Wednesday, July 7, 2010
(queue bad segue music - but it is really what got me thinking and writing today)
Lately I have been doing a lot of thinking about the cross-section between politics and religion. I have come to some basic understandings in regards to my personal beliefs and how they play out in the way I act politically. I feel like I have done my part in sorting out what I believe for the most part and don't have to try to convince, persuade or defend my position to anyone but myself, except for the lively banter between friends. However, I've gotten tired of candidates' religion being the 'meat' of the political platform from almost any area of the political spectrum - "Yes, I heard you the first fifty times you said you were a 'Christian', now please tell me what you actually plan to do in office and stop posturing". (And if all else fails, I can check your voting record). I have gotten tired over the years of politicians claiming to be 'Christian' (or even 'religious') and not following the moral or ethical codes from any religion I've ever found. I've come to expect religious affiliation from those in office and don't imagine it will change any time soon.
My political/religious dichotomy lies not only in this learned skepticism but also in a plentiful history of political endorsements from organizations that end up leading people astray rather than educating them and letting them make their own informed decisions. Perhaps it is because I am more worried about actual evidence of morals than someone being able to quote the Ten Commandments or perhaps I've just become too cynical to actually believe what Mr. Smith says on his way to Washington.
Tuesday, April 13, 2010
I have trouble resolving my a) desire to make a change in the lives of those less fortunate than myself and b) my incredibly cynical, skeptical perspective. One day I want to give away all my money and help the little old lady who's living on a fixed income, all of it (gone before she sees it paying for health-care premiums and filling prescriptions) and gets a minuscule $10 in food stamps each month. She tells me she's okay. "Honey, I get by. Just eat cheap; a little bread, a little water". It makes me want to cry and send her a tear-stained check. I can put off Starbucks for a month and she could have something other than bread and water for dinner next week. The next day I hear about those cheating on taxes, lying to get benefits they don't deserve, stealing food for their already bloated bellies and I want to rant and rave about how dishonest people are and how our society is full of liars and cheats.
I can't comprehend the people that ignore the need in the world with a social-Darwinian attitude or those that brush over the deception with a "that's the way the world works so just let it be". While I embrace -and at times, love- my broken world, I subconsciously long for something better, something perfect, something where the cheaters are always caught and those that are truly hungry are always fed.
That being said, here's a shameless plug: Next week is National Volunteer Week. Take a day or an hour and support your community and those in need around you. Or even take five minutes or 30 seconds to show a random act of kindness and brighten someone's day.
*I just couldn't resist. You can thank the following website for the title: Humorous Volunteerism Anecdotes
Thursday, February 11, 2010
Tuesday, January 5, 2010
When I first started on this post, I wanted to show how despite all the End Times arguments, debate on infant versus believer's baptism, and Eucharistic squabbles there are truths around which Christians across denominations can come together, such as those included in the Nicene or Apostles' Creed. One of the biggest issues that seems to shoot this down is the debate on absolute truths in the church today. I, for one, am a middle-ground person. I recognize that there are some absolute truths, but I believe that they are far fewer than many would like us to believe.
My question is, are there rallying points for modern Christians today? Whether you believe in interpretative or literal Creation Story, Catholic or Evangelical, conservative or liberal, Pre- or Post-Millenial, Pre-Trib, Post-Trib -whatever!- is this really that hard to agree on? Can this simple statement of 110 words be so controversial or can it be unifying?
The Apostles' Creed
I believe in God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth:
And in Jesus Christ his only Son our Lord,
Who was conceived by the Holy Ghost,
Born of the Virgin Mary,
Suffered under Pontius Pilate,
Was crucified, dead, and buried:
He descended into hell;
The third day he rose again from the dead;
He ascended into heaven,
And sitteth on the right hand of God the Father Almighty;
From thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Ghost;
The holy Catholic* Church;
The Communion of Saints;
The Forgiveness of sins;
The Resurrection of the body,
And the Life everlasting.
*Would like to point out here that the general understanding of the word "catholic" in this context is not referencing the Catholic Church, but used to signify the unification of the universal Church (see definition).
Monday, December 28, 2009
and make millions of dollars, so you can donate it to me at my blog.
Ever wonder where exactly Jesus stood on the hot issues of our time? Was Jesus a Republican or a Democrat? An Adam Smith-free market-economist or a Keynsian? Did he get teary-eyed while reading Marx's Communist Manifesto, or find it utterly absurd? Did he vote for McCain or Obama? That's what we're all thinking.
I imagine Jesus had opinions about the heated issues of his day. Camel-rights perhaps. Agrarian reform. Chariot Manufacturing Union Regulations...all that stuff. He seemed pretty intent on shaking up the longstanding views on things like the Sabbath and how we manage our money.
I've had many conversations about Christianity and economics and Christianity and politics lately, and thought it might be an interesting blog topic. How this relates to Christian young adults, I'm not sure, except that I think it relates to all people, in general. Specifically, it seems that the once surefire hold the Right-wing had on Christians is loosening, particularly among younger American Christians. I won't provide any factual data to back this up. I'd rather assume and generalize. Kidding, of course (neither is an appropriate way to argue a point, although this post is hardly an argument). You can check out this article from the Seattle Times on the shifting trend in voting among younger Christians. Although the article focuses specifically on the 2008 presidential election, it seems to be a broader issue in scope than one particular day in November.
Personally speaking, I prefer free markets to those controlled by the government. I find it ironic when people complain about the greed of corporations but seem so trusting of their politicians with equal or often greater amounts of power. But my question for this post is about Jesus and how a Christian examines issues political and economic. The simple truth is, we begin with a false premise if we try to apply Jesus to the systems of our world. I'm fairly certain that the God of the Bible does not need governments nor economic systems to run things. However, in our fallen state, we rely on these institutions out of necessity. Simple, but often overlooked or avoided.
A recent conversation with my parents demonstrated the difference between two generations: In spite of the fact that I am pretty much of a right-winger (at the risk of labeling myself with a term that will make some people assume things about me), I don't think it's a required ideological tenet for Christians. My parents seemed shocked when I pointed this out, and we talked for a bit longer until the conversation fizzled away (not before my dad declared me a "semi-conservative"). Is that like a semi-truck? Was my dad calling me fat or something? Good night!
At any rate, this issue seems to be raging. I will forever be fascinated by politics and economics, but will hopefully forever maintain that we do have a God who exists outside these systems, thankfully. Ultimately, there won't be any real hope in politicians. Skepticism may be taking over here, but it seems that in order to truly make it in D.C., one must appeal to too many special interests to maintain a clear sight of individual principles and goals. There are small strides, there are honest politicians (hardly any of which have a D beside their name, ahem), but this is not the silver lining, and Jesus doesn't have an R or a D... I'm convinced he was a Tory. Or perhaps a Whig. I realize I have just offended the millions of knee-jerk Tories and Whigs who read this blog (get over it).
However, Jesus does want you to work. And I suppose I need this advice more than anyone. I'm too lazy to hunt for Bible verses; besides, most of the people who read this blog are already thinking of some anyway. I hope I have offended someone. If not, I have failed as a blogger.
That's all for now, gang.
P.S. I enclose this nifty picture for the amusement of my non-republican Christian friends. I found it hilarious, and I hope you do as well.
Sunday, December 6, 2009
Can we be whole through our faith and yet still admit to and recognize the brokenness of our human condition?
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
While I'm not promoting his music, the infamous MWS has a good point. Segregation seems most rampant in the church. Work, school, and social life involve a diverse crowd for me. Church? Not so much. The churches I have attended have been predominantly, if not entirely, Caucasian. With catch phrases such as "All are welcome" and "Come as you are" why is it that American Christianity is one of the most-segregated aspects of society?
This subject was brought to the forefront of mine when I was visiting a church and the pastor used a graphic incorrectly in a sermon about obeying authorities. It was the symbol of the "raised fist" of the "Power to the People Salute" covered by a red circle with a backslash: the Universal No or Prohibition symbol. I was shocked; stunned. What kind of conclusions could be drawn because of his poorly considered graphics use in combination with the context of the sermon? What impact is this going to make on people who listen to this man? What kind of impression would that have made on African-Americans? Visitors? Non-Christians? What probably seemed to this man a small matter was something mind-boggling to me.
While racial segregation is something that deserves serious consideration (and it seems to be the most prevalent and worrying), there are other forms of segregation outside of racism that run unquestioned in the church. Segregation based on sex, age, and relationship status are also present.
I'm interested to hear your thoughts on why the segregation system is being perpetuated in church or any other observations you have.