Archive for the ‘politics’ Category

As Christians where is the country? Are we a bunch of closed minded dominionist? People who have it my way or the highway? Absolutist who do not think for themselves? Nate does not have the answers but I do know how to talk about some possibilities. My only hope is that Christians in America are not so willing to sell their souls for political power.

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Jesus denied Satan’s offer of the kingdoms of the world.  Jesus reminded Satan he was to only worship God, he denied the world to eventually save it.
Later Jesus once again alludes to this. “What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul?”
I know as a Christian I have been tough on my fellow believers especially due to the political climate.  I feel based on observation many evangelicals and I count myself a modified version of one. That they are willing to give up Christian values for power.
Many have looked the other way despite Trump’s unrepentant actions, are supporting a very questionable candidate for Senate Roy Moore, even here in Iowa we have a Representative Mr. King who openly states “Diversity is a bad idea.”  The bottom line is many Christians especially those of the dominionist and absolute theological positions seem to say yes to corrupt power and deny the Kingdom, the people of Jesus.
Jesus did not come to create an earthly Kingdom. Not a Kingdom of earthly power at all cost.

Many of the enemies of Christ, in fact the very ones who nailed him to the cross claimed to be moved by the laws of God.  They were the religious leaders.  Today many Christians support very questionable people only because they pray and mention God.
Let us not find ourselves giving into Satan’s temptation of gaining the world only to lose our souls.

Watching Breaking The Cycle on Netflix and how differently we treat inmates in the United States versus that of Norway as well as a prison in North Dakota which is working on changing their policies on how inmates are treated.
What struck me the most is inmates in Norway are treated like human beings. They did not have cells with bars but private bathrooms and refrigerators in their rooms. This was maximum security by the way.
Why do we handle inmates like animals only for the inmate now to respond like animals in return?  We Americans live in a society of revenge.
Of course if someone does something terrible to you or your family you would not be happy the offender was living in a comfortable, positive, and real rehabilitative environment.  Yes, we should be mad if that is the case.  Yet as one warden said “we are in the business of correction and rehabilitation, not revenge.”
Most inmates in America will be released, they will be your neighbors. Do you want an inmate who is oppressed and treated like an animal? Or do you want a rehabilitated member of society who has the ability to give back?
I think if we want to become a better society, a safe society, and one who cares about people we can start by looking how we treat inmates.
I believe most offenders given the right opportunities will become better people.  The warden from the United States also made good points, he was very sympathetic to the views of the warden from Norway. He stated many inmates return to society with no homes, no jobs, and little hope.
In the United States we create felons for life. Employers do not rush to hire felons many large corporations have strict guidelines against it. Instead the felon is stuck doing menial work, or they go back to crime.  What a waste of talent.
I say this all because it is near to my heart I am a felon. I never have been in prison, but I do face the stigma of being labeled. While it has been over 7 years of trying to develop myself and give back to society I have had to work very hard.  At first no one would hire me. I am thankful I am a veteran and had thousands of dollars for school. I earned a Bachelors, Masters and next year will be working on a Doctorate.  I also have had an amazing support system. My family has been amazing. I have had a powerful drive to get ahead and make a difference in the world. In some ways for me being a felon has created a better me.
This is not the case for most returning inmates. We need to do so much more as a society.  Hopefully I will be in a position to do more myself.

In America it is popular to say we “earned” something. Yes, 99% of the country are earning at the same time getting ripped off. 
Do you ever get that feeling driving home from work that you should be getting paid more? That you agreed to work for what you did because you really were not given much of a choice? You should, and probably did. 
The thing is you are not going to get paid equal to what you produce. You will always be paid less than your worth in order for the employer to take the rest. So yes, you earned your portion. Yet did the employer earn the extra money you created for him? No, it was collectively earned by the workers for the owner. 
In a capitalist society generally you must either inherit, or be an entrepreneur to become very wealthy. Most people do not inherit, and most do not manage to create something like “Facebook” for example. Most of us are workers. 
What I am suggesting is a complete restructuring of society. One in which the money and power is centralized in the people. 
At this moment a new tax bill is soon to sit on the Presidents desk.  This bill will only help the rich get richer. The 1% of Americans will only help themselves, while their misguided followers believe that the 1% will actually “trickle down” the wealth. 
This brings me to my final thought. Growing up as a conservative Christian I was led to believe that Capitalism was created by Jesus and socialism or communism was created in the heart of hell.  This is in part due to social programming by the United States government.  But, what if any system would Jesus follow?  One which enslaves, or one that shares?  Why is it that so many evengelical Christians love capitalism and were so ready to elect a billionare Donald Trump and disregard Bernie Sanders?  
I do not dislike capitalism the drive for profit has created a remarkable world. I do not dislike socialism it is a system of the people. There is good and bad in both. Can we have the best of both worlds?
Maybe we should start by simply treating people better, paying people closer to what they are worth, and truly care about them. A little bit more always goes along way.

Nate talks about the huge increase in pay that corporations in America will receive if all goes as planned for the Republican party, in their efforts to pass a new tax bill.  The old trickle down scam!  Do you really think that corporations are going to increase your wage?

Would Jesus take a knee?  That is the question I propose.  Players taking a knee in the NFL has been a highly controversial topic that has continued to divide an already divided country.  In this episode Nate talks about an event in the life of Jesus in which he did not just take a knee he went above and beyond anything that the players in the NFL are currently doing.

In the wake of the Charlottesville, VA tragedy Nate takes a look at the hate behind why white people do what they do in this country.

Today many Evangelical churches have turned into a constant Trump rally.  We are on the verge of war and many leaders such as pastor Robert Jeffress who is encouraging the president to go to war a Old Testament warrior for God.  These churches as Isaiah puts it have become worthless assemblies whos worship is detestable to God.  Instead what does God tell Isaiah?  He tells the people to seek justice, to stop doing wrong, to defend the oppressed not to blow them up! to look after the widows and children.  Basically to be like Jesus!

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Are we ready for another Civil War in this country?  In this heated and divided nation it is a very real possibility.  Jesus speaks of division, his own words caused division within homes and still do to this very day.  In some sense a non violent civil war has already started.  It is our duty as children of God to bring peace and love, fight with prayer and do our best to end the hate.

Many of my progressive Christian friends are probably use to seeing the many articles floating around denouncing nationalism within the church and for the most part I agree. For the most part. While I am not one on 4th of July church services, there is almost a natural link between church and state regardless of the constitution. From ancient times the King or Queen ruled by divine right called “The Divine Right of Kings.” If you go back to ancient Egypt we see the Pharaoh as the god-king, the high priest of the nation as well as political ruler. It just might be in our DNA to set off firecrackers and salute our nation’s flag, all the while saying a prayer to our deity for another day of freedom.

So while within the Christian faith I think it is important not to go so far as to force feed people a religious diet. We do live in the United States in which the founding fathers had a brilliant and beautiful idea of separation of church and state, we also do not want to leave God out of the government and act like he will not enter the chambers of congress because we will not invite him in, or within the courts because we take down the ten commandments or a statue of Baphomet, as if God was so inferior and able to be stopped by our human measures.

I believe a more centrist approach is needed. I personally think much of this backlash against celebration of the state within a religious context comes from the recent election of Donald Trump. I do not support Trump, but nonetheless I will not be one of those “He is not my President” people, because he is my president as a citizen of the United States. Both sides, liberal and conservative have an opportunity to allow what is going on in today’s government to bring us together. Let this be an opportunity to get back to the basics of Christianity. Let me remind you that Christianity is not a religion of any state, but rather faith in Jesus, unlike the religions of the ancients we do not allow the state control over us. Yet we kind of compromise as Jesus said, give unto Cesar what is Cesar’s.

I believe both liberal and conservative Christians are engaged in what amounts to rebellion. Conservatives want to create a government of the church and by the church, and liberals are moving so far away from the church into the realm of Unitarianism. As a progressive Christian I am not going to sell out my faith and bash everything churches around the country do. Just as I do not want them to bash me and my progressive theology. I believe we can unite once again and agree to disagree.