Posts Tagged ‘politics’

CircleI came across this book quite by accident. I don't even remember what other resource I was reading when I saw a reference or a quote to Fewell's book. I do remember being immediately drawn to the book because I had my suspicions that it was not mere commentary on the book but true exegesis. I was not disappointed. This book is a whirlwind of wonderful understanding and exegesis and application of the Book of Daniel.

If a book's worth can be judged based on the amount of underlines and margin notes a reader makes, then this book is worth a lot. I scratched and scribbled and underlined and underscored something on nearly every page of the book. The most important thing for me about this book is simple: I found the author was in agreement with a lot of the things that I was already seeing during the course of my own study of Daniel. For example, many people read the book of Daniel and see nothing but monsters and maniacal masters and mayhem–i.e., apocalypse. And that is then the hermeneutical lens through which the book is interpreted. 

I don't deny there are elements of apocalypse in the book, but I take issue with anyone who says that is the only way to read the book. Fewell notes this too: "Despite the appeal of the apocalyptic to subsequent generations and the propensity of scholars in recent days to classify the entire book as an apocalypse, the book of Daniel introduces itself as a narrative. An extended story comprised of six episodes about Daniel and his friends provides the literary context of the visions that follow" (11). Right. And Fewell's scheme follows this observation: the bulk of her work focuses on chapters 1-6 of Daniel while only chapter is devoted to an exegesis of chapters 7-12. In some ways this is frustrating and disappointing. In other ways it is wonderful because so many authors want to focus on chapters 7-12 and figuring out who is who and what is what that the beauty and depth of 1-6 is often left behind.

That said, she digs deep in the few pages she devotes to chapters 7-12 and helps the reader understand their relationship to 1-6. The time stamps given at the beginning of chapters 7, 8, 9, and 10 show us where to place the chapters historically with respect to chapters 1-6. This aids in understanding both the narrative and vision cycles. So Fewell, "The temporal settings of the visions mark them as expansion of the plot. Some visions take us back in Daniel's career, some move us forward; but they all continue to reveal character and to sustain political themes" (119). I agree. I didn't always agree with Fewell's final analysis of a text (e.g., I wholly disagree with her that Daniel 4 is a triumph of 'the human imagination…able to overpower human history' or that Daniel 3 is mere metaphor.) but I certainly agree that it makes much better sense to interpret these visions based on their historical position than their canonical position.

Fewell pays very careful attention to the details of the text–something I appreciate very much in those who dare write books about the Scripture. She consistently makes observations about the text of Daniel and brings out details of the story that might otherwise be overlooked or underplayed. It is too easy for scholars and preachers to overlook simple narrative techniques whereby the author tells us what a story is about simply forming a chiasm and narrowing the reader's focus, or tirelessly repeating some aspect of the story (note how in Daniel 3 the list of people and instruments are repeated numerous times), duplicating vocabulary from chapter to chapter, or by connecting a later story with images from an earlier story.Fewell does an outstanding work of drawing our attention to the intentions of the author of Daniel by noting the subtleties in the text and redirecting our attention to plot devices and character development (e.g., noting for the reader that in chapter 1 the reader is privy to information that the characters in the story are not, especially the king, 14).

It was somewhat difficult to tell where Fewell comes down as far as Daniel's authorship is concerned. I finished reading with the idea that she sees the book as a unified piece of literature based on her literary reading of the book. She does not delve into authorship, redaction, or dates, but reads the book as a whole piece and interprets it thus. At this juncture in all our lives, debates about times and dates seems a bit pointless and, to be sure, those things are not the focus of her exegesis of the Daniel text.

Fewell tells us at the beginning of her book what the point of Daniel is, and for her the point is decidedly political: "The central political issue in Daniel is that of sovereignty. Who is sovereign in the human world? The question is, of course, also a theological one because the principal conflict in the book is between God and human monarchs over the very question: Who rules?" (12) I absolutely agree with Fewell's point here. Over and over in the book of Daniel we see this point being made to one person after another as one king rises and another falls. By the time we get to Daniel 7-12 our minds are hardwired to see God's sovereignty so much at work in the seemingly mundane details of local and world politics that God is scarcely mentioned. We have come to expect it because we have been conditioned to see it by the way we see God interacting with Nebuchadnezzer, Belshazzar, and Darius. Perhaps we would do well to ask ourselves, even now, if God is not more involved in the political world we live in, bringing about his own ends, than we truly consider.

One final note about the book. It seemed somewhat incomplete. I fully appreciate when a book of the Bible is allowed to stand on its own and be read for its own sake without feeling the need or compulsion to automatically attach or derive meaning from elsewhere. With that said, I note that Fewell not once talks about the church, Jesus, or the New Testament. Not once. I understand the need to interpret Daniel as it stands and in its own context–and I respect that–but it seems to be somewhat of a loss that when Jesus himself quotes from Daniel or adopts key imagery (i.e., 'son of man') or when an entire book adopts key language and imagery for its own construction and narrative (i.e., the Revelation) that it is not taken into consideration how this might affect our understanding of the book. In this regard, Circle of Sovereignty was a bit of a disappointment and an otherwise complete book was left incomplete, the circle was a bit broken.

Overall, I think the book is excellent. Fewell's attention to narrative detail is outstanding and her interpretation of the book as a complete book is excellent too. My only misgiving is that there is no attention paid to the New Testament or to Jesus. For all the care and attention given to the book in situ, it seems to me that even an appendix might have been warranted to broach the subject of its place in the entire corpus of Scripture.  Nevertheless, the well read reader will have ample opportunity to forge his own connections with the New Testament and even though this neglect of the New Testament was a disappointment for me, it doesn't detract from the quality of Fewell's  exegesis of Daniel.

4/5 Stars

Important Book & Author Things

  • Where to purchase Circle of Sovereignty Amazon (Paperback $20.63); Abingdon Press (Paperback $21.99)
  • Author: Danna Nolan Fewell
  • Publisher: Abingdon Press
  • Pages: 136 (+notes, bibliography, indexes)
  • Year: 1991
  • Audience: preachers, scholars, students of OT, well read general audience
  • Reading Level: College
  • Disclaimer: Purchased
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Surprised byTitle: Surprised by Scripture

Author: NT Wright

Publisher: HarperOne

Year: 2014

Pages: 223

Anyone who has read any of my book reviews knows that NT Wright typically gets rave reviews from me–both as a lover of literature and as a Christian who loves Wright's theological perspective. Fact is, I can scarcely ever find anything in his books with which I disagree.

With this book, that changed just a little because I found much of what he wrote to be provocative and challenging to some long held theological ideas I have held. Letting go of long-held ideas isn't easy; being challenged at an intellectual level is sometimes discouraging. If we are not careful, we can label those who challenge us as abrasive or mean. He doesn't hold back, challenging all those sacred-cows current Christians have championed as 'thou shalt not violate orthodoxy in these matters' kind of doctrines. Sad truth is that entire ministries have been built around some of these sacred-cows in recent years–trumpeting theological perspectives that are important, yes, but often exist to the exclusion of a more comprehensive narrative, or to the exclusion of the Person to whom they point. It's kind of like the way a lot of books are put together in today's Evangelical publishing houses: authors find a single verse that supports an idea and then scratch around other tangential passages to find more support and then, voila!, a book is born. And all the while these authors pay very little, if any, attention to the meta-narrative of Scripture.

Yet this is precisely what NT Wright refuses to do in his writing. Taking a sort of 'damn the torpedoes' approach to the sacred-cows and theological pillars of current incarnation of the church, he plows through each subject by constantly reminding of us what Scripture says, and not just what a verse says. What I mean to say is that the meta-narrative is always in his view when he writes. It matters not the subject matter: Wright always has 66 books in his vision when he is writing about even the smallest word, sentence, paragraph, or book of the Bible. And so it is with Surprised by Scripture. There's not a subject he touches that isn't somehow connected to the larger context of the Bible, of the story of God coming down to rescue broken and sinful humanity in Jesus and the project begun at Jesus' resurrection to rebuild this earth and it's people.

This is what I simultaneously love and hate about NT Wright's books. On the one hand, he always has the meta-narrative in mind so I know that he is not trying to hoodwink me or convince me of some specious theology that is born out of a reaction to some perceived threat or otherwise. Many authors/preachers are good at this and it is reflected in the lack of depth in their work. On the other hand, he always has the meta-narrative in mind so he is constantly challenging my presuppositions about Scripture and God and what God is doing, or has done, in Jesus. That is terrifically threatening and makes me constantly uncomfortable. It ought to be so with all authors who dare speak on matters of faith. It ought to be so with all preachers: comforting the afflicted; afflicting the comfortable.

Surprised by Scripture made me clench my teeth more than any other of Wright's books precisely at this point. Yet I think this is exactly what happens when you take the bulk of Wright's heavy theologies and filter them down to the every day church. And if we do, and if we are honest, we simply must admit that we have gotten a lot of it just plain wrong. We might also go along with admitting that many of the ministries that are build around some of these wrongs are also, sadly, beside the point. Taking the example of the creation stories, for example, we might say something like: It's important that God made the universe; it's not so much important how he did it. But we might go further and say: It's important that God made the universe, and it's tremendously important that all throughout the Scripture the authors affirm that God is going to remake & recreate the universe. We can go even further: It's important that God made the universe, sustains the universe; that the authors reaffirm this frequently; that the authors reaffirm frequently that God will renew, recreate, remake the universe; that God has already begun to do this in Jesus and will bring it to fruition at some point. One way of saying this ignores the big picture; one way affirms it.

Well, we cannot prove creation in any ex nihilo sense of creation. We can surmise. We can guess. We might ask: Is it a mountain upon which I am willing to die? But what we can do is point to the Resurrection of Jesus (chapter 3) as a point in history where God's breaking in and stirring up the pot of recreative materials that can actually be demonstrated. The point, of course, is that we Christians get all frustrated because we have tied ourselves to the posts of things that are not quite as important as some other things–or because we feel compelled to prove something about Jesus that doesn't need proving because we think that if we don't the whole world of faithism will die. But we are to be found in Jesus, loving Jesus, loving people. Seems to me that everything else is so much frosting.

If we are more willing to die for a doctrine than we are for a person then we have utterly missed the point. I suspect at times this is Wright's point. 

The only real gripe I have with this book is Wright's points about politics–especially American politics. He seems very sensitive to the way American politicians do things–especially as it relates to events surrounding September 11, 2001 and the ongoing drama of how 'we' deal with terrorist organizations. He says he's no pacifist; I believe him. But he seems to forget that the 'war on terror' although led mainly by the USA was, in fact, a coalition of nations who decided enough was enough. I disagree with his subtle criticisms of then president Bush (although he never mentions him by name) and the manner of response to the actions of evil people. I think this is even more pertinent now as we see our current president simply doing nothing against terrorist threats, beheadings of women and children, and the systematic destruction of churches and christians in the Middle East.

The problem with Wright's critique of American political processes is that he gives us no viable alternatives. He thinks American democracy is worse than his British Socialism. He thinks that we should be voices in the wilderness hammering out our prophecies against politicians and governments, and perhaps we should, but he doesn't tell us with what or with whom we are to replace them. Should we go back to Medieval Feudalism? Should we revert to the monarchy we escaped from? Should we adopt Sharia? Perhaps we should let Anarchy rule and go back to the time of Judges when 'everyone did as he saw fit in his own eyes'? My point is, it's fine to criticize the way we do things in America if in fact you have a superior alternative. I simply do not see in any of Wright's books a superior alternative to the representative republic in which I happen to live. And if I may add one last point, for as much as I love Wright, for as much as I think he is dead on in keeping the narrative vision alive and in front, I think he is dead wrong when it comes to his critique of the United States. Dr Wright has indeed benefited greatly from the freedoms we enjoy here in America–not least of which is freedom to say what he wants, write what he wants, and criticize who he wants and then return back to the safety of Great Britain. I think it is disingenuous to say on page 112 that 'Western politicians knew perfectly well that al Qaeda was a danger…' and then criticize the reaction to September 11, 2001 as a 'knee-jerk, unthinking, immature lashing out.'

This is a case where the president at the time was damned for doing and would have been damned for not doing (when in fact nearly everyone in government at the time supported the idea of taking action). Frankly, I think Wright's critique beginning on page 112 and ending somewhere on page 114 is wrong (as I think much of his criticism of the American political system is wrong). Perhaps if the British government, who had suffered worse before the USA on September 11, had done something we wouldn't have had to act in the way we did or at all. Fact is, however, no one was doing anything about rampant terrorism until our president took action–and if that's true, then who is to say his actions were merely 'knee-jerk, unthinking, and immature'? It's easy to shift blame which is what Wright does here. His government did nothing about it so when ours did it was, somehow, wrong. And this is all beside the point that our president was acting as the president of a sovereign nation–humanists, atheists, christians, Jews, Gentiles, etc. All of us. He was not acting on behalf of a church or a synagogue or a mosque or professor's chair; he was acting on behalf of the people he swore to protect.

All that being said, I enjoyed the challenge the book afforded. I especially found the last chapter to be one of the best chapters I have read in a long time on the subject of hope. It also goes without saying that Wright is his typical exegetical genius. He brings fresh insights to the Scripture and challenges our presuppositions in a host of ways. I think he would be the first to tell you he doesn't have all the answers to all the problems we face, but in my opinion, he has laser vision on where we should start looking.

4/5 Stars.

Once upon a midnight dreary, I was enrolled in seminary. I had to write a paper once concerning whether or not Jesus ever said anything political. I don't remember everything I wrote but I do remember being marked down a grade because it was my opinion that Jesus had very little to say about politics.

I suppose by now I might change my mind. He probably said a lot. He probably said more than I really care to think about right now. I think if Jesus did say something about politics it is something that most people really will not want to hear. The liberal thinks Jesus said something that justifies their liberal social agenda. The conservative thinks Jesus said something that justifies their conservative social agenda. If we use Scripture to justify a political point of view then we have missed the point of reading Scripture altogether.

I think Jesus said something about the Kingdom of God and anything he said about politics, and how they are used, must be found somewhere within the matrix of God's Kingdom. I think we must also be careful because Jesus spoke to a particular and peculiar political situation. He did not, to be sure, say anything specifically about American politics, American politicians, or the American political machine. There's a lot of folks who think Jesus had something to say about America, but he didn't. Not specifically anyhow. But if he did say something in general, I think he warned his followers that we ought to tread lightly and not be found holding hands with those in power.

Jesus had lots of things to say about the Kingdom of God though.

So I got to thinking tonight and went on a mini-facebook rant, posting mini-screed after mini-screed to my wall. (Mostly I do things like this to aggravate people, but tonight I was kind of being serious because I'm kind of getting sick of the attitudes of many of my conservative Christian friends. Jesus did say something to them, something about humility or being humble or being last or something.) The point here, then, is to post a few of those mini-screeds.

I think if Christians really, really, really want to see the world changed for the better, kind of a redeeming the time sort of thing, then it would be better if we aligned ourselves with Love instead of a particular political party.

[Comment: Jesus gave us one command: Love. We are to love our neighbor as ourselves. Love God. Love one another. That's pretty much it in a nutshell. What bothers me is that more people seem to get this who aren't christians than who are. I think that should bother people; a lot.]

I think if Christians really, really, really aligned themselves with Jesus, then we would have the same opinion of both sides of the political aisle because in truth, neither conservatives nor liberals have in mind the things of Jesus. I'll go a step further and suggest that they don't have your best interests in mind either. Politics is about one thing and one thing only: power. And the Gospel of Jesus is the power we already possess and the only power we need.

[Comment: In my opinion, way, way, way too many Christians think that our salvation comes from electing socially and fiscally conservative politicians. I disagree. I happen to be a socially and fiscally conservative Jesus follower, but that is not where our hope is found. We are not a people of power and we do not need those in power for protection and/or salvation. We belong to Jesus. He is our King. He is our love. He is our God who came to bring us back to Him. David Crowder wrote those last three lines. All I'm saying is that dialogue is fine. Opinion is fine. Belief is fine. But don't for a minute think that dialogue, opinion, and belief in or with a political party is going to keep you safe. It's dog eat dog in politics and Christians are very tiny dogs.]

Funny thing is that I often find it is those who are politically liberal or religiously agnostic who tolerate my ideas more than my conservative friends.

[Comment: I don't even care anymore. I don't even try. I like a good debate, but I have long since given up the idea that I will lead anyone to Jesus just because I have more arguments against evolution than they have for it. I figure if God wanted it to be so clear, he could have made it clearer himself. These political and scientific arguments are great fun, but really amount to nothing in the grand scheme of things. Let's talk about things that really matter–like life, and love, and happiness (that's from Audio Adrenaline.) Down at the bottom of a person, I want to know they are into Jesus. They can sort out their political and scientific angst in their own time and with God. None of this means we have to agree with one another. Jesus didn't say: A new command I give you: Agree with one another. No. No. No. Jesus said, verbally and demonstratively, Love. That's all. Just Love. ]

The Resurrection of Jesus is God's demonstration of Power and if Christians think we need something more or other then we have not truly understood the Gospel of Jesus yet. The greatest among you will be the least. The first shall be last.

[Comment: At the heart of the matter is that we now live in a church that reflects the US constitution and not the Bible. I'm sorry to say it. The church is stagnant–and mega churches prove nothing otherwise. I know from first hand experience how churches treat people–and they do so because of power. Churches like power just as much as the politicians with whom they align themselves. And our daily commentary on world events is not Jesus or Scripture, but talk radio hosts whose use of Scripture is offensive and appalling. What's worse is that Christians buy into it: lock, stock, and barrel. We think because it's conservative, it's right. We think because it's liberal, it's wrong. Seriously, who cares? Let's talk about something like fixing the world because we love Jesus or because he loves us. Let's talk about what real power is and where real power comes from. Let's talk about love. Let's talk about something like how we as Christians can be Jesus to the thousands of people who are illegally entering this country each day. What can we do to alleviate some or all of their burden? Let's talk about how that Jesus Resurrection Power can make this earth shake.]

So you see I am a little out there tonight. It's not about being contrary. It's about thinking through what the Bible really, really, really says and means. It's about being a Jesus follower first and an American second. America is great. I have no desire to live anywhere else, well, maybe Paris for a year or so, but other than Paris, Venice, and Berlin, I'm all about America the beautiful.

But I'm more about Jesus.

Christians need to give serious thought to where their loyalties lie and to whom they belong. Faith is about trusting that God knows better what's going on than we do and that that's OK. We don't have to be in the know about everything. We don't have to be on the supposed right side of everything. Key to our discipleship is God's grace: no one will be saved because they dotted all the i's and crossed all the t's. We are saved only by grace. No one will be saved because they had the right political opinion or because they hobnobbed with all the right political power mongers. Grace. That's all.

In other words, I don't think Jesus gives a rip what your politics are. I do think he pays attention to your motivations when it comes to politics though–that is, where your faith is, how you use politics, etc. He knows your heart. That's what he is concerned with each moment of each day. Your heart. Many of us would do well to be liberated from the notion that our political persuasion will somehow persuade Jesus.

Perhaps some of you will find this short note a bit unpalatable and un-American. I hope you find it both. I have a lot of different kinds of FB friends, liberals & conservatives, christians & humanists, atheists & theists, men & women, and so on. What continues to amaze me is that it is my christian friends who offend me the most. Don't get me wrong, I love them all the same, but let me ask a question: What if Jesus treated us the way some Christians are treating immigrants–legal and illegal?

Oh I get it: "It's unfair to all those immigrants who went through the process legally and followed all the steps to become citizens of this country legally."

I keep hearing that word: legal (and any and all permutations of it). Legal.

Since when are christians legalists? Isn't that the whole point of God's grace? Isn't it the entire point that we did absolutely nothing to become his children? And yet we are outraged that people want to become children of this nation–by whatever means necessary?

What if Jesus said, "You didn't follow all the rules to become my son or daughter. You didn't have faith on this day. You didn't eat communion on that day. You didn't read your Bible. You didn't pray your prayers. You weren't baptized the correct way. Therefore, you cannot come in to my country."

What if that's what Jesus said to us?

And yet my Christian friends are saying the same thing to so-called illegal immigrants: you didn't follow all the rules; therefore, you cannot come in to our country.

Since when are Christians legalists?

I know, I know. Someone's great-granddaddy fought in some war many years ago and migrated here legally and therefore that ought to be the paradigm for everyone who comes here. It's unfair to my great-granddaddy who suffered and bled all over this land. Sure it is. I agree.

But since when are Christians about what is fair and not fair? Since when has God *ever* said to us: I'm going to give you what you deserve?

What if christians, instead of acting like those politicians for whom these so-called illegal immigrants are nothing more than a political sledgehammer, started to demonstrate unconditional, welcoming, unashamed love and compassion?

But what about all the diseases they carry with them? So.

But what about all their drugs? So.

But what about terrorism? So. 

But what about our job? Our economy? So.

Since when do christians put their hope, faith, and security in the ability of a government to eradicate disease, drugs, and fear? When was the last time you or I went without a meal? Or shelter? Or clothing?

The very fact that we are living and breathing is unfair. We are waging the wrong war because the Bible says that our enemy is not 'flesh and blood': "For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places" (Ephesians 6:12, ESV).

People are the very people God wants to save. Maybe this their only chance to ever hear about Jesus. Or, truth be told, maybe they are bringing more Jesus with them than we currently have here ourselves?

In making immigrants–mostly the illegal ones–the enemy, we are losing the mandate we have from Jesus which is, very simply, to love our neighbor as ourselves.

Are there people who are using this for means of political expediency? Yes: Republicans and Democrats are both using the situation of immigration to secure their power. Make no mistake about it: neither the conservatives nor the liberals have the interests of Jesus–or you for that matter–in mind. They have only their own power in mind: securing it for many years and lording it over you.

Christians have this silly notion that because someone is a gifted speaker that it means they are our friend. Don't be fooled people: the powers that be are only and always friends of themselves and power. They do not and never have had your interests in mind.

Since when are Christians motivated by the power of those in power? We have one King. Period.

So what's all this about? Well, I think the tone of our conversation needs to be changed. None of us know what will happen tomorrow. You think your place is secure because you live in America? You think that because you are older you will never have to leave the security of your country and become and 'illegal' immigrant? Ask yourself, would you want to be treated the way you are treating people?

You think because you have a house or a business or a job that you will never be faced with the prospect of losing your home? Renee and I waited 17.5 years to buy our first house. It was gone in less than 4 years. You think you are secure? You think you can't lose all? Then what will you, christian, do when you have to beg, borrow, or steal in order to provide for your children? 

We used to be called a Christian nation, but we are not anymore. And it's not because atheists and liberals have 'taken over the nation'. It's because Christians have failed to embrace the Jesus of the Bible and have instead created one in our own image–one that is based on worldly notions of power and wears the name 'conservative' or 'liberal.'

Maybe we christians should ere on the side of mercy. We too, says the Bible, are strangers and aliens and exiles in this world: "Keep on loving one another as brothers and sisters. Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without know it."

But even better: "Once you were not a people, but now you are a people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. Dear friends, I urge you, as foreigners and exiles, to abstain from sinful desires which wage war against your soul. Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us" (1 Peter 2:10-12).

Pray for the many people who continue to enter this country legally and illegally. Try to get past all the political rhetoric and remember that they are people and that the US *is* a great place to live. Maybe in coming here they will hear the gospel of hope and be blessed in Jesus. We don't have to change anyone but ourselves and maybe their hope begins by seeing Christians who are not afraid of them, hating them, or angry at them but instead welcoming of them and loving them. Maybe God's plan in their being here is bigger than our notions of politics and economics. Think about it.

And do so without an agenda. Love God; love people. Remember, at one time we were illegals in God's Country. Be glad he did not treat you the way many Christians are treating those who are coming here.

Friends,

So I was watching Hannity and Colmes last night with my wife and afterward I watched about 10 minutes of Greta. I don’t care about politics this year and I have decided that I am not voting for either Senator Obama or Senator McCain, but something came up in the course of these two shows that illustrates an important point. It goes something like this.

On the one hand, the Democrat party continues to point out to America that Senator McCain is too closely linked to George W Bush. The add on television points out that McCain voted with President Bush 90% of the time. This, I suppose they are saying, is the reason we should not vote for McCain. That is, we don’t need another 4 years of President Bush. They want us to be afraid of lower taxes, a backbone, and a pro-life position.

On the other hand, the Republican party continues to point out to America that Senator Obama is too closely associated with people like Jeremiah Wright, Tony Resko, and Bill Ayres for us to trust him. His background is shady they say and thus we should not vote for him. That is, we don’t need another 4 years of President Clinton. The Republicans want us to be afraid of his association with these people who have demonstrated their hatred for America, shady business dealings, and their, well, hatred for America.

I guess what the two parties are saying is this: Which of the two has the worst associations? That is, when one of them is elected, whose friends would you rather see sleeping in the Lincoln Bedroom: Obama’s or McCain’s? Or who do you hate worse: Bush or some people no one ever heard of until the election campaigns started? Biden goes off about McCain being Bush’s clone. Palin goes off about Obama being associated with criminals and anarchists. Is that really the substance of this election? Now you know why I’m not voting. Fact is Obama will change things and that frightens me. Fact is McCain won’t change much, if anything, and that frightens me too; perhaps more so.

Well, as I said, I’m not voting for either of them in the election. I dislike both candidates for a number of reasons and I am protesting both parties and their inability to put forth a candidate who matters. McCain is like Bush; looks like Chaney; acts like Bob Dole. Obama is like his past; acts like Clinton; and talks like the Rock. (Obama is not Messiah, and he is not JFK. He’s more Clinton (Bill) than anyone.) But when it gets right down to it, whose associations are the worst of the two? The question is, whom do we distrust more: George W Bush or Wright, Resko, and Ayres? I’m not voting for either, but I’ll say this much: I’d much rather have four more years of George W Bush than four years of Wright, Resko, and Ayres.

jerry

PS–as a side note, the Democrat party has been telling America for 8 years that George W Bush doesn’t care about us because he is too closely associated with ‘big oil’ and Haliburton and ‘the rich and powerful.’ Now, all of the sudden, they want me to just accept Senator Obama without any reference to the people he associates with (Wright, Resko, etc.). How am I to do this? If I should worry about Bush because of his ‘oil’ connections, should I not worry more about Obama’s connections to criminals?

PPS–I don’t mind if Bush’s economic strategies continue. In his 8 years, I have eliminated considerable debt, paid off my van, and bought my first house. I’m not terribly concerned about McCain’s continuation of Bush’s ‘failed’ economic strategy. It has worked for my family, praise be to God.

Friends,

I found a meaningless article at the BBC online today. Turns out that the majority of nearly 23,000 people from 17 different countries would prefer Senator Barack Obama as the next president. Well, I have a couple of thoughts on this poll.

First, who cares what people around the world think of who should be our president? On the one hand, they will not have to live under his authority, deal with the repercussions of his horrible doctrines, make sacrifices when he screws things up, or live with the embarassment of his poor decisions, or live with the consequences of his liberal policies, or his selection of supreme court justices…etc. Of course the world wants Obama–they know he will foul things up in the US and then they can sit back and laugh at us. On the other hand, as history has shown, the people around the world really couldn’t care less: The United States is an equal opportunity immigration center, we are an equal opportunity ‘we’ll send you billions of American tax-dollars when you have a disaster regardless of how many times you have tried to blow us up’ nation, we are an equal opportunity nation of ‘come here and we’ll give you plenty of handouts, plenty of welfare, plenty of….agghhhh…’, we are an equal opportunity enemy of the world because we have an economy that works, freedom of speech, etc. Whatever.

Second, in related news, the votes of the citizens of other nations amount to absolutely nothing in American elections. The good senator Obama proved this to be true by receiving resounding applause from Germans this past summer–I heard like 80,000 people! Who cares? The next president will not be popular in any of those countries regardless of what party he is from–until, of course, they have a disaster and need money from American tax payers.

Third, I wonder why those people in other countries would care about who runs the US? Everyone knows that congress runs the country, not the president. But, what vested interest would those in these other 17 countries have if Senator Obama were elected president? I wonder why these people would be opposed to another Republican president? Hmmm…I wonder….what could it be….hmmmm….????

Well, whatever. I wonder why no one ever polls people in the USA to ask what American citizens think about elections in, say, Iran, or Russia, or Afghanistan, or Saudi Arabia, or…oh, that’s right…

jerry

Friends,

I happened across this stupid (you’ll understand in a minute why I said ‘stupid’) commentary from Penn Jillette, magician, comedian, actor, author and producer (should tell us all we need to know about his opinion and why he is ‘qualified’ to write this op-ed for CNN), that I had hoped would prove to me that many of the folks in Hollywood really don’t deserve much of an audience when it comes to politics. The headline reads: “Last Thing We Need Now is a Great Leader.” And yet as I read, prepared for the worst, I found myself strangely attracted to this essay…

…I’m teetering on the brink right now, but…I think I actually…happen…to sort of agree with his point of view. I disagree profoundly that our current president is stupid and that Obama is ‘way smarter’ than the President:

Obama is a great leader. He can fire people up and get them to do what he wants. He does smart speeches that promise everyone everything they need and make us feel good about our country and how much greater our government could be.

Obama has never led anyone, anywhere, and take away his teleprompter and he’s not a very good speaker either. At least Hilary could speak off the cuff. Obama is annoying and I wish the election were over so that he could go away–although if past liberal losers are any indication of what ‘going away’ means then I will likely have to endure more from Obama after the election too. None of these things qualify Obama as a great leader. Charisma and popularity are meaningless traits for leadership; great traits for getting elected.

But Jillette then wrote this:

But I don’t think our next president being a great leader is a good thing.

I’m worried about someone smarter than Bush taking over that tremendous power. Charisma and ambition increase my fear exponentially, and a great leader scares me to death.

We need someone stupid enough to understand that the president of the United States can’t solve many problems without taking away freedom and therefore shouldn’t try. The only reason John McCain scares me a little less is because I think he’s a little less likely to win. They both promise a government that will watch over us, and I don’t like that.

I don’t want anyone as president who promises to take care of me. I may be stupid, but I want a chance to try to be a grown-up and take care of my family. Freedom means the freedom to be stupid, and that’s what I want. I don’t want anyone to feel my pain or tell me to ask what we can do for our country, or give us all money and take care of us.

Gene Healy at the Cato Institute explains that the Founding Fathers wanted the president “to faithfully execute the laws, defend the country from attack and check Congress with the veto power whenever it exceeded its constitutional bounds.”

That sounds like plenty to me. You gotta be smarter than me to do all that, but you don’t have to be as smart as Obama, and you sure don’t have to be a great leader.

Our first seven presidents averaged a bit more than three public speeches a year, and they didn’t promise jobs for everyone, day care, dental exams and free stuff.

It’s really hard to find someone who trusts Americans to take care of themselves and each other without government force. It’s hard to find someone running for president who would be content to be what George Washington humbly called the “chief magistrate.”

You know, normally Jillette’s politics and point of view irritate me, but this time I have to say I agree: “The choice shouldn’t be which lesser of two evils should have the enormous power of our modern presidents. The question should be, who would do less as president? Who would leave us alone?”

There is a lot in that sentence that resonates deep within me. The only difference is that Jillette thinks Obama is the lesser and I think it is McCain. Nevertheless, I very much agree with Jillette that the next president should go out of his way to leave me alone, leave my money alone, leave my family alone and concentrate on other things like his golf game or whatever.

jerry

HT: Atheism Central

Friends,

This past week I posted the following essay at CRN.info. I have been thinking hard on this subject of how the church ‘fits’ into America, the church’s role in politics, etc. I’m not through thinking about this because there is more to it than this simple post. A great help on this subject has been Jacques Ellul’s chapter ‘Political Perversion’ in The Subversion of Christianity. His insights are simply profound, and, I think, on the mark. A great conversation has taken place at CRN in the comments section of the OP. I won’t copy all the comments (except a couple of my own that clarified positions I am taking in the OP), but this post is at least the catalyst for an interesting question.

__________________________

Friends,

I’m supposed to be on hiatus this week as I begin moving into our new house and all, but something at SOL caught my eye this morning and I don’t want to let it pass without a comment or two.

Before I object to something in the post, I want to state upfront that I agree with this statement, “You cannot be a Christian and support the killing of un-born babies.” I am opposed to abortion on demand and the wholesale slaughter of children (even as I am opposed to the wholesale ‘putting away’ of the elderly in nursing homes or white vans owned by Jack Kevorkian). Murder, what the Bible calls enmity in Genesis 3:15 and elsewhere, is a terribly heinous sin and is perpetuated as the seed of the serpent goes about the business of trying to annihilate the seed of the woman. I am not, please note, not disagreeing with this particular point of the OP.

Having said that, I also came across this sentence (this quote is from Dave Daubenmire’s article that the author of Slice excerpted) that sort of bugged me. I’m not posting this because I agree or disagree (although I am leaning towards disagreement) at this point, but rather to stimulate some wholesome thinking and hopefully learn something. Daubemire wrote (admittedly, there is no other context aside from what the author of Slice excerpted, but I think I am not misunderstanding what he is saying):

No wonder we are losing the battle for this nation.

Now here’s my question: Is the battle we are fighting really for ‘this nation’? Is that really the war we are engaged in right now? I have to say, with all due respect, because in this instance I am perfectly willing to learn–that is, I’m not entirely certain of my position–that this doesn’t seem to be true. (I could ask if anyone thinks RW should have been tougher on the abortion issue, but that’s another post.) You see, I think here I agree again with Ellul who wrote this: “The church lets itself be seduced, invaded, dominated by the ease with which it can now spread the Gospel by force (another force than that of God) and use its influence to make the state, too, Christian. It is great acquiescence to the temptation Jesus himself resisted, for when Satan offered to give him all the kingdoms of the earth, Jesus refuses, but the church accepts, not realizing from whom it is receiving the kingdoms.” (The Subversion of Christianity, 124)

My point here is that if we are in a ‘battle for this nation’ are we not settling? I mean, is a merely Christian America the goal here? Is that why I wake up and pray every day? Is that why I preach? Is that why I sing? Is it God’s ambition that every business, every corporation, every entity in America, be Christianized? I know, I know: “Your Kingdom come, your will be done…” Yes. But if our vision doesn’t extend beyond the borders of America, are we not selling short the prayer? God’s vision is universal, cosmic, not merely local or national. When we pray, “your Kingdom Come,” does that mean, ‘Your Kingdom come in America?’ as in ’smite all the heretical enemies of America so the truly elect can get on with the business of Eden in America? Is that what Jesus had in mind?

With all due respect to Mr Daubemire, I am not fighting a battle for this nation any more than I am fighting a battle for the community where I live. Mostly I’m fighting a battle within myself (Romans 7) and often I’m losing–more often than I am winning. So my question to you is this: Are we, Christians (or for you good Reformed folks, the Elect), fighting a battle for America? Is that our particular calling at this particular moment in the history of the universe?  Ever? (On a side note, I might ask if RW is really the reason we are ‘losing the battle for America, but again, that’s another post as I don’t happen to think that what goes on at Saddleback is necessarily indicative of what goes on in most churches in America.) And do we really think that abortion is the issue in this battle? It goes back to Genesis 3:15 and the enmity. America is fond of killing in general; we invent ways of doing it; we glamorize it in films and Law and Order reruns; we are obsessed with killing. We have all sorts of reasons for murdering, but they are all murder. Abortion is a symptom and a consequence of the greater problem we have in the world, not a specifically American franchise.

What do you think? Does Ephesians 6 here play any role in this? Is there a battle for the soul of America that Christians are engaged in? (This sounds very political, and I am tres skeptical of the church being involved in politics at any level.) I’ll be interested in reading your thoughts.

Soli Deo Gloria!

PS-please don’t read this and assume that I am either a) pro-abortion or b) anti-America. I am neither.

PPS-shame on Daubemire for laying all this at the feet of RW! Even if we are ‘losing the battle for America,’ it is hardly just to pile that at the feet of one person, especially RW. Fact is, all of us are guilty at some level. All of us bear the shame and responsibility for the sin of this nation.

_____________________

From the comments section.

Someone wrote that Christianity should affect politics even if only residually. I wrote in response:

Christianity cannot affect politics and the laws of the land because the land is not a Christian place and because eventually the land will want to affect the Christianity (see ‘faith-based initiatives’). Rather, I think we should have nothing to do with the land [I explain this below in another response]. We live here. Besides, whose ‘Christianity’ are we going to allow to affect those laws? Shall it be the Christianity of Rod Parsley or Jim Wallis or Jerry Falwell or Benny Hinn or Joel Osteen or Doug Pagitt or Brian McClaren or Jerry Hillyer or Rick Frueh or Ken Silva or Richard Abanes or Kirk Cameron or Ray Comfort? And how shall it (Christianity) affect it?

You see the problem? Even in a merely residual way is problematic. I would argue that Christianity (at least one strand of it) has residually (in fact profoundly!) affected our policies towards the Middle East and Israel. I think those policies are horrifying and have yielded horrifying consequences because they are, in effect, based on very, very, very bad pre-millenial, rapture theology. Our blind allegiance to Israel to the detriment of others living there is beyond absurd. And I’m telling you it is based on bad theology. This is exactly what I am talking about in the OP. We (the Redeemed, the Elect) are not building a kingdom of America nor are we fighting a battle for America. And while I don’t think laws should exist to punish Christians or subjugate them (or minorities or others), neither do I think laws should exist which protect us as a special class of people (nor do I think laws should exist to protect any ’special’ class of people, such as women, Muslims, homosexuals, minorities, whites, etc.) Laws ought to be for basic human dignity and freedom–human, I say, because our (the Redeemed, the Elect) freedom is found only, truly in Christ and exists quite apart from the laws that govern the land.

Another person thinks that Christianity has too much of a role in politics. I agreed and wrote:

Frankly, I think politicians spend entirely too much time, money, and energy courting the Christian vote. We would be outraged, as Christians, if they spent as much money courting the atheist vote, or the Muslim vote, or the homosexual vote. It’s almost as if these politicians are running for the high office of the church and not of the land. I wish they would concentrate on running for president and stop with all this fake ‘we care about our Christian values’ crap. Every last one of them is fake beyond imagination. They don’t care about Christ or the church. They care about getting elected.

Finally, concerning whether or not Christians ought to vote, I wrote:

I was thinking about this very thing after I posted my initial response. I mean, if what I have said is true, then perhaps Christians should not vote. But after reading your reply, I thought about it this way: We do not vote because we are Christians specifically or necessarily. We vote because a) it is a civic duty (and Christians are to obey the law except in cases where it places God in a less godlike position) b) we are Americans and can (because people have secured that right for us) and c) we are humans (and we still have to live here like it or not).

We should vote, and I suspect that some people are vocationally called to political positions (i.e. Daniel, Hananiah, Mischael, and Azariah; Nehemiah; and Esther and Joseph among others). But my point is this: Even the positions they take and policies they affirm must be beneficial to humanity generally and not to Christians specifically. Does that make sense my position? (We might argue that Nehemiah used his position to move Artaxerxes, but methinks a strong argument can be made that his was a unique position and his petition a unique petition.)

My point in this last quote is rather simple. I do believe that God protects, what some call, ‘the seed of the woman’. But what I mean by that is this: He will not leave himself without a witness, and, furthermore, the enemy will never successfully destroy God’s people. However, on the other hand, the Scripture also says that God sends rain on the just and the unjust alike. This means, I think, that God has arranged this earth and its ways so that rain benefits all humans and not a select group of humans specifically.

Thanks for stopping by and please feel free to comment on any point.

jerry

Republished courtesy of CRN.info and Analysis

Friends,

What is strange about this post is NOT the content per se, but the seriousness of the quotations attributed to certain people, the seriousness with which people are approaching this issue, the pride people are taking in the decision of the Spanish parliament.

Spanish parliament to extend rights to apes

I can only hope that this is a joke, but it appears not so. Evidently, there really is a Great Apes Project! This is from their home page:

The idea is founded upon undeniable scientific proof that non-human great apes share more than genetically similar DNA with their human counterparts. They enjoy a rich emotional and cultural existence in which they experience emotions such as fear, anxiety and happiness. They share the intellectual capacity to create and use tools, learn and teach other languages. They remember their past and plan for their future. It is in recognition of these and other morally significant qualities that the Great Ape Project was founded. The Great Ape Project seeks to end the unconscionable treatment of our nearest living relatives by obtaining for non-human great apes the fundamental moral and legal protections of the right to life, the freedom from arbitrary deprivation of liberty, and protection from torture.

Also, there’s this:

The organization is an international group founded to work for the global removal of non-human great apes from the category of mere property, and for their immediate protection through the implementation of basic legal principles designed to provide these amazing creatures with the right to life, the freedom of liberty and protection from torture.

Well, this is all fine and good. It is important that apes are afforded rights that many, many humans on the face of the earth are not afforded. But they are apes; so, why not? Evidently, their motto is ‘Equality Beyond Humanity.’

So, this article by Reuters. Here’s the first bit:

MADRID (Reuters) – Spain’s parliament voiced its support on Wednesday for the rights of great apes to life and freedom in what will apparently be the first time any national legislature has called for such rights for non-humans.

Parliament’s environmental committee approved resolutions urging Spain to comply with the Great Apes Project, devised by scientists and philosophers who say our closest genetic relatives deserve rights hitherto limited to humans.

“This is a historic day in the struggle for animal rights and in defense of our evolutionary comrades, which will doubtless go down in the history of humanity,” said Pedro Pozas, Spanish director of the Great Apes Project.

Here’s the last bit:

Philosophers Peter Singer and Paola Cavalieri founded the Great Ape Project in 1993, arguing that “non-human hominids” like chimpanzees, gorillas, orang-utans and bonobos should enjoy the right to life, freedom and not to be tortured.

The irony is that animals should enjoy ‘the right to life.’ Animals will not argue with such a sentiment. Animals do not ask to be put in the zoo, or the circus, or in films; animals do not even ask to be studied by humans. In fact, animals ask for nothing but to be left quite alone to hunt, eat, sleep, and reproduce at their leisure. Humans should be stewards, not tyrants. But that fact (animal ‘rights’) has nothing to do whatsoever with evolution; nothing to do whatsoever with genetic stuff; nothing to do whatsoever with science; nothing to do whatsoever with ‘scientific proof’ (since there is none whatsoever). But because a scientist says it, a philosopher ‘confirms’ it, and a politician makes it happen, it is something that should be done.

If this story were not so laughable I might actually think that apes were on the verge of constructing a great city or developing a microchip or planting crops instead of hunting and gathering. I was almost persuaded that the great apes were on the verge of writing novels to share with one another.

You know, there is a great irony in all this. Here’s what I think. I don’t recall reading anywhere, in the vast annals of scientific literature, that the Great Ape ‘societies’ and ‘cultures’ have developed medical facilities where female apes can go to get clean, sometimes free, discreet, safe abortions on demand, up to and including partial-birth abortions as late as 5 months into the pregnancy. I have read nowhere in any of these books about the Great Apes debating before a supreme court over whether or not it should be legal to kill another ape just because it is unborn. I haven’t read anywhere, in any scientific journal, that the great apes had developed a systematic, legal, mechanized manner by which they might efficiently and effectively destroy the lives of other apes just because they were unborn. And yet the same humans who have developed and done such things are now going to extend the courtesy of the ‘right to life’ to apes?!? Forgive me if I don’t put too much stock in the survival of the great apes. 

If the great apes populations are in decline and need saving it is because humans have killed them too. Now we must protect them via legislation. I suppose before long the great apes will be asking us for freaking welfare too! Then they will want food-stamps. Then they will want tax-breaks. Then they will want free medical care. Then they will want social security. Damn, what has Spain gotten themselves into? If these apes ever figure out the way government really works, then we are up the proverbial creek without a paddle!

I know another endangered species that needs protection: Unborn human beings. Yes, that’s right. I believe that human beings, especially helpless, defenseless, voiceless, unborn human beings should have a Right to Life. This right to life should be as protected as that of the Great Apes–after all, we are much more closely related to unborn humans than we are to great apes.

You can learn more about the plight of humans by clicking the National Right to Life link I am providing. If you really, truly care about species survival, then write to your congressman and let him or her know that you think the United States should follow Spain’s lead and give unborn humans the same right to life as the Great Apes. I think this would be a good thing for evolution’s progress.

God have mercy on us! Lord we are so far from reality it is beyond imagination. Lord God, save us from ourselves and our own stupidity. Lord, don’t wait. And yet, give us the moral courage, fortitude, strength of conviction, and devotion to prayer to see an end to abortion and the destruction of unborn, innocent human life. And, have mercy on the great apes. Seriously. Because if the government is getting involved in their lives, the apes would be better off in zoos, circuses, and films.

jerry

PS–Good Job Spain!!

Friends,

Here I will confess my ignorance. In this story from Christian Post, I learned that presidential hopeful, Barak Hussein Obama worshipped today at the Apostolic Church of God in (I guess) Chicago.

CHICAGO (AP) – Barack Obama celebrated Father’s Day by calling on black fathers, who he said are “missing from too many lives and too many homes,” to become active in raising their children.

“They have abandoned their responsibilities, acting like boys instead of men. And the foundations of our families are weaker because of it,” the Democratic presidential candidate said Sunday at a largely black church in his hometown.

OK, here’s my ignorance shining brightly. First, shouldn’t Barak Hussein Obama, impartial presidential candidate that he is, remind all men of their responsibility to be fathers to the children they sire? Why is this only an issue for ‘black fathers’? As a white man, I’m a little hurt that this message was not shared with people in general. Although I am not one of them, there are plenty of white men who desperately need to hear Barak Hussein Obama’s message of how to ‘break the cycle’ of merely being someone’s ‘baby’s daddy.’ Certainly the good senator is not suggesting that white folk don’t have this problem.

Second, how is it that this ‘speech’ he gave at a church on a Sunday morning is not a violation of the so-called ‘separation of church and state’? But as it is, I’m not upset that Barak Hussein Obama preached at this church (gotta do what you gotta do) as much as I am appalled that this church welcomed in a political candidate to ‘speak’ on a Sunday morning. Shouldn’t this church’s tax-exempt status be examined? (Does anyone know if Barak Hussein Obama has ‘spoke’ in any predominantly ‘white churches’ while on the campaign trail?)

I wonder if this church will give an equal opportunity for senator McCain to ‘speak’ at their church on a Sunday morning?  They ought be ashamed of themselves welcoming Caesar in to speak in a place where only Jesus is Lord. And if they don’t welcome in senator McCain, I will seriously question whether or not they are clear minded on issues of race. “In Christ there is neither…”

Third, can you imagine the outpouring of cries of racism if a white presidential candidate said something like, “They have abandoned their responsibilities, acting like boys instead of men” with reference to the parenting skills of black men? Can you imagine what would happen if this were John McCain’s Sunday morning sermon at, say, John Hagee’s church? (I Know McCain has disavowed any relationship with Hagee.) Can you imagine if this was Bill Cosby saying these things?

I needed an Obama rant because I cannot imagine a worse candidate for president. Frankly, I cannot imagine a worse president. I know there are plenty of people with ‘Obama is the New Messiah’, but from my perspective, this is a man who is seriously out of touch. He knows absolutely nothing about my point of view.

This election is going to be tough because neither am I a fan of McCain. Senator McCain has a lot of convincing to do if he is going to get my conservative vote and right now McCain seems too bent on getting the liberal vote.

It’s like we are having a rematch of Dole v. Clinton. Aggh!!

jerry

Friends,

I am continuing my quest to post once per day during the month of June which will be difficult when I’m on vacation, but I will do my best. Today was a long day: Worship in the AM, then some NASCAR, then nearly 5 miles of walking, then yard work, then I built a bird-feeder in my wood shop, then laundry, then shower, then reading. What a day. After so much adventure you can imagine my dismay when I, for the merest of moments, popped over to atheocracy to visit my friend Jeff and found this post: Baby Jeebus Wouldn’t Vote for an Atheist if He were Old Enough.

Now there’s a lot going on in the post that I’m not going to bother with. It would be rather pointless for me to argue with Jeff about the merits of the Bush presidency versus the ‘merits’ of the Clinton party orgypresidency. We come from two different points of view on what makes a good president (besides having some class, dignity, and not using the oval office as a brothel). Be that as it may, I’m not even going to debate Jeff on whether or not President Bush is ‘responsible’ for the deaths of thousands, whether Clinton was a Christian in any sense of the word, whether Obama is even worth the time of day, whether Christians have ‘hijacked’ the Republican party (Conservative I may be, but I am not fan or member of the current manifestation of the Republican party that’s for damn sure!) or whether Christians ‘like all the attention.’ Frankly, I don’t care. Jeff is a dyed in the wool liberal (at least libertarian) and I am a red-blooded conservative and that is highly unlikely to change with any amount of debate.

That said, I did have an issue with Jeff’s post and it has to do with who Jesus may or may not vote for. Jeff wrote this:

And just think how horrible it would be if we elected an atheist at some point … he might be against churches being tax exempt, for gay marriage, against Hocus Pocus’s intrusion into our nation’s science classes, for women’s right to a safe, clean abortion if they choose to have one, for government funding of stem-cell research that could save lives and against waging war against non-Christian countries that are no threat to us amid calls of “Bring it on!” Can you imagine that? It’d be ……. well, maybe not that bad, actually. But he’d “have no morals! (trademark: Typical Baseless Christian Rhetoric, 2,000 B.C.)”

I’ll say this: if Dubya is a “moral, Christian” president, give me an amoral, atheist one every day of the week.

It is somewhat necessary to comment on these points in order to make the point I wish to make. Bear with me.

First of all, churches do not ask for tax exempt status because they are churches Jeff. Churches are tax exempt because they are non-profit organisations. Any non-profit organisation can be tax exempt if they wish. And just for the record, my church owns the parsonage I live in and you know what? We pay property taxes close to $3000 per year. That’s hardly tax exempt. I don’t think even an atheist would be stupid enough to pull tax exempt status from non-profit churches because then all non-profit organisations would be liable for taxes and that would kill a great deal of the liberal organisations in this country.

Second, what does gay marriage have to do with anything? The state of California is forging ahead rather nicely and they haven’t asked President Bush what he thinks of their state policy. The President’s opinion on this matter is for all intents and purposes a moot point due to state sovereignty. Furthermore, the current liberal congress would likely not bring the issue to the table.

Third, as for science in the classroom: Every classroom in the country, excepting private schools perhaps, teaches state approved curricula. While there are healthy debates, and there should be, I don’t know of a single classroom in the country where science is not taught according to those standards. Those standards are, necessarily, atheistic, Darwinist, and amoral. There is no God in any classrooms except for some very conservative small towns. But give it time, Jeff, and they too will succumb to the pressure. There is no ‘creation science’ or ‘ID’ taught unless it is approved by the state. The president, once again, has nothing to do with what is taught in the public classrooms of the 50 states of the union because curriculum is a state issue.

Fourth, legal, clean, safe and often state funded abortion is available in the United States for anyone who asks. Roe v. Wade is still the binding court decision. Abortion is still legal and even though there have been challenges to it, no one has yet mounted a substantial offense to overturn its legality and, to be sure, no one ever will. President Bush has had 8 years to work on this issue and, by and large, it has been a non-existent issue even when he had both houses of congress. The president, atheist or not, has nothing to do with whether a woman can get an abortion as late as the third trimester. What are you really complaining about here? (And, to be sure, we had a president who believed such a thing as you desire for 8 years. His name was Bill Clinton.) 

Fifth, here’s what the president has said about federally funded stem cell research:

As a result of private research, more than 60 genetically diverse stem cell lines already exist” I have concluded that we should allow federal funds to be used for research on these existing stem cell lines ” where the life and death decision has already been made”, This allows us to explore the promise and potential of stem cell research” without crossing a fundamental moral line by providing taxpayer funding that would sanction or encourage further destruction of human embryos that have at least the potential for life.”  (White House) (Wikipedia)

In other words, it is a myth that there is no ‘federally funded stem cell research that could save lives.’ This document is from 2001 so likely there is even more available now. 

Sixth, even your beloved Clinton waged war when he was in office. Harry Truman, a democrat, gave permission for two atomic bombs to be dropped on Japan in WWII killing thousands of non-Christians and Christians and innocents. Vietnam: Democrats. Hilary Clinton: Voted for the Iraq war. Look, the bottom line is that 3,000+ people died in the United States on 9/11 and president Bush took action to protect us. Like it or not. I don’t know how any reasonable, thinking person can say that Iraq posed no threat to us. And what does the fact that the these are ‘non-Christian’ countries have to do with anything? The United States of America is a Non-Christian country for crying out loud! There are plenty of Christians living in the Middle East (just google it). What the president did is exactly what Clinton wouldn’t do: He put those Islamic terrorists in their place and said: You will not get away with it on my watch. Seriously, Jeff, do you forget those who died on 9/11? Do you forget the first world trade center bombing? The USS Cole? Marine barracks in Beirut? Seriously, do American lives count for nothing? And what about protecting our political ally, Israel; and what about all the thoroughly Muslim countries we have not invaded?

Now, I certainly didn’t mean for this much to be discussed, so I must get on with the point of my post which really concerns who Jesus would and would not vote for. Jeff doesn’t think Jesus would vote for an atheist. My response: Don’t be so sure about that. First of all, consider what Jesus himself said to Pilate during his trial:

When Pilate heard this, he was even more afraid, 9and he went back inside the palace. “Where do you come from?” he asked Jesus, but Jesus gave him no answer. 10“Do you refuse to speak to me?” Pilate said. “Don’t you realize I have power either to free you or to crucify you?” 11Jesus answered, “You would have no power over me if it were not given to you from above. Therefore the one who handed me over to you is guilty of a greater sin.” (John 19)

Now, consider what the apostle Paul wrote in Romans 13:

Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. 2Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. 3For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and he will commend you. 4For he is God’s servant to do you good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword for nothing. He is God’s servant, an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. 5Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also because of conscience. 6This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants, who give their full time to governing. 7Give everyone what you owe him: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.” (Romans 13)

My point in citing these two references is obvious I hope: Jesus votes for atheists to be in charge of governments every single day: Sometimes giving them the power, other times sustaining them in power, and other times deposing them from power. (Oh, I should note that Paul didn’t think churches should be tax exempt either. Neither did Jesus. They both agreed we should pay what is right.) But I digress. Fact is, most of the people running the world right now are atheists and since power and authority comes from above it seems to me that Jesus does vote for atheists.

I wonder, Jeff, is the world a better place with all these atheists in charge? Castro? Putin? Chavez? War lords in Africa? Amadinijab in Iran? Etc., etc.

I’m a different sort of person in this regard. Frankly, I’m not in favor of someone being president just because they are a Christian. In other words, Christianity is not the defining quality I look for so that when I find it I say, “Oh, he’s a Christian he’s automatically got my vote.” Most of them (politicians) say ‘I am a Christian’ just to pander to unthinking people who do just such a thing. Now that doesn’t mean I will vote for an atheist just because she is an atheist either. I vote for the person I believe a) best reflects the morals, ideas, and policies that I believe in and support and b) the person whom I believe to be the best qualified to hold that office (whether president of the US or mayor of McDonaldland). It is rather insulting for someone to assume that Christians are just such a bunch of dupes that we go into the polls blindly and vote for someone just because they have said “’I am a Christian’ and can fill up the collection plate.” That’s absurd.

Still, what I hope Jeff understands is that Jesus does vote and that more often than not Atheists do end up running things. I would think that the last 100 or so years of our nation’s history would be enough to demonstrate that. (I also realize this is fraught with all sorts of ‘Oh, so you are blaming God for Hitler, Stalin, and Castro!’ I would say yes. I don’t need to defend God in this respect, except to say that also a lot of people voted for these people to be their leaders and for the most part these people started out with some good intentions. He raised up Pharaoh in Egypt. Nebuchadnezzar in Babylon. Caesar in Rome. Churchill in Britain. Lincoln in the US. Pilate in Judea. Etc. Etc. Etc. It’s not quite that simple and I’m not going to bother with all the details of providence and sovereignty because I don’t understand it all. I’m just saying that from a bare naked look at Scripture God has something to do with who is in power and when. What they do with that power once the have obtained it is something else entirely and would require many more posts than I have time for tonight.)

Anyhow, it was fun thinking through Jeff’s post. Feel free to leave a comment and let me know what you think.

jerry

PS–Jeff, you had your ‘amoral atheist’ president. Again, his name was Bill. And if Obama gets elected, you will likely have another. Thanks for entertaining me this evening.

Friends,

Should Christians be involved in politics? Well, I suppose that depends on what one means by ‘be involved’. We are necessarily involved in politics if we vote in any election. So, at least at this barest minimum, yes: we should be involved in politics. Here’s part of a conversation concerning this issue:

Dr. Frank Page, president of the 16 million-member Southern Baptist Convention (SBC), discussed politics and American society during an interview with Donald E. Wildmon, the founder and chairman of the American Family Association, in a video made available online Tuesday.

Wildmon recalled growing up being taught that politics was “dirty” and that, as a Christian, he should stay out of it. The prominent pro-family leader then asked Page what he thought about Christian engagement in the political sphere.

“I believe Christians should be involved in the [political] process – not only because of our spiritual obligation but because as active participants in a democracy we are required to be participants,” Page responded without hesitation. “You cannot complain and you cannot whine about things if you’re not part of the process.”

He also recalled how Christians are called to be the “salt and light” in the world, and that through political involvement believers can make an impact on the culture for Christ.

In particular, Page urged Christians to vote this November for the next U.S. president whether their favorite candidate is on the ballot or not.

“Unfortunately, you’ve got a lot of foggy notions out there that electing the right person is going to change everything,” Page observed, according to OneNewsNow, the website of the American Family News Network (AFN). “The reality is we’re in a system of checks and balances, and not one person can do everything.”

He warned against the thinking of not voting in the presidential election because of problems perceived in the three major presidential contenders.

“There is no perfect candidate; you must vote – and particularly this fall,” Page urged. “Whoever the next president is going to be is most likely going to appoint at least two Supreme Court justices.”

You can see the entire interview here although I tried to watch it and it appears to require some sort of registration which I was not willing to do.

Anyhow, allow me a couple of thoughts here based solely on what Dr Page has said that has been quoted in the above piece.

First, Page said this: “You cannot complain and you cannot whine about things if you’re not part of the process.” Actually, this is a weak argument. People can do whatever they want in this country. I used to buy this argument that people shouldn’t whine or complain if they do not vote, but I have changed my mind. Sometimes, the very fact that people do not vote is whining and complaining. Still, the Scripture says that we should do ‘all things without grumbling and complaining’  (Philippians 2:14). So even if we vote that doesn’t somehow give us the inherent right to complain. We are to submit ourselves to those who rule because they are, whether they acknowledge it or not, God’s servants. (See Romans 13 for more.) Voting or ‘participating in politics’ so that one may secure the right to complain and whine is a pathetic reason to participate in the process.

Second, Page said this: “I believe Christians should be involved in the [political] process – not only because of our spiritual obligation but because as active participants in a democracy we are required to be participants.” But what exactly is this ‘spiritual obligation’ that he is speaking of? When I read the Scripture, in particular the book of Acts, I do not see anywhere that God said it is our ‘spiritual obligation’ to participate in politics. In fact, I do specifically recall reading that ‘Jesus is Lord,’ that we cannot ‘serve two masters,’ and that those who are friends with the world ‘cannot be friends with God.’ On the other hand, those who crucified Christ said, ‘we have no king but Caesar.’

But let’s draw this out a little more: What about those Christians who live in nations that prohibit the involvement of the people in the ‘political process’? For example, what if I were a Christian living in a Muslim country where I was specifically denied involvement in the political process precisely because I was a Christian? What then would my spiritual obligation be? What obligation can there be if in fact such a privilege is denied? I think it is very, very dangerous to equate the Christian faith and political privilege. We are politically privileged in the United States, but such is not true in all places and at all times. So the political privilege we enjoy cannot be a ‘spiritual obligation’ at any level.

Now this is not to say we should not participate in politics. As I said, when we do something as radical as participate in free elections, we are participating in the process. But that is not a spiritual obligation. God’s Kingdom and God’s Sovereignty does not hinge on the participation of Christians in a general, free election. Should we participate: Yes. Is it a spiritual obligation: No.

Third: “He also recalled how Christians are called to be the “salt and light” in the world, and that through political involvement believers can make an impact on the culture for Christ.” I think this is naive at best. First of all, Jesus’ command for Christians to be salt and light has nothing to do whatsoever with political participation and it is dangerous to co-opt the Words of Christ in order to make people feel a twinge of guilt. Besides, what does he think this means? Second, there are a lot of Christians who think that voting for conservative candidates is equivalent to being ‘salt and light’ and there are other Christians who think that voting for liberal candidates is the same ‘salt and light.’ This is a meaningless application of Scripture and demonstrates what happens when Scripture is pulled from its context, stripped of its intended meaning, and used for political purposes instead of to lead someone to Christ. Come on, Dr Page. This is a careless and reckless application of Scripture.

Fourth, Page is right that we are living in a checks and balances world and that ‘electing the right person is going to change everything.’ Fact is, as much as I am in favor of a conservative candidate, there is not one running who will change anything for the better. All they all want to do is raise taxes, strip us of rights, and impinge upon our freedom. Maybe we are too worried that things ‘need to change.’ Maybe voting for anyone just because they promise change is another terribly wrong reason to vote.

Finally, “There is no perfect candidate; you must vote – and particularly this fall,” Page urged. “Whoever the next president is going to be is most likely going to appoint at least two Supreme Court justices.” I have to tell you: He is right, there is no perfect candidate which is precisely the reason I am thinking of not voting. But whatever I decide to do in the long run, I am voting for a president, not a supreme court justice. This is fear-mongering. Christians have to get out of this silly idea that any politician has the interests of any particular group in mind. The fate of this world does not hinge on the mental capacities of those nine people in the supreme court. Again, God’s sovereignty is not going to be overturned because a liberal ends up on the Supreme Court.

God is in control, and he will remain in control. This will not change and I think Christians need to stop fretting about such things because it is not really helping matters. We go through this every time there is an election: Christians need to vote because if you don’t the world will fall apart when a liberal gets elected because you didn’t vote. Seriously folks, do you think we could have a little more confidence in the power of God? Do you think we can trust the God who promised that ‘nothing can separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus’? Do you think we can have just a little less fear, a little more love, and a lot less worry about elections?

Should Christians participate in politics? Sure, if they can and if they want to. Will it help? Sure, at some level, I suppose. Is it an obligation? No, not at any level. Is it Scriptural, no. Will it help God? Probably not.

Isn’t God still in control? Isn’t that really what Scripture says? Can we have a little less abuse of Scripture and trust that God is in control?

Soli Deo Gloria!

jerry

**Warning: Political rant ahead. You have been warned.** 

Friends,

Many of you have no doubt seen the recent tirade by the preacher at Barak Obama’s home ‘church.’ I won’t replay it here. You can see it here. Anyhow, Mr Obama has been answering a lot of really tough questions about this ‘sermon’ that Mr Jeremiah Wright ‘preached’, and now hopes that it will all soon go away. (Turns out Mr Obama also called for Don Imus’ termination when he fouled up a while back and Fox News is reporting the difficult hypocrisy of this decision.)

Well, Mr Obama gave a sermon speech today (I think) concerning, at least in part, this issue of Mr Wright’s message of racial reconciliation divisiveness in our country. Here’s what Mr Obama had to say in part:

In the end, then, what is called for is nothing more, and nothing less, than what all the world’s great religions demand – that we do unto others as we would have them do unto us. Let us be our brother’s keeper, Scripture tells us. Let us be our sister’s keeper. Let us find that common stake we all have in one another, and let our politics reflect that spirit as well.

For we have a choice in this country. We can accept a politics that breeds division, and conflict, and cynicism. We can tackle race only as spectacle – as we did in the OJ trial – or in the wake of tragedy, as we did in the aftermath of Katrina – or as fodder for the nightly news. We can play Reverend Wright’s sermons on every channel, every day and talk about them from now until the election, and make the only question in this campaign whether or not the American people think that I somehow believe or sympathize with his most offensive words. We can pounce on some gaffe by a Hillary supporter as evidence that she’s playing the race card, or we can speculate on whether white men will all flock to John McCain in the general election regardless of his policies.

We can do that.

But if we do, I can tell you that in the next election, we’ll be talking about some other distraction. And then another one. And then another one. And nothing will change.

That is one option. Or, at this moment, in this election, we can come together and say, “Not this time.” This time we want to talk about the crumbling schools that are stealing the future of black children and white children and Asian children and Hispanic children and Native American children. This time we want to reject the cynicism that tells us that these kids can’t learn; that those kids who don’t look like us are somebody else’s problem. The children of America are not those kids, they are our kids, and we will not let them fall behind in a 21st century economy. Not this time.

Rant #1: 

Again, Mr Obama is quoting from Scripture and again he is wrong. The bottom line is that this: It is simply not true that “all the world’s great religions demand – that we do unto others as we would have them do unto us.” In fact, it is only Christianity that demands such a thing and to take the words of Jesus Christ and put them into the mouths of every other world religion is downright stupid and ignorant. Mr Obama I plead with you: Stop quoting Scripture in your sermons  speeches. Please stop taking Scripture out of its context and applying it to your obscene campaign. Please Mr Obama be a politician and stop being a preacher. The Scripture is for Christians not politicians running for office. Please stop. Quoting Scripture out of context in order to justify yourself is not going to win the hearts of those of us who know Scripture and live by it.

Rant # 2:

Here’s what Mr Obama really wants: “We can play Reverend Wright’s sermons on every channel, every day and talk about them from now until the election, and make the only question in this campaign whether or not the American people think that I somehow believe or sympathize with his most offensive words.” If this is true, then why also say this:

But race is an issue that I believe this nation cannot afford to ignore right now. We would be making the same mistake that Reverend Wright made in his offending sermons about America – to simplify and stereotype and amplify the negative to the point that it distorts reality.

You cannot have it both ways Mr Obama. You can’t say: ‘Stop playing Rev. Wright’s sermons’ and ‘we cannot afford to ignore race right now’. Wright is part of the problem, not the solution. For crying out loud, Hilary dumped Geraldine Ferarro for less! But isn’t this what he really wants? Doesn’t Mr Obama really, honestly, just want this to go away so that he will not have to answer any more questions about it, so that his candidacy, run as it is on the assumption that he is the Messiah, can get back to making speeches filled with empty promises and campaign rhetoric? Isn’t Mr Obama pulling a Clinton and trying divert our attention from things that are substantial issues in this campaign to something that is not? (I think so. Think about it for a minute. Are we supposed to stop thinking about a racially divisive sermon and startthinking about ‘the issue we cannot afford to ignore right now’? And how shall we do that Mr Obama or Mr Obama’s supporters?)

Rant #3: 

And what is really, terribly offensive is not his words. What offends me is the word ‘Rev’ before his name (Wright’s that is) because he is a man who ought to know better. Here is a man of the Word, entrusted with a pulpit where he can preach peace, reconciliation, and unity and he used his pulpit to preach hate, politics (the politics of self-destruction), and intolerance. I don’t blame Mr Obama; I blame ‘Rev’ Wright. He sounds no different in that clip than Fred Phelps from Westboro Baptist and everyone knows how quick people are to condemn Fred Phelps (and rightfully so!) for the insipid, hateful, devilish content of his ‘sermons’. Wright is a man who must have read this:

You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise” (Galatians 3:26-29, niv).

This would be a much, much better message for the ‘Rev’ to preach. In Christ is the message of racial reconciliation!

Rant #4: 

On the contrary Mr Obama. I think this needs to stay in the loop. We need to know exactly the sort of people you are associating with because these are the type of people you will associate with in your White House. If George W. Bush can be condemned for hanging around with ‘oil people’ or ‘Haliburton people’ then shouldn’t you be held accountable for hanging around with preachers of hate? I think Mr Wright’s sermon tirade invective ought to be played day after day after day until the election and, if you happen to win, every day after that for the next four years.

No. I don’t think that at all. I think Mr Obama ought to denounce the ‘Rev’, remove his membership from the ‘Rev’s’ ‘Church’, and stop quoting Scripture in his campaign sermonsspeeches. Has anyone heard if Mr Wright has apologized to anyone for this speech? Has Mr Obama called for Wright’s board of elders to terminate his employment as he did for Don Imus? Has Mr Obama called for Mr Wright’s unconditional resignation and public humiliation? Has Mr Obama called for Mr Wright to invite white people to his ‘church’ on Sunday for a public apology? Has Mr Obama called for the same standard to apply to Mr Wright that he asked, demanded, apply to Mr Imus?

Rant #5:

But, besides all this, Mr Wright should stick to preaching the Scripture. If it is not fair for Mr Obama to quote Scripture as a politician then I don’t think it is any more fair for Mr Wright to be a politician from the pulpit. These two men need to learn the role they have chosen and stop mixing church and state (many atheists have told me here that there is no room for religion in the state, no room for God in Washington, no place for God in the state). Mr Obama: Please stop quoting Scripture in order to justify your meaningless campaign promises. Mr Wright: Please start quoting Scripture in order that people might hear the good news and turn to Jesus Christ, not Obama, and be saved. Obama will not give people hope; Jesus will.

On this I agree with the atheists (I realize it is a difficult position I am in here. Agreeing with atheists is, well, odd. But I hope some of my atheist friends out there also call for Mr Obama to stop quoting Scripture.): There must be separation of Church and state because the Word of God, the Scripture, does not exist and was not written and preserved, to justify the political campaign of any politician. Not Obama. Not Hilary. Not McCain. Not Bush. Not Huckabee. Not any of them. It exists for God’s pleasure and will in order that we might know Jesus Christ. That is all. And if such things as reconciliation takes place they take place because of Christ Jesus, not because of a politician or a campaign promise or a hate laced tirade filled with bigoted invective and stereotypes.

Well, that’s all I have for now. I suppose that is enough ranting for an evening. In conclusion, I want to summarize my two major points.

First, Mr Barak Obama needs to stop quoting from the Bible in order to justify his political campaign or a plank in his political platform because he continues to misuse Scripture when doing so.

Second, Mr Jeremiah Wright needs to start quoting from the Bible in order that people might hear the Good News that in Jesus Christ race is no longer an issue.

Third, this one is a necessary corollary of the other two, all of us need to humble ourselves under the mighty right hand of God, submit to his will which is to believe in the One He sent, namely Jesus Christ, and be reconciled to Him through Christ.

jerry

Friends,

I have been somewhat following this story of Senator Grassley’s investigations into the likes of Creflo Dollar, Benny Hinn, Kenneth Copeland and the rest of those preachers of the ‘gospel according to Wall Street.’ I am happy to see that the Senator is making some progress.

I was also interested that the story reports this:

Copeland said the ministry fully complies with all laws, and pledged that he would go to jail before turning over names of donors.

“The enemy is not going to steal what the Lord has won through this ministry, and he is not going to use this attack to bring harm to the rest of the churches and ministries in America!” Copeland wrote.

Note to KC: I’d rather have the harm of the enemy than to have your hopeless ‘gospel’. And frankly, the sooner you go to jail the better. Seriously, Kenneth needs to go away–for a long time–to Folsom Prison or Alcatraz or Antarctica. I would just offer this little bit of insight. If Kenneth Copeland has nothing to hide, then why does he not just allow the Senator to be embarrassed by turning over the stuff and proving his innocence in the matter? All KC is doing is stalling for time so he can shred a few more documents.

It is about time someone do something about this banality that Copeland calls ‘gospel’. And since it is quite apparent that no one within the Evangelical community is going to, kudos to the Senator.

On a side note, I figure after the senators in Washington get done with Roger Clemens, Kenneth Copeland, Bill Belichek, and the presidential campaign trail, perhaps they can turn their attention back to the ever increasing cost of a gallon of gasoline. I know that the millionaires in Washington are having no problems buying food and fuel, but those of us who live in the real world are starting to get a little more than concerned. Thank you, Senators for thinking of us…once in a while.

Save us from Steroids. Save us from cheating football coaches. Save us from prosperity preachers. Save us from presidential candidates. But please, whatever you do, don’t address the cost of fuel and food in the country. No really, please don’t.

jerry

PS–there’s only a few people in the world who think KC, BH, CD and the rest are innocent. The rest of us know they are guilty.

Friends,

This article is posted at Christian Post: Pastors Encouraged to Preach on Political Issues During Primaries. Said the article:

“Pastors should throw away the muzzles that some wish to impose on them and replace them with megaphones,” asserted Mathew Staver, founder of Liberty Counsel, in a statement. “It was sermons of pastors that fueled the American Revolution.”

Churches can also legally participate in activities related to the elections as long as they also withhold endorsements on candidates. They may distribute nonpartisan voter guides, register voters, provide transportation to the polls, hold candidate forums, and introduce visiting candidates.

In fact, several churches have been lending their pulpits to candidates, who have taken a cue from Huckabee’s victory in Iowa and the Bush election on the importance of mobilizing evangelical voters.

Rudy Giuliani read a Biblical verse and asked for prayers on Sunday from a 10,000-member Latino church while Huckabee preached in front of a megachurch in South Carolina. Both avoided discussing politics.

And, this gem:

“America needs her pastors to once again speak up and address the religious and moral issues of the day,” added Staver. “It is far more likely to be struck by lightening twice than for churches to lose their tax-exempt status over political issues.”

On the contrary, America needs her pastors to once again speak the Word of God. This is what needs to be done and what must be done. Even moral issues must be brought up within the context of the Gospel proclamation. The last thing preachers need to be doing–and I for one will not be doing–is preaching about politics.

Contrary to the last statement, churches do not preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ in order to maintain a certain tax-status before the government. We preach the Gospel of Jesus because that is what we are called to do: Declare the Praises of Him who called us out of darkness and into light. It matters very little whether or not a church is tax-exempt or not. Tax-exempt status is quite beside the point.

Preachers must preach the Gospel, not politics.

Soli Deo Gloria!

jerry

ps–For the record, there is, as yet, a single political candidate who is worth an evangelical vote strictly based on the idea of evangelicalism. I don’t care how many churches Huckabee preaches in, I don’t care how many verses of Scripture and prayers Guiliani utters, I don’t care how many times they say that my vote matters. At this point, Hilary Clinton is as good a candidate as any ‘conservative’ Republican (not really, but you get my point; maybe. 🙂 )