No Apologies Round Two

"Few if any recent generations could sit with a Bible in one hand and their newspapers in the other and see the fulfillment of prophecy, but for us it’s almost routine." Jack Kelly

Friday, January 22, 2010

Freedom of Speech, Sticks and Stones

Constitution of the United States : Bill of Rights 1st Amendment
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

He who guards his mouth and his tongue keeps himself from calamity. Prov. 21:23

Even a fool is thought wise if he keeps silent, and discerning if he holds his tongue. Prov.17:28

When words are many, sin is not absent, but he who holds his tongue is wise. Prov. 10:19

There are more than 60 references to the tongue in the Bible, and nearly that many to words. There is power in the tongue, and power in words. Most of us have heard the sayings, "Sticks and stones will break my bones, but names will never hurt me". How about this one, Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing. Proverbs 12:18

Speech is a powerful thing. It makes people think, it helps people form ideas, expresses emotion, helps us communicate. Words can heal a sad heart, words can even heal a hurting or diseased body. Words can heal, but they can kill too. They can kill a spirit, they can harm a person's character, they can cause all kinds of hurt. Words can convict, and words can liberate- it all depends on how we use them.
Have I said things I regret? Oh yeah. I've said things- stupid and hurtful things, I've said things I'm ashamed of. Thankfully, I am learning- although slowly, to tame my tongue, but I have to admit that it gets the best of me still- proving nothing really, except that I am still foolish and sinful. I hope that someday I can have more control over what comes out of my mouth.

So, what am I leading up to this time. I've been quiet about this for some time, but ever since last summer, I have been quietly watching, listening and getting a little p'd off with what I am hearing. Not only what, but whom I am hearing from. Now, I know that most folks who read this are on the same side of the political fence as me, and in many, if not most ways, we are much the same thought on Biblical perspectives. Every now and then, I get people commenting who are in complete disagreement with my views. That's OK though. Oftentimes I wish there were more who were in disagreement, because that makes for interesting and different views. It seems to me though, that more and more people are showing total disrespect, bitterness, hate and nastiness in their words these days. Not only in the comment sections of most news and opinion columns, but from that bastion of "Free speech and of the press", those who deliver their views every day on cable and news columns. Not only from the press, but politicians themselves.
Used to be that politics was dirty- only it was during campaigns where the mud was slung towards opponents who were also campaigning. Now, it is the politicians who are slinging mud to those who put them in office. The press used to comment on dirty politics- now they revel and roll around in it themselves, adding to the muck. The people commenting only pile it on higher.
Now, it is from all sides. Not just a liberal thing, nor a republican thing, although those on the left love to point out how hateful, bigoted and narrow minded those on the right are. When a politician on the right shouts out the word "Lier", he is somehow hateful and racist. Sure, the guy could have held his tongue at least until the end of the speech, but in light of certain ways in which the present administration is working, there is much truth to the word which was shouted. Race and hate had nothing to do with it. Seems that the left can go 8 years calling the president all kinds of things from Nazi to lier, from murderer to racist- and everything is OK because it's their right to voice a redress. When it is the right who call out socialist, and voice anger over out of control spending and dubious practices, they are unpatriotic, fear spreading, racist hate mongers.
People on the left claim that "right wing" blog sites and radio hosts are full of hatred, bigoted and incite violence. People who comment on news are described as narrow minded, uneducated and backwards. Anyone who speaks from a Christian viewpoint is homophobic, xenophobic, racist, bigoted, hate filled taliban.
From all directions lately, these kinds of words have been directed at folks like me, who happen to be pro life, pro marriage, pro Christian values, pro Constitution, pro small government, pro free market, pro conservative, pro founding principals and pro individual rights. Every time I hear or see words from a politician or a member of the press, describing folks like me, I feel it directed at me, and at so many other good and loving folks who believe in the same ideas as I do.

Every time I have heard these: gun toting, Bible clinging, uneducated, backwoods, hick, inbred, racist, hatemonger, terrorist, extremest, teabagger, throwback, Christian taliban, homophobic, lier- I tend to take it personally. It makes me sad to see elected officials describing their constituents in such degrading terms as "teabaggers" because they know it will offend. To hear them call their constituents fear mongers and hate mongers because they are standing up for their rights under the 1st Amendment, and actually involving themselves in town hall meetings. Since when have town hall meetings only been open to those who agree with politicians anyway? How can there be a discussion about an important issue when the people have read a proposed bill, but the politician has not? How can there be a discussion when the only ones welcome to speak are those who agree?
When someone who is running for the President of the United States of America can give a speech to one segment of society, those who are among the wealthiest and elite, claim he is for the average American, for the poor, then insult a good portion of that very part of society, this saddens me. To be called bigoted, Bible clinging.. well, even he has the freedom to speak doesn't he.

What makes me sad though really, is that there are some very good people who look up to these name calling foolish people. They are so blinded by the smoothness, they are deaf to the fact that we are being insulted on a daily basis. I have said before that I have been insulted many times for my Bible believing views, and I am used to it. Does that mean I like it? No. I don't. Much of is is very offensive to me. It hurts- as words do. Does that mean I want them silenced? Nope. Not at all. They have every right to speak freely. From my thinking, they can keep it up, because it just re affirms how foolish and hateful they are. Maybe some day, more of us can speak in edifying and loving ways even when we disagree. Some day, our passions will not rule our mouths.

I am learning from the Ultimate Word- Jesus, that words count in so many ways- for good or bad, and I pray and try and help others to learn too. The Lord has given us the right and ability to all speech, and our forefathers realized that right when they wrote our Constitution, and I have no right to take that away from anyone. All I would ask, is that, you join me, and try and think about the power we do have, and use it for goodness.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Are We Ready to Man the Battle Stations?

Sometimes I don't know if my imagination is running away with me. Most times, I know that there are things going on which most people would say I'm crazy for believing in. Others, like me, know that times are coming, times foretold about, which are real and not just a figment of an overactive imagination.

My favorite books and movies are the Lord of the Rings Trilogy, which I just finished watching this evening. Maybe this is the reason for my present mood- which is a mix of hope, sadness, faith and melancholy. Any time I read (or watch) I see so much of a parallel between our reality and the struggle for middle earth, which in the fantasy, the victory over evil was helped to be won by a small group of folk, among them future king, an elf, dwarf, regal men and 4 small hobbits. The thing which makes this victory so incredible is not just the mighty men who fought, but the small, seeming quiet and insignificant hobbits, which without them, middle earth would have been lost and been subject to the evil master Sauron. These little folk knew that they weren't built for battle, and had never imagined life outside of their comfortable "Shire". They never would have believed that they would be used in such mighty ways in which to destroy the evil which was ready to take over the world.

What I appreciate so much about this movie is not necessarily the fight of good vs. evil. More in the character of those who fought. These characters were not usually brothers in arms- example, dwarfs and elves were almost enemies, and men were not high on the list of either race. Hobbits were unknown to many men, and thought insignificant by most others. With the fellowship of the ring, these folk were brought together by a purpose much larger than themselves, and knowing that the future of middle earth depended on their purpose, they banded together to do what they didn't want to have to do.

Loyalty to one another was the biggest part, because without loyalty, they would not be able to fight alone in singular battles. Bravery- to go into the heat, not knowing the outcome, but going anyway, because to run away was unthinkable. Courage to fight for something, believing though that the odds were so great for failure, but doing it anyway. Love- to put their lives before their friends, because death is temporary, but love lasts forever.

In our life time, we are seeing so many things coming into the world, which eventually will change the world as none have ever imagined. Those of us who know the prophecies and trust in the One who wrote them know that good will win, that evil will be thwarted for ever. Those of us who trust in the prophecies of the Bible- and the Word of God, have a choice. We can sit back and let others do the jobs in which our Lord asks all of His to do, or we can go boldly forward to battle. What we do will not bring about prophecies any faster, nor will whatever we do slow down the time of the end. All we can do is do whatever our Lord calls us to do- the rest is all in His time.

Will I ever be asked to go forward in the front of battle? I have no idea really. I know sometimes I feel like I'm tired of living a quiet life- seeming insignificant, never really moving away from my comfort zone. I have yet to really have need to show or act courageously. Loyal and showing love? I sure hope so- but that's something that I won't know the full impact on anything until my part is done.I hope I can know my role- if I hear and obey my Lord's battle plans for me. I don't want to go into the heat of the battle, the front lines- but if it is required, I pray that I can go with hope and courage, the strength of Jesus going before me. Much like the Lady Eowen, I want to go if asked- if only my Lord would ask me, because I don't want to live out my life in comfortable obscurity, which is expected of most people these days. I don't want to go into battle- but I don't want to sit back and give up either. The Bible talks about everyone who is in the Body of Christ. I may only be a toe- small, usually ignored or insignificant, but if there's a pain in the toe- the whole body is effected. I want to be where the Lord asks me to be. Am I ready to listen to Him? Are you?

Will we be living quiet Christian lives, going about without shining light in our evil world? Will we sit by as lies and corruption take over? To let cruelty go on without raising our voices? Or will we follow the Lord's plan for each of us- most likely taking us where we don't really want to go, but knowing that if we choose to "stay in the Shire", people who don't know of coming dangers will die because of our inaction?

People think I'm crazy because I see the Bible in every news story of every day. People think I'm jugemental, mean, and bigoted because I trust in the Whole Word of the Lord. Because I know Jesus is the only way- the Life the Truth and the Only Way. I'm used to that. Will I be able to stand- much like Stephen, before the persecutors who kill me? Will I be able to stand and show Christ while in chains like Paul? The thought of those things make me afraid- but the outcome, I know that is where what hope I have lies. I pray I can live for Christ- with loyalty, be in chains for Him with bravery and courage, show His love when I am in death for His sake. What about you my brothers and sisters?

Frodo asks Sam, "What are we fighting for Sam?" "We're fighting for what's good in the world Mr. Frodo.
Jesus tells us this world will pass- but we need to fight for what's good in the next. The only good- Jesus, whom so many still do not know or believe. We need to fight for them. I don't want to be quiet anymore.