The Opioid Crisis

States are pondering with the idea of charging drug dealers with murder if a buyer dies as a result of use. This is primarily focused around the opioid crisis. No one can deny that the United States has a drug problem. Opioids are a dangerous part of the problem as these drugs cause the most deaths. What should be noted is that a good percentage of opioid users started taking the drug because a doctor prescribed it for severe pain.

If you have ever been in extreme pain before and were given opioids then you can attest that they work wonders. The pain just goes away as you enter a state of bliss. Yet the bliss is short lived as it is reported you can become physically dependent on these wonderful pills in just 5 days. With the DEA becoming more active in monitoring a doctor’s prescription pad, many newly minted addicts are cut off. This in my opinion is not fair and leads to their death.

We see once good productive citizens become criminals in the eyes of the law because they are in pain and need to somehow maintain a functional life. They purchase unregulated often tainted opioids or move into using heroin increasing their chances of imprisonment or death. A wall at the border will not solve the problem; an internal examination and making the proper adjustments in treating patents in extreme pain will do more than any wall. Many states allow for the use of medical cannabis for pain yet most states are still stuck in the 1920’s. We have bars on every corner yet somehow being high on anything other than alcohol is immoral.

So what common sense approaches can the citizenry take to curb the opioid crisis without spending a dime? First we allow doctors to prescribe alternative pain relief by federally legalizing cannabis. Cannabis is a proven to reduce pain and the great thing is no one has ever died from it. Second we need to allow people who suffer from chronic pain to be on opioids long term. Doctors should be able to give medication that will allow the patient to have a functioning life even if it comes in the form of a pill. So many people turn to street drugs which are not regulated by the FDA leading to fatal overdose of people who just needed pain relief. Finally I want to say that life is hard and it sucks sometimes. I do not look down upon the drug user I look down upon those that lock people up and deny them maybe the only happiness they will ever have.

Advertisements

Church Without Borders

Is it possible to truly have a church without borders?  Borders; why are they built within every congregation who claims to know the will of God?  Borders separate would be people of like mind; they divide families and friends, and discourage asking the question of why the borders exist.  The borders are the man made doctrines and dogmas of the church.  What exactly did Jesus mean when he spoke of himself?  “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth.  I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.” (Matthew 10:34, NIV)  Did Jesus take delight in the fact that people would be divided because of him?  If you continue to read the text Jesus points out in verse 36 the very members of a household will become enemies.  The overall question is what kind of warning is this?  Is Jesus saying that border walls are good and that his teachings will cause divisions?  Or, does Jesus foresee the outcome of human error and our ability to create division over teachings as we all try to be right?  It is an undeniable fact that we have seen the madness of the Christian faith over the last 2 thousand years, the division it has caused and the lives destroyed.  Maybe, just maybe Jesus desired not to cause division, rather an unavoidable human consequence.    

What then can the church look like to fix our divisive nature?  Thankfully I may have the answer.  We must remove all doctrines and dogma except for two teachings; first, Christ as the incarnate son of God who lived, died, and was resurrected. Second the teaching of the Apostle Paul found in 1 Corinthians 13, which gives us the definition of love.  Every other teaching then must be able to pass the love test.  All then is permitted and all is forbidden. Absolutely everyone is accepted in God’s eternal love.  Think of all of the social issues of today which divide the church.  These social issues would be no more as we would not recognize them as issues within our body of Christ.  All is truth, and all is lie.  What remains is God’s eternal love.  With humility and introspection we live out our lives in peace.  We accept all people.  There would not be a need to argue over theological interpretation for each person has the ability to interpret for themselves and then give this same authority to their fellows in respect of their own knowledge.  The leaders among us will be those who serve the most as appointed leadership will not be beneficial.  We will lead one another in humility as we are all ordained priest of God.  We will gather to break bread, and our fellowship will be without major ritual that causes some to place someone on a higher level than another. Worship through song, prayer, and conversation. 

Humanity cannot find God because humanity is looking up instead of looking within and around.  Humanity as a whole is the very essence of God.  A church cannot be divided.  A church divided is not a church.  A body cut in half is not able to function and is dead.  The body of Christ is resurrected and full of life; this body is you.  As you know we live in very divisive times, my heart is drawn as a Christian to present Godly answers to the issues we face.  What if we stopped allowing issues to be issues and allowed ourselves to be happy?  Politics are ruining the church in America, social justice is ignored by the majority in favor of a theology lacking in love and morally bankrupt.  Many Christians seek signs and wonders, yet Jesus said you will not see any sign but that of Jonah.  The sign then that people need to see is you.  Be the resurrection, be the life to your fellows.  I believe we can have a church without borders if we just take ourselves out of the way.      

Please Share:

The Backyard Preacher Podcast # 158

Nate is using the classic 90’s “What would Jesus Do” For the next few podcast.  In this episode Nate talks about borders, an issue of hot debate and an issue that is currently keeping the United States Government shutdown.  Listen up and prepare to be offended!

The Backyard Preacher Podcast # 158 “W.W.J.D. Borders”

America First

America first!  This proclamation has been touted significantly over the last couple of years.  As an American, having an attitude of America first is wonderful.  But, what exactly is America first?  How do we determine what is best for us?  These two questions are what I am going to try to answer.

 America first involves a strong economy, military, borders, and trade deals in favor of American interest.  I support these American first policies.  I would be a fool if I did not.  First, other countries would tear us down limb by limb until we were no better than them or worse; misery likes company.  I am not one who believes in American exceptionalism as we are all created equal.  America has been given this unique position as the wealthiest country in the world, we can use this to make our lives more comfortable and do our best to help our neighbors.

Strong Economy

FB_IMG_1531582004084[516]

Every country desires a strong economy. Regardless if we like it or not.  Workers are divided up by income.  In America there are lower, middle, and upper classes.  Generally the majority of the population is in the lower to middle class structure with the smallest percentage being the upper class.  This will primarily always be the case, although in America we have great divides in wealth between the middle and upper class.  The middle class is becoming closer to the lower class as corporations look to cut cost and pass the savings on to new generations who are hired at a fraction of their predecessor’s wage.

FB_IMG_1531582135391[515]

At the moment the jobless rates are at record lows. It is very easy to find a job although it is not so easy to find a middle or upper class job.  Most families are made up of two incomes with one or both income earners working two jobs.  Family life is cut, with providers living a life working and not much time being.  In my opinion this is not America first.  So what, I have a job, I have two jobs, but if I do not see my spouse or kids what does it matter?  Yet to provide shelter, clothes, and food you do what you must in order to survive.  Corporations understand that to squeeze as much productivity out of their employees they will work them more, and pay them less.  The price of living goes up, but wages stay the same.  This is not America first.

Powerful Military

Screenshot_20181104-154500_Google[714]

America is the wealthiest country with the most powerful military ever known to exist. A superpower as America needs a strong military in order to stay at the top; this is understandable.  Possessing a strong military is placing America first.  What is not placing America first is using this military for unjust causes.  In my opinion there has not been a just conflict since WWII.  Korea, Vietnam, both gulf wars, and Afghanistan simply were not needed to advance the country.  Currently we have thousands of troops at the Mexico border as a political stunt keeping us safe from migrants.  This is not placing America first.

Borders

Screenshot_20181104-154301_Google[718]

A country needs borders not a wall and razor wire. A country such as America was founded on the premise that this land is open for those who seek a better life.  This is America first.  Currently foreigners are not welcome in the country, especially if you are poor.  While we shake hands with Saudi murderers we spray tear gas at children.  This is not America first.  America first would be to stand up to outlaws such as the prince of Saudi Arabia.  Kindness and compassion are the footsteps of God, and this is America first.

A Deal Maker

Screenshot_20181104-154150_Chrome[720]

Currently America has a president that is supposedly an American first type of guy. He is supposedly a great deal maker.  This is up to interpretation.  There is no America first without putting the people first.  An unregulated market and high tariffs on goods only will hurt us.  Unfortunately people are too greedy not take advantage of deregulation.  If you want America first you protect the people from cheats and scammers.  This is not possible when you have someone who has always been a cheat and scammer running the show.  Donald Trump is not America first.

 

FB_IMG_1542376081003Please Share:

 

For the Love of Money

money-stacks

Jesus answered, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” Matthew 19:21 NIV.

Lawyers, sometimes you love them most of the time you hate them. That being said the legal profession is essential to the United States. They help balance our society, yet just as society is imperfect so are the lawyers. Many in whom seek to reach their legal tentacles into every part of everyday life. This can mean many live in poverty along with others not being able to achieve advancement because corporate America is afraid of being sued. We live in a lawsuit happy nation, with money being the motivator. Of course it doesn’t help that “we the people” play along when it is in our interest. The cycle of greed continues and I suppose we are all guilty at some point or another. This article is not one that is designed to bash lawyers; I had an amazing attorney fight for me when I needed it. This is an article that will go down many paths from felons seeking employment, individuals trying to better themselves through references, as well as illegals within the country who cannot find work because of their status.

negligent-hiring-penalties

One of the biggest problems facing HR managers today is the fear of being sued for negligent hiring. Like most rules on the books they start out with good intentions, but oh that love of money. Paul spoke to Timothy telling him “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil.” (1 Timothy 6:10, NIV). It goes both ways business desire to hire the best employees to profit their company and rightfully so, yet companies are intimidated by lawyers. Lawyers who will sue a business if said employee commits and act on the job in which negligent hiring can be proven. So these bully lawyers keep people out of work and entrapped in poverty. I have known many good companies who would hire reformed felons if it wasn’t for negligent hiring lawsuits. This is not just effecting people with felonies such as myself it is also effecting those with misdemeanors. We literally have millions of disenfranchised individuals in America. A new slavery of sorts. Oh of course you could say well you break the law you do the time. Except in the United States many times the time that is served is life. We live in a country in which draconian and puritanical laws are still in existence and once you are convicted of a crime it is a sentence of a scarlet letter for life. Rehabilitation is only a copout and the desire to keep a social class of slaves is fueled by the criminal justice system. Background checks are the norm for hiring in most companies and often the major intention is the fear of a negligent hiring lawsuits. What in the world did the country do before background checks? Well if history tells us anything it was doing a lot better than it is now. I know many people including myself who have a desire to work are unable to secure gainful employment. We are constantly turned down because of a criminal background. I like the quote from one of my favorite movies “The Kingdom of Heaven” The son comes to the father and says “I have committed murder” the father responds “haven’t we all.” Jesus spoke of murder taking place in the heart of man through hateful thoughts towards one another. I am mentioning murder it is obviously a hyperbole. Most people convicted of murder are sent to prison for life and most of the time it is justified. I am speaking about individuals such as myself who have never been to prison but still have a criminal history. Yes I have done wrong, I have paid for my choices, but should it be for life? Many companies have good hearts and would give many people second chances yet because of the possibility of negligent hiring they cannot take any chances. So what do we do? We cannot find work and we are not in prison. Many of us eventually do find some sort of manual labor after a duration of years, many just get fed up and end up back committing crime. Heck if society isn’t going to give you a chance then what’s the sense right? Wrong that is not the way to go about it. I decided to go back to school and completed a Bachelor’s degree and have almost completed a Masters. I actually have a goal of continuing if accepted into doctoral studies of religion. I find that academia being fairly liberal is also very accepting.

job

Why can’t a person better themselves and actually get a good job? Who said we cannot be the societal changers of the world? We can be the catalyst for change in the coming years! I urge anyone who is feeling hopeless to take up the call of right living. Jesus has accepted you even when no one else will.  The God who has created the universe is the same God that can open the doors and make the impossible possible. Jesus said “believe.” My brothers and sisters who have a background do not give up hope. Do not go back to crime. I know society does not understand but as our numbers grow so does our power.  We serve a God who reached out to the likes of us.  He didn’t come to those who are well, but to the sick.

My second issue with the negligent hiring lawsuits is that companies are even afraid of giving out a professional reference to a perspective employers. I have recently dealt with this in my own life as well. I find it very disturbing that lawyers are even going after companies who give professional references. They will sue companies that provide a reference if he or she turns out to be a “negligent hire.” So now everyone is scared to speak to each other because of lawsuits. While lawyers many times help people receive freedom it is the blood sucking brood of vipers who plague us with their lawsuits who are destroying the fabric of society. The EEOC says that a previous employer must give dates of hire, and must tell the perspective employer if they would hire again. I guess that is something, but the EEOC has much more work to do. Congress has much more work to do. Yet I don’t know if they work? Hmm. Legislation must be passed to end negligent hiring lawsuits. The end of negligent hiring and background checks for most jobs must take place. I understand that there are careers that because of my poor choices I cannot do. I accept that but I will not accept being a slave. Such legislation if passed would literally put an end to most disenfranchisement of felons, and help the advancement of citizens in the workforce.

My third issue is not one that has much to do with negligent hiring but with illegals trying to find work. Yes I am liberal on this issue. We cry and complain that illegals are sucking the social services dry, yet we will not let them work. We say that they are taking “our” jobs but they do the jobs nobody else wants for very low pay. So who are the true criminals? Well if we let them work they would be paying taxes and would not need social services. Easy answer to a big problem, yet in all honestly the three situations that I am addressing money is the major factor; just don’t love it. If people can take pride in what they do and earn a living wage business would boom. Buying and selling would go through the roof. The so called American dream could still be had. Yet the lawyers and bankers have been getting in the way so long by stuffing their pockets most people do not even know what the American dream is anymore.

early-mass

The early church prior to the 3rd century had it together. The book of Acts gives a small window into what life was like. People gave to each other holding nothing as their own. They lived in community and the Christ consciousness was alive in them. I believe that we are in a time of awakening on the earth, and also within the body of Christ. Jesus loves his church and desires his church to be one. The elimination of denominations and divisions that keep us from being united are being torn down and a free range church is rising. There will be those left in the walls of buildings and institutions clinging to human fundamentalism instead of the way of the Spirit. Most of the modern Protestant doctrines were created by men in the last couple hundred years who at the time seemed radical. Yet many of us perceive them as biblical fact. John Darby Nelson who gave us dispensationalism basically a hypothesis that cannot be proven nor disproven. Dispensationalism and eschatology go hand in hand Darby divides time into periods both past and future based on biblical text. A cool idea but not necessarily true, and was a radical idea at the time. Also the rapture, also an idea based on biblical text whom many attribute to Cotton Mather. While the orthodox and catholic church dismiss the rapture it is popular in my breed of Christianity. I am not trying to knock these theories, I am saying they were radical during the early 1800’s. They are now common place and often taken as fact by some. Now we have new ideas that are alive in the church. I believe it is because of the global consciousness that is leading the world into Christ consciousness. Part of this is being Jesus to each other, living out the scriptures in our lives, not out of fear of damnation but out of love. Being a Jesus follower and living life as Jesus lived his.

I know that I have gotten off track. Yet I think that it all comes together when we live in community as Christians. I have been wanting to address the evils of negligent hiring practices along with the idea that change while scary can be a good thing. I believe that everything is spiritual in some way, everything is divine. It is okay to mix social issues with our faith.

We can try to keep people out, people who are created in the image of God. People who just didn’t have the moral luck that maybe some of you had. You may be wishing to advance yourself in the country and find yourself unable to because of the evils of the love of money. This sin which has bound and chained our country. From my article “No Borders in Paradise” you will know that I don’t believe in borders or illegal immigrants because we are all people of the earth united under Christ. All people should be given a chance to be a part of society despite their mistakes, legal status, and social class. We should all have the ability through hard work to advance ourselves in this world. Yet for this to be possible I think a complete restructuring of society is what is needed. I do not really know what this looks like, but I am working on it.

imagesCA86OW3O

Finally I want you to be positive. No that Jesus loves you. He is with you. His will is only in your best interest. Life is tough, it really wasn’t meant to be easy. We need to take the path of least resistance and follow the Spirit of God and not the spirit of humanism. The Spirit that says that all things are possible. The Spirit that cries out that there is no limits, no ceiling. That even when we have barriers in society they can be removed. Rules can be broken, don’t break the law but rules always have exceptions. Whether you’re a person like me with a past, someone trying to advance their career or here illegally and desiring to cut out a life for yourself. It is possible like our master said “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” (Matthew 19:26 NIV). Blessings!

No Borders in Paradise

ISR-EGY_border_6521aNo borders in paradise, well wouldn’t that be nice. Unfortunately we live in an age in time in which borders mean a great deal to society. Unfortunately we are also far from paradise. I like many of you am a Facebook user I follow many people, some whom I like, some I don’t, and some I like but don’t necessarily agree with; I am sure you can relate. One of these individuals is the former governor of Arkansas Mike Huckabee who posted a Facebook quote stating “Secure the border. Without a secure border nothing matters.” How crazy is that! “Nothing matters but a secure border?” While I like the Huckster, like many conservatives they are very short sighted. I suppose I fall into the category of a moral liberal with conservative tendencies, or in other words I have radical ideas based on the teachings of Jesus.

So where did borders come from anyway? As a psychology and religion major I couldn’t tell you exactly. An anthropologist, sociologist or archeologist would probably have a good answer. I suppose I will look at scripture to support my arguments like usual. The book of Genesis gives us the creation story and tells us that God placed man in a garden located in the east of Eden. Eden in the Hebrew language is roughly translated as luxury or delight in other words paradise. Genesis chapter two gives us little information about the gardens location. We do know that four rivers are mentioned among the land of Eden. God told Adam he was free to do whatever he wished but he was forbidden for whatever reason to eat from the tree of good and evil. This would be the first boundary albeit not a geographical border. Obviously there was geographical borders that separated land masses a reading of Genesis 2:10-14 speaks of different sections of Eden and their attributes, the garden must have had a starting point and ending geographical location but we know little of them. So essentially there was no borders in paradise. At least not ones with walls and armed guards ready to check your papers. Yes life was good for the young couple Adam and Eve, until they decided to do the one thing God told them not to do. Whatever the tree symbolized whether it was an actual tree and fruit, or a symbol of something else such as knowledge they were not to touch it. Like us today the two just couldn’t leave well enough alone. I don’t blame Adam or Eve I would have done the same thing, I am a sinner and have missed the mark that God has had for me more than a few times. Now because of the sin of Adam and Eve we find ourselves facing something as far as we know that had not been seen before, a border. Not only a border but a guarded border. Genesis 3:24 states “After he drove the man out, he placed on the east side of the Garden of Eden cherubim and a flaming sword flashing back and forth to guard the way to the tree of life.” It was the fall of man that created a border, our sins that divided us. Our enemy the devil seeks this division and this division that started because of sin still continues to this day. It continues by men who don’t seek to tear down borders and promote unity but by Christian men like the Huckster who wants to wall us in, and wall everyone else out. In my personal opinion Eden meaning luxury and delight probably was a representation of the whole world. God made the world and everything in it and called it good. Borders these man-made imaginary lines seem to be brought about by the sin of man.

If we are Christian we know that sin is not something that God wants us to do. Sin is harmful thus borders are harmful. We in America call immigrants illegal or undocumented and desire to send them back to their countries which they are trying to escape. Remember that the children of Israel were once slaves in Egypt. God told the people of Israel to treat the foreigner as one of their own. “The foreigner residing among you must be treated as your native-born. Love them as yourself, for you were foreigners in Egypt. I am the LORD your God.” (Leviticus 19:34) While I am not saying that America must allow all people into the country we Christians such as Huckabee should read the words he once preached on Sunday mornings.

Okay, now I am about to become a little radical I am going to let my liberal side out. Why have borders at all? I cannot answer that. I don’t know why we have borders, or separate countries for that matter. I suppose if I was to try to guess I would say because of sin, the original reason for borders in the first place. What would be so hard treating everyone in the world as citizens of humanity and not citizens of a certain country? Think of the shocking events that would take place if this was practiced. No more wars, poverty, racism, injustice etc. Although we would have to convince all seven billion of us to agree to such a task. This goes for the immigrants in America as well. Come to this great plot of land but respect the land. Respect the people in the same way you wish to be respected. The earth is sacred and created from the mind of God. What you see around you comes straight out of the divine, all is divine. You and I are divine created in the image and likeness of God. The enemy Satan wishes to divide us and keep us separated, God seeks unity and a fellowship between men and women united under the banner of Christ.

You may say I am crazy, I won’t argue with you I am. I am a fool for Christ sake. I do not know what the immediate future will be in the world, but I do know what the final future for us will be. Again my argument is from scripture. In fact God plans to restore the Eden he created before man’s sin.

Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. No longer will there be any curse. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will serve him. They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light. And they will reign for ever and ever. (Revelations 22:1-5)

The plan of God will be complete and no one will be able to stop it. Since we know God’s ultimate plan why not start living it now? Isn’t being a Christian meaning to be like Christ? Politicians such as Huckabee and many of the other Republican candidates want to keep us divided as if the United States is somehow more special than the rest of Eden. We have a world to win for Christ this will not happen by keeping people out and separating each other because of the geographical location a person happens to be born in. Let’s seek unity and love our neighbors of Eden just as God desires us to do. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (John 13:35)