Thursday, August 16, 2012

Call me on it...

You all know I am a Christian. I try to be a good representative for every group I am a part of. (Yes, do I know I should say "for every group of which I am a part".  But I won't.) So if you see me being a bad conservative, black man, musician, friend, father, brother, son, husband or especially Christian, (and whatever else I am) please call me on it.  I believe if I am in the ball park most of the time as a Christian it will make me better at everything else. Here are part of the guidelines that I came across for who and how I should be.

1 Peter 2
Your identity as believers
1 Therefore, get rid of all ill will and all deceit, pretense, envy, and slander.
9 But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people who are God's own possession. You have become this people so that you may speak of the wonderful acts of the one who called you out of darkness into his amazing light.
Life as strangers in the world
11 Dear friends, since you are immigrants and strangers in the world, I urge that you avoid worldly desires that wage war against your lives.
12 Live honorably among the unbelievers. Today, they defame you, as if you were doing evil. But in the day when God visits to judge they will glorify him, because they have observed your honorable deeds.
13 For the sake of the Lord submit to every human institution. Do this whether it means submitting to the emperor as supreme ruler,
14 or to governors as those sent by the emperor. They are sent to punish those doing evil and to praise those doing good.
15 Submit to them because it's God's will that by doing good you will silence the ignorant talk of foolish people.
16 Do this as God's slaves, and yet also as free people, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil.
17 Honor everyone. Love the family of believers. Have respectful fear of God. Honor the emperor.
21 You were called to this kind of endurance, because Christ suffered on your behalf. He left you an example so that you might follow in his footsteps.
22 He committed no sin, nor did he ever speak in ways meant to deceive.
23When he was insulted, he did not reply with insults. When he suffered, he did not threaten revenge. Instead, he entrusted himself to the one who judges justly.
24 He carried in his own body on the cross the sins we committed. He did this so that we might live in righteousness, having nothing to do with sin. By his wounds you were healed.
25 Though you were like straying sheep, you have now returned to the shepherd and guardian of your lives.

1 Peter 3

7 The same goes for you husbands: Be good husbands to your wives. Honor them, delight in them. As women they lack some of your advantages. But in the new life of God's grace, you're equals. Treat your wives, then, as equals so your prayers don't run aground. Suffering for Doing Good
8 Summing up: Be agreeable, be sympathetic, be loving, be compassionate, be humble.
9 That goes for all of you, no exceptions. No retaliation. No sharp-tongued sarcasm. Instead, bless - that's your job, to bless. You'll be a blessing and also get a blessing.
10 Whoever wants to embrace life and see the day fill up with good, Here's what you do: Say nothing evil or hurtful;
11 Snub evil and cultivate good; run after peace for all you're worth.
12 God looks on all this with approval, listening and responding well to what he's asked; But he turns his back on those who do evil things.
13 If with heart and soul you're doing good, do you think you can be stopped?
14 Even if you suffer for it, you're still better off. Don't give the opposition a second thought.
15 Through thick and thin, keep your hearts at attention, in adoration before Christ, your Master. Be ready to speak up and tell anyone who asks why you're living the way you are, and always with the utmost courtesy.
16 Keep a clear conscience before God so that when people throw mud at you, none of it will stick. They'll end up realizing that they're the ones who need a bath.
17 It's better to suffer for doing good, if that's what God wants, than to be punished for doing bad.
18 That's what Christ did definitively: suffered because of others' sins, the Righteous One for the unrighteous ones. He went through it all - was put to death and then made alive - to bring us to God.

1 Peter 4
1 Since Jesus went through everything you're going through and more, learn to think like him. Think of your sufferings as a weaning from that old sinful habit of always expecting to get your own way.2Then you'll be able to live out your days free to pursue what God wants instead of being tyrannized by what you want.

8 Most of all, love one another deeply. Love erases many sins by forgiving them.
9 Welcome others into your homes without complaining.
10 God's gifts of grace come in many forms. Each of you has received a gift in order to serve others. You should use it faithfully.
11 If you speak, you should do it like one speaking God's very words. If you serve, you should do it with the strength God provides. Then in all things God will be praised through Jesus Christ. Give him the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.
Suffering for Being a Christian
12 Dear friends, don't be surprised by the painful suffering you are going through. Don't feel as if something strange were happening to you.
13 Be joyful that you are taking part in Christ's sufferings. Then you will be filled with joy when Christ returns in glory.
14 Suppose people make fun of you because you believe in Christ. Then you are blessed, because God's Spirit rests on you. He is the Spirit of glory.
15 Suppose you suffer. Then it shouldn't be because you are a murderer or a thief. It shouldn't be because you do evil things. It shouldn't be because you poke your nose into other people's business.
16 But suppose you suffer for being a Christian. Then don't be ashamed. Instead, praise God because you are known by that name.
17 It is time for people to be judged. It will begin with the family of God. And since it begins with us, what will happen to people who don't obey God's good news?

1 Peter 5
5 Young men, follow the lead of those who are older. All of you, put on a spirit that is free of pride toward each other as if it were your clothes. Scripture says, "God opposes those who are proud. But he gives grace to those who are not." #1(Proverbs 3:34)#2
6 So don't be proud. Put yourselves under God's mighty hand. Then he will honor you at the right time.
7 Turn all your worries over to him. He cares about you.
8 Control yourselves. Be on your guard. Your enemy the devil is like a roaring lion. He prowls around looking for someone to chew up and swallow.
9 Stand up to him. Stand firm in what you believe. All over the world you know that your brothers and sisters are going through the same kind of suffering.

This is not everything, but it its what I where I am studying right now.
I am working on it so please be gentle. But DO call me on it.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

I WANT to work hard doing what I do AND get paid well...

As it has been known to happen, a Facebook rant has given birth to the real blog so here goes. THANKS FOR YOUR CONVERSATION, PARTICIPATION AND MOTIVATION!

I don't want wealth redistributed to me. I don't want to win lotto. I WANT to work hard doing what I do AND get paid well for it (much more often). I want to EARN more money. This would allow me to give more than I do to my church and to my kids and to feed a poor kid on the other side of the planet and to other causes that are very dear to my heart. (Rescuing people from sex trafficking, rebuildi
ng Haiti.) Which means I don't want the government to tax the rich to the point where they can't afford to pay me to entertain them. And I would like the government to not try to tell me what I can and can't feed my kid at school or what size soda I can buy. I would also like the government not to take it upon itself to try to undo the morals and values I have taught at home. That's not so wrong, is it?

Sharon Frazier-Verpooten I agree to all except what kids eat at school, my friend. Here's why: I have seen countless kids who get FREE breakfast and lunch climb out of their expensive cars with their Starbucks hot chocolate and giant muffin. And then they throw the free yogurt away. Then, I am evaluated on their test scores when they are crashing from that sugar rush. I'm becoming more and more a fan of charter schools and would like to see parents have a little more responsibility for their kids' education. If all parents were like you, yes, I would say feed your kids whatever you want to!

Grace Sauser What you say has merit.....but to say that those are the things Obama is trying to do (which is what I extrapolate from your comment and what I know about your political leanings) is a big over reach. Tax rates are at some of the lowest rates, for the top tax bracket especially, that they have been since income tax was implemented. As for morals in your home, teaching that we should not repress others who believe differently than we do seems to be a very Christian value to me. As for what food is served in public schools, they are a government institution and there are no controls on private schools. The poorest among us get free/reduced lunch/breakfast so it's really class warfare not to attempt to feed them something healthy. fresh Produce is the most expensive type of food, so school may be the only place they get it. I'm simply a humanist and can't see how someone affording an $800 pair of jeans is more valuable to society than ensuring that people have food to eat.......and trust me, those with resources aren't going to stop wanting to be entertained no matter how much they pay in taxes:)

And back to me...
Tax rates ARE at a relative historic low for the top earners. But that does not necessarily mean that they are at a "fair" level. I think a flat tax would be the most fair way to go about taxation. Not to overly spiritualize the conversation, I think if God only REQUIRES 10% of our income of anyone, the government should try working with the same model. I think it has always been the hubris of governments to demand more than God does.

Good nutrition is very important but the cases of cronyism taking the place of parental judgment are a problem. And I know there is no perfect solution for careless parents and/or kids that will always try to find the tastiest least healthy way to get their grub on :-( In other news, NOBODY needs $800 jeans but they do have the right to waste their hard earned or even hard inherited money. I do believe though the middle and lower spectrum of venues and entertainment seekers would benefit from less taxation. As entertainers, we are a luxury, and are among the first to get hit when the belt gets tightened. I believe we'd ALL benefit from the government taking less in taxes, spending less, spending more wisely and not overriding parental rights.

I KNOW I am a tolerant, reasonable, non-repressive person but I see more and more of my values being legislated against and treated intolerantly. We are only human and there are no perfect systems, presidents, candidates or governments. I have chosen to live my life according to the word of my God. This does affect all aspects of how I live and how I treat people. I DO treat people with respect and compassion even when I don't agree with them. I desperately try to never insult or coerce anyone. But there are standards that I live by, that I don't try to force on anyone, that I am scarcely allowed to speak of without being labeled something I am not. I LOVE HAVING THE ABILITY TO SPEAK CIVILY about the difficult topics of our time. I just don't want to lose that. And I do honestly fear that these days.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Tolerant much?

If you consider yourself a tolerant person, you should be outraged by what people are saying about this kid and his family. The video is not any where near as disrespectful to the president as the comments about the video are hateful. Whatever you think about the this kid and his family's values, what you think about the fact that they have him on youtube etc,  and what you think about the positions being espoused, you should be able to come up with less vulgar, violent and hateful ways to express your disdain and even hatred for what is being said in the video. There is freedom of speech in this country. So these people have the right to how they expressed their hate for this video and the ideas and values it presents. But if you have any bit of decency in you, you should be able to recognize that the way people have reacted is more than just a little over the top and is completely intolerant. Please note that while I did not and will not vote for the President, I was aware of the video and opted not to watch it until I saw this headline
"Liberals Call for Killing of 6 year old Conservative!" 

Watch the video. Think about the reasons as stated and hear the tone in which they are stated. You can be dismissive of any and/or all of the statements.

Here are his 10 reasons.
10. He takes money from people who work hard and he gives it to people who don't work at all.
9. He wants everybody to wait in a long line to see the doctor.
8. He thinks babies are a burden. Did you hear that, Levi? (Spoken to baby brother)
7. He wants to keep people on welfare and food stamps so they will vote for him.
6. He doesn't want Americans to drill for oil or mine for gold.
5. He lets bad guys into our country.
4. He wants to take guns away from good guys.
3. Mr. and Mrs. Obama are not proud of America, but I am.
2. Obama's bowing to leaders of other countries. Embarrassing.
1. And number one. Nobody knows where he came from.

 You can despise the parents for having their child do this in such a public forum. But do you really stand behind all of this? Please tell me if it warrants the type of bile that has been spewed about this kid and his family. Please, please tell me this is not what any of you mean by tolerance.