Categories
Theology

The Cockiness of Conservatives

I have been looking for a way to express this for some time now. Thanks, again, to John Piper, for his articulate, weighty, passionate, biblical explanation.  The quote below comes from a sermon in 2004 called “Discerning the Will of God Concerning Homosexuality and Marriage.”

Piper’s words are targeted at the conservative Evangelical movement. He is calling Christians to be radical and stand out and apart from that movement. As a Christian, with Christ-centered, biblical values, I find myself in tension here in America.  As I grow older and more mature (in my faith and in life in general) I notice that I distance myself from both the mainstream conservatives and liberals. Neither of them hold to radical, Christ-centered values. I can’t be a cocky, conservative, political cynic and then try to identify with Jesus. There’s no room for both.

This paragraph helps me. I hope, if you are a Christian, it helps you too.

We do not smirk at the misery or the merrymaking of immoral culture. We weep. Know any good conservative talk show hosts that weep? Name one. Being pilgrims does not mean being cynical. That’s the name of the game. The salt of the earth does not mock rotting meat. It tries to preserve, savor, and when it can’t it weeps. Being Christian pilgrims in American culture does not end our influence, it takes the swagger out of it. There’s so many strutting conservatives! Including our President [Bush]. And strutting democrats. “Can say no wrong, can make no mistake, I’ve got all the answers.” STRUT, STRUT, STRUT!  That is not the demeanor of an evangelical pilgrim who knows he’s fallen, knows he’s broken…We don’t get cranky when evil triumphs, we don’t whine when things don’t go the way we want them to in our culture. It isn’t our culture, heaven is our culture. We’re not hardened with anger. We understand what’s happening now. Why? Because we saw it happen 2,000 years ago. We hear, just like they heard…the imperial words of the Lord Jesus, “If they hated me, they will hate you. Love your enemies, pray for those who persecute you…if you love only those who love you, what do you do more than others? Even the tax collectors do that. If you greet only your brothers, what do you do more than others? Even the Gentiles do that. You must be perfect as your Father in heaven is perfect.”  His way was so different than the seeming pervasive Evangelical, conservative, strutting, swaggering, cocky, cynical way.

Read or watch the whole thing.

Categories
Life

Who is paying taxes?

This is staggering.  For the 2009 work year:

  • The bottom 50% of earners will pay $0 in Federal Income Taxes.
  • The top 1% of earners will pay 40.5% of taxes.
  • The top 5% will pay 60.6% of taxes.
  • The top 10% will pay 71.2% of taxes.

Here is a helpful infograph from Mint.com to break these numbers down.

HT: Eternity Matters

Categories
Life

Pro-Choicers Ignore 2nd Grade Science Lesson

Categories
Life

How Should Christians Respond to Obama’s Education Speech?

Obama’s speech on education, which he will give today, has caused quite a stir among Christians, most notably on the Desiring God blog.  There, John Piper expressed his excitment over what the President said.  Basically, Obama challenges students to work hard, be responsible, and have a positive attitude with school.  He said that students need to turn off the TV and get off the Xbox.  I couldn’t agree more.

Some Christians try to find a devil behind everything Obama says.  Some Christians will not give “honor to whom honor is owed” (Rom. 13:7).  I think that’s wrong.  I don’t agree with most of Obama’s policies, but I can commend a man when he speaks truth.

With that in mind, I think if you are one of the Christians who believes you cannot applaud something that Obama says because of his other policies/ideas (which very well may be moral failures), then you are ignoring an important theme in Scripture:

  • Remember that King Cyrus was a pagan ruler of a pagan nation, yet he was the Lord’s “anointed,” who was used to redeem his people. God said, “I call you by your name, I name you, though you do not know me…I equip you, though you do not know me” (Isa. 45:1-13). It is clear that God can do good through people who don’t know him personally.
  • Remember that God has common grace on all of creation: “For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust” (Matt. 5:45). This includes Obama and all the unsaved teachers who teach our children.
  • Remember that God loves justice wherever he finds it because God is just: “A false balance is an abomination to the LORD, but a just weight is his delight” (Pr. 11:1). And “A just balance and scales are the LORD’s; all the weights in the bag are his work” (Pr. 16:11). This applies even to Obama and education in the United States.
  • Remember that Obama is a “servant for your good” if you are a believer (Rom. 13:4), whether you agree with him or not. Are some of his policies bad? Yes. Was there anything wrong with what he said in this speech? If there was, it was minimal.  Would you fault your non-Christian employer who demands his employees to work harder instead of showing up late, leaving early, and taking an extra long lunch because he didn’t mention Jesus? I doubt it.
  • Remember, finally, that Paul quoted pagan religions in evangelism and teaching (Acts 17:22-34; Titus 1:12). There are commonalities that we can share with non-believers in order to point them to Jesus. Obama can’t point people to Jesus if he’s not a believer, so we can’t expect him to do that. The job falls on us Christians to find common ground in order to tell him (and others), “Look there! That’s Jesus. He made hard work. He created math and science and English and history. And he gives us strength to learn and write papers and do science projects!  To know this Jesus, that is what our children need the most.”

So we pray for Obama and beg God to let light shine in his heart. But we also give honor to whom honor is due. We don’t encourage our children to be like Obama or a teacher or anyone else (not even John Piper!!!). We point them to the cross, teaching them to be conformed to and led by Jesus. As we do that, we tell them to rejoice in truth wherever it is found because all objective truth is God’s truth. Education is good. Hard work is good. Addiction to TV and Xbox or anything else is bad. We praise God for these truths. He is the author of them.

*     *     *

Related Posts: