simple truth: We have gone soft.

Something was wrong in his world. And he knew that others felt the same way. So he published his words with the hopes of putting his frustrations into action.

If he were to say those things today about our country? We’d call him a terrorist. (Or another label… even if we agreed with him, we’d have to disarm his words with a label.)

The pen is still mightier than the sword

Political-correctness is very effective. It leads to stalemates and exchanges of niceties. But being nice never leads to action. Compromise is the best you can do.

Meanwhile, the world is in desperate need of truths to be told, lies to be exposed, and convictions to be stood upon.

Millions will die in the coming decade because we are nice.

As believers in Jesus, we acknowledge that millions will go to hell because we are too nice (or want to protect our job) to do anything about our churches reaching 5%-10% of the general population of our country.

I’m 34 years old. I don’t have time to waste being nice.

This is what I tell people when they ask me, “If you know things you write will make people mad why do you still do it?

Have you ever met someone in their 70s full of regret? Looking back on their life they tearfully tell you the things they wish they had done, said, or the person they wished they could have been?

I have. And those conversations drive me to do and say things based on my convictions today. I’m not going to sit back and play nice as it only leads to compromise and regrets.

You are who you are on purpose

I’m stupid enough to believe what the Bible teaches me. And I hope you are, too.

God doesn’t have you where you are at by accident. You don’t live where you live accidentally. You don’t work where you work accidentally. It’s no accident who your co-workers are. Or your friends. Or the board you sit on nor the role you play at your church.

You were created for this moment to have the thoughts you have today and to say them. Fear God alone, not the consequences of putting to action the things God has laid on your heart.

Knowing that, have no fear. Just say it. Do it. And live it.

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. Ephesians 2:8-10

No regrets.