Posts Tagged With: Culture

Why I’m Not Voting

In next week’s election, I do not plan on voting for any federal or New York State officials, obviously including President of the United States of America. I have been asked by a friend to explain my choice. To my best understanding, the reason he is asking me to explain is because traditionally we conservative evangelical types see voting as a civic duty. We have learned from when we were wee lads and lasses that voting in democratic elections is a near-sacred duty, wrapped in all the somberness and ritual of a religious sacrament.

And therein is my first issue with voting for federal and state office holders. As a Christian, my primary citizenship is in heaven, where Christ is. He is preparing the New Jerusalem—the eternal city of God—and He will bring that consummate kingdom upon His appearance and judgment of the living and the dead. You’ll notice I said “primary” citizenship, and that’s because of course we are also citizens of the nations on earth as we live here. In simple terms, Christians are dual citizens, and we have duties in each realm. And what is our most important duty in the civil realm of this age? It is to be salt and light—to stand out. We are to be a different, holy people, and we are to be the fragrance of Christ everywhere we go, and in all we do.

What am I getting at? Only that in all areas of our lives, we are to show our pagan and post-Christian neighbors that we have a better hope, a higher kingdom, and accordingly, a fearless posture toward the evil in this world. Now of course none of us does any of this perfectly, which is why we keep returning to the church gathering each week where we hear of our sin, the forgiveness we have received, and the promises of the age to come. We are often fearful, though our Lord commands “fear not.” We are often mired in the same idols as the Gentiles, though our Lord commands “come out from them and touch not the unclean thing.” I think many wonderful Christian people in America have succumbed to the fear of man, namely, the liberal and Progressive man, and are placing their hope in democratic elections as a temporal salvation. In a narrow sense it is true that good civil policy saves us from lawless men, so I understand the need for the State in our present world; however, I think the manner in which our politics have become all encompassing and overwhelming shows the idolatrous fear and rage intrinsic to this present system.

Today we can and should repent, re-form the line if you will, and face the world as a fearless, holy people.

And I believe abstaining from the vote is one of the more powerful means to do so right now. nopeAsk yourself what drives 90+% of the voting in federal and state elections today. You know what it is: fear. And not only fear, but jealousy, rage, insecurity, and tribalism/racialism (in all directions). Why are Christians blending in with this portrait of ungodliness? I’ll tell you what I think—I believe we’re in a rut of tradition that we can’t see from above. We think voting always helps secure liberty and justice for all.

We think it’s our sacred duty to cast our ballot because men shed their blood to give us this right. We think we owe it to the brave guys who charged the machine gun nests on Normandy’s beach, we think the 58,000+ who never returned from Vietnam cry out “go! Go to the voting booth and vote! We died in a jungle ditch so you could do so!”

We think we must make our voices heard.

And on that last point, I fully agree. We must make our Christian, fearless, faithful voices heard to those in power, and I propose our message be something like this:

We are not your slaves, and we are not afraid of you. Do what you will to us, but we will serve the Lord Jesus Christ, promote His kingdom, and speak out against your ungodly policies. We will no longer be complicit in propping up this sham democracy.

This nation is captured by an oligarchy of lifetime politicians, corporate pirates, and usurious thieves on Wall Street, and voting has only distracted us from your injustices, as if we ever had a chance in a rigged game. We are tired of having our income stolen to propagate antichrist doctrines in the schools, violence in the womb, violence throughout the world in conflicts that are unjust and unnecessary, and general economic discord domestically.

We protest the system of credit and debt that is forced upon us, we protest the postmodern worldview of our leaders, and we refuse to participate in a system that fingers the wind in making law. Our vote will not save the United States of America, only mass waves of confession and repentance in the churches will begin to turn the tide of evil in this land.

We now turn to our families and to our churches to each show the way of confession and repentance, and to take responsibility for all the injustices that we have allowed in our name, and worse, in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. We believe that to any longer participate in this democracy is to betray our profession of faith in the One who is able to protect, provide for, and to keep His people while in the valley of the shadow of death during this evil age. We will submit to the authorities as He has commanded, but we will no longer sign our names to the vile means and aims at work in the places of power.

Justifying this View

First, the old Christian republic has long since passed away, and the Enlightenment constitutional republic that replaced it is also long dead. We have been living in a straight-out democracy for a long time; we are at the mercy of the majority of voters, and the rule of law is a mere phrase in the imaginations of optimistic, flag-waving patriots. Ever since Lincoln denied the South the right to secede, we’ve all been living in a post-constitutional democracy, now fatally compounded by 1,001 unjust decisions by the Supreme Court and Congress.

Second, what is left of law and order in this society is rapidly being folded into the tyranny of a man-centered foundation for law and justice. From the time merchants began arriving on the heels of the first Puritan pilgrims, the law of man (unjust and ghastly in any society) has been warring with the law of God for the central place in American law. We have always been a flawed, inconsistent nation whose lust for happiness has led to countless crimes against God and man (think chattel slavery); yet there has also been a remnant of the Christian instinct to hold our society to the standards and mores of the Scriptures. Now in 2016, this instinct has been suppressed and defaced to the point of utter mockery—we have pretty much fully embraced a culture of corruption, radical subjectivism, and self-serving. Sure, there’s a remnant of Christian and civil people who wish no harm to their neighbor, but we’re outnumbered, and we have almost zero representation in the halls of power.

Even where decent men and women inhabit an office or two somewhere in Washington DC, the system as a whole is oriented toward injustice at every level. There is no saving it. There is no political solution left in these United States. Let’s read that again. There is no political solution left in this nation, or in our individual states. We have been given over to the full measure of our wishes, to have the riches and blessings of freedom and liberty become the slaves of our lusts and evil desires. The only outcome possible for such a people is total slavery and war.

And so let’s talk about what it means for a Christian to vote in 2016. When we vote for federal and state officials, we are explicitly stating with that vote:

–          I believe that participation in this democracy will somehow promote justice and equity under law.

–          I believe that choosing new individuals to occupy these specific federal/state offices will create better representation for me, my family, and my clan of people.

–          I believe that by my vote I am securing my right to redress of grievances, representation in legislation, and financial entitlements.

–          I believe that without my vote I am somehow made responsible for the injustices of the tyrannous majority.

–          I believe that voting pleases my Lord.

And I do not agree with any of these points. I hesitate to attempt to fully bind other Christians’ consciences with this same conviction, so I will simply state how I see things, and allow the Holy Spirit to work in you as He does in me.

We are Samson with his eyes scooped out, pushing the Philistine grinding wheel. We have been with the Philistine prostitutes, and our Christian souls have clung to them under the sheets of comfort, entertainment, career, prestige, cultural acceptance, and academic clout. We have been fooled—we have been fools. In this last hour of the American experiment in democracy, I would wish for us to press the pillars of the Philistine temple, to bring down the weight of this corrupt nation upon its head… but unlike with Samson, I am not wishing for the death of our enemies, but only for the end of their sin against our holy God. The only way this world will see its sin is for the church to be the church, and that will require a great cost be paid by us, as it was by Samson in his last act.

If all true Christians in America quit voting, within a short while we would be standing in the place of greatest influence of all people, even while the roof of prosperity and comfort was falling on our own heads. The voting booth is a substitute for Christian courage in this day of moral anarchy.

If I am wrong in my framing of the issue, you are welcome to bring a loving rebuke in the comment section.

In Christian charity,

Adam

 

Categories: Interpreting Christian Hypocrisy, Understanding the Culture | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Abortion Advocate: So What if it Ends a Life?

Read this honest, horrifying article from Mary Elizabeth Williams of salon.com. Really read it, and let her very last sentence simply rest on your mind for a few moments. Then come back and read my assessment. Here’s an excerpt, and then the link right below it:

“Yet I know that throughout my own pregnancies, I never wavered for a moment in the belief that I was carrying a human life inside of me. I believe that’s what a fetus is: a human life. And that doesn’t make me one iota less solidly pro-choice.”

Her article: So what if abortion ends life?

Shocked?

This should come as no surprise. For decades the abortion rights crowd has been struggling in vain to argue that a child in utero is not a human life, tacitly admitting the immoral nature of, well, killing kids. The debate has centered on where and when life begins – pro-life advocates arguing correctly that it begins at conception, and pro-death advocates arguing it begins… some other time.

The debate has been an argument in semantics. The pro-death crowd has known all along that abortion is murder, but it would not have been very convenient politically to go around mere decades after the holocaust openly arguing that some people are less worthy of life than others, and may be  legally murdered by those who are stronger.

Well, no longer is such a deception quite necessary. It seems that in the midst of our rapidly declining culture, the unbreakable focus on self-pleasure has opened the way for some brutal honesty in the pro-death crowd. Our collective idol is surely the glorification of the self, and so as events and people threaten the promotion and happiness of self, any means necessary becomes permissible in continuing on the path of -ME FIRST-.

HEDONIST HULK SMASH

We see this on a national scale – for at least 70 years, we have been willing to send our military into other peoples’ countries if there is a threat to our economic interests. The CIA has busily toppled one harmless government after another (killing off countless civilians) in pursuit of more favorable business conditions for our major corporations. We invade, bomb, break, and steal in pursuit of happiness.

In the past 10 years, we have reached the new heights of openly practicing torture on non-combatants, keeping people in prison camps who have not been charged with any crime or been found taking up arms against our country. We are viciously committed to our way of life, willing to kill anyone who blocks our path to personal Valhalla. We smash the people and things that stop us from pleasuring ourselves.

Too bad for children

Kids are a gift in the ways we need them most. They teach us infinitely more about self-sacrifice and self-giving than anything else can. They become our greatest contribution to the world as we train them up and teach them the ways of righteousness, ingenuity, and selfless love for others. But they do put a crimp in our style. They whine, they cry, they disobey. They have bedtimes that keep us from going out and drinking ourselves into the latest STDs, and they demand more of us than we feel we have to give. They oftentimes take us down a notch or two on the financial ladder of life. That’s really the final straw for many Americans. We smash the people that stop us from pleasuring ourselves.

Did we really think abortion was about something else?

I know that there are many different, nuanced reasons that women get abortions, but underneath each of those reasons is a lie. She is hearing a lie that she is believing, and the victim will be her own daughter or son. Counting all the “surgical” abortions and birth control pill abortions over the past 50 years, America and the West have hundreds of millions of murdered children on our hands. That’s a lot of happiness being pursued, I guess.

And how are we doing on that happiness thing? We’re the most heavily medicated nation on earth, by far. We live and function on antidepressants and anti-anxiety meds. We’re miserable in so many ways. Oops – maybe we didn’t kill enough of us?

I wonder how long it will take for our nation, our culture to realize the pursuit of happiness is on a self-forgetting path, and it runs like a dagger right through the beating heart of self-centeredness.

Until we get that, we’re the puppets of tyrants, we’re the puppets of devils, and we’re the puppets of these evil hearts within us.

Thanks for reading,

-Justin

True Freedom

Categories: Humankind in Distress, Understanding the Culture | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Reading is Boring and We’re All Gonna Die

Mark Twain

“Classic’ – a book which people praise and don’t read.”
― Mark Twain

If you don’t think reading is one of the top five most important things a human being can do in this life, you’re thinking is wrong. Reading grants more power for human flourishing than anything else. It is the glue of a healthy society. The fact that today we have more books than ever, and perhaps a lower interest in reading than ever in modern society… tells me we’re all gonna die soon.

Now, I know that there are hundreds of things that we all have to do which get in the way of sitting down to read, but if we all don’t begin to read well, read deep, and read long, we’re all gonna die soon.

James Baldwin

“You think your pain and your heartbreak are unprecedented in the history of the world, but then you read. It was books that taught me that the things that tormented me most were the very things that connected me with all the people who were alive, or who had ever been alive.”
― James Baldwin
Of course, there’s the audio book these days – just hit a button and go – you’re reading. No. Stop counting it as reading. Open a book and read it. I’m sure we all have a long list of books we intend to read, but then there’s Netflix. Downtown Abbey. Walking Dead. Movies. Porn. Everything we need in visual form. Everything a dying, distracted, emaciated, emasculated culture needs, anyways. Gonna die soon.
Joseph Brodsky

“There are worse crimes than burning books. One of them is not reading them.”
― Joseph Brodsky
How might a power-hungry elite, hell-bent on devouring the most productive, educated, intellectually rich, innovative nation in human history go about cracking the people right down the middle? Move them away from books. Teach facts and memorization, and move them away from critical thinking. Tell them they are beautiful, wonderful, and attractive… just stay away from all those boring old books. Steal the minds of the young by training them in entertainment learning. Forget reading Tacitus, just watch Gladiator. Russell Crowe and all. Forget reading the Bible. Don’t want to be a bigoted caveman. Greatest book in human history and all. Forget studying real science and history. Get laid. Drink a lot. Smoke a bong, maaaaaan. Comic books. Halo. Movies. Getting ready for the slaughter, we are.
Ray Bradbury

“You don’t have to burn books to destroy a culture. Just get people to stop reading them.”
― Ray Bradbury
After the next big political speech, ask a neighbor how the politician looked and performed. They’ll be more likely to remember that than what was actually said. Critical thinking. Who knew? We’ve all been fooled by comfort, luxury, and leisure into thinking that reading and critical thinking is for weird people. Paranoid people. People who don’t have any life. Too many times I’ve watched leaders (pastors in many cases) brag that they are just as stupid as the next guy.
In other words, don’t worry (wink, nudge), I’m just like you. You can trust me that I didn’t get my head all fulled up with ideas. No no. I’m ready and willing to party right along with you all. We’re here for comfort, we’re here for fun. Everything will be just fine, if you’ll just stop talking about things that make me have to think. If you don’t stop, we will not be friends. 
Gustave Flaubert

“Do not read, as children do, to amuse yourself, or like the ambitious, for the purpose of instruction. No, read in order to live.”
― Gustave Flaubert
Read for life. Read to live. Read to give life to others. Read to grow. Read to survive. Read, because soon we’re all gonna die if you don’t.
Thanks for reading,
Charles William Eliot

“Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of counselors, and the most patient of teachers.”
― Charles William Eliot
-Justin
P.S. I write because I love.
Categories: The Arts, Understanding the Culture | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Said in One Breath: Hunger Games is Us

We are the Capitol people, we are the brightly decorated Romans, we are the euphoric bloodlusters… we love to see each other punished. What a shame.

 

Categories: One Breath, The Arts, Understanding the Culture | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

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