Good evening, everyone; sit down and get ready for a long one. I have several things to get off my hairless chest tonight, and this first one I'm hopimg for Pat Miller to read and give an opinion on, so I'll go there first as he is a busy man and will be able to read this part and not have to scroll around wondering why I asked him here.
Our Constitutional government is unarguably the best form of government when run by honorable men. Also beyond argument is the fact that a huge proportion of those currently in charge are not exactly honorable. Thus, I have been considering our checks and balances system. I want you to think about all the things currently stalemated in our government- and the things that are not. It would almost seem, in a nation that has split into a two-party system, that the tendancy of a checks and balances framework would logically be stalemate. Perhaps not at every moment in time, but on balance. Today Mr. Miller was referencing all the different ways the Obama administration is circumventing the other two branches- and in this is included appointing of "czars" to avoid Congressional vetting of department heads- as the Constitution provides for by hearings on cabinet appointments. In this is included underpublicized executive orders; and in this is included telling his Justice Dpt. not to prosecute laws he doesn't like but hasn't the votes nor the cajones to repeal.
But you know, he's not alone. How about legislators who, finding themselves in the minority, skip the jurisdiction in order to keep the legislature from doing anything. How about Legislatures that modify laws to ensure themselves majorities (such as eliminating voter ID requirements so that illegal aliens and dead people can vote in elections, and can vote multiple times). How about "activist judges" who are determined to stretch, perforate, ignore, and create new "laws" in order to rule in favor of their political view (like the one who said that saying "amen" at a graduation was against free speech rights). Now you might notice that the majority of all these examples can be laid at the feet of the Democrat party. Not suprising; honor in the left end of the American political spectrum died with Jack Kennedy. But over time, the right is learning the easy lesson of how to play the game too. Because it's either that or surrender to stalemate.
If you think about it, how many of the great things that America has done are the result of a president acting in defiance of, or at least contrary to the wishes of, congress? The freeing of slaves, the fighting for the freedom to choose in Vietnam, Nicaragua, Grenada, and Korea, reaching the moon, and so many more were done by Presidents with the courage to buck the system. Name one great thing that America has done that Congress led us into. While you scratch your heads for an answer on that, let me get to my point.
If we believe that we can still find enough honrable men to fill the voids thereof in the three branches of government, then what we have is fine. If not, then let's look at a couple of choices. #1: based on past history, put the power into the executive. Make Congress an advisory body, but draw a line of executive power that says this far and no farther. After all, we don't need a Hugo Chavez. #2: do like the Europeans do. Put the power in Congress who chooses a Prime Minister to form a government. Have an elected President whose basic job is to salute at funerals and call for new elections when he feels the current legislature and/or PM is out of touch with the nation's desires. Both would basically do away with stale mate, the first because it's hard for one man to stalemate himself, and the second because at any one time, the majority of oars would be paddling the same direction. As Americans, we would probably choose to keep the one we have- where honorable men move the country through RESPECTED checks and balances. Right now, those checks and balances are not respected by a wide swath. Those men are not always honorable. So I ask you- is our current government just going through a hard time- or in this world's new morality, is it an ideal that just doesn't work anymore?
Okay Pat, you are excused.
The next thing I want to speak about is a study on 1090 Christian radio by Dr. James MacArthur a night or so ago. Let me preface this by saying that his main point- that a Christian needs to be in an earthly church (ie a congregation)- I have no problem with. Really. But here are some things I did have a problem with:
1. Dr. MacArthur began the lesson by stating how All the significant moments of his life came in church. His father was a pastor. He learned about God, gave his life to Christ, made all his lifelong friends, met his future wife, raised his children, all in his local church. Thus, he went on, he could not conceive of how someone could not see the church in the same way he did. Emphasising, "can not conceive".
2. I believe this created for him a "blind spot" that showed itself in the way he then described people who, though Christian, were not in a church. The first was giving the impression that such people had not been baptized, did not receive the Lord's Supper. I agree that it is essential (though not "salvation depends on it" essential) to be baptized, and to take the Lord's Supper as often as your conscience dictates. His implication that anyone not in a church for whatever reason has NEVER been baptized nor partaken was a bit of a stretch.
3. He went on to attack church hopping, and again in a general, "everybody who does this" way. He may not have intended it to sound that way, but it did. God allowed the establishment of different churches for a reason- different people have different needs. Some people have to search to find the church that is the "fit" for them. God has you look around, see the different facets, before He sets your roots down. And sometimes a person changes, for whatever reasons. I don't believe God wants you to stagnate.
4.He also pointed out, incredibly to me, that part of the problem is that the Evangelical movement focuses on the "personal relationship" of the believer with Christ. Thus, the community of believers gets second billing. Hello, which is more important- being in a church or being right with Christ? I agree that- in most cases- the two go hand in hand. But not always...
5. At the end, his host asked if their own ministry isn't a problem, a substitute for the church. Of course he said no, and he is right- used properly, his program is nothing but a study aid. But it carrys with it the temptation to use it as a sermon substitute- no matter his own intentions.
My thoughts afterwards were, I think Dr, MacArthur could use with a Perspective shift. You cannot conceive of why someone wouldn't be a member of a church? Perhaps he should try. Some people are in the midst of a crisis, or at least personal debate, of faith. I fall in that category. I'm at peace with it, though, because when I brought it up in prayer one day, I felt the answer, not from me, " Jesus spent time in Samaria, too." Get it- no synagogues in Samaria. Sometimes the Lord's path is a solitary one. Some people are physically or emotionally unable to attend with a group. Some have been hurt deeply by "people" in a church, and have trust issues. And a lot of these people have a peace with Christ about it. Am I off base here/ Or do we need to move away from a black and white, zero tolerance approach to believers who are non- attenders? I'd like to here from you all on this subject.
Finally a word about work, that place where we were told today that lollipops were no longer allowed on the work floor because they were a safety hazard. (Stay tuned for the second graders we must be hiring soon- they'll start as soon as they replace all our scissors with rounded end ones.) Last year around this time, I was begging you all to stop buying our cushions, so we could get off the 70-hour weeks. Well, a year later, you FINALLY decided to listen. We're not even going to have a 40-hour week this week. So let me phrase this concisely- Buy cushions! In moderation, but don't be afraid. You know you need them, that chaise lounge is beat to shit, admit it! You don't have to get a cushion for every square inch of your home, like last year, just enough for those four chairs on the patio with the faded, lumpy cushions. G'wan!