Just my Soap Box

I like many of my friends here on Facebook believe that the 2012 Presidential Election was a bad choice on the part of the American people. Unlike many of my friends here on Facebook, I knew long before yesterday that this bad choice was going to happen. I’m not claiming some kind of prophecy, I’m just claiming to have watched the primaries. The moment I knew that the two candidates were going to be Romney (who is moved by the slightest wind, and wants to use war to govern the world) and Obama (who chooses drones to control and has poor fiscal policy – Romney has poor fiscal policy too, it is just slightly better) I then also knew that November 7th, 2012 was going to be a bad day.

The thing that we need to do today is come together as a people. Christians please think. Stop taking your religious leader’s words for what you believe… read a book about the history of the church, and read a book or two about the bible. The Catholic Church took the bible away from the people and eventually it took a great reformation to give the bible back to the people. That was a good thing, even though I don’t consider myself a protestant. (My faith heritage was never Catholic, so I’m not protesting them nor am I joining the reformers)

Today, the Catholic Church isn’t taking the bible away from Christians but an equal travesty is being done… The Fundamental, Religious Church is taking away everything but the bible. They have taught us to just read the bible, and try and understand it by reading it over and over as if we are its intended audience. The religious fundamentalists are also trying to take away the Holy Spirit. God still speaks, and not only through the bible. Each book of the bible had an audience and you (a believer living 1000+ years later) were not the bible’s intended audience. The bible was written to real people, in real history, and to understand the bible today it takes WORK. It may have been so clear to its original audience that they would be surprised that we misread it. But we make jokes out of misused language everyday. Like the time the Singles pastor from England, announced that today after church the singles were going to a restaurant for intercourse. It is complicated if your culture and language is so different that the words and phrases have different meanings. The idea that someday bad would be called good and good would be called bad has happened, and we (often fundamentalist Christians) cheer the bad.

If you want a revolution, if you now want hope and change – not Obama’s kind, but real hope and change – read, think, and discuss things with your enemies and consider the possibility that you could both learn from conflicting conversation.

Let me share how I’ve changed during this election season… 12 months ago I wondered if Universal Health Care might be a good thing, I listened to the debates, I listened to Ron Paul’s podcast, speeches, and I read books. I read other books by Jonah Goldberg and Ron Paul and I began to be reminded why I used to be a Republican. Today, I think Obamacare is a good intentioned idea that will ultimately hurt our country and even hurt those most in need of its services. Obamacare is bad policy. Before I thought that Israel was our ally and that we should support them no matter what they did. Today, I realize that Israel is a great ally, but I also recognize that we can’t blindly support them if and when what they choose to do is evil. I’ve learned about the Federal Reserve Bank, and the danger of having troops in 150 countries. I’ve learned about the problems that the CIA causes that no military can fix. I’ve learned that both parties support and participate in some (most) of these known dangers. Read Liberal Fascism, Read Liberty defined, Read some more thinkers who aren’t trying to please either party but instead are standing at the crossroads trying to point out the hard boring stuff that Americans aren’t thinking about.

Consider the fact that 6 media corporations control 90% of all television and news! THINK… we were moving toward slavery and last night’s election was a step that direction – EVEN IF THE OTHER GUY WOULD’VE WON. This election was a bad choice, long before last night. Last night a libertarian candidate received 1% of the vote, with pennies spent in advertising compared to the two main parties.

Christians, you too should read… you all quote CS Lewis, but you can not have read his books because you claim to like him, but you throw stones at modern day teachers who repeat and explain his words. Read about dispensationalism and its history so you know the filter through which you understand a good portion of scripture. Consider how those same bible books would read differently if you weren’t influenced by dispensationalism. Read what the early church fathers taught and thought about theosis, divinization, apocatastasis, gehenna, etc. You don’t have to spend your life studying this stuff, and it doesn’t have to take away from all your time… there are 1000’s of podcasts out there where you can hear others talk and then you could meet with a few friends and discuss these things once a week for one hour and it would change you life, and eventually it would change the world. You can listen to a podcast while you do other work. Yesterday I had an 1 hour and 15 minute conversation while I worked on a physical task that didn’t need my voice or mind – it was just physical work.

Now what do we do today… we start today praying for Obama and the others in Washington. We pray that they would compromise on a budget that would cut our current rate of spending and printing money. We also pray that they don’t compromise if the only compromise would increase our debt. Then we write about the drones being used and the causalities that are considered collateral damage. Collateral damage is the father of a child who may grow up to be a prime candidate for terrorism. THINK AMERICA THINK. If we write, blog and talk about the dangers for four years maybe in four years a candidate will rise up on the republican side who will fight for freedom and liberty again. I’m sorry, but Romney was not that candidate. Maybe Rand Paul will be in 2016 – maybe someone else.

If you care about abortion like you claim to Christians – volunteer in a pregnancy care center, abide by their rules and simply love mothers. If you can’t tell them about Jesus that’s OK, LOVE THEM BECAUSE HE (JESUS) IS LOVE AND He’ll reveal Himself. If you really care and want to start a pregnancy care center where you can talk about Jesus – DO IT! START IT TODAY!

I didn’t allow abortion to sway my vote toward a politician who may kill more people in war that abortion kills in children – Plus Romney didn’t talk about abortion because he had no plans toward changing anything – I don’t care what he platform said, he wasn’t going to do anything about it.

Pray, pray, pray… trust Jesus and pray.

Praying for the President…

Ok, I’ve voted and I don’t believe the candidate I voted for has a chance to win so I’m making a commitment to pray for our next President.

If our next President is four more years of our current administration, then I pray that he stops killing people with drones. I pray that he has to see some of his victims more up close and personal than just killing with drones from a distance. I pray that he gets serious about cutting spending. I pray that there is some great measure of gridlock in congress and very little gets done toward increased government control. I pray that it suddenly hits him like a ton of bricks that the government doesn’t make and sell anything and therefore the only way they have a DIME to spend is to steal from the people. I pray that he realizes that STEALING from workers and giving money to others isn’t the good and right thing to do, it is still STEALING. I believe in helping the poor, but we can’t force others to help the poor we have to help through freedom and the IRS has destroyed freedom. Anything you tax you get less of! I wish we’d drop taxes on everything but the worst vices. Tax lottery tickets, cocaine, and Dallas Cowboys tickets! LOL that made me laugh at myself. Don’t tax work! Don’t tax groceries. Yes, I want to help the poor but taxing the rich and giving the poor a negative tax is WRONG! IT IS STEALING.

If our next President is the Republican candidate, I pray that he thinks and listens to people who understand foreign policy. I pray that he figures out a way to restrain himself from war. I pray that he isn’t given the blank check that he wants for increased military spending and that instead of sticking our noses into the business of every country in the world we come home and stop creating future terrorists. I pray that he doesn’t become a total puppet for giant corporations. I pray that he grows a pair and doesn’t fluctuate back and forward between two groups of people trying to please everyone. I fear that if he does fluctuate like he has a tendency to do, he may ultimately get a lot of things done with tons of bad things attached to the things he tries to accomplish – this will just be increase government control and increased spending. I pray that he doesn’t attempt to show his manhood by fighting wars that we don’t have any business in and if he does start wars, I pray he is man enough to go to the front line.

I pray that someone in Washington realizes that spending 43% more than we have each year is foolish!

Today I’ll pray, tomorrow I’ll continue to pray no matter the outcome tonight.

By the way, if by some crazy miracle Gary Johnson is elected President… with an upset like that I pray that he doesn’t get a Messiah complex and I pray that he hires Ron Paul to advice him daily.

Old, but MUST SEE clip about US support to Israel

Keep in mind as you view this clip that NO GOVERNMENT (especially the US government) manufacturers and sells anything for profit. Our government doesn’t produce, grow, or do any service for which it should generate a profit. With that in mind, every dollar – LISTEN CLOSELY EVERY DOLLAR – the US gives away… it must either steal, borrow, or print in order to give that dollar away. Understand today, before you and I are forced to understand in the future that the Federal Reserve Bank (the FRB prints money) is printing money causing our money to have less value. Secondly, understand that ever tax the IRS (the IRS steals money) steals is another shot at destroying the free market system. Finally, dollars BORROWED have to be repaid with interest but more importantly dollars that are borrowed for any reason except investment (higher rate of return than dollar spent) is throwing money away and asking others to help because you can’t throw it away fast enough.

But worse than everything I’ve just mentioned is the FACT that the support level we’ve been giving Israel IS NOT HELPFUL TO ISRAEL. Paying the car payment and rent for a capable 30 year old son or daughter isn’t help and support, it is enablement and verging on child abuse. Israel is hurt by the US help, not helped.

Now, I know that the video clip you’ve just watched is old. I don’t have more up to date numbers, but there are more recent documentaries about the relationship between Israel and the US. If you are a Christian who is up in arms about the US and the possible change in relationship to Israel and you haven’t at least put in 5 hours to study this situation in MODERN TIMES – then you are being quite foolish. I know what the Old Testament says about supporting Israel, but you really need to read the entire bible and make a wise decision on this subject. I’ve been told that I’m making this too complicated by a couple of people lately. The idea that I am making this too complicated is silly, ignorant, and lazy. Understanding what is going on in our world sometimes takes studying the hard boring stuff. I’m telling you, read just a little bit, watch a documentary now and then. Ask God to help you really understand what’s going on. I’m praying now about how to get myself to Israel as soon as possible to see what is going on there. I just printed out my application to spend March 5 – 18th, 2013 there in Israel with a Christian Peacekeeping Team… I’m not sure yet if that process will work out, if I could raise the funds, or even if I’d be accepted as a potential team member. Either way, I’ve printed my application and I’m going to start praying that direction today.

I just edited this to add… this is not support for Obama as President. I think he is a decent guy and I think his foreign policy has been better than his opponent’s might be, but I’m still voting against both Romney and Obama for President. I prefer a candidate who help make a real change happen, like ending the Federal Reserve Bank, turning back the IRS, stopping the wasteful and dangerous war on drugs, and bringing home troops from 150+ countries.

My 2 cents on Halloween…

Today I read a friend on Facebook complaining about churches and Trunk or Treats. I began to comment without much thought. However; as I typed I began to hear my heart and I believe the heart that God is shaping in me and I wanted to share that comment here (My friend’s name is Lynette):

I remember thinking just like you Lynette. I preached a sermon one year before Halloween encouraging people to stand against the evil holiday, about a year later I had a choice to make – help with an event at the church on Halloween or sit back and complain about it. I decided to help, by the end of that event it was my baby to handle for the next years. Two years later on Halloween we had over 25,000 people show up and many heard the gospel. I knocked on doors delivering prizes for months after that event, many times people prayed prayers with me beginning a conversation with God. Today, I’m not planning events like that… I think God has me on a different journey but I’m not going to fuss and condemn anyone for where they are on their journey either. Today, I’d rather have a beer with someone or play poker with them and really get to know them instead of just knocking on their door and pushing them toward something they don’t understand. But, I’m not going to condemn the old way either… instead I want to celebrate the journey.

If we aren’t careful we’ll spend all of our energy fighting instead of loving and being light. Jesus said they will know us by our love.

I know Halloween loving Christians and Halloween boycotting Christians, but I think it would be wise for us to love and respect both.

I know Democrat Christians, and Republican Christians and I think I understand the reasoning for both. I happen to be a more of a libertarian leaning Christian (Ron Paul style Libertarian) but I’m not going to say that you aren’t a Christian if you don’t vote my way. I skimmed an article today called why I’m a Democratic Christian and I saw good points.

In Ezra the religious Israelite people decided that the only way that they could obey God was to divorce their wives and put their children in the street all because they married Moabite and other foreign wives but in Ruth, Boaz is called the Kinsman redeemer for marrying a Moabite woman. I think those who took Ezra’s leadership were wrong, but I understand their journey. So there you have two bible books that have opposite messages… beware of seeing only black and white in a world where evil pretends to be good and sometimes is better at looking good than the better truth loving people. What I’m trying to say there is this, If the devil entered a “Christian of the Year” contest at most American Churches he would win by a landslide.

Sometimes following Christ isn’t easy and clear-cut. In fact, the key to the Christ life may include disagreeing and challenging one another without judging and hating one another, iron sharpening iron.

I’m getting ready to study dispensationalism, a theology that I totally disagree with in hopes of better understanding dispensationalists that I love. Why, because iron sharpens iron.

Lynette, I remember 7 or 8 years ago realizing that I didn’t have any lost friends… I realized that I was only hanging out with religious people. The problem was I simultaneously realized that I had insulated myself from everything that religious people might crucify me for. I’m still too insulated today, but I’m trying to learn to be IN THE WORLD enough to know and impact the world. The salt is no good in the shaker, and the light has no value under the bushel. Remember Jesus was called a winebibber and a drunkard. He didn’t get that reputation by standing outside the bar protesting its liqueur license!

Have a beer today with someone who hates religion and could care less about Jesus and then maybe we’ll all learn something about loving people who don’t think like us. That’s my 2 cents!

They were right (and wrong) about the slippery slope…

I don’t know Rachel Held Evans, but I like this blog entry… Here’s a link to her blog.

They said that if I questioned a 6,000-year-old earth, I would question whether other parts of Scripture should be read scientifically and historically.
They were right. I did.

They said that if I entertained the hope that those without access to the gospel might still be loved and saved by God, I would fall prey to the dangerous idea that God loves everyone, that there is nothing God won’t do to reconcile all things to Himself.
They were right. I have.

They said that if I looked for Jesus beyond the party line, I could end up voting for liberals.
They were right. I do (sometimes).

They said that if I listened to my gay and lesbian neighbors, if I made room for them in my church and in my life, I could let grace get out of hand.
They were right. It has.

They told me that this slippery slope would lead me away from God, that it would bring a swift end to my faith journey, that I’d be lost forever.
But with that one, they were wrong.

~ Rachel Held Evans

Check out Wayne Jacobsen’s blog entry from September 12th, 2012

Breaking Free From False Caricatures This is not my writing, this blog is copied directly from Wayne Jaconsen’s blog… please bookmark this link if you don’t already follow Wayne’s writing. Neat follower of Jesus.

Watching both political conventions over the last two weeks, it finally dawned on me why I have come to find this entire election season so empty and soul-numbing.

Each side, using all the tools of public relations, exaggerates its claims to greatness far beyond any sense of reality, and at the same time exaggerates its opponent’s weaknesses, even making up lies where it serves them. In the end we don’t get an honest discussion of the issues, or even an honest appraisal of the men running to be our next President. We get a constant barrage of deceitful self-boasting and scurrilous accusations at the other.

False caricatures are all were left with. One person deserves our trust and the other is an evil man running for his own self-interest. The process is not designed to inform the electorate, but to manipulate their vote for that which does not even exist. If you talk to supporters of either man, they see it exactly the way the politicians want them to. One candidate is the only hope for America, and the other will totally destroy it. I don’t know what’s sadder, that politicians think we’ll fall for the charade, or that so many Americans actually do.

I would hope that when President Obama and Governor Romney go to bed at night, they see through the false caricatures that mar their own campaigns. But I’m not so sure they do. I remember when President George W. Bush was asked at the end of his first term if there was anything he regretted, or decisions he made that wish he’d done differently. He couldn’t think of any. Really? Can anyone be so self-deceived that they can’t look back over any four-year period and not see the failures that any moderately intelligent person could see? Who doesn’t gain better wisdom with the passing of time or in the consequences of their actions, not wish they had treated someone differently?

And now the media is in on the game as well. They join one side and manipulate their listeners to see their one-dimensional view of the world. Seemingly the only way to get a job in news these days is to be an arrogant, obnoxious advocate for liberal or conservative causes. Who is taking a hard look at what’s true and able to analyze the nuances of the major crises that confront our nation?

False caricatures are not only a stupid way to choose a President they also destroy human relationships at every level. And yet shame drags us into our own internal conversations that are very much like this political campaign. Viewing yourself or anyone else in such one-dimensional terms is a recipe for disaster. It is the language of shame throbbing like a drum beat in our heads as much as in our culture.

There are those who find it easy to exaggerate their own sense of goodness or gifts, while also exaggerating the weaknesses of others. They end up thinking more highly of themselves than they ought to think and will live arrogantly in the world, demanding their own way, betraying their own word when it suits them, and making accusations against others to deflect people from seeing them as they really are. Wherever they tread, relationships are destroyed.

While I’ve known a few people like that, there are probably more who tend to focus on all their faults and failures, while exaggerating the gifts and insights of others. They are so crushed by their own perception of inadequacy that they exaggerate their own weakness or brokenness, while at the same time exaggerating the gifts and goodness of others around them. Unable to accept themselves as they really are, with a full complement of attributes, some positive and some negative, they define themselves as unlovely and unworthy.

As long as we are dominated by shame we’ll live in a world of false caricatures of ourselves and other people around us. In the end we don’t get to see people as they really are, a mix of some talents, wisdom, and gifts, but also of weaknesses, inadequacies, and blind spots.

I remember one of the last conversations I had with three other elders at the place I last pastored. They had been some of my close friends for almost fifteen years. They were trying to get me to embrace changes they wanted to make in the congregation that I thought would take us away from the road Jesus was inviting us to follow. The pressure they exerted was oppressive, offering me the place of “wise apostle” if I bought into it, and threatening me with being outed as a rebellious person if I didn’t. I was neither of the two things I was being offered and yet those were the only choices I was being given. In the end, I decided that wasn’t a game I’d play anymore.

I’m so glad I didn’t. That game leads only to a false world of extremes where reality is celebrated and true life can unfold. While I crave the day when a politician will forge an honest campaign and make the other look foolish for not doing so, I have little hope that our political climate will change. But each of us has the freedom each day to walk away from a world of false caricatures and see ourselves and others as they really are. Let God show you how he views you, both the places that reflect his glory, and those places that he still yearns to transform. Don’t be afraid to admit either and have the freedom to be who you really are in the world. It will help set others free.

And then learn to see others as they really are, celebrating their gifts and strengths, while pouring out compassion and patience on the broken places they endure. Life is so much better when we live in reality and not the false caricatures that our society seems to crave.

I want you to read what Bryan Roberts has to say about Christians and Politics… it is good.

I want you to read the article for yourself, but of course I want you to visit my blog to do so because I’m going to put good stuff on here as often as possible from many great writers. I’m not a terrible writer, but I know there are great ones out there and I want you to read their stuff. I also want you to be careful to read from many different, diverse, believers. Anyway, here are some quotes from Byran Robert’s article… at least read the quotes, but it is worth your time to read the whole article. If you don’t read the whole article at least click on this link, visit his site, and read the seven bold things.. I didn’t post them here to force you to visit Bryan.

VISIT BRYAN’S BLOG PLEASE – LINK

Ok here are my favorite quotes from his blog…

“Not only are believers excused for their political indiscretions, but they are often applauded for committing them. Slander is explained away as righteous anger; winning arguments are esteemed higher than truthful ones (whether or not the “facts” align); and those who stir up dissension are given the pulpit.”

“Should we have an opinion? Yes. Should we care about our country? Yes. Should we vote? Yes. But it’s time we talk politics in a way that models the teachings of Jesus rather than mocks them.”

“Every time your pastor urges you to vote in a way that will “restore America to greatness”—code for “get rid of the liberals”—he is isolating and offending a group of people who came to church looking for Jesus.”

“Political talk radio and cable “news” only want ratings. When they tell you they are on a moral crusade, they are lying to you. These personalities get rich by making you afraid.”

“Translation: if you’re mocking your governing leaders on Facebook, you’re in sin and the Holy Spirit is grieved. We should spend more time honoring our leaders and less time vilifying them.”

“Stop saying, “This is the most important election in the history of our nation.” It’s not. The most important election in the history of our nation was when Abraham Lincoln was elected President. Before that, we thought it was okay to own people.”

Most of my life I’ve voted Republican, and considered myself an evangelical…

While I don’t intend to vote for Obama, I think much of what is being done to him is unfair. I also believe that much (maybe I should say some) of what evangelicalism stands for is horrible.

It seems that lately I’ve been purposefully considering the words from the various other sides… for example I recently realized how much both sides sling mud and use false information to condemn one another. I would encourage you and all of us, to take a moment and walk over to the enemy’s side of the “battlefield” and listen, look around, think… are they right about some things? If they are right about some things, then would we be wise to erase the battle line, sit down, share a meal, and discuss a better solution than taking up arms (By arms I mean, sticks, stones, and WORDS that include lies and misrepresentation of facts). Here’s an article from the other side for all you (I could say us, but truth is about 18 months ago I changed my affiliation to independent) Republicans: CLICK HERE FOR THE ARTICLE