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Archive for the ‘Church and State’ Category

The Power of Prayer

In Church and State, Gratitude, prayer on April 22, 2010 at 9:37 am

Every person of faith I know at one time or another has questioned, “Does God answer our prayers?” It’s a fair question. I don’t really consider prayer as a DJ request line to God where all we have to do is ask and it is given. Instead I consider prayer a way to organize and focus our thoughts.

Prayer is what gives hope in seemingly hopeless situations. Prayer is how we pause and reflect on the direction our paths will take us. Prayer is our way of getting in touch with our Creator.

When I was in high school, every morning following the announcements, we had a moment of silent meditation. It was an opportunity to gather my thoughts for the day ahead. Some people finished their last-minute homework, some just counted seconds until it was over, but indeed some of us prayed. I imagine some prayed for an A and some prayed for a sweetheart to ask them out. I contend the outcome to such prayers had little to do with the prayer and more to do with free will and choices. Those who studied got As and those who interacted with the sweetheart got asked out.

So why pray? Why bother if we are autonomous creatures who are going to ultimately make our own choices?  Why do answered prayers seem to be answered so randomly and illogically? Everyone has a story of someone who was terminally ill and when they lived credited their survival to the power of prayer. That never quite sat well with me because I think it minimizes the prayers of others who didn’t survive their illness. Were their prayers unheard or any less valuable? Or perhaps the answer was not the expected answer. Life, yes, in eternity. A woman I knew well passed away a few years ago after a long battle with cancer. Never did she feel God was ignoring her. Her final hours were spent praising life, not lamenting unanswered prayers. She was surrounded by loved ones. A true tribute to life and her Creator.

Prayer is not a fast food menu where we see what we want, order it and drive forward with a few bills to get it wrapped and ready to consume. In the movie Bruce Almighty, when Jim Carrey’s character is overwhelmed with prayers, he simply says yes to all of them. It’s pretty humorous. I thought the “winning the lottery” prayers were priceless. Everyone won something like $1.00.

I think we confuse getting what we want with having our prayers answered.  Prayer is the way we organize our wishes, hopes, fears, ideas and thoughts and offer it up to a higher power.  It is our way to humanize our communication with God, the way we feel heard.

Earlier this week, I seriously contemplated closing down this blog and the accompanying Facebook page. I said several prayers asking for guidance. I didn’t feel like it was accomplishing the original goal of two-sided (or more) communication.

Yesterday, I wrote a post about a truly blasphemous “prayer” and we had the highest readership we’ve ever had. The email and support Lifted on Eagle’s Wings has gotten humbles me. I believe that people do want dialogue, we do want to listen to each other and we do want to walk forward.  I am renewed.

I believe in prayer. Amen!

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Christian Boxing Match?

In Church and State, Recent Headlines on March 11, 2010 at 6:46 pm

 Ladies and Gentlemen, 

Thank you for joining us this evening at our boxing match. In this corner, we present Glenn Beck, in red shorts and mercifully wearing a shirt. In this corner, we present Jim Wallis, similarly attired, but with shorts of blue.
Face off, men.

Whoa! Wait one little Biblical day!

*Or less if you prefer since most of us may not live long enough to see an entire Biblical day if we believe the entire earth was created in seven of them.* 

Two Christian men fighting? Christians posturing and showboating to make their point. Can’t be. No, because when I read about Jesus, that guy who started this whole thing, this is about the furthest from What Jesus Would Do. Really. 

Jesus had many dissenters. Jesus had plenty of folks who did not agree with his message. They feared change as much as the Glenn Becks of this world. This would be the entire premise of the Pharisee and Sadducee stories in the New Testament. Not really Fair, you see, and truly pretty Sad, you see

Never once did Jesus call for His followers to rebel or sign petitions or even assemble in His name. He wasn’t like that. In fact, the Jesus we love once was driven to a cliff and merely walked through the crowd. The magic of Jesus was that he never “got in people’s faces” he merely stated what he saw, what was truth, and invited people to listen. 

We Christians spend an inordinate amount of time disagreeing with each other. We disagree about Baptism, Communion, and Marriage. We find reasons to tell each other we’re right and you’re wrong on a regular basis. We embrace our freedom of speech as freedom to judge. Yes, we are free to speak, but just because we can say anything we want, should we? Is it wise? 

We can argue all day and night about fine points. I thought to put them in this post and dissect one by one, but rather, I’m going to attempt to do what Jesus would do when challenged. I trust you are scholarly. I trust you know a lot of verses and quotes to tell me why either is right.

I contend that we need each other. We should not be dividing our house. We are Christians and we walk in the name of Jesus. 

Instead, I will ask you three questions: 

Who do you say He is?

What do you think we should do?

Are we behaving as Jesus would teach us?

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What will you give up for Lent?

In Church and State, Gratitude, Holidays, Non Profit on February 15, 2010 at 8:45 am

As Christians celebrate their last few days before Lent, a traditional period of sacrifice, we move toward voluntary austerity in our lives. We prayerfully reflect for 40 days in remembrance of the 40 days Jesus was tempted in the desert. We celebrate at the beginning of the season to use up the fat and meat in preparation, hence the terms Fat Tuesday or Carnival, (farewell to meat as a literal translation). We celebrate at the end of the season with the joyful resurrection of Jesus. The forty days are book-ended with festivity, as if the forty days were endless, instead of a moment in time. 

What if everyday of life was a struggle with poverty and hunger?  What if you were homeless? What if you lost your job? What if you had drug-addicted parents? What if the conditions of your life were not chosen, but merely a circumstance of birth? 

These are scenarios all too familiar. Today, 49 million people around the nation will be hungry. It is all too easy for those of us with full bellies to complacently become what I consider the “but I’s”. What I mean by that is our attempt to explain how we would combat lack of income, but I… would never let my family go hungry, would find a job, and would do whatever it took, would not sit back and accept charity, and would pick myself up by the bootstraps… ad infinitum”.

Many of us have an inner dialogue that assumes what we would do before we went hungry. It is very easy to fall into that trap of making someone else’s problems about us. In our attempt to understand, we assume. 

It is very easy to turn away from giving with an open hand because we work hard for what we have and why should we give to someone who has never worked as we have? Why should we share what we earned rightfully? I have been tempted to add my name to a statement “make drug tests mandatory to get welfare”. It makes sense, of course. Why should someone who is doing something illegal receive the fruits of my labor? Then I wonder, what about their children? Should the children suffer because their parents make irresponsible choices? Should a child go hungry?

Much of what Jesus preached just did not make sense. Sell your possessions. Love the least among us. If you have two dollars, give one to your brother. There are no conditions attached to the call to be generous. There are no tests, hoops to jump through, or forms to sign. The call is simply to share. As Christians, we are saved by the gift of grace, we do nothing to deserve the gift, but it is ours.

As we spend the Lenten season choosing to give something up, choosing to reflect, wouldn’t it be something incredible if for 40 days, we chose to give up conditions for generosity? What if we simply give as Jesus gave, without question of merit or deserving-ness. What if we stopped thinking what we would do in such a situation and instead truly asked, What Would Jesus Do?

 

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Behold, All Things are New!

In Church and State, Gratitude, Holidays on December 31, 2009 at 9:11 am

Revelation 21:5 seems an apt verse as the millennium has now completed decade number one.

“Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”

Prior to Lifted on Eagle’s Wings conception, I had spent quite a bit of smug time disregarding “right wing Christians”. I am strong in my faith and let “them” have theirs. Nevertheless, it bothered me. I was troubled that I could not understand so many people who were proud in their faith. I kept thinking that there ought to be common ground since we are all Christians.

Then, over the summer, my own denomination, the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America, made the decision to ordain gay ministers. The resolution narrowly passed and the church has been set into turmoil with differences of opinion.  I exchanged several emails with my pastor, and while we do not agree on this topic, we discussed it peacefully. I understand why he believes as he does. It does not mean I have the same opinion, but I see the other side. 

That discussion sparked a desire to talk about more topics that are divisive. Through discourse, I believe we can find understanding. However, religion and politics are taboo unless the parties agree ahead of time to discuss them. That was the impetus behind our blog and Facebook page. When our mutual friend introduced me to Cara, I assumed she would be of the same mindset as I, since our friend declared we had much in common. When my shock wore off that we were politically opposite, I realized that God brought an opportunity into our lives. 

In an interview with Bill O’Reilly, Dennis Kucinich stated, “You know, first of all, the American eagle needs two wings to fly.” That sentence resonated with me and the church song “On Eagle’s Wings” always moves me to tears. I believe that we have a chance to use our faith to discuss our differences of opinion without anger.  The eagle is a perfect symbol of our shared faith and our mutual national pride. With only one wing, an eagle would fly in circles, but with two strong wings on each side, the eagle soars with dignity and grace.

The past two months have been incredible. I am learning to listen with an open heart and open mind. I no longer consider “them” as anything other than my brothers and sisters in Christ. We are all God’s children and He has given us a shining chance to learn through His word and our amazingly diverse viewpoints. I am learning the true meaning of loving with an open hand. All friends are welcome to participate in our dialogue.

As we enter a new decade, I am enthusiastic and filled with joy at the prospect of continued friendship, love and conversation. Thank you to all our friends, readers, and contributors. May your last day of 2009 be filled with many blessings and may the blessings continue into 2010.

 

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Book review: Alone with a Jihadist

In Church and State, Military on December 7, 2009 at 10:48 am

At the risk of being a spoiler, the last paragraph in Aaron D. Taylor’s book, Alone with a Jihadist, left me with such optimism, I must reveal it now.

“… why wait till the age come? The world is crying out for peace today. Let there be peace on earth – and for the love of God – let it begin with the Church!”

Last month, shortly after Cara and I founded Lifted on Eagle’s Wings, I was reading one of my daily newsletters and found a Sojourner’s column written by Aaron D. Taylor. I was so impressed with what he had to say, I sent him a short note of praise.

We communicated in short emails and I ordered his book. I must be clear from a personal place. I never thought for a moment this young Pentecostal evangelist, from the most conservative place theology could imagine, would resonate with me for an entire book. I ordered the book more so I could understand that “other side” of Christianity. It was a way for me to sit back with my maturity and my Christian confidence with my answers about God and be ready to refute every point this person made.

Taylor shocked me to the point that I am recommending his book to atheists. Yes. The wisdom, honesty and Biblical truth that he illuminates in his book astound me.

Taylor has traveled the world as a missionary. He answered a call to be part of a documentary called Holy Wars and spend a day with a radical Muslim jihad. His book touches upon his experience but expands upon the idea why Christians should never go to war. Never. Never kill, never fight with violence. Even after sitting down with a powerful extremist who considers it his mission to destroy our nation, our religion, and us, he still feels we should never go to war, to never fight violence with violence.

In the United States, we hold democracy side by side with our Christian teachings. We believe that we truly are One Nation Under God. We Trust in God and we fight for that freedom. Our flag waves side by side with the cross. It’s interesting to note that the largest democracy in the world is not the United States, but India. Yet, we Americans consider democracy our God-given right. It’s easy to trace the origins of such a mindset. Our currency, our pledge, our justification for our actions all refer back to God, from our earliest memories. Not much unlike the schooling of Muslim. They also learn at an early age about their faith and their nationalism.

One of the most informative statements from the first chapter reveals the views a jihad holds towards American Christians. “You still haven’t described how you would implement the Bible as a way of life or in government… What is godly government? I don’t understand… I don’t expect you to know the reason why you don’t know because the answer is not in there… Let me tell you what we do with homosexuals, okay? They are to be taken to the top of a mountain and thrown off and killed. It’s capital punishment. For the one who is an adulterer, if they are unmarried, a hundred lashes. If they’re married, stoned to death. This is Islamic Sharia. It’s comprehensive… I’m trying to be honest with you because you are holding a completely corrupted message that doesn’t tell you what to do in these situations.”

The jihadist’s point was that the Muslim religion is very clear how to deal with aberration. Christianity is unclear, therefore an invalid form of government.

The jihad continued, about America, “Nothing is addressed. Evil is allowed to run rampant, okay? And you just keep propagating peace and love and all that sort of thing and it’s not really good enough…”

With that sort of introduction, the book humbles the most militant Christian. As the book continues, Taylor examines why militant and Christian need not include violence.

Taylor repeatedly cites Biblical evidence to make the case for peace. Jesus turned the other cheek, preached for us to love our enemies, and even rebuked Peter for defending him. Jesus never endorsed violence. Instead, He gave us the gifts of scripture, worship, and love.

Taylor also juxtaposes the American Revolution for freedom from England with the peaceful non-violent evolution from Canada and Australia. He considers the financial cost of war versus peace. He addresses it all.

Highlighting peaceful revolutionaries such as Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr., and even American writer Henry David Thoreau, Taylor explains a different way, a truly Christ-like way. He probes our nationalism, our faith, and our core beliefs in a way that remind us indeed that Jesus did not just come to forgive our sins, but instead to teach us how to live.

I highly recommend his book if you’re a Christian who just doesn’t understand why we shouldn’t violently fight the evil forces of our world. I recommend this book to anyone who embraces the idea of peace, but doesn’t know why we bother. I recommend this book to anyone who has ever questioned why we are at war. 

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The Assault

In Church and State on November 20, 2009 at 6:24 am

The title of this piece sounds exactly like something an angry homophobic religious conservative would write after hearing the news that a religious organization called Catholic Charities is currently at odds with a proposal for gay-marriage legislation in Washington D.C. However, let me be clear about something. I am not a religious zealot nor am I homophobic. I am however, a bit angry. Not at gays, or liberals or Christian conservatives, but rather I am angry at those who have been able to pit our communities against one another and continually strive to fuel those flames. I chose the title because we are all under assault. The D.C. story is just a small example of a greater incursion.

A closer look at the facts may clarify my position.

There is a bill under consideration by the Washington D.C. district council that would legalize same sex marriage in the D.C. area. Under the guise of equality, the legislation would force religious organizations to offer their social services to the gay community with the exception of marriage ceremonies, counseling services and retreats. Catholic Charities currently provide a range of services that reach more than 60,000 people in their capital city. Such programs include efforts like adoption & foster-care services, health care provisions, and vocational training. Catholic Charities insist that the exemption status provided by the bill is far too narrow and that forcing them to extend social services, like adoption, to the gay community will not allow them to conduct themselves in a manner consistent with their doctrine. As such, Catholic Charities have stated that if the bill goes through, they will have to cancel their government contract and discontinue the social services they provide to the city. The ensuing tumult in the media has predictably painted the church as governed by heartless bigotry that would rather abandon the needy than support gay couples. Initially, I bought into that assessment because this protestant conservative happens to have close personal gay friends. However, I discovered upon further reading that Catholic Charities have been strategically put into a Sophie’s Choice position where, based on government legality, they must choose between two tenets they hold dear: the sanctity of marriage and ministry to the poor. To some, it would seem to be an easy solution: uphold social provisions over sentimental semantics. But my point is this… it’s not for people outside of Catholicism to decide which services they should or should not provide. It’s an argument that should take place between fellow Catholics and should not be mandated from any other front, especially from the seat of government.

My conservatism stems from a solid belief in the core principles that compose the structure of our country. Freedom of religion is one of those girders. That freedom, like it or not, allows the religious community to make distinctions about right and wrong as it pertains to the doctrine of their faith. As long as those distinctions are not imposed upon society in a way that threatens the general population, the religious community has liberty to determine their own course of faith-expression. The same-sex marriage legislation, as it currently stands, will place impediments upon that expression thus undermining this constitutionally protected freedom. As such, all of us, including the gay community, should support a broader exemption for Catholic Charities. After all, if political power can be used to undermine one part of the first amendment, then what’s to stop that power from collapsing all of it?

Now I know there will be those who read this and think that equality is king and that government is the strong arm to enforce it. However, if this is true and non-discrimination is at the heart of this particular piece of gay-marriage legislation, then why allow for any religious exemptions to begin with? Perhaps it’s because those exemptions are just weak displays of first amendment security that are actually not strong enough to be enforced but regardless, the fact that they exist undermine a claim for equality. And if discrimination as a general concept is intolerably wrong, then why not come down on other non-profits who operate with selective services? I mean, the American Association of Retired People limit their services to those over the age of 50. So what about retired folks who are struggling at the age of 49? Then there’s the Humane Society. They have a strict selection process in place to determine who is eligible for adopting one of their animals. That sounds like blatant discrimination to me. Why isn’t the hammer of equality coming down on them? Who is the Humane Society to decide whether or not my home is an acceptable environment for raising an animal? I’m sort of being somewhat facetious with these examples but you get my point. Any organization with a mission statement must utilize some form of discrimination to define whom they will or will not serve. But here’s the great thing about our country and what makes it so frigging awesome to live here: If you find that something in society is missing, you have the freedom to bring it into existence! Therefore, if the gay community truly wants access to things like marital services or adoption processes, they have the freedom to use all of their political clout, funding power and activist energy to create charities specifically suited to service their needs as a community. I bet they could even find people within the Catholic congregation to help them do it.

As I write this, these suggestions are so glaringly obvious that again, I come back to the title of this piece. If this legislation is not truly about establishing equality, then what else can it be about other than an excuse for government officials to create legal inroads aimed at controlling religious freedom? Notice I made no mention of homosexuals. This is not a gay agenda. This is just another example of government manipulation. And by government, I don’t mean liberals exclusively. Republicans have had their mitts on the religious community for political advancement long before Obama stepped into the picture. When are the citizens of this country going to stop looking solely at the superficial labels our politicians throw around to distract us and start analyzing the actions they take in light of the constitution we’ve been given? The constitution was created to empower us, not them. As government power increases, individual liberties decrease and that includes everyone.

Right now, without greater legal exemption, Catholic Charities stand at a cross roads of impossibility. Either they undermine their own doctrine regarding marriage in order to provide for the homeless or they abandon their mission to the poor in order to uphold their structure of belief. Being in this position, either way they lose and if they lose… we all do.

Would Jesus counsel gay people?

In Church and State on November 18, 2009 at 12:35 pm

A hot potato fell in our lap this week, as the Roman Catholic Church in Washington DC is asking the city to change a same-sex marriage law or they will pull out of the city. As a reasonable Christian, I must ask myself the simple question, “What Would Jesus Do?” 

The church provides valuable resources to over 68,000 people in the city, in the form of food and shelter. It is a frightening prospect to consider what those people would do without the aid of the church. 

The church is concerned that the law will require them to perform gay marriages and give adoption counseling to gay couples. Homosexuality goes against their church teaching. At what point does church and state separate? 

This is a conundrum to be certain, but my opinion is that the church is being unreasonable and un-Christ-like. I could debate the sinfulness of homosexuality but for the purpose of this essay, I will concede to their belief. Instead, I will refer to scripture. “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God;” (Romans 3:23) and “…He lifted up himself, and said to them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone…” (John 8:7). 

In other words, there is not a single person in the church who is without sin. Nobody. If we deny church services to sinners, the pews would be empty. Neither would there be anyone to preach or share God’s word. We all sin. 

Additionally, the church is worrying about what “may” happen, which is that they would have to provide marriage and adoption services to gay couples. The Catholic Church does not have to marry any couple that comes before them, hence the Pre Cana counseling required prior to a Catholic marriage. 

 Honestly, what kind of masochistic gay person would want to receive services or counseling about marriage or adoption from the Catholic church? Nothing stops the church from counseling as it sees fit, or asking the church to preach against their tenets, so in this theorized place of concern when gay couples seek help from the Catholic Church for marriage or adoption, the church could advise against it.   

Ship captains, justices of the peace, even Las Vegas chapels, in addition to ministers, perform marriage. Marriage is a legal contract, which may or may not be blessed by a church. The minister or priest acts as a servant of the state, filling out the proper forms and sending them to the local municipality. Prior to Martin Luther translating the Bible to German, churches performed civil services and kept birth and death records because literacy was abysmally low. Generally, only the priests and monks were able to read and write.  

These are only a few of the reasons I think the Church should reconsider their stance. To hurt so many and judge based on non-events would seem quite the opposite of “What Jesus Would Do?” 

What do you think?

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Choosing to amend

In Church and State on November 12, 2009 at 10:51 am

Once again, as the details of the health care bill are amended, abortion comes into the spotlight. I want to go on record as supporting Representative Bart Stupak’s amendment that no public funds pay for abortions. This is not a stance that will be popular with my liberal camp, but I want to explain why, with the proviso that I am pro-choice.

I have a great deal of internal wrestling even addressing this topic, as I feel it is ultimately, personal and not public. I would rather never talk about it, that is how private such a choice is.  That is why I oppose funds of any sort from a public plan going towards a personal decision. I struggle that I’m sending the wrong message to make public something I believe to be so deeply personal, but I also feel what I want to say has value.

There is a group on Facebook I joined called “I Hate Cancer”. I don’t think anyone would disagree with that statement. On the same token, I don’t believe anyone likes abortions, including pro-choice folks. Choosing to have an abortion is one of the most difficult decisions a woman has to make.

It bothers me how often the argument that there are people who want their own children but cannot have them is waved like a flag to oppose abortion. The argument is akin to telling children to eat their peas because there are starving children in Africa.

Earlier this spring, a young mother and her son made headlines for refusing chemotherapy treatment. Their religious convictions made their choice easier for them. I don’t understand why they refused the treatment, but my religion doesn’t tell me to reject medicine. Theirs does. I’m not sure the law should have interfered with their religious choice.

There is a the flip side. Abortion is legal. It is a difficult option that is offered to women who don’t want to be pregnant. Some people’s religious convictions tell them it’s wrong and they want to change the law. I disagree with changing the law, but I also don’t feel the law should pay for it.

Abortion choice is a choice between a woman, her conscience, and her God. It has zero place in government, zero place in any sort of public insurance. It can be privately funded by those who believe in choice as adoptions can be privately funded by those who are strongly opposed.

In a nation that accepts religious diversity, I do not understand why personal beliefs are mingled with government policy. We are supposed to separate church and state. One of the greatest things about being human is that we have free will. Some of us believe it is a gift from God, others believe it’s part of what it is to be human. Whatever our belief structure is, we have the ability to make choices and with those choices comes personal responsibility.

I pray that our nation stop fighting on rhetoric and realize that we should not allow personal choices to publicly divide us.

Less is More

In Church and State on November 8, 2009 at 6:09 pm

Thursday night, Kim and I were invited to be the guests of an online radio program called Table Talk with host and friend, Bob Soroky. Neither Kim nor I had ever been in such a situation before so we were a bit nervous about how the conversation would flow. When Bob asked us to talk about why we’re collaborating on a blog together, I told him that our intention is to look for peaceable ground upon which to rest our opposing views, but at the same time, we do not claim to be diplomatic experts or spiritual gurus who have figured out exactly how to go about doing that. We’re learning as we go.

It wasn’t too long into the conversation that I was able to prove my own inexperience.

About 10 minutes into the discussion, we had a caller weigh in after I had put forth a suggestion that we, as citizens, should reconsider the meaning behind ‘separation of church and state’ as being an assignment of different responsibilities that work to benefit one another rather than a literal segregation of the two systems. I then said something like “As a conservative Christian, I get frustrated because the church is not fulfilling their duty to the poor in this country. If we were truly committed to serving the poor, we could probably put the government out of business.”

That’s not an exact quote except for the last part about the government. I realized too late that I had spouted a poor grouping of words. Once I had said it, Bob announced we had a caller on the line and I knew the person on hold was probably going to speak against what I had said. I quickly tried to explain that in no way was I suggesting Christians should overtake the government and form a theocracy. However, looking back on the conversation, I don’t feel like I explained myself well enough beyond that simple clarification. So, I decided I would expound upon my thoughts within the sphere of this blog and perhaps garner some thoughtful feedback as a result.

Let the expounding begin!

Our country is composed of complex mechanisms, but if we had to boil it down into its simplest form, I would say we basically have two societal systems in operation: a political system and a religious system that exist for the same overall purpose: societal stabilization. However, although they share this same function, the mandate to separate them indicates that they each possess different responsibilities in order to accomplish that end. I believe the political system is there to provide the entire populous with laws, infrastructure, and protection while the religious system is stationed to offer moral constructs and when needed, tangible aid. Both establishments are vulnerable to faulty execution at best and corruption at worst. Therefore, when these systems fail us, and they often do, the only place for us to turn is to one another.

When I spoke of “the church” last night, I was actually attempting to identify the individual believer rather than the religious system itself. That’s a very important distinction. Without a doubt, no one can argue that our religious system is quite good at collecting money. And I also have to say, that although abuses do take place, statistics show that when it comes to doling out funds for poverty programs, our religious system does a fairly decent job of creating and managing them without going into debt. However, my point last night was to say that relying on our church organizations to combat all of society’s woes is not enough. It’s not enough for us Christians to throw money into the collection plate and call it a day. We, as individual members of the Body, must do more to reach out into our community, find a need and meet it directly. That’s what I meant to say last night. Reportedly, there are 200 million Christians in this country. If that number made a targeted effort to alleviate the burdens within their own communities, I truly believe we wouldn’t need a welfare system, abortion clinics, drug recovery programs or a myriad of other government run programs out there. The reason those programs exist is because we are failing at our task as individuals to take care of those who are struggling around us.

I do not write this to dump shame on anybody’s head. I too live a life where my resources of time, money and energy seem to be stressed to the max. This is not meant to be a finger-wagging opinion piece but rather it is a call for both conservatives and liberals to rely less on their man-made-systems and more on one another.

I can’t help but wonder what kind of amazing transformations we would witness firsthand, not only in the lives of others but also within ourselves.