Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Tranquility in the Political

The election is over and we can, at long last, beat our political posters into plowshares.  Are you content with the results?  Coping with the elusive equanimity of spirit we hoped would accompany things going our way is a challenge we all must face.  

Battles have their place, but the peace twixt battles must be handled harmoniously and with a serenity which fosters civility—even among those who severely disagree.  The hangings in effigy, midnight beatings among neighbors, vandalism and artful digital gesticulations against pedestrian billboards must cease.

Soon (too soon for my taste) the next election will beckon us to once again participate in the process and we will all re-arm—hopefully with only thoughts and arguments, but for now we must resign to our destinies.  The election is over and the people have spoken—but from a deeper perspective, God has spoken. 

In a primary and ultimate sense it is God who makes kings and laws.  Those kings and laws can be a blessing or they can be a curse but mere man finds the acme of contentment in knowing there is a Supreme Governor of events who declares the beginning from the end— whose counsel shall stand.  To curse the results of the election is to curse the providence of God. 

Is this an encouragement to call good evil or evil good?  Far from it!  Does it mean those who believe in a sovereign God should be passive in the affairs of this world?  Certainly not!  We should pursue our convictions—be they ecclesiastical, familial or political with zeal and vigor.  But we are to be reassured that the world is not left to slapdash, uncertain promiscuities—as Einstein said, “God would not play dice with the universe.”  God has given us just what we need—or just what we deserve.

These words may only speak to those who believe in an omnipotent Triune God—who believe God’s hand is not too short to determine election results.  If that’s the case, more than half the readers will find some peace, though perhaps hoping for different results in the election.  If that half finds some peace, they’ll be better neighbors and everyone benefits.  

Peace of mind begins when we realize God is capable of utilizing ungodly people making ungodly decisions (I’m not saying who falls into this category) in His own incomprehensibly divine, just and glorious manner. 

For example, I never would have voted for Pilate for governor.  Let’s do the ciphering:  If not for Pilate there would have been no conviction of Jesus—If there were no conviction of Jesus there would have been no cross—If there were no cross there would be no redemption.  God had Pilate right where He wanted him.  And through a negligent politician, man was emancipated from sin.  I would never have voted for Pilate.  But when God revealed His secret plan, I am grateful that His will and not my will was done. 

It was this knowledge of God’s mighty hand that gave Joseph (the one with the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat) solace when his brothers threw him in a ditch, sold him into slavery resulting in his imprisonment in Egypt.  Their purpose for the treachery was evil but God meant it for good. 

In the first century the followers of Jesus were about to face deadly and torturous religious and political persecution.  In that hostile context Jesus said “peace be with you.”  When the faithful are invited by God to peace, it’s not a ‘grin and bear it’ peace.  It’s a peace recognizing the invisible hand of a good God behind all of men’s decisions—even the evil decisions.

          The Apostle Peter calls his readers to honor the king.  The king was Nero, the psychopathic Caesar.  Peter wrote this knowing there was a King of kings, a ruler of the kings of the earth.  Solomon taught that the king’s heart is in the hand of the Lord, like the rivers of water; He turns it where He wishes.”

          We all wish things were better.  But true, unwavering peace comes through a yielding of our souls to a primary decision-maker who will not apologize for one moment of the history he’s ordained.  Nothing settles the heart better than knowing there is an able Captain at the helm—a Captain who is not only capable of sailing the ship, but governing the storm.  I’m hoping I can be that content person—for my neighbor’s sake.

Monday, October 29, 2012

I Radical

This is very cool!  I’m a radical again!  It’s been so long.  I miss the days, back in the sixties and early seventies, when I saturated myself in defiant nobility—“Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice,” “Woodstock,” “Mad Dogs and Englishmen” six nights in a row at the Redondo Fox, Nehru shirts, bell-bottoms and long hair (hair period).  Then I got a job, got married, got kids, got responsible and fell into the mainstream of normalcy—but not anymore.  I just received a political mailer informing me that I’m extreme again.  Move over Jerry Rubin—sit down Abbie Hoffman—I’m about to blow out the Anthem on my Fender Strat.

I usually grow weary of election propaganda.  But the mailer forming the genesis of my neo-epiphany has rejuvenated my otherwise sedentary political bloodstream.  Of course I’m not running for office, so the mailer, strictly speaking, wasn’t about me.  It was about Craig Huey and some of his (what I thought to be) old time blah-blah American convictions.  But, apparently, Craig and I are edgy—bad boys if you will.  From whence does this edgy-ness arise you ask? 

For one, it comes from those with whom Craig and I associate—our bro-hams.  “He communicates” the flyer exposes “with the knowledge, understanding and language of the Evangelical community.”  Busted!!!  The man, the heat, the fuzz, the cops—they’re always judging me cause of my hair!  My old man told me to quit hanging out with those evangelicals.  “They’re just gonna get you in trouble Paulie!”  It just made me want to hang out with them all the more—same with Craig I guess.  Craig communicates with religious people—extreme—I like it.  But there’s more.

Huey punches his recalcitrant Tommie Smith toward the clouds in mutinous defiance of Roe v Wade.  He thinks the judges were “out of order.”  Tastes like fodder for a sit-in.  Did Huey really say “We cannot ignore the unborn” as the flyer suggests?  Dude!  Crazy, how it all comes back in style.  For hundreds of years Huey’s take on politics was main-stream.  He was normal.  Put one of those white fluffy wigs on him and he could have been a signer.  But now he takes rank with those truculent youths smoking cigarettes behind the library.  But there’s more.

The “deep-throat” like flyer reveals that Huey also “communicates…with the ‘Institute for Creation Research’ which promotes teaching Creationism in public schools.”  Has he no boundaries?  Was he raised by wolves?  The last thing on earth this country needs is someone with the irresponsible conviction that there is an actual Creator—scandalous, sinister—there should be a movie—I’m there—six nights in a row.  Maybe a cameo by Thomas Jefferson explaining what he meant by “Nature’s God” and being “endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights.”  Guess he was a radical too.

I’m stoked!  After all this time I’m a radical again.  Gotta split now; see if I can find my eight-track of “Easy Rider” and my old lady (she left, lookin’ a little nervous). 


Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Texas Cheerleader Madness

School officials at an East Texas high school give ample evidence of Joseph Goebbels maxim that if you tell a lie long enough and loud enough people will believe it. The evidence in question is their attempt to bar high school cheerleaders from displaying banners with Bible verses—District Judge Steve Thomas granted an injunction allowing the Scriptures verses to remain until the lawsuit is settled. In the meantime the cheerleaders hold our nation hostage with their reckless use of ancient literature.

It makes you wonder what other portions of Harvard’s Five Foot Shelf are to be banned from government funded education. No doubt The Confessions by Augustine are out and these cheerleaders will be chomping on detention slips if they dare quote The Imitation of Christ by Thomas a’ Kempes. Charles William Eliot should have been more selective. What fine prose would find its way into 21st century five foot shelf?

Would these girls find resistance quoting Vince Lombardi, Woody Hayes or Bobby Knight? Perhaps a more palatable bibliography would include Noam Chomsky, Whoopi Goldberg or Bill Maher. Just how benign must the verbiage be to make the menu of the public school? A menu with pictures always whets the appetite. Is there a clear thinking person with the remotest grasp of American history who actually believes that stifling cheerleaders from writing Bible verses is what the framers of the Constitution had in mind with the establishment clauses? If so, why do they open congress with prayer, why are there numerous allusions to a Creator in our government’s documentation and why are Bible verses carved in granite all over our nation’s capital? Were the fathers double-minded men?

Are we aware of what we are doing when we chastise young people for choosing inscriptions from the finest volumes in human history? Listening to the running media commentary on this issue was maddening. Otherwise clear thinking journalists—journalists who would, no doubt, fight tooth and nail for literary liberties have transitioned into a covey of match-wielding Terry Jones wannabees. They speak as if the public school is sacred ground—a pristine environment that these girls are seeking to stain with the pollution of apostolic indecency.

What is the lie everyone is believing? For one, it’s the notion that the establishment clause pertaining to religion was designed to protect the state from the influence of the immaterial convictions of private individuals—regardless of where those convictions might surface. No, the clause “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion” was designed to protect the individual from government tyranny and a government run church—a government who tells teenager girls what classic literature is verboten. To quote Pogo, “We have met the enemy and he is us.”

Plain and simple, the Bible is out because it has something of impact to say. It is a life changing, culture transforming document which is the last thing on earth a monstrous government wants to deal with. A steady diet of The View will yield a much more malleable culture of young people than those who would deign to embark upon a trek through the Epistle to the Hebrews. But strong societies are not made of oatmeal. We should desire our young people set their face like flint to wisdom. Suing them for quoting Scripture will not yield that desired end.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Are People Born That Way?

Hello sir, I had a couple questions regarding your sermon on Sunday. Listening to it, I became a bit confused as to your view of homosexuality. So, what precisely is your view of homosexuality? It goes without saying that way of living is wrong, but I wondered, do you think people can be born homosexual? Good Question, Humanity is a fallen, sin-laden race and we are born with various desires and/or we may acquire various desires as we grow. "Yet man is born into trouble, as the sparks fly upward" (Job 5:7) Some of these desires may be attached to our biological make-up, some may be psychological. My point was: ethics must transcend human desire. In short, whether or not someone is born with strong homosexual desires is moot. For example, if I am born with a strong (even overwhelming) desire to do violence, that desire must be overcome or somehow restrained. We certainly shouldn't redefine our ethics to accommodate our strong passions; that man "comes forth from the womb speaking lies" (Ps. 58:3) does not justify lying. None of this means we should be insensitive to the difficulties and struggles people have with their desires. More to the point is that we don't establish ethics via human passions.