Archive for August, 2008

30
Aug
08

Sincere Oppression

Hhmmm…It needs to be said.  Barack Obama has proven inspiring to people throughout the world, there is no denying this.  His acceptance speech was filled with Socialist ideals, which are pleasant to hear, so there is no surprise there.  I believe that most campaign and acceptance speeches come across that way, the candidate must promise something in return for votes.  Easy concept.  But Mr. Obama may be the most sincere politician I have witnessed in my lifetime.  I cannot take that from him – I believe that he means most of what he says.  I also think that he believes in himself.  He believes that he alone has the power and ideals to save this nation (from what?).  That worries me.  That is a feeling shared by Lenin, Hitler, keep going….mostly through Eastern Europe and Russia.  Any leader who believes that he alone holds the key merits caution. 

Throughout his speech on Thursday night, he mentioned that we are our brother’s and sister’s keepers to thunderous applause.  Of course, the spirit was that we should care for those around us.  I agree.  However, this is a Biblical reference he chose – not by accident.  He used Biblical references throughout his speech no doubt to prove the authenticity of his faith.  Can’t fault that.  But this particular reference that he used repeatedly is found in Genesis 4.  Cain says to God, very sarcastically (could this be the first use of sarcasm?), “I don’t know.  [where my brother is – the one I just killed]  Am I my brother’s keeper?”  Genesis 4:9.  I am certain that no sarcasm was intended by Barack Obama, but we should consider the implications of being charged with the well-being of another by our government.  In fact, let me say it again, in bold, on it’s own…

“WE SHOULD CONSIDER THE IMPLICATIONS OF BEING CHARGED WITH THE WELL-BEING OF ANOTHER BY OUR GOVERNMENT.” 

This is what this man running for President expects of us.  More importantly, it is what he expects of himself, as leader.  Do not forget, when Cain uttered these words, he had just killed his brother.  Murder is by far the greatest form of oppression, but oppression none the less. 

A very wise Katrina survivor was on the radio yesterday morning.  Until the hurricane, she had been a meth dealer; that was how she supported herself and her “family.”  When asked if she went back to dealing when she made her way back to New Orleans, she said, “No.  Once I got out of that life, I saw that I was keeping people down – you know the junkies.  I kept them there.  I didn’t want that anymore.”  It is powerful to be able to see how your own intentions whether good or bad affect those around you.  Socialism, while sounding nice, is an oppressive ideal.  It disincentivizes work, which Obama himself says breeds dignity, and it keeps people in their place of apathy.  This is not the life that our founding fathers sacrificed for.

Advertisements
30
Aug
08

My Lord and Tailor

God shifts gears.  For years after I became a Christian, Noah’s Ark was my favorite story because at the end a passionate God says, “Maybe I went a little far – I just love you so much!  I will never do THAT again.”  Then He gives us a little visual gift, the simplest way that he has to communicate with us.  He shifted gears so we could move forward and continue in our relationship.  That a supernatural being would do this should strike awe in our hearts.  To me, God became approachable and trustworthy in that moment that He was fragile.

A lesser known, but perhaps more poignant example of God’s gearbox occurs in Genesis, the third chapter of our creation.  God has just cursed the serpent, cursed Eve, and cursed Adam.  In those verses, it seems as though He has washed His hands of this creation.  His words are fierce with even fiercer implication…in essence, he destines the serpent to wallow in lowliness.  He lays the gauntlet and tells Eve to get ready – everything she wants and needs for her family will be a fight.  Adam, he says, will work until he dies – a new concept – just to eat.  These curses resonate through the generations with an echo that will not be stilled.

However, right after this tirade, after the world is forever changed and God’s plan is thwarted by the disobedience of His children, he downshifts.  He sits down with them and makes clothing out of skins (Genesis 3:21).  He had banished them from the Garden of Eden and he could have banished them from His presence, but He did not.  Instead, He put that behind them so they could prepare for a new and decidedly different future.  This is a pure and beautiful model for a family whose dreams are waylaid.  When our children are born, we have a clearcut vision of how life will be.  Today, I think most of our vision comes from the media but still, there are values that will be passed down.  Wisdom these children will carry into adulthood.  We are certain that our children will not make the mistakes we made.  

But then they do.  Then we have adjustments to make.  We have anger to work through.  We have resentment.

Unfortunately, while we resent and adjust and “work through” our anger, the world keeps moving.  All of that takes such precious time and much is lost in that time.  Imagine what a closer bond could be forged if we sat down and made clothes, stitching together the changes to come.  Of course this can’t be easy.  Even for God, this was a sacrifice.  The clothes were made from skin.  This is significant because until now, there had not been death in the Garden of Eden.  In fact, death wasn’t part of the plan.  Surely God did not want to destroy any piece of His creation, especially to mollify His children’s disobedience.  But He did it.  AND THEN he sent His children away prepared, nurtured, and loved.  Loved but not alone.

Something else happened during this chain of events.  As God set forth his curses, Adam matured.  Right afterwards, before they made clothes, Adam named his wife.  He named her Eve, “because she was the mother of all the living (Genesis 3:20).”  I can imagine this…God is mad, completely fired up, and he unleashes this curse.  The curse is really more of a “now look what you’ve done” kind of statement because God is not being cruel, he is just outlining the consequences of their actions since they will no longer have access to the Tree of Life.  Of course, that part he leaves out until all is said and done.  After this, Adam sheepishly comes to God and strikes up a conversation, the kind that you had with your parents and now your children have with you, the confession.  He tells him what he learned from what he did and God feels good that His child may be responsible after all.  Then, Adam gets to the point.  He realizes that they are it and he and his wife have been charged with great responsibility.  For the first time, he looks at his wife as a partner for the work ahead, not just a companion, and he respects her.  Then he gives her a name borne from all of this understanding.  This is when Adam grows up.

I have a teenager.  She is wonderful, brilliant, beautiful, and has the brightest future I can imagine.  In her I can see the fruition of so many dreams long abandoned.  I desperately want her to stay on track to be wildly successful and happy beyond measure.  In my heart, though, is tucked this story.  There is no doubt that our family will shift gears in the next ten years.  Happiness to her may mean something completely different than it means to me.  Choices will be made.  Hers is not my life to live.  I just hope that we can sit down and make the right clothes when it happens.

29
Aug
08

That which is Caesar’s

Barack Hussein Obama was surprisingly dull of speech tonight.  I anticipated a rhetorical treat of epic proportions, but here I sit unfulfilled.  It was standard fare for the acceptance speech – promise the world, pander to the masses.  And hey – he wants to fight injustice?  He should do something about the $80.00 charges for parking.  Yes, $80.00, Mr. Obama, let’s see you move your feet (as you say) and take care of that!

My actual concern is not the parking or those foolish enough to pay for it.  The unintended consequence of this speech is the argument made for the separation of church and state.  Any argument over supposed moral standards in government brings this to mind.  Our politicians will argue to the death, admonishing us for not caring about mothers separated from their children because of our immigration laws.  They will belittle us for sending our (volunteer) troops into battle to die.  They will belittle us for not sending our troops to the right battle.  They will question why not everyone deserves the same standard of living, why we aren’t better at sharing. 

This speaks to time-tested Biblical wisdom.  Matthew 22:21 says, “Give to Caesar that which is Caesar’s; give to God what is God’s.”  Of course, Christians use this passage to enourage each other to pay their taxes and to tithe without conflict.  The passage is about taxes.  But could we apply this beyond taxation?  When our candidates win elections by tugging at heartstrings, it indicates that our government is much bigger than it should be.  We have lost sight of our government’s role.  Our government was established to impartially protect us according to the letter of the law, to build roads that ensure interstate commerce and mobility, and to standardize currency.  If our government acted as just that, an impartial entity, enforcing our laws and encouraging interstate commerce, the rest of us would be free to care for those less fortunate in any way we see fit.  Frankly, I want the government to deport illegal immigrants.  They have broken a law set forth for the protection of our country.  However, on a personal level, if an immigrant comes to me hungry – legal or not – I want to offer help.  I want to offer compassion.  I do not want to be labeled.  I do not want to be concerned that my act of compassion will be misinterpreted for a disregard or worse, distaste, of the law.

A national argument over morality will never be won; it will, however, divide our great nation and weaken our people who face adversity.  I don’t want to engage in dialogue over who’s right on stem cell research.  Companies who can afford to do the research should do so.  I can make a choice when it comes to participating in that research and in the finished product.  In the meantime, I don’t want tax dollars funding something wrought from moral division. It forces a person into supporting that which he never would on his own.  That is not the role of government.  My ideals are between God and me.  It is counterproductive to use these ideals to garner votes.

The most clear cut issue here is that of gay marriage.  Should the government be involved in determining family values?  Could marriage be a sacred union performed in front of the Lord by a representative of the church while the government tends to the mess of who gets on whose health insurance and who’s visiting whom in the hospital?  It seems that if an issue is morally devisive, the government has no place in it.  Let God have marriage.  Let God’s people feed the starving.  Let God’s people act as a moral barometer.  Let the government protect us corporately as we act personally.

29
Aug
08

Relative Evil

Here we are on the verge of history.  Actually, we are knee-deep in history.  This year, we have seen a woman and a black man fight bitterly over the presidency, then unite in an unprecedented subversion of the electoral process.  I find it discouraging that Hillary Clinton is not the nominee.  I am not a fan of hers, but her competence, professionalism, shrewdness, and commitment are unmatched.  As president, I don’t believe she would disappoint.  She is the most formidable candidate I have seen in years.  And yet…It’s exciting to see a minority running for this esteemed office, but I cannot believe in his leadership. 

His running mate, though, Joe Biden, is an interesting study.  He has shown perserverence, faith, grace, and strength – the qualities that make Americans so great.  He has a genuine affection for people that cannot be discredited, BUT, he is an ultra-liberal.  So many liberals are disingenuous and I don’t believe that he is.  He has lived it…he is the real deal.  Liberals have a lovely viewpoint.  I admire their forgiving spirits, their largesse.  The problem with a liberal in a high-ranking office, then, is this:  They emerge from an ideal of moral relativism.  Their ideology comes from a place where there is no wrong and right, just my way and yours.  Unfortunately, we live in a world where there is true evil.  Evil that I don’t believe we Americans fully comprehend.  Except for a few isolated incidents, we have been sheltered by miles of ocean from evil despots, dictators, and czars.  We do not fully grasp the intent or the ability of such rulers and we need a leader who is considerate of this.  Considerate of the evil that lurks in the shadows, purchasing black-market bombs, packing shrapnel into a pipe bomb before he takes it to a mall, and turning orphanges into weapons factories. 

We Americans are so blessed, we can luxuriate in the idea that everyone is reasonable.  The fact is, some people live in desperation.  They do unspeakable things that we say are unrealistic, but how many of us have been desperate?  How many of us have made a choice to sell one child into slavery so the others may eat?  Evil erodes morality; it changes our vision.  And evil’s greatest threat comes from our inability – or unwillingness – to believe in it.

16
Aug
08

Crystal Red Lust…Crystal Clear

Driving into work this morning I am obsessing about my dwindling (although slowly) debt and feeling very grateful to the Lord for tending to all my material needs.  I’m thinking about the lilies of the field and the swallows of the air¹ when here comes a CADILLAC CTS.  RED…Crystal Red.  You know the one.  It’s resting on meaty haunches, ready to pounce on my unsuspecting Nissan.  And I’m rooting for the CTS!  Trusty Nissan be damned!  I roll my window down, hoping to hear the engine, but the driver is not an engine revving kind of girl.  Tragic waste.  Suddenly, I am weak in the knees.  WEAK IN THE KNEES!!  And I’m thinking, “come on…open it up…let’s see what you can do…”  Then I start to get the whole men and strippers thing.  I wanna see IT ALL!  There are no more lilies on my brain, just 6 pounding cylinders and a leather wrapped steering wheel.  This hunk of throbbing American metal is begging me to save it from the mundane suburban traffic and run it through the twisting canyon just miles away.  Never mind national security and environmental implications, the true tragedy of our current energy crisis is the demise of the drive.  At $4.00/gallon, it is a rare treat to open the throttle and feel my car’s power surge into the empty lane next to me.  And an aggressive drive through the canyon?  Sadly put on hold as I “conserve” the liquid gold for trips to Super Target.  Where’s the joy?

Actually, it’s probably not in the Cadillac.  Amazing how, despite so many efforts to avoid materialism and count my MANY blessinge (even that trusty Nissan I sold down the river), I am quickly taken from a state of gratitude to a state of dissatisfaction.  In a mere moment, I question every choice I’ve made and rue the dull life I have chosen to lead.  Sad what a little chrome can do to steal the luster from true joy.  With beautiful, healthy, warm, educated and well-fed daughters and a husband and countless friends I have no right to want for more. 

 ¹Consider the lilies how they grow: they toil not, they spin not; and yet I say unto you, that Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.  Luke 12:27

 

13
Aug
08

Radical Love

In “Three Little Words,” or whatever my last post was called, I mentioned the miracle of healing that occurred after the Big News.  For those who have not read my premier post, the Big News is that the two young loves of my life are now gay.  In fact, there is potential that they dated for a while – they did purchase neighboring homes in an exclusive neighborhood.  Here’s the thing…While Lou and George became gay,  I became a born-again Christian.  I felt better, but not too much different than before.  Lou, however, determined that he never would see me again.  He moved to New York.  I live a long ways from New York – it is the farthest one could get within the contiguous United States.  Let us enjoy the irony of this moment.  The man I loved, who presumably loved me, from before I owned a razor until after my SECOND child was born, determined to never see me again because he was certain I would judge him.  Maybe he thought I would be cruel?  I can’t make sense of it except for this:  We Christians have failed in this area.  We have donated tens if not hundreds of millions of dollars for HIV meds, HIV orphans, and HIV education in Africa.  Yet we have turned our backs on the group most at risk here at home.  Even our most esteemed leaders have cast proverbial stones at the gay population, though Jesus Himself said very clearly that we have no right.  Unfortunately, the church has followed suit.  We have turned our backs on gays, telling them that what we have is not for them.  Such arrogance!  The message of the Lord is for everyone – EVERYONE.  Not everyone who is saved – too late!  Not everyone who is without sin – there is nobody (remember that “the beauty of Grace is that it makes life unfair;” God does not weigh sin).  Not everyone who is American – we already have every blessing.  The message of the Lord is for the marginalized, those who need to hear love and acceptance. 

This may seem trivial to some, but this was the greatest blow I have suffered as an adult.  Lou and I had more than a sordid affair, we were best friends.  There were traumas and trials that we suffered through with such desperation.  Our relationship was only mildly physical¹ but so deeply emotional.  I have needed my best friend these last years.  The many reasons?  Another day.  But on a strictly superficial level, what woman doesn’t want to shoe shop with a man who appreciates the way the stilletoes look WITH the dress, not without it.  Accessories are ART, girl!  This was a lesson in love for me.  Once again, Lou and George taught me about love.  First, we Christians cannot face our Lord and admit to turning our backs on an entire group of people we never took the time to know.  There is a song, possibly by Thousand Foot Crutch?  Maybe not.  Anyway, the haunting lyric is “Jesus paid much to high a price/for us to pick and choose who should come.”  Yes, homosexuality is a Biblical sin, but so is what we did an hour or two ago and that thought we had 30 minutes before that.  Remember, God does not weigh this.  Get the picture?  I think my neighbors have too much debt (a sin), but that doesn’t keep me from enjoying their company.  It’s none of my business.  Refusing to befriend a person because he has a boyfriend?  Sin. 

So here’s the lesson:

  1. True, deep love exists and need not be dependent on consummation
  2. Never will I let anyone believe that I will judge him
  3. The commandment to love others as thyself is radical; it requires thinking and reflection apart from outside pressure.  It is personal and SERIOUS.

This was mentally composed this morning in the shower, when it was so much more concise and eloquent, rife with scripture and emotion.  Still, after the ravages of the day, the fact remains the same.  I not only miss my best friend, but I mourn for the pain that I and the Christian community have caused.  After the three days of tears and suffering, I changed from the greatest James Dobson devotee to my own person, studying scripture and becoming truly different.  Somehow, through all of this I have learned to love my neighbor².

¹Stop laughing – not intended to be funny.

²I have not reached the Jesus-like level at which I can still love my neighbors in Wal-Mart.  I am working towards it, but cannot seem to foster good tidings past the crowded, lawless parking lot.  Please pray for me.

11
Aug
08

Unfurling My Flag

Blogging…finally a chance to air my opinions, dreams, hopes to all the faithful readers I could, or should, hope for.  Me?  I can’t possibly fill in “about yourself” because I truly have no idea.  I know what I believe and I know why.  My opinions and ideals are solid – my personality is multiple.  Intellectualy I tell myself I am unmatched.  Emotionally…train wreck. 

FlagsUnfurled?  In “The Family Stone,” a character reminds the lead that she has a “freak flag,” she just doesn’t fly it.  I have that affliction.  Despite my loafers, sweaters, turtlenecks, and overall unapproachable “look,” anyone who is missing a toe, has killed his sister, or who thinks cocaine is a reasonable trade for my body is drawn to me like Tom Cruise to eewww.  I have a big giant freak flag.




What’s here

SuzyJ’s Tweets

Error: Twitter did not respond. Please wait a few minutes and refresh this page.

Advertisements