February 5, 2008 § 15 Comments
Today I did NOT vote. I actually haven’t voted in… several years now. I used to vote. Oh how I voted. I would go down to the polls and feel all patriotic and dutiful and stuff. I proudly carried my voter’s registration card around with me in my wallet, and am convinced it saved me when I was put on trial by Q for the crimes of humanity. Ok, so maybe it wasn’t for the crimes of humanity but rather failure to obey a traffic device. And alright, so it wasn’t actually Q, but the judge did bear a rather striking (and considering the circumstances, frightening) resemblance to John DeLancie. But that is neither here nor there.
The reason I do not vote is actually two-fold. At some point, I came to the conclusion that it is WORK to suss out where a politician really stands on all issues, and also where I stand on all issues. I mean, half of the stuff these guys talk about I simply do not think about day to day. How often am I faced with immigration issues? I mean, really?
So the lazy part of me was already starting to lean towards chucking it in on this whole political … thing.
But, being an analytical thinking person, even my lazy part could not be justified. I think. I can’t help it. and as I reasoned out issues and topics and weighed and sifted, it occurred to me that (at the time) neither of the Presidential contenders truly stood for … well… ME. I could not in good conscience vote for either option.
Oh, I know what folks will say, if you don’t vote, you can’t complain; choose the lesser of two evils; he who does not exercise his rights will soon lose them; etc. etc. But a true ethical dilemma and moral question began to formulate.
For instance, in the case of the Bush vs. Gore campaign: Life was my primary issue. I could not support someone who was for abortion. But I also couldn’t support someone who was for the death penalty.
See my quandary? Either way, I was voting to support *someone’s* death. Innocent or guilty, I do not support death.
Well, I thought and prayed about it, and eventually came to the conclusion that there are many things that I believe that do not fit in the political arena. And that there is NO candidate who fully exemplifies everything that I hold dear– and in fact, if there WAS one, I wouldn’t vote for him/her because I so STRONGLY believe in a separation of Church and State and don’t believe they belong in office. Indeed that means that I will not vote for a Christian, because I do not believe Christians should hold office.
Radical, I know.
Turns out I’m not the first or only one to feel this way. I started to look into this and it turns out that historically, the Christians of the first couple of centuries believed the same way– you could not take office once you had become a Christian. And later on, the Anabaptists would revive this understanding and tradition.
So I’m not the only one. And I feel very good about my decision.
July 16, 2007 § 6 Comments
Hello folks! I have created a community for those individuals interested in Church history, and how it impacts us today. It is called earlychurch. I want to invite all of you to join, and if you do, to also post this invite into your own journal to your Christian filter (should you have such a thing!)
The focus of this group is to study the writings of our earliest brethren from the first couple of centuries– the pre-Nicene writings of such as Tertullian, Justin, Irenaeus, Clement and the like. The purpose of our discussions is to explore how their writings might inform our understanding of Scripture. It is important that they not supersede Scripture, but be used as a tool to better understand how those of the first two or three centuries lived the faith that was handed down to them by the Apostles, and see how (and if) we measure up in our faith today.
Some sites to visit for more information of what the earliest believers actually believed and practiced are Scroll Publishing, which also has links to local churches that are attempting to get back to this primitive faith and practice; The Guide to Early Church Documents; The Works of Tertullian; Earlychurch.com; and a link to the first 10 volumes of the Ante-Nicene Writings.
Some other sites of interest are: Blueprint for a Revolution by Reed Merino, Nonresistance.org which has writings from Christians and non-Christians about the peace witness. Tread carefully, many of the writings are still wed to the world.
I do not expect that everyone will agree with what they will find in the early writings, nor are all of the writings in perfect accord with Scripture. But overwhelmingly, the farther back one goes in examining them, the closer to a literal understanding of Christ’s words, and those of His Apostles, one finds. It is my hope that a dialogue may be opened to explore where we are today, how we got here, whether we could be in a better place, and how that might be accomplished. I’m praying for open hearts and open minds.
My desire is to promote unity in the Body of Christ, and my hope is that we may grow in ever greater surrender to our Lord and Master through a deeper understanding of what His expectations of us may be, that our love for Him and one another may grow and that our joy may be made full.
Please join me for discussion!
October 25, 2006 § 10 Comments
In this article about German police dragging crying homeschoolers into class, the Germans defend themselves with all this garbage about the responsibility of “educating the children” and so forth.
Well who is truly responsible for educating any child? Shouldn’t it ultimately be the parents? Yes we have public schools but those quite frankly are a new developement in human history and it’s not really the state’s responsibility to educate the children. And while it is nice that they want to do that, it’s really actually quite terrifying that ultimately what they will end up doing is completely indoctrinating a whole generation. As Hitler intended. And as Hitler in fact DID.
It can and will happen again.
September 20, 2006 § 12 Comments
In this post, pifactorial brings up the very much valid point that we as humans have a tendancy to compartmentalize who we are. By hiding parts of ourselves to certain people, we end up giving the impression that we believe other than what is truly in our hearts. Whether intentional or unintentional, Pi has challenged everyone to “unmask” if you will.
It’s really a very good idea, you know, to be honest with yourself as well as with everyone you know. It’s a policy I have tried to stick by for as far back as I can remember. Those of you who have classes with me are probably realizing by now that keeping silent when I disagree is not one of my strong suits.
Now, that’s not to say that there isn’t wisdom in holding one’s tongue. Being slow to speak, and not laying all the cards on the table right up front is a valuable skill. It’s all about appropriateness.
That being said, this concept of “Christian pride” and purposing to “go out there and tell folks I’m a Christan– darn the consequences!” is a two-way street. Everyone is entitled to their beliefs and everyone is free to express them (here in LJ-land for our purposes, we will pretend that is a universally held belief.) So, while it may be liberating and freeing for some on my flist to make these categorical statements about themselves, all that is really being done is for folks to be encouraged to state their beliefs, no matter what that belief is. No, that’s not a bad thing, but it isn’t really a good thing either. It’s just someting people are doing, like any other meme.
The question of effecting change in one’s world and having an impact is when we stop just stating our beliefs, and start living them. When our beliefs begin to actually impact other people. When battle lines are in the dirt, and not just metaphorical. What one chooses to believe is completely irrelavant in the light of what they do with it. You can trumpet your Christian pride all you want, but if you aren’t walking like Jesus walked or following His commands, or LOVING like He loved, you are just a sounding gong, and all your brave “This is me, world, love it or leave it!” is nothing more than whistling into the wind. If folks have known you for any length of time and are shocked to discover you are a Christian, maybe your beliefs and actions aren’t lining up.
This is not to say that I am walking the walk perfectly myself or that I have gotten my beliefs and my actions perfectly in line. Nor am I accusing anyone specifically here of not doing so. I’m just saying, before we all start shouting to the world what we believe, or don’t believe, let’s examine ourselves and ask, “What do I do?” and further “What am I willing to do?”
September 18, 2006 § 2 Comments
Reading pifactorial‘s latest drama has me reminding myself of my commitment to peace. I so dearly want to tell some people “You, sir, are a great big jerk and if you were here, I would smack you about the head soundly.”
But I know that this is the wrong attitude, especially against so much hate. But I want to rush to pi’s defense. I know that’s not my place. And i know I am not allowed to call anyone a big jerk, nor am I to smack anyone about the head– or anywhere else.
That some folks can accuse others of being hateful through a barrage of profanity and blasphemous cursings without batting an eye just slays me. Um, ironic much?
What we have here is a failure to communicate. See, Jesus came and preached Love. Love of God, love of neighbor. But this was a love that He made very clear was a Love that was sure to rip you to pieces, if you surrendered to it, and actually practiced it.
This Love was not merely doing nice things for folks and being your average philanthropist. This love actually required that you give till it really hurt. It meant that if your neighbor was naked, you went cold so that they were clothed, if your neighbor was hungry, you didn’t eat till they had been filled. It meant you trusted that your God was going to provide you with everything you needed, and that anything you had was a gift from Him to be given freely.
It meant that you Loved Jesus so much that you would be willing to turn your whole lifestyle over to His hands, and walk wherever He walked and speak whatever words He spoke. It meant hating sin, but loving the sinner. It meant letting the Great Surgeon dissect you and tear you down– shaping you into a new creation in His own image. It meant walking the path to perfection.
Jesus was hated and reviled for His sermons. He was tortured and killed for His Message. A Message of Love Incomprehensible. A demanding Love that was free for all, yet cost so much.
His first followers were called “Christians” by the unbelievers around them– it wasn’t a name they chose for themselves, but a name they were given– an honor– “little Christs.” Because they looked like Him, acted like Him, Loved like Him. They came out from their previous lifestyles and denied their flesh, and learned to see things from their Creator’s perspective. It didn’t matter what you had done before, if you loved God, you stopped, and turned away from former passions and cleaved to the Savior Who Loved.
Today, so many clamor to apply a title for themselves that once had been bestowed by others. I wonder why? Why does one want to be known by a name that they cannot even agree with; that they cannot follow without dying to all they hold most dear? It’s very odd to me.