Thursday, June 28, 2012

Upheld! Obamacare Will Undermine Freedom

Today, the Supreme Court of the United States upheld the constitutionality of what is commonly known as "Obamacare". It wasn't all that surprising.

The surprise came in that the supposed "swing vote" on the Court, that of Justice Anthony Kennedy, who sometimes sides with the liberal faction of Ginsberg and Breyer, and the new Obama appointees of Sotomayor and Kagan and sometimes with the conservative block of Scalia, Thomas, Alito and Roberts, favored repeal. Why then was the vote not 5-4 for REPEAL?

Shocker of shockers, Chief Justice John Roberts, the stalwart conservative appointed by then President Bush, cast his view in favor of constitutionality.

This, of course, demolishes one of conservativism's, especially Christian-right conservativism, greatest planks for political involvement--elect Republicans, if for no other reason than getting good judges nominated. It is often why key leaders of the Christian-right will endorse candidates they perceive have the "electability" factor over other candidates who hold viewpoints closer to their own--like Gary Bauer did in 2008 when he endorsed John McCain over Mike Huckabee. We needed the presidency to get the judicial appointments, and John McCain supposedly had a better chance of winning the presidency.

Now I will grant that winning the presidency in 2008 would have GREATLY increased the probability of a different outcome in this case. Sotomayor and Kagan would not be sitting on the bench.

I know Roberts wasn't the only vote, but for all practical purposes, the Chief Justice gave us Obamacare.

Christian conservatives often take refuge in false securities, especially when it comes to the political spheres. So when a John Roberts comes along and gets confirmed to the high court, we breathe a sigh of relief. And then comes Obamacare; well, technically National Federation of Independent Business et al. v Sebelius, Secretary Health and Human Services et al. are our hopes are shattered.

This underscores for us, that we are, both ultimately and essentially, people of faith. By that I mean our hope and trust is in the Lord. Yes, we participate in the political process, but with a knowledge that the process may very well fail to achieve the thing we desire--a just society. Even now, while we watch our freedoms disentegrate before our very eyes, we know that God is working and moving in our midst.

God is even now accomplishing His purposes through this troubling vote. The question of the hour will not be addressed by the legions of conservative journalists, pundits, radio talk show hosts and cable news programs. It will be asked quietly and revently in the hearts and minds of God's people. What is God doing with the United States of America?

Friday, June 15, 2012

Flag Day

I know I'm a day late, but it is never too late to honor America. In spite of her flaws, this is still a great country and we have much hope in restoring a generation who honors and respects our heritage. Here's one of my favorite "flag" poems.

The Flag Goes By

By Henry Holcomb Bennett

HATS off!
Along the street there comes
A blare of bugles, a ruffle of drums,
A flash of color beneath the sky:

Hats off!
The flag is passing by!
Blue and crimson and white it shines,
Over the steel-tipped, ordered lines.

Hats off!
The colors before us fly;
But more than the flag is passing by.

Sea-fights and land-fights, grim and great,
Fought to make and to save the State:
Weary marches and sinking ships;
Cheers of victory on dying lips;
Days of plenty and years of peace;
March of a strong land’s swift increase;
Equal justice, right and law,
Stately honor and reverend awe;
Sign of a nation, great and strong
To ward her people from foreign wrong:
Pride and glory and honor,—all
Live in the colors to stand or fall.

Hats off!
Along the street there comes
A blare of bugles, a ruffle of drums;
And loyal hearts are beating high:

Hats off!
The flag is passing by!

Monday, June 11, 2012

An Incredible Prayer for the Lord’s Church (part 1)

There are some incredible gems in the first chapter of Colossians. One of the most amazing things about this letter is that the church at Colossae was not known personally to the apostle Paul. Evidently Epaphras had founded the church there and Paul had only “heard” of their faith (verse 4) and had “learned of Epaphras” (verse 7) about their situation. So, in light of this detachment, it is surprising that Paul did “not cease to pray” for them (verse 9). He is connected in his heart and spirit to this congregation that he never personally knew.

This is a great admonition for us to remember Christians and ministries in far away places with which we have no direct personal knowledge. This is not to imply a recklessness in our support of ministries, even our prayer support. We only have so much time that is devoted to prayer, and certainly when it comes to financial support, we need to know a ministry is worthy of our support. Epaphras had validated for Paul the Colossian church, and the report had gripped his heart. How beautiful the bond between Christians! The Holy Spirit binds our hearts together. How we must depend on God to direct even our praying.

And notice that Paul’s praying is spiritually focused. While we do well to pray for each others’ physical, tangible needs, we also do well to remember that effective praying focuses on the eternal. Too much of the church’s prayer life is centered on recovery from physical ailments and too little time is spent on the things that can debilitate and cripple the spiritual man. Not so with Paul. He prayed for this church, a congregation he had never met, that they would be spiritually victorious. What a great prayer to imitate.