During the long and painful political campaign in the United States, much negative mud-slinging was directed towards Senator Barack Obama.
He was called an Arab.
He was called a Muslim.
He was called a terrorist.
He was accused of hating America.
People called him a snake.
And then... they really got nasty...
Many voters had the presence of mind to bypass the mudslinging and accusations and look into the heart of the matter. They did not allow the negativity to permeate their thinking. Even Senator John McCain, when confronted with this mindset among his supporters, made the wise choice of advising them to back away from the overly negative mindsets (reported on CNN). Sadly, some of these individuals felt that holding onto their hatred was far more important to obeying their party’s leader.
Some still do.
The worst part, in our opinion, was when people jumped upon this political bandwagon... and did such in the name of Christianity!
It was bad having pastors thumbing their noses at the IRS rules against non-profit churches endorsing candidates by advising their congregations to not vote for Barack Hussein Obama. Like the Frankenstein monster, such paranoid hysteria has taken a life of its own. Prophecies of gloom and doom are spreading all over the internet -- and some Christians have shared some of these web posts and e-mails with us, informing us that they are genuinely afraid of what the future may hold under an Obama presidency.
We remember back in 1984 when a religious group claimed to have incontrovertible evidence that the world would end that year. They purchased full-page newspaper ads that initially acknowledged that Jesus said that no man would know the day of His returning. However, they added the word “but” and went on to explain that they had knowledge that even Jesus did not claim to possess. Yikes! Many people were worried... they genuinely believed the world would end.
Well, 1984 came and went.
A decade later, 1994 came and went.
Another decade passed and 2004 came and went.
Yet, the Lord still tarries.
Do you think maybe He is waiting for us to stop playing silly political games and be about His business?
So then, why are people getting confused and upset over the escalating swirl of verkakte proclamations that the election of the Democratic candidate will result in earthquakes... tidal waves... floods... human sacrifice... dogs and cats living together... mass hysteria... ???
The editor of Charisma Magazine, a popular Christian publication, wrote in the Strang Report blog that “life as we know it” would end if Barack Obama is elected. Well, Obama was elected as the 44th President of the United States of America. Will life as we know it change? Would that be a bad thing?
Certainly, we would like to see the economy improve.
Many want the wars (that are being funded with borrowed money) to end.
And we would like to see our borders better protected from the influx of sociopaths and killers who are currently entering the country.
We would like to see unity as Americans and not as red- and blue-states.
Is this what Strang was referring to, the world becoming a better place? Nay. I suppose you can read his blogs and come to your own conclusion. One point from Strang’s blog struck us as a wee bit interesting. The following is a quote from that on-line publication:
There will also be a “take from the rich, give to the poor” type of socialistic mind-set throughout the nation.
The interesting thing there is that this is not a socialistic mind-set. It is a Christian mind-set. We saw in the Book of Acts that the early believers who had wealth sold their possessions so that they could support those who were poor.
Now the company of believers was of one heart and soul, and not one of them claimed that anything which he possessed was [exclusively] his own, but everything they had was in common and for the use of all.
Acts 4:32 (Amplified Bible)
It, then, is baffling how an idea taken directly from the Bible (and by a guy named Hussein, no less) could be derisively referred to as socialistic. Certainly, it goes against Republican doctrine to redistribute wealth to the poor and needy. Well, unless, of course, you count the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) signed by Republican President Ronald Reagan on October 22, 1986. But it certainly does not transcend Bible doctrine... at least, not according to Acts 4:32.
It is very clear, however, that this mindset reflects the tendency of religious folks to react to knee-jerk issues without considering the big-picture of what God has called us to do upon this earth. Does God prosper His people to drive bigger cars than sinners... or to help supply the needs of po’ folks?
Of course, what many other religious folks are harping on (we will refrain from listing their names, or links to their sites) is the belief that President Obama would (in the words of one correspondent) kill his own grandchild -- in the hypothetical instance that one of his daughters would become pregnant out of wedlock. Is it really fair to take a sound-bite and twist it into a battle cry? Do we want to interpret a willingness to allow a person to choose as the intention to personally run a sword through the bellies of pregnant women?
Granted, we at the Powerhouse do not endorse abortion. We do understand, however, that God gives man the right to choose... even when the results may be disastrous. Adam was allowed to choose to eat the forbidden fruit... even though all of his descendents were cursed. Abraham was allowed to choose to impregnate Hagar... even though the war between Ishmael and Isaac continues to this day. People who are offered salvation through Christ have the freedom to reject it and choose hell. It is a bad choice... but God gives one the free will to make that choice.
What Christians can (and should) do, then, is present people with the ability to make the best informed choice.
This strategy is embodied in the words of the Apostle Paul in Titus 2:1-7. The older men and women must educate the young men and women regarding the conduct of their lives. This should decrease the incidence of unwanted pregnancy. However, if a woman still finds herself in that situation, the church should make itself into a place where she is encouraged to run into to find comfort – emotionally, financially, logistically, and most importantly: spiritually.
In reality, however, this is often not the case. An unwed pregnant girl is often met by religious folks with derision. It is de rigueur for many churchgoers to roll their eyes and gossip about someone caught in sin. Often, a young woman who is pregnant out of wedlock is shunned and may even be asked to leave the church. I have never seen people reach out to counsel the youth as in Titus 2, nor have I seen people rally around a young woman to care for her child and offer her support so that she would be dissuaded from making the wrong choice of aborting that child. Wayne Kirkpatrick and Susan Ashton’s song “Started With a Whisper” delineates what happens in many churches where “holier than thou” circumvents Christ-like compassion.
I remember when I was a youth worker barely out of my teens. We approached the pastor with a plan to address the escalating number of teen pregnancies in the congregation. The pastor was outraged that we wanted to discuss the subject of (gasp) sex with the youth – even from a biblical perspective.
Isn’t it sad when we are so unwilling to address topics that may make us uncomfortable? Or, to invite people into our church who don’t have nice clothes. Or, who may look and/or smell funny? But we feel comfortable at casting that first stone... especially when we can do so from the relative anonymity of the internet.
The subject of abortion (along with that of homosexuality) has been the guaranteed vote-getter for the Republicans in past elections. How many parents didn’t vote for John Kerry because they didn’t want their kids to turn gay. A lot. How many parents fell for the robo-calls during the 2004 election? A lot. But this year... voters seemed to become a bit more sagacious. Of course, some Christian web sites would say they were deceived or misled.
One thing that the pundits have been tossing around is the need for more caring on a social level. Again, we would like to see the unborn given an opportunity to live. But what is the church’s position on those who are born?
Will the church step in to help if they become homeless following a foreclosure?
Will the church step in to help if food is beyond their economic reach?
Will the church step in to help if they are recruited into violent gangs and forced to do a 187 (murder somebody)?
Will the church step in to help if they are forced into the multi-billion-dollar international sex trade?
Will the church step in to help if they contract HIV?
Regardless of what laws may or may not be passed... regardless of what Supreme Court rulings may or may not be repealed... (and nobody really knows, at this early stage in the game, if any of the aforementioned may even be on the political docket) -- if the Body of Christ sets itself with the agenda of reaching out to those people who might find themselves with an unwanted pregnancy, perhaps abortion won’t even be a question.
Abortion isn’t a problem if nobody wants one.
Drugs aren’t a problem if nobody takes them.
Liquor isn’t a problem if nobody drinks it.
Let our focus be on getting the gospel of Jesus Christ into people’s lives and hearts. If we can do that, the battle is already won.
Still, we know (from personal experience) the dangers of desire. Not only fleshly desire... but religious desire.
Surely the apostles thought they were doing the right thing when they chose Matthias to be the replacement for Judas Iscariot. Matthias may have been a good guy. He might have been handsome. He might have been eloquent. Maybe he skillfully played the stringed instrument during worship services. Who knows, he may have done great works for the Lord. However...
the first and last mention of Matthias
in the Bible
occurred within the same passage of scripture.
God never chose Matthias. He chose the man whom the apostles would never have dreamt of. In fact, when Saul of Tarsus became the Apostle Paul, it took some major league convincing to get the others to accept him.
The Bible confirms that God is sovereign in the affairs of man.
He changes the times and the seasons; He removes kings and sets up kings. He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who have understanding!
Daniel 2:21 (Amplified Bible)
The question remains, will you join those who are praying for our elected leader, or will you continue to stir up a hornet’s nest of rage and opposition? Towards that end, I would like to ask you this question:
What if those religious folk
who spend so much time and energy
spinning their political wheels
to support a specific agenda
would put that SAME energy
towards doing the work
of the gospel of Jesus Christ?
What if we used that energy to tell people that God loves them and has a wonderful plan for their lives?
What if we took the funds spent on political pursuits and purchased supplies to provide poor families with provisions so that they might enjoy Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners?
What if instead of spending time Google-ing hearsay about political candidates, we spent that time studying the scriptures so that we might develop more spiritual fruits in our lives?
What if we went to our knees and prayed for our elected President instead of speaking evil about him?
1FIRST OF all, then, I admonish and urge that petitions, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be offered on behalf of all men, 2For kings and all who are in positions of authority or high responsibility, that [outwardly] we may pass a quiet and undisturbed life [and inwardly] a peaceable one in all godliness and reverence and seriousness in every way. 3For such [praying] is good and right, and [it is] pleasing and acceptable to God our Savior, 4Who wishes all men to be saved and [increasingly] to perceive and recognize and discern and know precisely and correctly the [divine] Truth.
1st Timothy 2:1-4 (Amplified Bible)
Even Senator John McCain, in his concession speech, repudiated the negative sentiments expressed during the campaign and urged Americans to come together under a spirit of cooperation. Of course, we recall that people in the crowd vocalized their disagreement. They refused to lay down their hate. What would Jesus do?
He has showed you, O man, what is good.
And what does the LORD require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
and to walk humbly with your God.
Micah 6:8 (New International Version)
We understand that many folks have their opinions and may disagree with what we are saying. However, don’t expect an on-going argument. In the words of Forrest Gump, that is all I have to say about that. We just wanted to address the plethora of “stuff” floating around the bowl of the internet (much of which keeps landing in our e-mail box) by giving it a solid flush...
May God bless the United States of America.
Here is a little video clip that came to our attention... it addresses one of the points that was made: