A Weblog Dedicated to the Discussion of the Christian Faith and 21st Century Life

A Weblog Dedicated to the Discussion of the Christian Faith and 21st Century Life
I do not seek to understand that I may believe, but I believe in order to understand. For this also I believe, –that unless I believed, I should not understand.-- St. Anselm of Canterbury (1033-1109)

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Brief and Random Thoughts at the End of 2009

Small town journalism is among the best reporting in the country, unlike the national media which continues to be a disgrace. Most journalists in the mainstream media think the square root of pi is coconut cream.

Local politicians are usually better behaved than national ones, probably because they are more accountable to their constituencies (there are, of course, exceptions to this).

Nowhere is the lack of serious and deep thinking more present than in Washington DC.

I do not understand why liberals say they are progressive. There is nothing progressive about wanting more government control over individual lives. There is nothing progressive about believing that government is the answer to most things. FDR believed that and enacted the era of big government. Today's liberals are not forward-looking, but rather nostalgic for earlier times. If 1935 ever returns the Democratic Party is ready.

By the same token, what is so conservative about Republicans? They are big spenders and have become foreign policy activists. There is nothing conservative in that philosophy. And it also appears that they have run out of ideas with no one standing out to lead the party. So much of late that comes out of Republican mouths is embarrassing. When 2012 arrives, the Republican Party will not be ready.

There were those in 2009 talking about the coming evangelical collapse. I disagree. Evangelicalism will not collapse, but it is in the process of being reformed. That is a good thing.

Theological liberalism is in large part repetitive and uninteresting.

Theological fundamentalism is in large part repetitive and uninteresting.

Fundamentalism and liberalism are simply two sides of the same coin.

Some people are opposed to full body scanners in airports because they believe it invades one's privacy. In light of the recent terrorist attempting to bring down an airliner with plastic explosives in his underwear, I would much rather go through a full body scanner than have someone at the airport grabbing my crotch to make sure I am not carrying a bomb in my Fruit-of-the-Looms. Now that would be an invasion of my privacy.

I agree with some of President Obama's current policies and I disagree with others. Regardless of whether one is a supporter of the president or not, all Christians need to pray for him. He has much on his plate.

We need to pray for everyone in Congress as well-- Democrats and Republicans.

Now that I have said a prayer for those on Capitol Hill, it is time to get back to the sarcasm-- We have had "Cash for Clunkers," "Cash for Caulkers," and now a Florida man is proposing that we have "Cash for Congress." He says that if we vote the big spenders out of office, that will save us all some serious cash. I personally like the idea, although I fear it is too late. The damage has already been done.

How do you think our children and grandchildren will feel about the current generations in charge, when it comes time for them to pay the huge bills we have run up with our support of reckless government spending? If they end up hating us, who will blame them?

I tell my children to start now putting 10% of their paychecks in savings for retirement. With the loss of company pensions and government mismanagement of Social Security, they cannot count on anyone else for help in their later years. It is sad, but true.

I fear that many Christians have more faith in the transforming power of government and business, than in the transforming power of the Holy Spirit to turn the church into a community where witness is its primary political practice.

Along with that previous thought, I also think that most Christians on the left and on the right in practice treat America as their church, albeit in different ways.

Boring preachers shouldn't preach.

Jesus is Lord; Caesar is not. Therefore, the church and not the state is where the action is.

You ever notice when people talk about sectarianism they never use it to refer to themselves? The sectarian is always the other person or the other group. But where do those persons stand that they get to label someone else as sectarian?

For Reinhold Niebuhr's realism to make sense, the cross and resurrection of Jesus must be marginalized. Thus, as a Christian I cannot embrace such supposed "realism." (I will devote a post to this in January.)

One of Reinhold Niebuhr's best books was his Leaves from the Notebook of a Tamed Cynic. If you have never read it, you must.

One of the great Christian thinkers of the twentieth century was John Howard Yoder, which is why it is so tragic that political liberals have appropriated and, therefore, misappropriated him. Yoder's account of nonviolence cannot be sustained apart from the church, something that the liberal hijackers of Yoder have misunderstood.

Theological conservatives have undermined the authority of Scripture by insisting that the text itself is authoritative. What makes Scripture authoritative is that it is given by God. God must be at the center of our understanding of biblical authority.

Political conservatives and political liberals only care about the Constitution of the United States when they want to use it to accuse the other side of being unconstitutional. Other than that, neither Democrats nor Republicans really care if the policies they support pass Constitutional muster. How else does one explain conservative support for the Patriot Act and liberal support for forcing people to buy health care insurance?

I received an email from someone recently asking me why I am so critical on my blog of both Democrats and Republicans, conservatives and liberals. I responded that when it comes to politics, I am an equal opportunity annoyer.

Every Christian who is able-bodied should take a short-term mission trip overseas at least once in her or his life.

The last command Jesus gave his disciples before he ascended to heaven was to make disciples of all nations. Why then, does the church in the West put that command last on their list of things to do?

One of the most exciting things I experience as a pastor is opening up the world of Scripture to a person for the first time in Bible study, and watching them get excited and transformed as they enter that new world. I have been a pastor for over 25 years and I never tire of watching people become biblically literate and more faithful disciples.

I believe in healing. I have witnessed it.

I do not consider myself to be charismatic, but I love worshiping with charismatics. There is something inspirational about worshiping with folks who find their faith and their worship to be exciting.

I reject the view from Christians and non-Christians alike that faith and reason are diametrically opposed to each other. Nonsense! Without reason, faith is intellectual suicide; without faith, reason can find no ultimate answers.

I love the church! It is not perfect, but like Noah's Ark, it is the best thing afloat in our world today!

Jesus is Lord in 2009 and he remains Lord in 2010! Therefore, rejoice and hope in the future... and continue to make disciples of all nations!


Craig L. Adams said...

Thanks for your thoughts. And, I am looking forward to the post on Neibuhr's Realism.

Hamster said...

I think liberals are not so much for Big government as Compassionate government.
They would rather see our tax dollars go towards feeding hungry people rather than building more B1 bombers and aircraft carriers.
That's how I see it.
Democrats are responsible for Medicare AND Social Security. Though not perfect, they have helped my parents get through some rough times and I am grateful that I have "something" as I get older.

PamBG said...

Lots of good thoughts and I agree with you that labels are meaningless. I'm sure I've made my views known on our points of disagreement! Happy New Year and happy new decade.

Anonymous said...

"Every Christian who is able-bodied should take a short-term mission trip overseas at least once in her or his life."

And, every Christian should look nearby for local service opportunities too. -- Rick

Olive Morgan said...

To make disciples of all nations - at home and overseas - is the key to church health and growth, and like you I love the church, however imperfect it is, and would not be without it. May God bless the Church mightily in 2010!

Robert Cornwall said...

I look forward to your reflections on Niebuhr. I've become more Niebuhrian of late -- must be my age.

As for the Conservative/Liberal divide, well we really do need each other -- but it would be nice if we could be civil to each other! It is funny to think back to the Kennedy funeral and note that John McCain and Orrin Hatch were prominent in their speaking roles. They were buddies with Kennedy -- but now even they find little time to talk across the aisle. All is gamesmanship!

And as for government involvement in one's life. The GOP wants to be in our bedrooms. The Dems in our wallets. WE have to decide which is more problematic!

Ted M. Gossard said...

Thanks, Allan. Many good thoughts here. And Happy, Blessed New Year to you and yours!!!