Posts Tagged: Politics

How Many Deaths Will It Take?

The answer is not in the Wind…but we ignore the answer…

Dr. Ben Carson at the Presidential Prayer Breakfast…Ouch!

Is Dr. Carson running for President?

November 2012: Top Posts

Education, Politics, & Angus T. Jones helped to make November 2012 the most “visited” month in the history of this blog w/ more than 2300 people stopping by this site to have a look.

So here are the top 10 posts for the month of November, 2012.

  1. Adventist Education: It is “Something Better” this was the second most popular post in the history of this blog nearly catching In Defense of Ted. It also was one of two Adventist Education posts that made the top ten this month. Which I guess means my readers are passionate about Adventist Ed.
  2. Faster Pastor: Episode #4: God & American Politics is our second most popular post this month. This fourth episode in our web series “Faster Pastor” I believe was the best of the series thus far. In part because of the content & special guest, Dwight Nelson; but also because the three of us, Albert, David, & I are getting used to talking to one another over a computer screen. Stay tuned another Faster Pastor will be released early in December.
  3. Angus T. Jones’ Testimony Part 1 & 2 : What can we say? Angust went viral everywhere. I think we all need to pray with for his journey with Jesus right now as I’ve heard he won’t even be able to attend church this Sabbath due to the media presence.
  4. The Superiority of Adventist Education our second post on Adventist Education in our top ten list was actually something I wrote in May of 2011 but just decided to repost this month & like the first time around it found it’s way into the top ten list.
  5. Jesus Would Endorse…Doesn’t the Presidential election seem like forever ago? Yet it was this month & thus three posts on politics made it to the top 10 for the month.
  6. Entitled Lakers’ Fans, Entitled Worshipers I had the idea for this blog while driving back from Union Executive Committee meetings. I actually pulled out my phone and recorded the idea on the dictaphone app. It addresses a problem I think is very prevalent in our society.
  7. We Can’t Change for Our Kids another dangerous trend within the society of “Christian” parents.
  8. Faster Pastor: Episode #2: Unity in Diversity this episode of Faster Pastor has remained in the top ten for three straight months now. It addresses the delicate issue that has been floating around Adventism this year, Women’s Ordination.
  9. Donkeys, Elephants, & a Lesson Learned at Chick-Fil-A has been in the top ten for four straight months holding the #2, #1, #5, & now #9 spots respectively. I think that the political season is now over I’m assuming it will fade away.
  10. The Ordained Women Pastors of China is holding the number 10 spot by one viewing over another Faster Pastor episode. This is a great video that as I shared last month made me cry the first time I viewed it!

I hope if you missed any of these posts this past month that you will be blessed or at least enjoy the time spent catching up!

October’s Top Posts:

Here are the top ten for the month of October. If you haven’t read/watched have a look now. Be blessed and share with a friend!

  1. Faster Pastor Episode #2 Unity in Diversity with a full month to run and the little pick-up from the blogs Spectrum & Advindicate moves up from #4 to #1.
  2. The Ordained Women Pastors of China made me cry both times I watched it!
  3. Daily Disappointment a little piece I wrote as I reflected on the great disappointment of 1844
  4. Pastor Dwight Nelson’s Sermon “A Mighty Throng of Women: A Second Look at Male Headship” our third video is #4 this month.
  5. Donkeys, Elephants, & a Lesson Learned at Chick-Fil-A last months top post remained in the top ten this month.
  6. What U2, Bon Jovi, & AC/DC Teach Us About Church I wrote this blog more than a year ago, but my readership was much less then and so I reposted it this month & I guess enough folk hadn’t read it so it made it back into my top 10.
  7. Introducing Speiro Media Ministries thankful for the many that have supported this endeavor and praying many more will jump in!
  8. I Love Dayton one of my favorite blogs I have ever written. Probaly because of the deep nostalgia associated with this city and great love I have for Ohio/the people of Ohio and all they did for me in my life!
  9. Faster Pastor Episode #3: Training Journal Apps. This one is all about running.
  10. The Pink Slip another blog I wrote almost 2 years ago that I re-released brings up the tail of the top 10 posts for the month of October.

 

Faster Pastor: Episode #4: God & American Politics

Appreciated Pastor Dwight Nelson joining us today for our episode of Faster Pastor. I really resonated with much that my three other colleagues shared. I wish we could have recorded what happened after the video went off! Besides David teasing Albert for being Uncle Sam and telling folk to “Go Vote!” it was a lively discussion of four pastors that are acutely aware of the times we are living in and a desire above all else to see Jesus’ love shared with this nation, a flawed nation, but a nation we still all desperately love! Dwight had a beautiful prayer for all of us, that should be prayed over every single believer in this country–“no matter what happens Tuesday, keep us faithful to Jesus!”

Jesus Would Endorse…

Which candidate would Jesus endorse? A pretty silly question, since the answer is quite obvious! After analysis of both Mr. Mitt Romney & President Barack Obama it is clear that Jesus would endorse…

NEITHER!

Why?

Is it because Jesus wants a different candidate? Perhaps if Ron Paul had won the GOP nod or maybe if the Libertarian Party had more sway and their candidate, Gary Johnson, had a chance of winning.

No Jesus would not endorse them either.

How can I be so sure?

Because of Jesus’ track record.

Jesus refused to ever endorse a single candidate or show His hand a single time while He walked on this earth.

Now some may say, “well that is because there was no candidate to endorse.” “There was not the political strife in the first century that there is in the 21st century.”

Really?

History would tell a different story. Do any of these issues sound familiar?

  • A growing economic disparity betwen the upper & lower classes.
  • Frustration over taxes & tax policy.
  • Blurred lines between church & state.
  • Questions on what social issues should be under church jurisdiction & which should be under government jurisdiction.

Jesus’ world was ripe with political strife and on many occasions He was asked to step into the political fray and “endorse” a candidate:

“Now when He was asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come,” –Luke 17:20a

The folk of that day didn’t think of the Kingdom of God in spiritual terms like we do now (yes we believe it is literal, but not a literal kingdom of this earth, God’s Kingdom on this earth is a Spiritual one in each of us), they saw the kingdom as an actual physical kingdom lead by humans on the earth. When the pharisees were asking about the kingdom they were talking about a literal earthly kingdom. But Jesus deflected their questioned, He turned their political question into a Spiritual discussion, 

“The kingdom of God does not come with observation; nor will they say, ‘See here!’ or ‘See there!’ For indeed, the kingdom of God is within you.” –Luke 17:20b-21

Even after Jesus had clearly shown He was for a higher purpose than just the happenings of this world. His followers continued to want His insight & help with the political world they were living in,

“Therefore, when they had come together, they asked Him, saying, “Lord, will You at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” –Acts 1:6 (This was after Jesus had died and risen from the grave).

And what does Jesus decided to talk about? The Holy Spirit & them being missionaries to the world,

“And He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has put in His own authority. But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” –Acts 1:7, 8

In fact Jesus was so adverse to the political world and so frustrating folk with His political inaction that at one point in His ministry they tried to force Him to take a political stand,

 Therefore when Jesus perceived that they were about to come and take Him by force to make Him king, He departed again to the mountain by Himself alone.” –John 6:15

Jesus never disparaged Caesar, Herod, or any other political leader. In fact the one time He mentioned Caesar, maybe the one time He made any type of political statement, Jesus actually frustrated all sides,

“Tell us, therefore, what do You think? Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not?”…Show Me the tax money. So they brought Him a denarius. And He said to them, “Whose image and inscription is this?” They said to Him, “Caesar’s.” And He said to them, “Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” –Matthew 22:17 & 19-21

An answer that would irritate both the Romans and the Jews. “So wait a second what things can Caesar be over and what things is God over? Who gets to decide?”

Jesus on this earth refused to get involved in endorsing candidates or trying to establish any party or human power.

What is the best way to know what someone is going to do in the future? By understanding what they have done in the past.

Which candidate would Jesus endorse? Neither. He would do what He always did endorse His Father in Heaven and leave it at that.

Would it not then seem logical for the followers of Jesus on this earth to do as He did.

Especially us as Pastors? Isn’t that what we teach our paritioners, “Do as Jesus did.”?

Hasn’t someone gotten rich off of rubber “WWJD” wrist bands? (What Would Jesus Do)

Jesus didn’t endorse a man, He represented God and God alone.

Shouldn’t we?

****Note 1: This is not a statement against voting.

****Note 2: My friend David Asscherick pointed out the following statement to me, “Go, tell that fox, ‘Behold, I cast out demons and perform cures today and tomorrow, and the third day I shall be perfected.’” Luke 13:32. This was stated in regards to a threat supposedly coming from Herod. While this doesn’t blow my understanding out of the water regarding Jesus never endorsing. It is a statement firmly warning/clarifying to Herod that his earthly power & consequences has no authority over what God will divinely do!

 

 

 

Donkeys, Elephants, And A Lesson Learned at Chick-Fil-A

My wife Christina & I are now headed into our third presidential election season. I mention that because this presidential election season has been a complete contrast to the previous two presidential elections we’ve gone through together.

It has been peaceful!

Why?

Not because we are now both members of the same party, to be honest Christina won’t even tell me what party she is registered with, if any. Nor has she confirmed her vote in any of the previous elections. I always want to talk about whom I just voted for & my dear wife sits there silently, not taking any of the bait.

It is not because I no longer pay attention to politics. I still read the news articles and head to Real Clear Politics almost every single day to see the latest polls.

Nor because she is less involved, her involvment has always been zero ’till election time, so you can’t go much less than that.

No, the reason this election season is peaceful is because I’ve repented!

I’ve repented of all the years of my life I put politics ahead of the Gospel!

That is what I believe happens when Pastors, well really all Christians, enter the fray of the political dialogue to such a degree that they are willing to alienate another human being over a political conviction.

I learned this lesson again just recently, when I decided to visit a Chick-fil-a for the first time ever in my life. I went not based on a moral conviction regarding the issue at hand or due to my loyalty to any political party. I went simply because I was irritated with a politician I heard tell people not to frequent the business based on the owners particular point of view.

I posted a picture of my wife returning to our car with the caption “waiting in line for the first and probably last time at a Chick-Fil-a.”

By the time I got home, my Facebook was lit up with comments most supportive, but quite a number in angst over my decision to go to the Chick-Fil-a. My initial reaction was to get defensive and even mad at those that were so bothered…but then I stepped back and I agreed with the people that were mad at me, I was mad at me too!

I was not mad at myself for the same reason most of them were, but I was mad at myself for needlessly entering a battle that was a no-win situation as most battles fought through political means are!

This election season I had done so well at keeping my mouth shut. Not posting any opinions about the candidates. Not even pressing “like” on the political satire constantly being posted on Facebook. Christina had not had to tell me every Sabbath afternoon to stop talking politics (that is why it is peaceful now:)). I have not felt the need to throw under handed digs into my sermons against one party or another. I have not posted video clips of one candidate or another that clearly shows my endorsement, without ever actually endorsing anyone (since that would be illegal for me as a pastor). But now just like that, in just a moments time with one simple picture and post on Facebook, I was back in the thick of it and I had people in support and people in opposition going at it on my Facebook page. This was something I would have loved in years past, but that I now despise!

I despise, because Jesus deserves better than having one of His children putting politics ahead of the Gospel.

And that is exactly what we are doing whenever we choose to have an argument about politics, publically endorse a candidate, put a political placard in our front yard, or slap a bumper sticker onto our car that will alienate one group for the sake of rallying another.

During the 2010 Congressional Elections as I was becoming my usual heated self, ready and willing to have debates with both sides of the aisle and considering myself “oh such a balanced person”, Jesus convicted my heart. He asked me very clearly, “are you willing to sacrifice your ability to witness to someone for the joy of being right about a political candidate.”

My answer is NO!

The Salvation of all mankind Republican, Democrat, Libertarian, Independent, etc. is far more important to me than any position I have.

But when I choose to voicferously express my political views.

When I choose to post political digs on my twitter or facebook accounts against particular parties or individuals.

When I am willing to have an argument or even an intense discussion about politics…

In this politically polarized and politcally caustic society I am essentially choosing to say, “I care more about my views and what I want than being a witness to you.”

Thus, I care more about myself and my way of life than I do your eternal salvation!

I still enjoy & even care very much about what is happening in the political world. It is my hobby–but it is now a personal hobby, between me, myself, & I.

And I repent for the years I put politics ahead of the Gospel. The election of a candidate over the witness of Jesus. Me over you.

It is peaceful in our home this election season because Jesus is the only individual worth publically endorsing!

 

Taxes, Abortion, Hunting, & Welfare

We are in the thick of the political scrum! Debate after debate, pundit after pundit, poll after poll. It is pure madness.

Who am I going to vote for? I can’t tell you!

But I can tell you about some of the issues that folk in our country seem so riled-up about from a Biblical perspective. This is not an exhaustive examination of each topic, but will cover some basic principles that point to the primary truth.

Taxes:

“Then the Pharisees went and plotted how they might entangle Him in His talk. And they sent to Him their disciples with the Herodians, saying, “Teacher, we know that You are true, and teach the way of God in truth; nor do You care about anyone, for You do not regard the person of men. Tell us, therefore, what do You think? Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not?” But Jesus perceived their wickedness, and said, “Why do you test Me, you hypocrites? Show Me the tax money.” So they brought Him a denarius. And He said to them, “Whose image and inscription is this?”
They said to Him, “Caesar’s.” And He said to them, “Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” When they had heard these words, they marveled, and left Him and went their way.” –Matthew 22:15-22

It is historical fact that the Jews were heavily taxed by the Romans. It was also taxation without representation (something we went to war for with England back in the 1700’s). Notice though how Jesus responds, pay your taxes and worship God. Give to Caesar (that is pay your taxes) give to God (that is worship or your heart). It seems just in this one verse that Jesus didn’t see the tax fight as a fight He needed to take on.

My question would then be: Why do we? You can vote however you want on the issue, but a vote is different than fighting the system and the man. If Jesus didn’t fight it, we shouldn’t fight it either.

Jesus spoke a lot about the poor and on one occasion He said the following:

“But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind. And you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you; for you shall be repaid at the resurrection of the just.” –Luke 14:13, 14

Jesus clearly expect believers to take care of the poor. In fact the inspired early description of the church one of the things emphasized over and over again is caring for the needy.

“Now the multitude of those who believed were of one heart and one soul; neither did anyone say that any of the things he possessed was his own, but they had all things in common. And with great power the apostles gave witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And great grace was upon them all. Nor was there anyone among them who lacked; for all who were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the proceeds of the things that were sold, and laid them at the apostles’ feet; and they distributed to each as anyone had need.” –Acts 4:32-35

The role of the church is to care for the needy and if the church won’t do, if the church has abandoned her job, then I would say the government stepping in to help which raises taxes isn’t the governments fault but it is the fault of the church (I am not talking about spending on “a bridge to nowhere”, but rather social programs to help the needy and underserved in our country), so should we fight taxes that are being used to do the things we are supposed to be doing as believers?

Conclusion: Jesus’ stance on taxes is pay them as long as they aren’t preventing you from loving and serving God, which they aren’t. Second, Jesus’ stance is that believers should care for those in need, unfortunately we don’t. So the government has stepped in, I don’t know that Jesus would denounce government for that, but He may have some words for the church (see Isaiah 58).

So where do you stand? On the Bible or elsewhere?

Abortion:

For You formed my inward parts;
         You covered me in my mother’s womb.
 14 I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
         Marvelous are Your works,
         And that my soul knows very well.
 15 My frame was not hidden from You,
         When I was made in secret,
         And skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.
 16 Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed.
         And in Your book they all were written,
         The days fashioned for me,
         When as yet there were none of them.” –Psalm 139:13-16

Some key phrases in this scripture inspired by God:

First, “My frame was not hidden from You, when I was made in secret.” In other words when no one else knew there was a baby made, God knew.

Second, “Your eyes saw my substance being yet unformed. And in Your book they all were written, the days fashioned for me, when as yet there were none of them.” So God sees substance and life and value before we as humans are fully formed. Also, God has a desired plan for each baby before they have even lived a day outside the womb of their mother.

It would seem then based on these texts that the following text would also apply to unborn babies:

“Thou shalt not kill.” –Exodus 20:13

Conclusion: The Bible clearly teaches life begins long before a baby comes out of his or her mother. The Bible clearly teaches that taking life is wrong. As Christians we cannot let our political desires or party influence our support of life!

Hunting:

This one could really be labeled guns. I put hunting in though b/c every political cycle there are some pictures that surface of candidates, usually GOP candidates wearing orange vests and carrying a rifle. In this go round there have been some direct references to hunting due to the presence of Rick Perry. Folk defend the right to bear arms for protection, I don’t fully agree with that position, but I can’t find Biblically a yes or no, so my opinion on that really doesn’t matter. But I have also heard some from the NRA speak of the right to have guns for sport/hunting. And the Bible does address that issue:

“The lazy do not roast any game,
   but the diligent feed on the riches of the hunt.” –Proverbs 12:27

Conclusion: Hunting for sport is wrong (lazy); hunting to eat is acceptable. You may say well laziness isn’t that bad. Read what Jesus says about lazy folk in Matthew and see what Paul writes about lazy folk in Titus. It’s not good to be lazy and therefore protecting gun rights for the sake of sport seems to go against the Bible. If you kill it, eat it or don’t kill!

Welfare:

“But we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you withdraw from every brother who walks disorderly and not according to the tradition which he received from us. For you yourselves know how you ought to follow us, for we were not disorderly among you; nor did we eat anyone’s bread free of charge, but worked with labor and toil night and day, that we might not be a burden to any of you, not because we do not have authority, but to make ourselves an example of how you should follow us. For even when we were with you, we commanded you this: If anyone will not work, neither shall he eat. For we hear that there are some who walk among you in a disorderly manner, not working at all, but are busybodies. Now those who are such we command and exhort through our Lord Jesus Christ that they work in quietness and eat their own bread.” –2 Thessalonians 3:6-12

The text is pretty clearly stating that a person that is able to work, but unwilling to work should not get any support. Based on this point of view Christians should take a position on welfare that would urge this type of standard.

Conclusion: A welfare system based on the Bible would look a lot different than the welfare system we have now.

So what was the point of this post?

The point of this post is maybe to point out that a Christian shouldn’t stand with one political party or believe that one political candidate is the perfect one; we should understand that no matter who we vote for, we should be honest about the fact and hopefully be willing to disagree openly with the person we voted for if their position is not in line with scripture.

As Christians our political views should be based on the Word of God! That should be our standard, any other standard is placing another God (self and our own human thoughts) above God!

 

 

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