I realize those of you who read my blogs come from various backgrounds and represent competing belief systems. Of those who, like me, are Christians, there are still differing opinions on the role of prophecy in the present. I am a believer in Biblical prophecy and knowing God does not change I have trust that He still uses we humans as vessels to proclaim his messages. Simply stated I believe that prophecy is still very vital within those committed to Jesus Christ.
Not too long ago people were prophesying that if America did not turn its focus back on God, things were going to get bad. You can believe this means that God is passing judgment on our nation or you can believe that our turning away from God represents His blessings being blocked. Either way it is not a stretch for a Christian to admit that the more secularized our society gets, the worse things will become.
I believe we are now seeing the outcome of those actions. Let me be clear in saying that I do not believe God punished our nation or had a hand in any of the violent attacks in recent history, but I do think that one of the main reasons evil is flourishing in our nation is because we have ignored God. Please read 1 Peter 5:5-11 below:
Likewise, you who are younger, be subject to the elders. Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. To him be the dominion forever and ever. Amen. – 1 Peter 5:5-11 ESV
As a society we are no longer clothed in humility toward one another. We exalt ourselves and are filled with pride. We no longer understand the meaning of humility. Think about it, God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble. Where do you fit in that scenario? Since we have decided God does not exist, it is very difficult to cast our anxieties on Him so we either bottle them up or find someone to blame. Sober minded? Yeah right. We are not watching for anything because we have concluded the devil doesn’t exist. We have written him off as a figment of our imaginations. Since we are not watchful we don’t even notice him prowling and devouring us. We no longer resist the devil and we sit back in confusion as he destroys our nation. If we don’t turn back to God things will only get worse. You see we have two choices in life – serve God or the devil. If we are not serving God we are serving the devil and his reign is one of destruction. Compare our nation to the one that existed a couple decades ago. We have changed and things have worsened progressively. We are currently in a cultural civil war and I fear that we may be much closer to an actual civil war than most of us realize. We need to wake up America and turn our eyes toward God, repent and ask Him to heal our land. If you don’t, I fear you can kiss the freedom this nation has long celebrated goodbye.
I’m just a simpleton who likes to view life in a straightforward manner. When I view things like the U.S. Constitution I look for clear-cut answers. I am not a lawyer and can very easily get muddled in all the nonsensical jargon contained within legal documentation. I know that it is not nonsensical jargon to those for whose profession is legal representation but it is for me. With this in mind, please understand that when I speak of the U.S. Constitution I am speaking from the understanding of one who is not well educated in the reading of legal documentation. Now that I have made my best attempt at making a legal disclosure for my blog, let’s get started.
Yesterday, December 11, 2012, “in a major win for Second Amendment rights, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals threw out Illinois’s virtual ban on the carrying of any guns, whether concealed or otherwise.”
This is big news for those of us who live in Illinois. Both sides of the controversy are buzzing. Those who are in favor of gun rights are celebrating while those in favor of gun control are shaking their fists.
Let’s take a minute to look at the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Here is what it says, “A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”
I side with those who interpret this to mean that American citizens have a legal right to own and carry firearms for the purpose of personal protection. I know there has been controversy over the terminology surrounding the word militia and whether or not it was originally meant to be capitalized. Some view it as meaning that those who are in some form of organized armed service are who is given the right carry weapons but many of us view it as meaning that all citizens have the right; and much of this is due to where it mentions the ‘security of a free state.’ Once citizens are no longer able to protect themselves, their freedom is lost. I tend to believe that we are meant to keep arms as a way to dispel the government from gaining too much power. Suppose for a moment that a dictator was elected into our government and established a military order to attack citizens who disagreed with his beliefs. It would be much more difficult to do such an action in a country where the citizens are armed than where they are disarmed.
I am not a violent person. I don’t hunt and personally take no pleasure in killing animals. (I have no problem who those who hunt, I just don’t enjoy it.) Despite being rather passive I still believe that Americans have the right to carry weapons for the purpose of self defense and I believe the Second Amendment guarantees that right. Our right to bear arms helps us protect one another from those who wish to harm us. I am glad that my state has finally been disciplined for its disrespect for our Constitution. I’m sure this is not the end of this war but I celebrate that our freedoms have been upheld.
The United States of America is falling apart. I think we are all aware of this on some level but many of us are afraid to face up to reality. The stitches that hold this country together have become tattered and worn. Our nation is being ripped straight down the seam as we sit idle.
We have a problem. The unemployment rate is much higher than the government is willing to admit. I think the average citizen is aware of this because many are unemployed themselves or have family and friends who are. The government does not include the number of people who’ve given up searching for a job or those who are underemployed in their estimates. If you look at the government’s own table, they reported the August 2012 unemployment rate as 8.1% when the real rate was 14.7%. Neither number is good, but the federal government wants to do their best to keep us believing it is under 10%.
Our national debt is astronomical. As of the writing of this article it has surpassed $16,000,000,000,000. That is equal to approximately $51,000 per citizen or $140,000 per taxpayer. We can’t even begin to understand the quantity of this debt, but to pay it off – each of us that currently pay our taxes would be required to shell out an extra $140,000! At my current pay rate, it would take me almost 5 years to pay off my part of the debt and that would be without paying for anything else. I would die of thirst or starvation long before I would be able to afford to pay it off. We cannot survive much longer at our current rate of debt growth. Answering the question of who the debt is owed to is quite tricky. To educate yourself on the topic go here: Who is debt owed to? A really simple way to state it is to say that our government owes us and foreign investors. About $5 trillion of the national debt is owed to the Social Security Trust Fund and federal pension systems while slightly over $11 trillion is owed to foreign and domestic investors and the Federal Reserve. The largest foreign investor is China – a communist nation. We also owe Japan, Brazil, Russia, Taiwan, Switzerland and the United Kingdom as well as dozens of other countries. This is not a good outlook.
Our national debt affects our credit rating. As recently as September 14, Egan-Jones reduced it’s rating of the United States to AA-. “ Moody's Investors Service [MCO 44.29 -0.13 (-0.29%) ] currently rates the United States Aaa, Fitch rates the country AAA, and Standard & Poor's rates the country AA-plus. All three of those ratings have a negative outlook.” – CNBC.COM. This may not seem like a big deal to some, but a downgrade in the nation’s credit rating directly influences our lives. “Because it’s harder for the government to get money from borrowing, we’re going to carry the burden, making it harder for us to get loans, our interest rates to rise, and our taxes to be higher. “ – Moneythinking.com. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that a downgrade makes it ever more difficult for us to decrease our national debt.
There are a number of other examples for which I could go into detail: US handling on foreign policy, increase in suicides, an economy where 1/5 of the population dependent upon federal aid , the botched up healthcare system and many more. The fact is the U.S. is crumbling before our very eyes. We are digging a hole that will be virtually impossible to climb out of. What I find amazing is that most people seem to not care. I think we are all aware that things are bad, but we seem to act as if we ignore it, it will go away. The fact is that it won’t go away unless we do something. What can happen is that America will forever change as we know it. I admit we need to change the way we are currently doing things, but ‘change’ is inevitable if we stay on our current path. The luxuries many of us have taken for granted will only be dreams to our children or grandchildren. We cannot stay on our current path without becoming an impoverished nation.
Many of our current problems are not the fault of a single administration. Our national debt has been growing for a number of years. We cannot blame everything on our current president, senate or representatives. We can, however, look at what our current leaders have done to make things better. When it is time to vote, do so – let your voice be heard. Before you vote, examine your candidates and determine if they have helped fix our problems or contributed to them getting worse. If they have worked to fix the problem, they may be worth voting for. If not, you may want to give the other guy or gal a chance to make things better. I realize there are also social issues that drive many of our votes. If your candidate does not oppose your values and he/she will do something about our current situation, vote for him/her. I know that I will be voting for some new people. Washington needs a makeover.
I find it interesting that some of our leaders want to outlaw chainsaws. I know that chainsaws can be dangerous, especially if one is not trained in how to operate them, but removing them from society is an attack on our freedom. I am also aware that there are people who have destructive plans and will use chainsaws to hurt others. This is very sad, but the truth is that criminals will find access to chainsaws no matter what the law says. If they are criminals, they are law breakers. It also means that they will have access to chainsaws while law abiding citizens do not. If anything, these laws will make it easier for them to take advantage of others.
The United States of America has been through some trials in recent history. We have sat idle as many of our freedoms have been chipped away. One of our foundational rights constantly remains in jeopardy. In the U.S., losing our right to own chainsaws would symbolize the loss of freedom.
I am not sure what direction this year’s election will go, but I am pretty sure that if the current administration retains leadership of the Executive and Legislative branches, they will fight hard to take our chainsaws away. If you value having freedom in the U.S. Keep this in mind. You may not be a chainsaw owner but I imagine that you do like having freedom. I imagine you enjoy deciding where to eat and what to wear. I don’t think you want a government that will dictate where you live, what religion you should or should not practice, or where you work. Freedom is a very delicate commodity.
I am not in favor of violence, but I am in favor of freedom. I am a chainsaw owner and proud of it. I am responsible and trained in how to use a chainsaw. Please join me this November and vote to protect our freedom.
Now reread this article as I wrote it originally. Replace chainsaw with gun.
Outside of Missouri and those of us who live close enough to Missouri who must painfully endure the endless McCaskilll vs. Akin political commercials while watching the news, many American’s have never heard of Todd Akin prior to this week. That all changed based upon a few words that he uttered. It always amazes me to see the power one word can hold. Contrary to what you may have heard Akin did not go into a full blown conversation demeaning women who had been raped. He simply said a few words that gave us a glimpse into what may be transpiring inside his head. In case you have only heard or read what people assumed he said, here are his actual words, “First of all, from what I understand from doctors, that's really rare," Akin said of rape-induced pregnancy, “If it's a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down. But let's assume that maybe that didn't work or something. You know I think there should be some punishment, but the punishment ought to be on the rapist and not attacking the child.”
Akin’s words have brought a firestorm of attacks. Most of those attacks hang upon his usage of the words “legitimate rape” and his statement about the female body shutting down. I am not going to defend his statement, but I must admit that I do not know what he was thinking as he spoke these words. I don’t know what he meant by legitimate rape and I cannot assume that I do. Based on his career and his strict belief on the sanctity of life I believe he views rape as an atrocity against women. I don’t think he is trying to demean this horrible act. He isn’t a doctor and he should not have spoken as though he understood what takes place medically during a rape. That was his mistake, speaking on the subject when he clearly does not understand it fully.
Politicians make gaffes all the time. They are human and sometimes speak without eloquence. Since they are constantly in the spotlight, it can easily be blown out of proportion. I have to wonder, however, that if Todd Akin were a Democrat, how would this have all turned out? Would President Obama release a statement saying that although he disagrees with what Akin said, he simply misspoke? Several Democrats have said some pretty disturbing things lately but the media did not destroy them as they have Akin. One example includes Vice President Joe Biden recently speaking to a group that included many minorities stating the following about the GOP, "They're going to put y'all back in chains!" President Obama defended Biden’s remarks and no apology was given. In April Democratic Strategist, Hilary Rosen, attacked Ann Romney by saying, “She never worked a day in her life." This did receive some media attention since it was assumed that she was stating that stay-at-home mothers don’t work. Also, President Obama did condemn the statement and defended mothers. What was interesting, however, was that once Rosen submitted an apology, the entire thing was dropped. The media did not continue to cover the story and sit in large groups dissecting each word that came from Rosen’s lips. They took an ‘apology accepted’ stance and moved on to the next subject. I could go on and on giving examples of how Democrats have been allowed to speak political gaffes and be forgiven while Republicans, especially Tea Party Republicans, are held underneath a microscope for each and every word they say.
Todd Akin had been asked a question concerning abortion – a hot topic in America. Akin is pro-life and does not believe abortion should ever be performed including when the mother is a victim of rape. I think that is a big part of why his words are resonating with so many. He is a staunch conservative and attacking his position on abortion would only emblaze other conservatives. Constructively attacking his words about rape making it appear as though he is not compassionate toward victims of rape is a way of demeaning him and undermining the entire point of his comment – rapists should be punished but not the children conceived during the rape. Whether or not you agree with him, I think this was the point of his sentence. By putting a spotlight on this one negative comment, the media is able to dismiss all of his remarks. This, in turn, puts a negative perspective on the pro-life movement. I think that is the ultimate goal – to silently attack the pro-life movement and Tea Party conservatives – two groups that Democrats and many moderate Republicans would love to see dismantled.
Finally, I am not defending Akin’s comments; I agree with everyone else that what it appears that what he said about legitimate rape is a massively flawed statement. I am stating that a double standard exists in this nation. If Akin had been a Democrat, I can assure you the outcome would have been much different. Democrats are somehow given the innocent until proven guilty pronouncement while Republicans are held to a guilty until proven innocent verdict. It’s obvious to those of us with conservative leanings, but it seems that many liberals are oblivious to that fact.
Biblical Postscript: Proverbs 17:27-28 “Whoever restrains his words has knowledge, and he who has a cool spirit is a man of understanding. Even a fool who keeps silent is considered wise; when he closes his lips, he is deemed intelligent.”
P.S. For those that assume I am a Republican, I must admit I fall more into the Independent category. In most areas I am a social and fiscal conservative, however, I do have more liberal leanings in issues concerning the environment and immigration. I can discuss my political views, however, in a later blog.
Disclaimer: The views posted in this article are expressly the views of Timothy McSwain and do not represent the views of anyone else associated with Stratosphere Networking.
Today’s blog is political. If you do not enjoy reading political commentaries, please don’t read today’s blog. I do not wish to have the comment section filled with complaints about me writing about politics. You have been warned, so proceed with caution if you desire to continue reading…
The current election is one where I feel I can openly share my disdain for the sitting president with little contention from those who disagree. I feel the primary reason for this interesting turn of events is due to the fact that there are so few people who disagree with my point of view. Regardless of which side of the political fence you graze, you must admit that Barack Obama has been a failure as President of the United States. I tried to warn people of this dilemma 4 years ago as I had corresponded by email with the then junior senator of my state of Illinois. I knew firsthand that he was inept and unable to properly steer this country in the right direction. Everyone seemed to ignore my pleas however. They were enamored by his eloquent speech and the prospect of being a part of history. I was going against the flow and it was not an easy position to be in.
Now that 4 years of failure have passed I find myself in the majority. The number of people who are frustrated with where our country has gone over the past 4 years has grown significantly. I’m not going to sit here and say things were great under Bush. I honestly wasn’t happy with how his presidency ended but it is crazy to think that things have only become progressively worse.
The masses of people chanting ‘hope and change’ have faded into oblivion. There are still a few diehard Obama supporters but they are more concerned with winning a competition than admitting truth. There are always those who will try to spin it into some type of positive message. They will say things like “the record spending is due to trying to jumpstart the economy, Obama Care just needs time to work, or the unemployment numbers are wrong and jobs are being created…” The truth, however, is that we have a debt that we cannot comprehend and it is growing like a virus, Obama Care wasn’t created to make our lives better, it was passed as a part of a political power struggle between the Democrats and Republicans – who happen to fight like children – in which the Democrats won and now we the people are paying for it, and unemployment is bad - the government just needs to stay out of it and allow the private sector to do what they do best without all the red tape and over taxation. I could go on and on with examples of how our current Administration has failed.
America is a great nation and it saddens me to see the state that we are currently in. We have faced many struggles over the years and prevailed. This is another struggle in which we need a victory. This November think about Barack Obama’s job performance. If you somehow think he has done well for our country and ran it successfully, vote for him. If you are like the majority of Americans and realize that he has done poorly, vote for someone else and give President Obama his pink slip.
Biblical Postscript: Proverbs 11:14 English Standard Version (ESV)
“Where there is no guidance, a people falls, but in an abundance of counselors there is safety.”
Disclaimer: The views posted in this article are expressly the views of Timothy McSwain and do not represent the views of anyone else associated with Stratosphere Networking.
I have spent most of my life worrying about my image. I would often bend over backwards to try to talk or act in a way that would appeal to whomever I was with at the moment. I purposely looked for ways to address them so as not to be offensive. Taking a stand on anything has proven difficult due to this attitude. By straining to maintain an image of someone who is tolerant, I have removed my own identity. I think most of this has developed from being raised in a culture that grossly promotes political correctness. As of late I have realized that this can be a very destructive force to a society and I will spend today explaining why.
Political Correctness vs. Respect
I will begin by defining the terms:
Also, PC or p.c. Showing an effort to make broad social and political changes to redress injustices caused by prejudice. It often involves changing or avoiding language that might offend anyone, especially with respect to gender, race, or ethnic background. For example, Editors of major papers have sent out numerous directives concerning politically correct language. This expression was born in the late 1900s, and excesses in trying to conform to its philosophy gave rise to humorous parodies.1 Respect:
Respect is doing your best to honor a person while political correctness is attempting to be like that person. You can have respect for another person and be honest about your views on a subject in which you differ but you can quickly become politically incorrect by stating those views. Let me give a clear example of what I mean. I personally believe in what has been defined as the traditional view of marriage, i.e. one man marrying one woman. I can state that viewpoint and still respect those with opposing views. I cannot, however, state that point and be what is currently defined as politically correct. In today’s American society, to remain politically correct I either need to say that I agree that all people have the right to marry, no matter the gender/number or just remain silent if I oppose that viewpoint. I am considered a disrespectful bigot if I exert my opinion. Therefore, society pressures me to either remain silent or change my views when they oppose the current popular social norm. Respect, on the other hand, allows me to openly state how I feel. I may generate opposition from those who are equally passionate for the opposing view, but if we respect each other we can openly debate without demeaning one another. In my opinion, political correctness breeds dishonesty. It stifles anyone who agrees with what has recently been defined as the popular stance of modern society. It requires one to change his/her beliefs in order to fit in or be liked by others. It is a type of speech control with the goal of suppressing those in opposition of current trends. Being a device used by socialist governments to control the population, political correctness actually annihilates the freedom of speech. Summary I began by explaining how I have spent most of my life trying to get others to like me. I have often shied away from debates because I did not want to offend someone. I have recently come to realize that I have been suppressing who I am and diluting the God I serve simply to save face. Whose face am I saving if I cannot be honest about how I feel? Am I truly benefiting anyone by not openly sharing what is taking place in my mind? I have come to the decision that I cannot let others control my life. I need to be Tim McSwain, not someone else. I will continue to respect the right that we all have to believe what we want but I will no longer be ashamed of my core beliefs or of the name of Jesus Christ. Some people may choose to no longer be my friend because I make them feel uncomfortable, but I guess that will show me who my true friends really are. I also want others to feel that they can be honest with me. Chances are we will disagree about something, but if we respect one another we can grow closer despite our differences. My advice: Learn the value of respect and quit being so stinking politically correct. -Tim Bible Postscript Ephesians: 4:11-16 ESV “And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, theshepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. Rather,speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who isthe head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.” 1. politically correct. Dictionary.com. The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Houghton Mifflin Company.http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/politically correct (accessed: August 01, 2012). 2. respect. Dictionary.com, LLC. Copyright © 2012. All rights reserved. http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/respect?s=t
- Esteem for or a sense of the worth or excellence of a person, a personal quality or ability, or something considered as a manifestation of a personal quality or ability: I have great respect for her judgment.
- Deference to a right, privilege, privileged position, or someone or something considered to have certain rights or privileges; proper acceptance or courtesy; acknowledgment: respect for a suspect's right to counsel; to show respect for the flag; respect for the elderly.2
White House Press Secretary Jay Carney stated on Monday that if Congress and the Senate pass the Bush Tax Cuts extension with the inclusion of those who make $250,000 or more, President Obama will not only refuse to sign it but he will “veto” the bill. What I find disconcerting about what is taking place is the spin the president has put on it. His message has essentially been that the Republicans are holding the middleclass hostage by including those earning $250,000 in the tax cuts. This is not what I see though. I see a President who is gambling with our finances to get his way. If the Republican controlled Congress and Democrat controlled Senate pass a bill that extends the tax cut to everyone and Obama vetoes it, isn’t he the one who withholds the tax cuts from the middle class as well as the wealthy?
Let’s look at this in a hypothetical situation. The Board of Directors of ACME Products is discussing whether or not to give all employees a 15% raise. With this particular board, no decision can be made without the Chairman of the Board’s (Bo) approval. Bo states that he will vote the measure down if they offer the raise to managers as well as frontline staff. We will assume the company has 3,000 staff and 6 managers. The Board feels that the managers also work hard and that they deserve a raise as much as anyone else (especially since 6 of them manage 3,000 people!) Bo disagrees and says that the managers already make more money than the staff and he feels it’s unethical to give raises because 15% of a $75,000 salary is much higher than 15% of a $25,000 salary. The Board argues that the managers have earned their salaries by proving themselves as vital to the organization and that it’s not about who makes what but about awarding everyone for their work. The discussion goes on and on. Finally, the Board decides that they can’t pass the raise without including everyone so they agree to give everyone in the organization a 15% increase. Chairman Bo casts the dissenting vote and the measure is never passed. As a result of Bo’s opposition, no one gets a 15% raise. Who is responsible? Who does this hurt?
This is what I currently see taking place. If a bill is passed that extends tax cuts to everyone and the president vetoes it due to its inclusion of high wage earners, he has withheld the tax cuts from everyone just to make a political statement. With this being an election year that is believed to be a close race and with the timing of this legislation, I doubt he would veto such a bill because it would simply enrage everyone. I have a feeling that this is just more hype from President Obama’s office – something we have become all to accustomed to. If you disagree, please show me where the hope we were promised four years ago has gone. We did get change, I will give you that. – Tim
Bible Postscript: This whole debacle reminds me of a parable told by Jesus Christ. In St Matthew 20:1-16 Jesus tells a parable of a landowner who hires workers for his vineyard. Actually, let me just let you read it for yourself: “For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire workers for his vineyard. He agreed to pay them a denarius for the day and sent them into his vineyard. “About nine in the morning he went out and saw others standing in the marketplace doing nothing. He told them, ‘You also go and work in my vineyard, and I will pay you whatever is right.’ So they went. “He went out again about noon and about three in the afternoon and did the same thing. About five in the afternoon he went out and found still others standing around. He asked them, ‘Why have you been standing here all day long doing nothing?’
“‘Because no one has hired us,’ they answered. “He said to them, ‘You also go and work in my vineyard.’ “When evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his foreman, ‘Call the workers and pay them their wages, beginning with the last ones hired and going on to the first.’ “The workers who were hired about five in the afternoon came and each received a denarius. So when those came who were hired first, they expected to receive more. But each one of them also received a denarius. When they received it, they began to grumble against the landowner. ‘These who were hired last worked only one hour,’ they said, ‘and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the work and the heat of the day.’ “But he answered one of them, ‘I am not being unfair to you, friend. Didn’t you agree to work for a denarius? Take your pay and go. I want to give the one who was hired last the same as I gave you. Don’t I have the right to do what I want with my own money? Or are you envious because I am generous?’“So the last will be first, and the first will be last.”
This passage comes to mind because we hear much rhetoric today about those who make large sums of money. People keep talking about how unfair it is that someone makes $250,000 per year while others make $15,000 or less. I am much closer to the $15,000 wage earner than the $250,000 wage earner but I don’t hate rich people. My focus isn’t on how great their lives are, but it’s on how I live my own life. If anything, those who make $250,000 a year give me hope that I may be able to one day make a larger salary. Maybe some of the effort I put into life will pay off because I live in a country where it is possible to make $250,000 / year!
When it comes to tax cuts, I’m more concerned with how my finances are going to be affected than I am about how George Clooney, Tom Cruise, Barak Obama or any other wealthy American’s finances will be affected. If they get a tax break, good for them but if I don’t get one because someone thinks that Bill Gates shouldn’t get one, I’m not a happy camper.
We all need to spend more time listening to and following the words of Jesus. Stop complaining about what is fair or unfair. Be happy with what you have and stop worrying about those who are making better salaries than you are. Jesus also taught us to give but we seem more concerned with telling others to give than we are in giving of ourselves. Let that sink in. - Tim
I’m not much on making political statements or even entering into political debate, but some of the recent discussions I’ve had with people and witnessed between others regarding the Gay Marriage issue currently facing our nation has had me at least lightly entering the fray. In the process of this, I’ve discovered that one of the most common accusations from the gay and lesbian community and their supporters is that anyone who believes redefining marriage to allow gay couples to marry must, by definition, be motivated out of some combination of fear, hate, and bigotry. I do not believe this is the case and I’d like to explain my own personal stance here in this blog today. Perhaps it will help people to see where I believe “most” Christian people are coming from in this debate. Bear in mind, there are people who are motivated out of fear, hate and bigotry. I just don't think most Christians fit into this category, and I will strongly disagree with any Christian who engages in personal attacks or displays hatred and bigotry toward anyone, even in the heat of debate.
First of all, I want to dispel the notion that disagreeing with redefining marriage must be based on fear, hate, and bigotry. This accusation is often unfounded but is still leveled against Christians because it is such a strong rallying point for public outcry. There are certainly people who are made uncomfortable by homosexuality, without question. It makes me uncomfortable, I will admit. However, I’m not homophobic. I also have no hatred for homosexuals. On the contrary, I have great compassion for them. As a person who is the recipient of God’s grace myself, and having also dealt with my own sin and needing ongoing repentance, I am keenly aware that these struggles are genuine. It may seem an affront to homosexuals for me to say this, but I hope and pray for their deliverance from this lifestyle. I care about them as people. I do see homosexuality as sinful and self-destructive behavior, just as I see other sins in the same way. Sexual sin (whether homosexual or heterosexual) is mentioned in Scripture as having particularly damaging effects on the individual, a sin against one's own body. (1 Corinthians 6:18) My feelings toward gay people, therefore, is that I have compassion for them and would even offer to help them if possible, to pray for them and counsel them if they would be interested. Many do not see themselves in need of any help and certainly not in need of any deliverance, but my purpose here is to simply explain where I’m coming from. I have no desire to force my views on anyone.
In light of this, it should also be known that I am not motivated by a desire to withhold rights from people. I do not have trouble with a person who has been a faithful friend or partner being allowed to visit their significant other in the hospital. Others may disagree with me, but I don’t even have an issue with gay couples having other legal rights afforded to married couples. It's the redefining of marriage that troubles me most.
Now, here is why I have an issue with gay marriage. It dishonors God. When I look at Scripture, I see that from the beginning, God created them male and female. (Genesis 1:27) It is also clear that marriage was the first institution founded by God in Genesis 2:24, where the writer says… “For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh.” It is clear that the marriage relationship is foundational to God and that the family unit is intended to be the primary building block of society. Jesus Himself reiterated the importance of this relationship in Matthew 19 when He is explaining the reason for forbidding divorce. In addition to this, this foundational institution of marriage serves as a symbol of the relationship of Christ to His Church. In Revelation 19, the Apostle John says, “Let us rejoice and be glad and give the glory to Him, for the marriage of the Lamb has come and His bride has made herself ready.” This is the picture of the marriage feast of the Lamb to His Bride, the Church.
So, when I say that I’m against gay marriage, it is based upon the depth of meaning that marriage itself has to me and to my faith. I am not against people or against relationships. My thoughts are deeply rooted in my desire to honor God. If God defined “marriage” as between a man and a woman and instituted this relationship as the foundation for human society, then to redefine the word to include homosexual relationships is simply wrong from a Christian and Biblical perspective. I also believe that when a nation “officially” declares God to be in error in defining marriage, they are declaring themselves no longer in need of His guidance and care, and can certainly expect that there would be consequences to follow, which I would like for all of us to avoid, regardless of our sexual orientation. This is where I’m coming from and, while I certainly do not expect all to agree with me, I would hope that we can reasonably discuss these issues without things devolving into some kind of angry rant or name-calling, something which I simply refuse to do.
In closing, let me just add this: what homosexuals do in their own lives is their own business. I disagree with it and agree with Scripture that it is sinful, but it is their right. I am not against people loving one another and being committed to one another in any way. I do not mind civil unions nor any of the rights afforded to couples who engage in them, if the government is so inclined to extend these rights. If you really want to boil it down to the bottom line, here is what I would suggest might make the entire thing go away. Don’t call it “marriage.” Call it something else. Call it a civil union. Call it anything besides marriage because that is the real hang-up for me and I'd suggest it's likely the same for most Christians. Redefining something God has defined does not honor Him, and that’s my concern above all- honoring God.
D. Courtney Hill