Not really, but sort of. A couple of weeks ago our pastor opened his sermon with the words from Simon and Garfunkel song, "America" and I have been on a S&G kick ever since. Frankly, mostly just the concert in Central Park. It reminds me so much of Mom. We use to watch it on PBS, just about every year she was on the vent. If it was a really good song, she would come off the machine and sing...not recommended by most health care professionals by the way! But mostly she just tapped her fingers and mouth the words...right along with me. One of my most precious memories ever. Still makes me smile.
So what about this song? America...yeah, we got some stuff going on for sure. I have found myself in the middle of more than one debate, thank you Facebook for reconnecting me to so many of my liberal friends of old-how I adore them.
The thing is, we all have the same heart: feed the hungry, clothe the naked, house the homeless, heal the sick. It is our heart to serve...Oh how He has changed us from with in! Glory to His name to give us a heart like His.
We just expect all those things to be done differently. I've heard the liberal argument that the GOP wants to protect the unborn but won't feed them once they are here. Okay, lets go with that one. I have no interest in seeing children go hungry. I also firmly believe that when we take away personal responsibility from the parents of hungry children we take a primal force from those parents. Michele Bachman was mocked for saying "If you don't work, you don't eat." Um, yeah, Paul said it first, in Thessalonians I think. And I also don't know that it was an accurate account of scripture to use when she did. You see Paul was speaking about fellow believers in a specific community, not those who were not apart of the community. See the difference? We cannot hold a none believer by the same standard. And let us be very careful how we wield The Word.
What if we began by taking care of the unborn, keeping them safe and move on from there? I happen to know that the cause of pregnancy has been found...there are great ways to not make babies available to everyone today. So what of the young mom who has a baby, daddy is gone, and she is on her own. What is our response to that? Let them go hungry? Put them out on the street? Seriously? Um I hope not. So where is the Body of Christ? Do we start with throwing stones? Hmmm, I think Jesus would frown upon that one. What if she tends to be the neighborhood harlot? I do believe Jesus confronted a woman at a well about such behavior...He gave her living water.
So here is the rub: no where in the Word does Jesus tell His disciples to pay extra taxes so the government can have a government program for the poor and the down trodden. As a matter of fact, and this one will get me in trouble with hard line tithers, The Word never demands we give a specific amount to any one. In one account after another, the people are instructed to give from their hearts, be it to build a temple or to care for the poor. "Give from your heart whatever you choose...." is stated over and over and over again. Somehow, God has always known that when people are forced to pay a tax they are subject to corruption...think about Matthew-the tax collector. Yeah, no one was too thrilled to see that guy get called as a fisher of men. And yet, Jesus did pay his tax and tells us to do the same-think about the coin in the fish to pay the temple tax or what He said about giving to Cesar what is Cesar's.
So here we are. One group wants to care for the poor through the government. Another group longs to care for the poor on it's own terms. We happen to be the most generous nation the world has ever seen. No one made us give after the tsunami or earth quakes. We gave our time, our money, all of our resources in addition to money given by the government. No one made us do it....No one.
As a nation we have always fought for the underdog. We did so because as Americans we long to see everyone get a fighting chance. I've never seen this country, once aware there was a problem, not deal with it. I still believe in the over all goodness of We The People.
I also think there is a reason this topic is to hot right now. No, not because of the impending election. Right now, the needs of the poor are still being met through countless government programs...but there is a remnant preparing to serve the poor when the government can't. I don't have a bunker and I am not a doomsdayer at all. I just know the path our nation is on is unsustainable. So what will happen when there is no more cheese to hand out? Because there will come a day when there is no more cheese blocks. Are we ready now to open our homes? Are we ready now to open our wallets? Are we ready to use our resources?
I still stand on the conviction that our God is Grace and Truth, Justice and Mercy. Each goes hand in hand. Grace and Mercy with out Truth and Justice is a lie...and Jesus never demonstrated one with out the other.
Who do I want in office? A patriot. Don't care if he is a Catholic, a Jew, a Hindu, or Pagan....I want a patriot who will obey the rule of law set forth in the constitution. Because if that happens, we will be free to do all these things once again...only better I think. Why? We live in the information age folks. A couple of years ago, we were all under the assumption that slavery was dead. We all were impressed that we didn't see Red Light Districts (for the most part) anymore. Today we know the pimps and slave owners have gotten tech savoy...and who is helping to set these captives free? The Body of Christ.
So as a nation we stand at a cross roads as we all go off to look for America. I hope we re-find it...it is a pretty amazing place.