I’m Proud of My Country, Because…

…and I know this can be totally misconstrued.

BUT… I remember the first time I saw a woman or African-American bus driver.  The first time I saw a woman or African-American news anchor.  The first time I saw a woman or African-American you-name-it.  When I grew up, it was a mail MAN, a fire MAN, and a board chairMAN.  Now it’s a mail carrier, fire fighter, and board chair.

I like it better this way.  I’m not saying the process of getting here was clean or righteous or healthy.  In many ways it wasn’t.  But still, I like it better this way.

And soon we will inaugurate either our first African-American President, or our first woman Vice-President.  Am I making race and gender an issue?  No.  It’s not a decisive factor for how I vote. It’s a non-issue for most Americans, and that would be relatively rare among the nations of our world.  I’m making a non-political, but social, moral, and I think, spiritual, issue.   We’ve come far since I was a kid.

And I’m proud of my country for it.

May God bless America, and may American bless God.

There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. (Galatians 3:28, NKJV).

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27 thoughts on “I’m Proud of My Country, Because…

  1. Last year at Christmas my grandfather took a moment before praying over our family meal to tell us all how he despises those among his generation who long for the “good old days.” He said he was ashamed of how his generation treated women and minorities, especially african americans. He told us he thinks are much better now. The good old days, to him, were not so good. Just old.

    I was impressed by the courage to admit such a thing at that age. A revisionist memory is a tempting thing and he is a man who has resisted temptation.

  2. Quite obviously things have changed for the better…

    …and for that we should be excited!

    But race is still an issue.

    I live in city where the poverty level is very high. There are distinct sections of the city, you can guess what the ethnic makeup of the nice neighborhoods are…

    This situation is hardly unique to Buffalo.

    We have done away with many overtly racist tendencies in our society, but what about the simple fact that children of different ethnicities are handed by our society, vastly different educations, neighborhoods, socialization, etc.?

    I have had several of my neighbors express ‘concern’ over what we do at our home, I can’t help but wonder if their concern has to do with the fact that our friends don’t look like their friends (although this is larger than race, and includes economics, and class)…

    This, interestingly, ties in to my political angst. The outrage over abortion. Why are we so concerned about protecting life after conception, and yet couldn’t give to cents after birth? I am torn over this exact issue in my politics. Should I choose to endorse politicians who embrace the sanctity of life for a fetus, but not for a child, a foreigner, a criminal? Or should I endorse the opposite?

    I share in the conservative outrage over a murdered fetus.

    But wonder why conservatives are not outraged by the circumstances that very fetus will be subjected to if we are able to save it?

  3. Steve,
    I hear and understand SOME, not all of your outrage. I think, as I read you, that it’s directed at “conservatives.” You seem to equate the victimization of an infant/fetus with the status of “a child, a foreigner, a criminal”. I’m not sure I get the parallel, and why there is outrage. Are you saying that they are equally victims? Do you equate “a foreigner, a criminal” with a fetus in terms of helplessness and inability to defend oneself? Are you saying that conservatives do nothing (or way too little) for “a child, a foreigner, a criminal” but liberals do plenty? I just want to hear you clearly.

    Thanks.
    Bill

  4. Steve,

    Here’s an assumption I am going to make: You are against the kind of prejudice that causes people to stereotype others. If I am correct, then why do you engage in it yourself? You say conservatives have no outrage about the circumstances a minority child will face. Please name three everyday conservatives you know that do not have the same concern over the plight of minorities that you have. And please define outrage. Never mind, because in the end, outrage is useless. Outrage is an emotion that accomplishes nothing. Just like smooth empty rhetoric accomplishes nothing.

    You are debating which candidate will best solve the problems of that unaborted fetus. And that’s where the government–and I mean both parties–has let us down. It has developed in its citizenry a helpless attitude that it, and only it, can solve all of our problems. We are so dependent on our government from birth to preschool to state universities to social security that we no longer even try to help ourselves. And that’s what the politicians want. It keeps them in business. Our government is bloated because we keep shifting our responsibilities to it. But no one ever suggests paring it to save us money and to leave us alone. It’s true on every level. I’m going to rant now (if you think I’m not yet). But I think of Chicago and its fifty aldermen, each with its own staff. When money is tight in Chicago, they start cutting: teachers, policemen, firemen, garbagemen). Did anyone in the Chicago city council ever propose cutting the number of aldermen? Just think how much money Chicago could save if, at least for awhile, it had just 25 aldermen (don’t think they’ve come up with a gender neutral term for that one yet). No, of course not. People depend on them. Can you imagine if your parents did that to you? We ridicule the concept of a 40 year old man living in his parents’ basement.

    Steve, thanks for thinking about your vote. It seems most Americans don’t give it more time than it takes to hear a sound bite. For me, the decision is based on who is going to make me less dependent on them. To me, that is why I love being an American.

  5. Hey Bill,

    Sorry, I started typing and didn’t wanna stop! This is the abridged version!!

    😉

    Yes, it is directed at ‘conservatives’ not so much because I dislike them, or even because I don’t see myself as one; but because the hypocrisy is frustrating, and doubly so, because I hold conservative views and values on many things.

    No, these categories are not all equal, in terms of victim-hood (perhaps in terms of helplessness and ability to defend themselves), but in terms of humanity. The outrage is that we would see individuals look to scripture to support their ideology (calling it ‘pro-life’), and then craft a political platform that endorses executing those who can’t afford their own legal counsel at rates approaching 100-to-1 over those who can afford it.

    Isn’t it ironic that ‘pro-life’ people are the ones who are most likely to be in favor of dropping bombs on foreign soil? …in favor of reducing the availability of health care to people who don’t work, or don’t speak English? …in favor of removing themselves and their resources from those who are most in need of both the relationships and resources that most conservative Christians do such a good job of ‘stewarding’ out of the lives of the needy? For God’s sake, why are all the Christians living in the suburbs? (Okay I got a little fired up, but I thought I’d leave the rant in there anyways!)

    But I do believe that we conservatives misconstrue the real responsibility we have in the creation of a society in which criminality becomes such a legitimate option for so many. Do they choose it? Yes, of course, and that choice should not be ignored. But we have to ask this question: why did they choose it? And why do so many people who grew up in their circumstances choose it, while people who grew up in mine did not? Is it coincidence? Mystery? Or is it that we have a fundamentally slanted playing field? (Don’t even get me started on how this plays into issues of global debt and international relationships!)

    God is not fair, and we should be the first to acknowledge that His lack of parity runs in our favor and we have been commanded to extend that unfairness to others. This is the fundamental hypocrisy in conservative Christian collusion with conservative politics.

    Hey Matt,

    Stereotypes are fundamental to the way human beings think. We make associations. The problem isn’t stereotypes, but rather what we do with them, how we form them, and how accurate they are. Which gets at your question:

    My conservative, wealthy, neighbors (a lot more than three there!) who don’t want people even walking through their neighborhood who don’t share their affluence and cultural superiority. Members of my own family, and members of churches I have been a part of (I would prefer not to name names for obvious reasons) who might be willing to sponsor a child in Latin America for $40 a month (with an income of $4-15k a month) but would never dream of engaging in conversation with the poor in our community.

    I wouldn’t say emotion is useless, rather that it is a spark that can either burn down a house, or heat one. There are definite causes of outrage! God Himself is an emotional being, and so too, are we. Outrage itself will (I agree) never solve problems, but surely we will never change something we don’t feel needs changing?

    I understand the conservative arguments against a bulky government, and I agree with them. For many years I aligned myself with the Libertarian party (and still have some significant points of agreement with their platform, however, as I have grown in my reliance upon Jesus, I have slowly had my personal political views changed) and this is one of the strengths of their position.

    I do not consider government the solution, however, it is at times a part of the problem, and so we must decide how our various governments are going to do the things we need them to do (I am assuming you are not advocating anarchy). We talk as if ‘protecting private property rights’ is just, when it is more about maintaining the status quo system of injustice. Not to mention, ‘the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of property’ is hardly the core ethic of the Biblical authors!

    “For me, the decision is based on who is going to make me less dependent on them.”

    That is perfectly fair, and coherent, however, as a follower of Jesus, I cannot use that as my basis for making political decisions.

  6. Let me say first that I am not a Libertarian. There are views I agree with, but I would hesitate to affiliate with them because they do get extreme. We do need some laws and the protection of government. But we’ve gone too far.
    Second, government is not part of the problem. It is the problem. Not original, I know. It’s a problem because we are the government. And we are unjust, sinful, people, who then ask the government to do things that it fails at doing, because it can’t do them. It is not designed to do them. And the people who are being asked were never trained to do them. Somebody’s kids in Chicago or Las Vegas are hungry. So we ask somebody in Washington, D.C. to fix that? That’s nuts! The people, namely the church, should be fixing that. When the Israelites wanted a king, God asked them, “Are you sure? You have all the king you will ever need in me.” They said they were sure. And now we have Bible with lots of stories telling what a great King we do have.
    I have examples that illustrate my thoughts about our wrong expectations of government. I wrote them and it ended up being way too long. Let me just finish by saying that when I see deficiencies in our society, people hungry, homeless, kids hurting, etc. I don’t believe it’s because the government is failing. It’s because the church is failing. These are things the church should be doing. They are things that only the church can solve.

  7. Hey Matt,

    Its beginning to sound like perhaps you are advocating anarchy?

    It seems like we need a government to accomplish some things don’t we? Or are you advocating complete privatization? I can understand the logic behind privatizing infrastructure (although I don’t think we should go there), but do you really want the military privatized? …the judiciary privatized?

    I also agree that the ultimate answer lies with the Church; it is God’s plan for the redemption of creation, bringing all things together in Christ. But what do we mean by this? Surely you don’t think the Church should replace the State? (We have been dealing with the aftereffects of Constantine’s conversion for 17 centuries!!) I think rather the Church should be speaking prophetically to the state.

    The conservatives do a great job of emphasizing personal responsibility for self; a needed and biblical emphasis! However, conservatives regularly fail at the equally biblical emphasis on personal responsibility for the community and the world beyond it!

    This has the unintended side-effect of a blind-spot to systemic evil.

    Issues that I raised in previous comments are issues that the government creates when it does it’s job (again, assuming we aren’t talking about a mythical stateless society) unreflectively; when the government builds bridges, starts schools, or applies laws, without understanding how these things will effect the society at large, then it is responsible for the results.

    …and, as you pointed out, we all share in that responsibility. (This is what I want conservatives, and conservative Christians in particular, to hear!)

  8. I agree. I love this country of ours! We have so much brokenness and junk but what an amazing place to be. Our diversity is amazing and such a grand adventure. We are just so blessed to be able to be a part of this amazing nation under God.

  9. Caleb… Thanks for a moment of serenity and joy in what somehow became an ornery discussion of what I thought would be a very positive blog!

    Steve… Without saying that I’m either liberal or conservative, you simply have your facts wrong. Every study that I’ve seen shows that conservatives, and specifically Christian conservatives, are far more generous of time, money, service, and even giving blood than any other group. Not even close. Who built the world’s hospitals and orphanages? Who keeps them funded? Who drove truckloads of relief supplies after Katrina? Who housed the displaced victims of Katrina? Christians. Conservative Christians, like all those Bible-belt Baptists down in Houston. I’m not a Baptist, but you’ve simply misrepresented the facts. Who funds Samaritan’s Purse? Who built the Bongolo Hospital? Who started Spurgeon’s Orphanages? It was Jerry Falwell who provided free housing, education, food, and clothing to unwed mothers. I think you’re letting your personal bias and/or bad experiences cause you to misrepresent a whole group of people. And I’m puzzled why your “outrage” is so strong against conservative your brothers and sisters in Christ. Studies show… conservatives, generous and sacrificial. Liberals, not as much. Ask yourself why. Could it be that having a message of eternal life or death is far more motivating than having a message of simply a better life now? That we are more likely to make a sacrifice for someone’s eternal destiny than for their temporal comfort? Both are important, but one is more important. I hope we can at least agree on that.
    Bill

  10. Wow! This is my kind of thread! I love a lively discussion (too much, perhaps), and I love a good political or religious discussion. Gentlemen, please carry on! 🙂

    Our government was set up so that the people can change things if they really want to do so. In this coming election, it is my opinion that the better choice would be the candidate who inspires people to get up and do something. I feel one of the two will do that much better than the other, and it’s upon that basis that I intend to cast my vote.

  11. Hi this is Tamy, wife of Steve (lover of a good debate and passionate discussion about topics burning in his giant heart).

    I guess I would ask, generous because we give more, (probably because we have more) or because we give abundantly all that we have? Jesus said that the poor widow who gave all she had gave more than all the rest. I find it hard to believe that american conservative christians are generous as a rule, I do believe that we give and do a lot of great things but I do not believe that we are generous. We give small amounts out of our abundance, and can we really call it a sacrifice when it doesn’t change our lifestyle at all? I guess I would also ask the question of do we believe we give enough, if so why, what constitutes enough…..10%, 20% ????

    What are the sacrifices that we (conservative christians) are willing to make for someones eternal destiny versus their temporal comfort?

    Please always know that the challenges and questions are always aimed at our own hearts and lives as well, which is why polite challenging and prodding are good for our souls. If we let it, iron will sharpen iron…

  12. Tamy,
    I’m with you… and I’d be the first to point the finger at myself. But I do know many Christians who sacrifice a high standard of living that they might financially and personally help others… especially help them to Christ.

    BUT… here’s my big question, and the very reason I wrote to Steve… you certainly cannot pin the selfishness you’re talking about on conservatives as a group. Or are you saying that the “non-conservative” or “non-Christian” people you know fulfill what you’re talking about more than others?

    Why the outrage against “conservatives” and “conservative Christians”? Please help me understand.

    Thanks.

    Bill

  13. Coupla thoughts…

    For starters, who is that last commenter? …she sounds HOT!!

    Second, it should be helpful to know that I make a sharp distinction between theological conservatives and political ones. It is simply an American peculiarity that the two go together…

    Check thisNT Wright quote.

    Third, I echo my wife. When every human being on the planet could have enough clean water, adequate food, and access to basic health care, all for the ‘enormous’ sum of America’s annual ice-cream budget, I simply don’t think the “I gave more than the other guy” line is going to cut it. If we give more than others, great, it still isn’t enough.

    Fourth, giving money is rarely the solution. When we hand five dollars to the panhandler, it is more about cleansing our conscience than genuine concern for our fellow human. How many conservatives live in self-imposed ghettoes of affluence? Which begs the question: if the Church holds the responsibility for social justice, and not the State, then how are we doing? How many Churches in Redding/Buffalo are actively including members of the homeless community in their fellowship? My friends at the City Mission have quietly said that many Churches make it clear they aren’t welcome there. (Not the ‘liberal’ churches either…)

    Fifth, I still say the largest area of concern in this whole conversation is systemic injustice. A stat from our City: the average vocabulary of the three year old of professional parents exceeds that of the average parent who is on public assistance! How dare we act as if the children from these homes are on equal footing?! There are problems that must be dealt with holistically and communally; systemically.

    Sixth, I am fine with conservative responses to these concerns. What bothers me most is twofold: 1) that conservatives act as if their viewpoints are scriptural when they aren’t (“they say they are a Christian, but they vote pro-choice” etc.). For example, where in Scripture does it say we should protect private property rights, or the right to own a firearm? 2) the voices loudly advocating “the State should leave social justice to the Church” are the very same voices yelling even louder, “the Church isn’t about social justice, but preaching the Gospel!” (And I differ tremendously from conservatives on what euangelion means!)

    Love the conversation! Hope your iron keeps sparking!!!
    😉

  14. Hey Bill,

    we cross commented…

    Does my sixth point answer the question for you?

    It is because I believe in so much of what the conservatives stand for, that I am so frustrated by their refusal to go all the way with their lives into what they claim to stand for!

    I feel like (theologically) conservative Christians are on track with so much of what they say, and yet, are hamstrung by their associations with conservative politics to the point that we are afraid to think outside of the box!

  15. I’m going to split the following into multiple posts, otherwise it would be too long.
    First of all, who are we, and I mean the first person plural, to tell anyone they are generous enough or not? One of Jesus’ points in telling the widow’s mite story, was to tell us we don’t know the standard of generosity. I mean, and I don’t intend to disparage the story, but if all you got is two cents, are you really any worse off if you give it away? What was the widow going to buy with that money anyway? The preceding was the type of cynicism that results when we start comparing our generosity or any “good work.” Our responsibility is to tell people to be generous, not to tell people whether they are. That’s God’s job. It sounds like you are going down your street, checking off who in your neighborhood is up to snuff in the giving department. I would ask by whose standard? And don’t say God’s. Until we can make ourselves into beings infinitely less than ourselves and give ourselves for those beings, we will NEVER meet God’s standard of generosity. I’m sorry if I offend, but when I asked you to name three people a couple of posts ago, I never thought you’d say you could. That’s as far as I’ll go with that.
    I don’t know which side gives more. I have a feeling that no one in this country gives more than Bill Gates, at least in terms of quantity. I’ve never heard him make a profession of faith. That doesn’t mean he’s not a Christian. And being a Christian wouldn’t mean he’s conservative. What it does mean is that, if he isn’t a believer and he’s given so much away, it’s not gonna matter.

  16. Part 2
    I don’t want a theocracy led by church officials. I do long for a theocracy with the one true King, but that will happen when it happens. The relationship between the church and the American government has been mostly a bad thing. It’s not just a conservative, evangelical Christian thing. In Chicago, when I was growing up the connection between the Catholic church and the Democratic party was a given. They worked hand in hand. You named where you lived in the city by naming the local parish, as in, “Hey, where you livin’ now?” “I live in St. Daniel’s now, you know, over by dere.” At least that’s the way it was on the sout’west side. Northwest side, Bill? And that’s where the aldermen came from. They diverted a whole interstate from it’s best path to go around a Catholic church. No problem condemning everything else, but not that church. You didn’t want a bunch of angry Polish people and Irish people come election day. I hope you appreciate how polite I made that last sentence, Bill.
    Now it’s the African-American church that holds a lot of the power. Bill, you probably remember this better than I. But weren’t they getting acres of land for $1, so they could build churches? That was quite amazing, especially when you’re going to a church that wants to buy land but couldn’t get a quote for less than $500,000 an acre. Stuff like that was done for votes. It’s done at a city level so it doesn’t get the publicity that a movement like The Moral Majority got. So, I never quite understood the outrage over the involvement of the church in government. It was and is standard operational procedure in Chicago. In any case, it’s unhealthy. It’s unhealthy, and this is my opinion, because the Christians, at least on the organizational level, are using the church to make a strong government with patriotism, flags, posting the Ten Commandments, etc. What Christians should be doing is using the blessings and freedom afforded by this country to build a growing Church. Growing in every sense of the word. Not growing to take over the government, but growing to establish the Kingdom of God.

  17. Part 3 being the last (Thanks, Bill)
    As far as anarchy, I’m agin it. We do need government. I said that. We have the best in the world, at least the best system. I don’t believe it’s working at its best right now. Part of that is because of the people in it (and their cynicism—Do they really think we care about a lapel pin, or are really swayed by flowery, empty rhetoric? Got both of them in there.) The other part is because we ask too much of it.
    I don’t think everything should be privatized. Definitely not the military. That is one of the duties of the government: protect our borders. It should regulate our economy and keep us competitive with the rest of the world. It should make laws that guarantee that everyone has a fair shot at pursuing happiness, not guaranteeing that everyone is happy, because that will never happen.
    As far as schools go. Yes. Schools should be privatized. Not at the drop of a hat, but over the span of some years, a voucher system should be implemented, so that the demand for private schools increases and the need for public education decreases. I am a public school teacher. Our system don’t work. It can’t work. We can’t have some public official in Washington D.C. telling people in, I don’t know, Billings, MT how to educate their kids. Especially if said public official is sending their kids to a swanky private school, because the taxpayers are paying him or her enough to do what the taxpayers can’t do. I don’t believe it was a conspiracy to do it, but sending kids to public schools is the start of how people come to depend on the government for everything. At my school, we feed almost all of our students breakfast and lunch. For free. I’m not saying, “Too bad, kids should go to bed hungry.” But since when does a free school come with a side of a free restaurant? Anyway, if I heard a candidate for office say he wanted to put into motion a movement that would lead to all private schools, I would vote for that person even if I disagreed with him or her on everything else.
    This might have more passion than I intended, but I am still stoked about that no-hitter. Hey, Chicago, what do you say?

  18. WOW!!! Bill you weren’t kidding. Hi Steve and Tamy, I miss you guys. Bill told me that this got a bit heated so I had to swing on by maxgrace and check it out. When I was fairly young I lived in a part of southern cali where I (the white kid) was the minority and I think that time permanently made me very fearful of labeling. I realize that there are labels and groups and this that and the other thing and that I really don’t have the intellect to really “compete” in this but (the infamous but) I love that this country has worked so hard to break down some of these labels. Blacks are no longer less than human, woman can have an opinion (and they do), I’m sure that you could continue this list farther than I could. My slightly long winded point is that all of these previously mentioned issues are all label based. I really fear using the word all so please just have grace with that because you can almost always find a way to make an “all” void. Here are my questions for you. Does our Father God see a black white collar man and a hispanic blue collar woman or does He see His beloved children? Are we right wing and left wing in His heart or His stumbling beautiful children that He loves oh so much? Here’s the most important one in my life. Am I desiring to have the same eyes and heart as my Father?

    I could really get into my beliefs on politics, unborn babies, gay marriages, or any other argument out there but I just have to take it back down to the basics for me and that is that I want to see through His eyes and His heart at all times. I feel that is the best way for me to make the changes that He desires for me to make in His kingdom. This is just me and my walk at this time and I realize that it might not be the same for you but we’re all brothers and sisters in this great life….in this great country that I love so very much.

    There’s my two cents. I love you all.

  19. I just reread what I wrote after I had posted it. Bad habit of mine. I realized that I don’t think that I made my point clear. So my point is this. I feel that I have to treat every single person that I interact with on an individual level. If I start to put them into a group I start to form opinions about them based on that and that effects the way that I view them and often times the way that I care for them. Is this the way that God deals with each of us? Am I desiring to have His heart and views on you and everybody else in the world? This is a hard thing for me because that means that I have to Love people like Saddam Hussein, Adolf Hitler, Marilyn Manson, and the pedophile that hurt people that I love. I remember knowing last year that I wouldn’t hesitate in shooting a certain man in the head for he did to so many young woman and I was OK with that. Now I hate what he did, I pity the man but I’m forced to love him….love is not forced…..I have become the man of God that will willingly love him though I hate his disgusting actions.

    I find that the more that I try to to tear down those labels the more that I see through His eyes and not mine. This is how I feel our Father has designed my heart to serve His kingdom. Ok I’m done now. Sorry if this seems a bit rough in flow but I’m on 3 hours of sleep so please have grace.

  20. Love to hear more Dr. G.

    I know electronic communication isn’t always the clearest, but I always get the creeping suspicion that our communication on any given topic usually stops right around the time we have managed to clarify our positions and define what exactly we do disagree on.

    I’d enjoy going beyond that point (on other topics even more than this one)…

  21. Steve… usually it’s because I’ve moved on to other topics… and I feel I’ve expressed myself. Yes, I still read every comment before it’s posted, so I do know what you’ve written. It’s just that virtually nobody else is reading the commentary once it’s this old…

    I don’t think you’ve been consistent, since you ask.

    I think you’ve bitten the “anti-conservative” apple, and let it skew your perception of Christian conservatives–toward a very negative, perhaps demeaning, direction. I don’t think it’s consistent to call yourself a conservative and then to say how mad you are simply because they don’t go far enough. Do you ever say the same about liberals?

    I also think that you assume that every Christian has the same divine call on their lives as you. No, God does not call all Christians to poverty, or to voluntary poverty, or to minister to the lower end of the socio-economic spectrum. God calls his people to every stratum of society. Yes, we are to have concern for the less fortunate. And yes, Scripture commands us to be generous. It also commands us to pray for quiet and peacable lives. You do not seem to make allowance for that. Yes, when i challenge you, you modify your statements, but it seems that you don’t back down–you just reframe.

    But in general, you seem to nail the very group that has (historically and statistically and demonstrably) done the very best at the things you’re so “outraged” over (your word, not mine). I don’t get that, even if you call yourself one of them.

    So, yep, we disagree. And I still have tremendous respect for you as a leader, a thinker, a pastor, a debater, and a brother in Christ.

    Bill

  22. Hey Pastor,

    I guess it probably does look like I ‘bit the apple…’

    You’ll just have to take my word for it that the only reason I push so hard against conservatives is that I think they (we) are the closest to what God wants us to be living/thinking/being.

    (By the way, I shouldn’t describe myself as ‘outraged’ towards conservatives, frustrated by conservatives is more like it.)

    I don’t critique liberals very much because 1) I think they don’t really take Jesus seriously. Conservatives do. I just think conservative Christians have had their commitment co-opted by all the wrong ideas and people. And 2) I don’t really know that much about liberal Christianity firsthand.

    As to the issue of calling… I have to say that I may very well be doing just that. I recognize that as a possibility. But I still think the debate needs to be had.

    Maybe I am taking on issues that lead me to think others should take them on as well. Perhaps my unique context (planting an urban church) causes me to see everything in that light; but what about the questions themselves?

    I would really appreciate a dialogue on the points I listed above. Even setting aside the political issues, what about the simple fact that many conservative Christians seem to be modeling their spiritual framework on that of the Essenes (move to the suburbs) rather than that of Jesus? While I acknowledge that not everyone is called to live the same life, surely at some point we have to be willing to say enough is enough? Do you agree that there is this trend? Do you see it as a problem? What are appropriate levels of interaction for a ‘normal’ Christian with the social and political ills of our day and age? What are appropriate levels of sacrifice that we should expect ‘normal’ Christians to engage in?

    Be blessed, and I understand if you don’t have time or energy to respond!!!

  23. “I do not believe one can settle how much we ought to give. I am
    afraid the only safe rule is to give more than we can spare.”

    CS Lewis – Mere Christianity

  24. This too:

    “In other words, if our expenditure on comforts, luxuries, amusements, etc, is up to the standard common among those with the same income as our own, we are probably giving away too little. If our charities do not at all pinch or hamper us, I should say they are too small There ought to be things we should like to do and cannot do because our charitable expenditure excludes them. I am speaking now of “charities” in the common way. Particular cases of distress among your own relatives, friends, neighbours or employees, which God, as it were, forces upon your notice, may demand much more: even to the crippling and endangering of your own position. For many of us the great obstacle to charity lies not in our luxurious living or desire for more money, but in our fear-fear of insecurity. This must often be recognised as a temptation.”

    CS Lewis – Mere Christianity

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