Wading through religion and politics...

Two of my favorite subjects that at least in the past are a faux pas to discuss or inquire about. I have generally lived by that principle; confrontation really isn't my thing. But there is no fun in keeping silent, plus we will never learn if we do not challenge each other's points of view.

My latest thought is about those who try and bring about God's kingdom through political persuasion and even legislation. Is that the vocation of the church? I think it is overcompensation for the church's waning influence in popular culture. There is an appearance of momentum and political weight by people of faith (mostly from the "religious right" or "moral majority") - okay maybe it is more than just an appearance, there is some legitimacy as proven in the 2004 election. However when I listen to and read the rhetoric from "D's" or "R's" of faith I am disappointed.

I guess I believe that the church shouldn't look to the government to get things done. The church has become small in public life. The current followers of Jesus need to rise up as a community that embodies the words and way of life of the Teacher. We need to be a community that is big again. Not for the sake of political pull or so we can get our way, but so we can experience goodness, grace and truth.

No one political party can encompass my views and convictions. It is impossible. God's kingdom functions and operates in a certain way and the government of the United States in another. They are focused on accomplishing different goals and bringing about certain ends. At times these goals and ends coincide, somes even the means are similar, but I feel the differences will tip the scale (one way or the other).

In our political ideology we must allow for the differences in kingdom and state. As followers of Jesus it is of utmost importance to learn how he wants us to live and be the men and women he has called us to be.


Happy Thanksgiving...

I am thankful for 2005. In it I have learned more about marriage, faith, and love. Hopefully the learning will translate into action and a better quality of life. Funny thing is at the same time I am thankful that 2005 is almost over.

I am thankful for Laura's love and encouragement.

Also I am thankful to be with family this week.


I Find the Current Political Climate Nauseating...

My first question, to myself and whoever else is out there reading, thank you by the way, is am I ignorant to think that politicians really do care about people? Or are they in the tank for themsleves and the special interests/lobbyists that fund their campaigns? How many do you think has sold out? Republican, Democrat, I don't care about parties. My target is any elected official who works in Washington or any state capitol.

Right now all I hear from Democrats is whining and complaining; finger pointing and placing blame. And where's the leadership from the Republicans? It's a damn circus (one of the reasons I stopped watching the news). We, the people, need to figure something out because I don't want a bunch of sell-outs with "D's" and "R's" next to their name determining my future.

I mentioned I stopped watching the news. It is all sensationalism. They must think we are stupid. I was for constantly watching. Now I read and listen to the radio which I turn off every now and then because it is just as ridiculous.

Newt Gingrich has written a book called Winning the Future. I am reading it right now because I heard he may run for president so I want to see what he is going to do. As other candidates throw their names in the hat we should see what they have to say as well. I am anxious to see if they talk in public what they write in their books. Too many go with the flow, say what people want to hear and politically posture themselves to get votes.

What has set me off tonight is what I read in this article by Jim Rice on the Sojourners website. I read Sojourners because of their attention to social justice. Their Democratic rhetoric is disappointing coming from men and women of faith. I want an alternative to viscious politics that is actually quite boring. Instead I get paragraphs like this one:

Since the U.S. occupation of Iraq, 700,000 Iraqis have taken refuge in Jordan, and the country has served as a gateway for Westerners coming to Iraq. (An ad in the Jordan Times while we were there encouraged European companies to position themselves in Jordan, ready to move into Iraq when the time is ripe for rebuilding its devastated infrastructure; after all, Halliburton can't reap ALL the spoils of war.)

He had to throw in a jab about Halliburton? Unfortuanately most of the articles in the site will have similar sarcastic remarks about the current administration or towards views contrary to those held by the Sojourner staff. Why? I am looking to this site for some direction in how to shape my politics and way of life as a follower of Jesus. But as of right now I do not really have much respect for the way they present their message.


Understanding the Scriptures...

Lately I have been thinking about how we read and understand the words of Scripture. A couple of authors have been challenging me - Brian McLaren in his book A New Kind of Christian and Walter Wink in his article "Homosexuality and the Bible". History and context are, I am finding, of the utmost importance. N.T. Wright has given me some great insight in the books The New Testament and the People of God and Jesus and the Victory of God. Consider this from Paul's letter to the church in Rome:

Do not be conformed to this world (this age), [fashioned after and adapted to its external, superficial customs], but be transformed (changed) by the [entire] renewal of your mind [by its new ideals and its new attitude], so that you may prove [for yourselves] what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God, even the thing which is good and acceptable and perfect [in His sight for you].
These words open a whole new realm of possiblity. One for a greater quality of life. A quality much of my religion has failed to unveil.


You two should get a room...

Disturbing news in our society but is it surprising??? Funny that they would have to make a rule. You would think that it was understood?


that's not her style...

today i rode in a maserati. my friend vic works for foreign cars italia and he had a show today at grandover resort. i don't really have the "car gene" but i can definitely say it was a sweet ride.

the title is from a billy joel song