Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Blahginess!

Posts tagged “president obama

Obamacare

“Live as free men, but do not use your freedom as a cover‑up for evil; live as servants of God. Show proper respect to everyone: Love the brotherhood of believers, fear God, honor the king.” 1 Peter 2:16-17 (NIV)

I have to admit that reading the Bible is not always an easy task. Sometimes the teachings are difficult, not just to implement personally on a daily basis, but difficult to interpret or understand. BUT, most times Biblical teaching is straight forward and simple. So this morning as I read through the book of 1 Peter this passage spoke to me.

  1. Love the brotherhood of believers–this is first and foremost how can we not love the brotherhood of believers (Church) and claim to be Christians. A straight forward teaching that is not simple to live out daily.
  2. Fear God–interesting that this falls second and not first. Our devotion to God is evident in how we approach and relate to the Church.
  3. Honor the king–this exhortation is not out of a vacuum. Instead it comes in a time of persecution against the church. If this applies to first century Christians who are facing persecution what about Christians today?
For me there is a sincere conviction as I read that last part; “honor the king.” As President George Bush first came into office there was quite a movement among Christians to pray for the President everyday. My wife and I even signed up for  a daily email reminder to pray for specific things. Of course, now there is a President in office from the opposite party and I haven’t heard anything about a movement of Christians to pray for the President. In fact, most Christians speak pretty despairingly of President Obama, as if he is single handedly bringing down the entire country.
Next week is the National Day of Prayer (May 5th), traditionally a day set aside by the country to pray for our nation and our leaders. If you are like me and have been doing a really crummy job of praying for our President (and all the leaders of our country) I’d like to challenge us both to take this opportunity to begin again.
Would you recommit yourself, along with me, to honor our president by praying for him?

Are we a racist nation?

I read with interest a couple of articles about President Obama and the appearant amount of racism veiled as criticism. You can find the articles here and here. Today in class I lectured about Civil Rights and the history of struggle various groups have gone through to obtain a more equal footing in society. All of them owing some debt to the African Americans who laid so much at the alter of freedom in their efforts to end discrimination that had already been outlawed by the courts. I get really uncomfortable teaching this stuff. I’m white, male, middle class, middle age, everything that this average and majority about this nation. It is so easy for me to transpose my thoughts and my experiences to a broader public. I have no idea what it is like to be black and pulled over on “suspicion”. I have no idea what it is like to be Hispanic and scowled out because you speak a few words of Spanish. I have no idea what it is to be like a woman who is leered at simply because God created her with different proportions than men. (I do know what it is like to be Mennonite Brethren and have people assume that you drive a horse and buggy.)

What I do know? I’ve done all those things. I don’t think that it is because white men are inherently more evil or more prone to sin than other races (or genders). I believe that blacks, Hispanics, women and all others are just as susceptible to these thoughts and feelings as others. Jesus spoke pretty clearly to this: “For from the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, all sexual immorality, theft, lying, and slander.” (Matthew 15:19 NLT) He was speaking to a group of religiously racist priests. People who made their living off making others feel “not worthy”. People who lived in a nation who prided themselves as being “chosen” and loved to rub it in the face of everyone else by completely shunning them or simply not recognizing them.

Are we a racist nation? Of course. Are we as racist as we have been in the past? No. Are we as racist as we will be in the future?

Well, that’s for us to decide, by the grace of God.

Jesus kept it real when describing the condition of the human heart. Fortunately he didn’t just leave it at that. A little later on Jesus was asked which commandment was most important when it comes to making oneself acceptable before God. His reply was twofold: “You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all you soul, and all you mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: Love your neighbor as yourself.” (Matthew 22:37-39 NLT) We can’t do one or the other. They are mutually fulfilling. Loving God requires loving others. Loving others only truly comes as we love God.

Here’s what’s hard for me as a Christian and an American. It seems that as we have become less “christian” we have become less “racist”. But again, I believe that if ever there is to be a Christian nation it exists in the body of the Church. Global. Not some class of ethnicity or descendants who deserve special recognition. Simply those messed up humans who have begun to grasp what the human heart is all about and have accepted the grace of Jesus Christ to love God and their neighbors.

Are we a racist nation?