Posts Tagged ‘government’

Once again the debate of divine authority which has been argued throughout the centuries is being debated by Trump Christians who use the text of Romans 13 to force their agenda upon all Christians. First most of the Christians who are trying to pedal this agenda do not have any understandings of hermeneutics and allow a literal reading of the text to suffice which actually greatly distorts the meaning.

God did not put Trump or any other president in power. Voters did. It is my opinion that God when he gave us freedom to do as we wish that freedom extended to all parts of our lives and God rarely intervenes. Let us look at how God spoke to Cain about his frustrations with his brother Able.

“Then the Lord said to Cain, “Why are you so angry? Why is your face downcast? If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you but you must rule over it.” (Genesis 4:6-7, NIV).
As we know God did not stop Cain from killing his brother. It was not God’s will that Cain kill his brother as the verses above attest to that. It was Cain’s will and his actions. God may warn us, and we have the law of love written on our hearts, but in the end the actions we take are our own.
Let us look at the lifestyle of Daniel. Daniel defied the authority that was above him throughout his life in captivity. We find examples of Daniel refusing to eat what he was ordered (Daniel 1) We find Daniel refusing to bow to the image in which he was ordered by the king to do. (Daniel 3). Daniel refuses to cease his prayers in defiance of the king (Daniel 6).

What may seem odd is the fact that Daniel also wrote, “He changes times and seasons; he disposes kings and raises them up.” (Daniel 2:21, NIV). Yet here we do not have a dilemma, we have the very reason why the Jews loved the book of Daniel. The text was a motivational story in which the Jews clung to in their time of distress. It is understandable to want to have some sort of rational explanation as to why God seemingly abandoned them. Yet the truth is God never abandoned, they were taken captive as many nations were and for a time they were forced into exile. You may disagree with me on this although many scholars have come to the same conclusion.

One more example before I focus directly upon Romans 13. According to Samuel God did not desire the people of Israel to even have a king. Samuel the prophet may have been saying this because he thought his place of authority was in jeopardy and like many invoke the name of God to strike fear into the hearts of men, or he may have heard actually from God. I don’t know. I know Samuel was wise in stating that if the people receive a human king he would take their sons and daughters demand taxes and also take their lands (1 Samuel 8:10-22).

Who then brought about the King? Not God, but the people demanded it and they received it. Look back at Cain and Abel. The freewill of man is mostly littered with sin.
Romans 13 seems to be a very clear-cut text of the Apostle explaining to the often dysfunctional church how to keep their heads attached to their bodies. Written during a time in which claiming to be a member of the new cult of Jesus would bring one severe punishment if not death. Paul in writing to the Roman to warn them of earthly punishment as well as to help them to realize that even though they are children of God, and citizens of heaven it is still important to live a life of peace. Paul invokes the name of God although like many preachers and prophets. Invoking the name of God is always beneficial to validate an argument in which you desire no other sentiments. Paul was a wise man as was Daniel and Samuel, and himself defied the government of his day because of his convictions.

What we cannot do is use the text as a blanket statement in which can be translated to our lives today. I think we may be able to pull out many great points within Romans 13. Obeying the law is a good thing. Paying taxes and being fearful of doing evil because generally in most cultures the same laws against theft, murder, etc. exist. While it is clear that Christians should respect authority, we must also as Jesus pointed out be wise as serpents. To blindly follow a government that is wrong and ungodly is in itself foolish. Paul was not telling the Roman church to follow the orders of Rome, or to worship their Gods because they commanded it. If that was the case they would have converted back to the Pagan gods. He for all practical purposes wanted the Roman church to live in peace with the authority as much as they could.

In the United States today we have a drastically different type of Government than that of 1st century Rome. We choose our leaders such as the President through an election. God does not choose the leaders the people do. God is not going to interfere with the free will of the people. In the United States a country in which the very foundations were based on rebellion, how dare Jeff Sessions try to quote Romans 13 to obtain the obedience of the people! It is our very duty as Americans to protest and seek justice in which we feel is right in our eyes. We will not always get it right, but if we do nothing then nothing will get done.
Just as God did not raise up Hitler, Stalin, Mao, Saddam, or the Queen of England, God did not raise up Trump. What God did do was give us the free will to choose our leaders; that is if we are lucky enough to be born in a country in which that is possible. I am tired of Trump Christians praising him more than they do Jesus and thinking that this is all apart of some prophecy leading towards the end of the world. No, what it is should be a call for Evangelicals to start to learn to properly interpret the Bible.

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I have a great idea, forget going to the voting booth, we can vote via our smart phones. One click and you have the next law, congressman, governor, and even president. This whole Electoral College thing; it is completely unfair. How can a few people out in Montana have the equal standing as the city of Las Angeles, New York City, or Chicago? It is dumb. I know at the moment we are a Republic. I understand the reason for the Electoral College, yet in this great time of advancement we can set our feelings aside and allow the smartest people in the room to make the choices for us.

I have heard it said this way; human civilization began in Mesopotamia and we then spread out all over the globe. The farther people went the more innovative and smart their offspring became. Then people started to invade the United States and some tried to cross the country. People like my family only made it as far as Iowa. Yay me! But, those really innovative and adventurous types made it all the way to California the state with the greatest of ideas, policies, and tolerance. I would happily forbid anyone in Iowa to vote and give our will to the great people of California.

We should not have to wait and wait for clean water in Detroit and to stop the insane wars that we keep getting into to further an elitist agenda. It’s time to stop sending people to prison because of the color of their skin. It is time to treat people with respect regardless of their gender and sexual orientation, to pay people a living wage and make sure everyone receives healthcare. We live in a country that truly needs a reformed education system. Not a Betsy DeVos!

So, as long as we have it clear, no more unfair Electoral College, and to vote, no ID is necessary. Please, people in Sweden feel free to interfere with our elections the Russians got it wrong! Basically you must know how to operate a smart phone and like clean water. Simple, or is it?

I have a great idea, forget going to the voting booth, we can vote via our smart phones. One click and you have the next law, congressman, governor, and even president. This whole Electoral College thing; it is completely unfair. How can a few people out in Montana have the equal standing as the city of Las Angeles, New York City, or Chicago? It is dumb. I know at the moment we are a Republic. I understand the reason for the Electoral College, yet in this great time of advancement we can set our feelings aside and allow the smartest people in the room to make the choices for us.

I have heard it said this way; human civilization began in Mesopotamia and we then spread out all over the globe. The farther people went the more innovative and smart their offspring became. Then people started to invade the United States and some tried to cross the country. People like my family only made it as far as Iowa. Yay me! But, those really innovative and adventurous types made it all the way to California the state with the greatest of ideas, policies, and tolerance. I would happily forbid anyone in Iowa to vote and give our will to the great people of California.

We should not have to wait and wait for clean water in Detroit and to stop the insane wars that we keep getting into to further an elitist agenda. It’s time to stop sending people to prison because of the color of their skin. It is time to treat people with respect regardless of their gender and sexual orientation, to pay people a living wage and make sure everyone receives healthcare. We live in a country that truly needs a reformed education system. Not a Betsy DeVos!

So, as long as we have it clear, no more unfair Electoral College, and to vote, no ID is necessary. Please, people in Sweden feel free to interfere with our elections the Russians got it wrong! Basically you must know how to operate a smart phone and like clean water. Simple, or is it?

That title should read capitalism works; but only for the fortunate few. In such a great land as ours, the richest country in the world our people live in utter poverty. A large percentage of citizens are working two jobs without proper healthcare, nutrition, education and abysmal housing. Why is this you ask? It is because of the failing system we call capitalism. A system of private owners who control the government, a system which would work beautifully f it was not for greed. What do private owners want? You guessed it; money! You need healthcare; pay me, food; pay me, education; pay me, housing; pay me. The economic force of supply in demand is beautiful if it were not manipulated to serve the wealthiest. We in the United States have very little checks and balances on the greed of our citizens. I suppose greed is not illegal, yet to treat people inhumanely should be.

It is time we re-evaluate our system and step up our socialism. Let’s face it modified socialism works. I want to give you a military example. I served the United States in the Army for 5 years. During that time I was provided housing rent free, medical coverage, food, and free college education. I also received a pay check. I received this in exchange for my service as a Military Police soldier. The government already knows how to provide the services and help people to find meaningful work in areas in which they are skilled. Yet we the people do not run the government. You think that you are voting for someone with your best interest at heart. Wrong! It doesn’t matter who you vote for because the corporations with the fattest pockets are going to have the country in which is ran to service their never ending hunger for money.

I am not saying that everything should be operated by the government. I am not saying that you cannot start your own private business. All I am saying is if you are going to profit on American soil you need to provide a living wage along with health c are. That’s 15+ per hour plus no expense to the employee healthcare. This would be even easier if the government gave stipends to businesses to help offset cost. This along with food vouchers so the freezer is always full, and vouchers for housing. I am not saying people don’t need to work, I am saying to qualify for these benefits you must work.

When I think of countries like Sweden, Scandinavia, Belgium, and other EU countries, ponder why not us? Why can’t we spend more time developing our country and less time dropping bombs in the desert?

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What does it mean to be Patriotic? The general definition is a person who vigorously supports ones country. In a unique nation such as ours we have a country constructed of the people, for the people. We are more than the land in which we live on, we are team of people who has come together to share in similar values. When you are a member of a team, we should do our best to support our team members. We do this as a country by passing laws in which will help our fellows. Yet in today’s America many of these laws only divide and manipulate the team, for the benefit of the few.

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Today in our country we face many issues in which we are letting our teammates and future teammates down. The first being immigration. Good people who are risking life and limb trying to come to this country in the hope of finding safety and freedom. Unlike the immigrants of past days these people are not met with lady liberty. Immigrants are met by men with guns, ripping mothers from their children and placing them in their perspective cages. What kind of a team play is this? Many say they are breaking the law; we are a country of laws, they say. Let me remind you that while we are a country of law, many people are not as fortunate as you or I to be born into this team; many would do anything to be in your position. Tell me about law when you need to risk your life for freedom.

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Another issue is healthcare. Even if you have a good job you will pay hundreds of dollars per month to provide healthcare for your family. If we are a team wouldn’t we all want people to have access to health care, especially in a country like ours in which we have the ability to make it happen? Many will say, I had to pay, I have to work, they tell their teammates to get a job you bum, quit working that minimum wage job, that’s for kids. Oh if only it was that easy. Do you think people want to be poor? Do you think people want to be on welfare? Maybe just maybe you could trade places with the waitress serving you while you justify how you can leave a small tip. If I described you, then you suck at being on a team. You suck at being patriotic, never wave an American flag again! You have been benched! In a country such as ours healthcare should be a right not something that is a burden. I would rather my tax dollars go to pay doctors, and build hospitals, not more bombs to drop on tents and camels in the desert.

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Let us examine the lie of higher education. We tell our children to get good grades, go to college and become whatever you want to be. I am all for instilling passion into our youth, they are our future. What I cannot understand is going tens of thousands of dollars into debt for a four-year degree in which you may never can use. Many college graduates end up working at a job they hate because they must pay back the student loans for fear of poor credit, so they can drive a Subaru. Don’t get me wrong, I support higher education. I hold a B.S. a M.A. and currently working on an Ed. D. Yet I served in the Army, I earned a considerable amount of money to attend college. Not everyone is given that opportunity. I believe that in a nation such as ours our people should be allotted monies in order to receive at least an associate’s degree or training for a skilled trade. I understand the importance of having some skin in the game. The student should be responsible for some of their tuition. Yet if we the people continue to provide poor salaries and an expensive cost of living, it is only right to help them with their education. Remember this is a team play.

 


Finally, there is a saying, “money never sleeps.” Corporations in the United States have become modern plantations, and politicians work with these corporations to line their pockets. We have a separation between church and state, but the biggest need in America is a separation between corporations and state. It is the corporations who are dictating the politicians who pass the laws creating a slave state in which the worker is slowly losing their rights like a frog boiling in a slowly heated pot. It is a fascist system without a face, with greed turning the gears of the operation. The current government allows the super elite to continue to rule the country from their boardrooms. Corporations do not care about you or me. People are just commodities bought and sold between each other, buying their livestock at the lowest rate. They make employees feel good offering just enough money to keep the lights on so you will be forced to come back day after day. The lucky ones will have enough left over to enjoy a night out once a week, and the very fortunate are those who have the nice house and car but are drowning in debt, they may seem happy but look closely. They are often in a greater prison, never truly leaving work because they are shackled down with a company phone and laptop. When and if you do “make it” you may have enough money to pay for your nursing home and burial expenses, leaving your children without an inheritance. This is the America we live in. The government says we currently have the lowest unemployment rate in years, yet many workers have gone off the grid or are working part time jobs to keep the lights on, hoping to make it to work every day without getting pulled over because they would rather feed their children instead of buying car insurance. This is the reality we live in, and then we thank God and government that we have jobs all the while we are being robbed. Some people say that the devil’s greatest trick was to get people to believe that he does not exist. I would say next in line is making the people think the government actually cares.

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So what does it mean to be patriotic? Patriotism is defined by a person who vigorously supports ones country. This should be clear then to any American. A patriot is not someone who waves a flag and screams “we are a land of laws.” Yes, we are a land of laws, but most importantly the country is only as strong as its people. If we treat our immigrants like criminals in which if you are white you are a decedent of an immigrant. If we do not care for the sick, the poor, and scoff at people working minimum wage jobs just trying to carve out an existence. If you think that education should come with a huge price tag leaving the next generation in debt. If you support the government control by corporations; which enables these entities to force us into servitude. If you think all these things are acceptable and are still waving a flag it is time to re-evaluate your actions because they go against the very definition of patriotism. Put down the flag put on a brown shirt and sing songs about Mussolini because that is what you have become. You are not a part of this team we call the United States, you are either working for the opposition or you are too dumb to figure out you have been duped, either way, get it together, or stay on the bench.
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Nate has fun on this episode of The Backyard Preacher. Just hold on and enjoy the ride!

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.

Nate talks about the tragic shooting of a congressman.  The great state of civil unrest in this country as never seen since the days of the civil war.  Nate looks at what Jesus did when faced with similar adversity and the role in which the American government plays.

Nate talks about the first days of a Trump Presidency.  While he does not like Trump Nate encourages us to pray for the President.  Nate uses the text found in Mark 7:31-37 as an example of how we should reach out to God to have our ears opened in order for us to speak righteousness.  Let us do like the people of Decapolis, let us bring Trump to the throne room of God, allowing God to open his eyes and ears for the sake of the country.

My fellow brothers and sisters of the Christian faith, as a minister of the gospel of Christ I feel it is important to examine through scripture how we should look towards the upcoming Trump administration. Why I am I investing so much time in this election you may ask? When I see people being spiritually defeated, families being ripped apart, and hate being spread on both sides of the political spectrum then as Christians we must look at how we should conduct our lives during these times of turmoil.

As usual when it comes to matters of scripture interpretation is everything. We must remember even during the Civil War both North and South believed they were being guided by the hand of God. So is it now amongst Christians, those who support an ultraconservative/theocracy in which Christian values are forced upon the people, and Christians who believe that people should choose to live moral lives without government intervention. While that being said no amount of morality will give any of us favor with God as it is only by faith in Christ we our saved.

Let us look towards Romans chapter 13 as a guide. Paul in his letter to the Romans is giving his Christian brothers and sisters guidelines on how to live under an oppressive government. Let me remind you that Paul is primarily speaking to the Jewish population during this time as it was very hard for them to find a way to live under the leadership of Rome. Just as the Jews under Rome, today we face the leadership of a Trump administration. As we look at the text Paul starts out talking about love and ends talking about love as the greatest of laws. This is highly important as the law of love is the greatest in the universe.

Let us look at the end of Romans 12 as Paul leads into talking about believers under secular government.

“Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone.  If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. 19 Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord.  On the contrary:

“If your enemy is hungry, feed him;     if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.”

21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” (Vs.17-21, NIV)

This incoming administration has shown a great intolerance for diversity. This coming more so from those who voted Trump into office. The country is divided one side who wishes to live in unity and peace, while the other wishes to take away the freedoms of many. We see evil being shown to minorities, refugees, those of other religions, the LGBT community, women, and the list continues. We also see signs of fascism in which the Administration wishes to impose their agenda upon the people limiting the freedoms of speech. We see this with those who are not happy with the American government and display acts in which some interpret as unpatriotic, could we one day be sent to prison for not standing for the National Anthem? As a Christian my Kingdom is God’s not the United States. A large segment of the country are onboard with Trump and take his words many steps forward and radicalize them, they are now emboldened to say things in which they would never say in public before. They believe they have their great leader, and the sad thing is many are my fellow brothers and sisters who think this way. Yet the law of love tells us how we must act.

So what can we do under a government who wishes to take away the will of the people? The Jews under the Romans had to deal with their Roman authority figures as we do today. Paul is very blunt and to the point. Let us look at his words.

Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.  Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves.  For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and you will be commended.  For the one in authority is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also as a matter of conscience. (13:1-5, NIV)  

            The scripture is clear, as long as the government is not imposing anything against the law of love then we must act in obedience. Yet in many ways in our country the threat may not come from the government itself but from those in which support the incoming administration, in that case we must defer to the law of love. We must do what we can to spread the message of love, all people not just Americans but refuges in foreign lands, our fellow Americans of different ethnicity and skin color, our brothers and sisters in the LGBT community, the continuing support for women’s rights, and those of other faiths. We must do this without breaking the law, unless the law is against the law of love. We may respond with peaceful protest and demonstrations without violence or in any way hurting another human being. We can stand united as a Church against the evils of our fellow man and maybe, just maybe win some. Remember our fight is not against flesh and blood. Even those whom we may look upon as the enemy God loves. If God loves them then so should we. Jesus forgave on the cross, we can turn the other cheek and move forward in love just as our Lord.

So let us not be confused that Romans 13 is stating that Christians must follow any government that happens to come into power. Paul is stating we must respect the powers that be, but let not the powers that be move us from our mission of love through Jesus Christ our Lord. Paul finishes up by returning to the law of love as the fulfillment of the law.

 “Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law.  The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not murder,” “You shall not steal,” “You shall not covet,” and whatever other command there may be, are summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”  Love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.” (Vs.8-10, NIV)

“Love does no harm to a neighbor” these beautiful words in which we now must live out as so much hate has filled the hearts of man. With so much division we must unite as a church to live in the unity found in love. Let us pray more, fellowship more, and preach the gospel more even as we see the day drawing near.