Monday, February 21, 2005

To Pledge or Not to Pledge?

The entire flag controversy is not one that will gain me any brownie points; of this I'm sure. That is why I have chosen (for the time being) not to express my personal views on the matter; rather, a mere recommendation.

"It is my hope that Christians will begin looking to what the scripture has to say regarding oaths, vows, covenants, statism, allegiances and patriotism. Moreover, I'm interested to ses if and how such reflections may impact prevailing conservative beliefs regarding whether or not to pledge our allegiance to the United States of America."

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Saturday, February 19, 2005

Christianity Without a Secular Mouthpiece

Historic Picture of a Battle Creek Radio Tower Posted by Hello

Why is it that Christians have sold their birthright for a bowl of porage when it comes to politics? I mean, although they are entertaining and genuine, Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity are not Orthodox Christians. They do not use the Bible as their primary source of political or social theory. Rather, they turn to Commentary, Weekly Standard, and Irving Kristol's bookshelf. And to make matters worse we all buy into it!

Does the Bible itself not talk about social issues? Immigration, trade, warfare, currency, schooling, taxation, and the like are all talked about in the scripture. Instead they (and ourselves for the most part) turn to natural law (to Mr. Jakeway's applause) all the while ignoring the fountainhead of truth given in the Word. If King David was proud to resort to the Law before foreign leaders then why are we so hesitant to use it in formulating local and State politics? Ask yourself honestly whether the majority of your beliefs come from conservative pundits or the Word of God? And if you say that it came from the word of God can you point our where in the Bible you formulate your belief? Trust me, I have done this (and continue to all the time) and it is embarrassing!

We need a local political commentator that will talk about all of the local, state, regional, national, and world issues (in that order preferably) from a distinctly Biblical worldview. We need a man that can talk about water-lines, sewage systems, and zoning laws from a Biblical Law-Word perspective. We need a man that can talk about eminent domain, private property, gun rights, and pollution from a God's eye view. In fact, we need one who will talk about EVERY issue from a purely Biblical perspective. No more of this utilitarianism. No more of this pragmatism (though she is America's darling). No more secular mouthpieces. We need a real voice for the Religious Right of Battle Creek.

Furthermore, we need to learn how to formulate Biblical policies on our own! To learn how to use the Bible to put together a comprehensive world and life view. This would not only inform but also instruct. It would give people not only the know-how but the courage to become active in helping to resolve local matters in the best, most Biblically constructive fashion.

My question is: Why don't we have this already? Where is the outcry? Where are the people pushing their pastors, their schools, their teachers, friends, families, and local radio stations? In a free market such as the one that we have in the U.S. an idea only comes to fruition if there is enough want... The question then for us is how bad do we want it?

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Putting a Face of "Freedoms" War

The Face of War Posted by Hello

War, Just War. What an unnecessary picture! Right? I do not believe so. We in America have truly lost our moral gag reflex and this is evidence. Or maybe we haven't. Maybe we just refuse to face up to the atrocities happening in our name? Maybe we have learned to treat war like we do abortion? It is one thing to have abortions performed in enclosed rooms by "professional" killers outside of the public view, it is a whole different thing to have it happen in our dining rooms during dinner time! In the same fashion we send off our professional killers into foreign lands and soothe ourselves by wrapping it in patriotic, righteous, even heavenly language. In technical terms it is called "cognitive dissonance" but I will prefer to call it by its more common usage of self-deceit.

It is time that we, especially Orthodox Christians, begin to seriously re-think our position on War. I have so many questions for the supporters of this war (which I was at one time and even enlisted in the NAVY after 9-11 to prove it). Here are a handful of the questions that I have had to deal with in my spiritual walk and I figured it would be good to throw a handful of them out for others consideration.

I wonder if the supporters this war have ever seen a picture of the death fields there? The guy in the picture is a real person, flesh and blood, emotions, spirit, and family. What do we say of such instances? Are they collateral damage? Is it for the "greater good" in the pursuit of a "free" secular democracy? Do we see that man and marginalize him by calling him derogatory names or presuming that he is a terrorist? Do we tell ourselves that he is probably one of the bad guys (forgetting that there are hundreds of thousands of Arab Christians and this man may be one) and therefore we should feel no pain in his tragedy? How do we respond to a picture such as this? Do we feel pray for him? Do we cry for him and all others that have endured war caused tragedies? More important than "how do we feel" is the "how should we feel?"

Shouldn't we as believers desire to spread freedom not by the sword but by the word? Does democracy bring true freedom? Doesn't the Word say that Christ alone can set us free? That unless Christ sets us free that we remain under the bondage of the prince of the powers of the air? Should Christians endorse the use of military force to spread SECULAR values across the globe? Are Christians to support the UN by insisting that the US be its military branch to enforce its resolutions? Does anyone find it strange that those who are so adamantly opposed to Biblical Theocracy (not Islamic Ecclesiocracy) are so fierce in their support for a secular theocracy (that is the end result in the global scope of Secular Democratic Pluralism)? Shouldn't we pray for our enemies as often and as vigilant as we do our allies? Should we not pray for this dying man and his family?

So many questions and so little conversation. Why can't we face our choices? Maybe for the same reason that we cannot face ourselves? Maybe for the same reason that we cannot look at the picture of the dying man? In the end it may be because we do not know ourselves. It may be because we do not know or really believe in our Bible. Or it may even be that although we say that the Bible speaks about every area of life we genuinely have no idea what it says concerning war, its proper conduct, and its proper end. Any way we go about it there are a lot of questions that need answered and until we are able to face the dying man I do not see it happening any time soon.

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