A little short-sighted

Comparing the current economic situation in the United States to the Great Depression is a little short-sighted. The situation is potentially much worse.

Here’s why.

The silver lining… hopefully

I am a staunch supporter of individual liberty and free markets. And, because I support these things, I was quite opposed to the election of Barack Obama. Still am. His ideas are socialist at best and Marxist at worst. He appears to me to be a totalitarian just looking for his avenue to total power. And, I think, if he is allowed to implement just a portion of his ideas he will do irreparable harm to the United States. However, I see in the election of Obama a potential silver lining for which I have been praying for a long time — that the Church in America may finally repent of the idolatry we’ve engaged in for years.

jump2That’s harsh, I know. But I know what I’m talking about. I once was the vilest offender.

As a long-time member of a group commonly called “right-wing evangelicals” I once worshipped the state — although I didn’t recognize it at the time. However, God has since opened my eyes to my idolatry.

I began paying attention to politics during the waning days of Jimmy Carter’s administration. I became a huge fan of President Ronald Reagan. During his eight years in office I developed my entire identity around being an American. It was who I was. My faith in Christ was secondary — just a portion of what it meant to be an American. All of my goals centered around becoming an officer in the U.S. Navy. Service to my country was going to be my life. I pursued this goal until the election of Bill Clinton.

All of a sudden the complexion of my country changed. A man with whom I had profound disagreements was running the government of the United States. My faith was shaken — because my faith was in the United States. If the United States could change so profoundly so quickly then my faith was grossly misplaced. I began searching for the appropriate object of my faith. Something that would not change. Something immutable. Something that would always be completely worthy of my worship.

God.

Imagine that.

Of course, after Clinton’s two terms in office, George W. Bush was elected president and many “right-wing evangelicals” were once again able to have faith in the government. I was not among them. I recognized, for the first time, the idolatry I had practiced for so long — swearing loyalty to the state, mistaking nationalism for patriotism, allowing myself to be manipulated by the state, and embracing an earthly empire over God’s Kingdom.

Now that Obama has been elected, conservative Christians are pointing to the attitude many liberals exhibit toward him and call it idol worship. And they are right. He is being characterized as a messiah and openly compared to Christ.

sscapConservative leaders are drawing attention to the frightening similarities between Obama’s goals for America and the Soviet Union or Hitler’s Germany. And they have a point. Many of his plans look exactly like Nazism and Marxism. It appears he is trying to do in America what we all thought couldn’t happen.

Sadly, Obama is only building his new civil religion on the foundation laid by conservatives. For too long conservatives have idolized the government and placed blind trust in the state. Obama is just taking the next step.

The silver lining is the hope that Christians all across America will recognize that faith in the government is a misplaced faith — regardless of who occupies the White House.

Where is your heart?

I am convinced many Americans (Christians included) view the government as their savior. Today, the day after Barack Obama was elected as president of the United States, many people are elated, convinced Obama is on the verge of bringing utopia to America. Others are quite concerned he is about to destroy everything America was founded to be. I’d like to offer a fresh perspective for my brothers and sisters in Christ.

The Founders Ministries blog featured a small quiz yesterday. I’d like to post it here.

  1. True/False: The day after the election Jesus will still be King.
  2. True/False: The day after the election our responsibilities as Christians will not have changed one iota.
  3. True/False: The day after the election the greatest agent for social change in America will still be winning the hearts and minds of men and women through the gospel, not legislation.
  4. crownTrue/False: The day after the election my primary citizenship will still be in this order – (1) the Kingdom of God, (2) America, not vice-versa.
  5. True/False: The day after the election the tomb will still be empty.
  6. True/False: The day after the election the cross, not the government, will still be our salvation.
  7. True/False: The day after the election our children will still be more concerned with whether or not we spend time with them than with who is President.
  8. True/False: The day after the election my neighbor will still be my neighbor, and loving him/her will still be the second greatest commandment. (Do you know the first?)
  9. True/False: The day after the election the only way to see abortion ultimately overturned will still be winning men and women to a high view of life through the gospel of Christ.
  10. True/False: The day after the election the only way to see gay marriage ultimately defeated will still be winning men and women to a biblical view of marriage through the gospel of Jesus Christ.
  11. True/False: The day after the election, my retirement will still not match my treasure in Heaven.
  12. True/False: The day after the election “Jesus Is Lord” will still be the greatest truth in the Universe.
  13. True/False: The day after the election we will still know that God is in control.

And, if that was not enough to redirect your attention, perhaps this post at Pyromaniacs about the real “election day” will.

I think too many people are poised for real disappointment in the election of Obama and too many people are in the midst of disappointment because of the election of Obama — and for the exact same reason. They both have invested too much faith in government. I am reminded of a passage from Matthew…

“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

If today seems like either the salvation of the world or the end of it you may want to consider whether or not you’ve misplaced your treasure — and your heart.

Faith in democracy?

The 2008 presidential campaign has been one of the longest campaigns in American history, starting almost a full two years ago. As the election has grown closer, rhetoric has gotten more pointed and patience for opposing views has grown thin. This election has been characterized as “the most important election in a generation,” or “the most important election in American history.”

People who call themselves Christians have been vigously “praying for the election.”

Certainly, as believers, we should bring our concerns before our Lord. But what do we mean when we say we are “praying for the election.” I fear too many of us are asking God to insure the success of our goals. There are believers who support the Republican candidate, John McCain, who are asking God to grant him a victory. There are believers who support the Democratic candidate, Barack Obama, who are asking God to grant him a victory. This is a symptom of a much deeper problem in the Church.

Our faith is grossly misplaced. We consider this election to be “the most important election in a generation” because we have placed our faith firmly in the government. We are looking to the state for answers when we should be looking to Scripture. We have decided for ourselves how things ought to be and our prayers are for God to approve that which we’ve already determined is right.

We have elevated democracy to the point it has become another idol. Which is really ironic because our founding fathers held democracy in complete contempt. They considered it mob rule. Yet we have been told not voting is unpatriotic. There are those who have even suggested voting for anyone other than the two “major party” candidates is unpatriotic because they are the only two who have a chance to win.  David Heleniak, in a recent article at Mises.org entitled “Mock the Vote,” debunks this whole notion. He puts this election in proper perspective.

As for those of us who claim to be Christians, I think there are far too few of us who pray according to the model Jesus, Himself, gave us.

“Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven…”

We don’t honestly pray for God’s will to be done. Maybe because we assume our will and God’s will are the same. Or, maybe, because we fear God’s will and ours are not the same.

Bumper sticker of the day:

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