The Ministry of Polarization

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  1. Lutheran says:

    Great post, Michael.

    I was in that rut about 10 years ago or so. Since then I’ve stopped listening to any media outlet that unnecessarily raises my ire — the ones that demonize everyone else and operate viscerally — and the Internet is often a culprit, too. I’m happy to hear opposing points of view, but it’s the outlets that get so dogmatic and self righteous that I avoid. Life is too short.

  2. Tim says:

    The hard part is finding a media outlet that *doesn’t* raise my ire. 🙂

  3. Nomans says:

    Yes yes & amen!
    It has almost become a replacement religion, leaving real power at the door. My InLaws are caught in this machine, and it has become a great source of contention in our family. They can’t understand why I avoid talking politics with them, and see me as almost unchristian for not participating in the right wing/pseudo christain media madness…
    It is so ugly, and I feel like it is stealing their minds!

  4. Nomans says:

    and it’s interesting that you use the word addiction.
    We can become physically conditioned with our emotional responses. When we do something habitually that gives us a endorphin or adrenaline release, we can begin to subconsciencely need that catalyst (action or behavior) to re-create the rush.
    Anger is a major trigger for this process.
    This is why we have thrill seekers and fitness junkies.
    It is also linked to why p*rn is such a snare, and such a difficult habit to break.

    Interesting, it’s like we need to be good stewards of our adrenal gland and its function!

  5. Lutheran says:

    Nomans,

    I know exactly what you mean.

    I know people just like your inlaws. It seems as if in some circles, this Religious right/ultraconservative POV has become a substitute for true Christian fellowship. Or worse, you’re considered ‘off the reservation’ if you don’t see eye to eye.

    What’s also missing a lot of times is any sense of perspective and any sense of humor. I never know what subjects are ‘safe’ with certain people, and what ones will bring on a rant! My rule is, the more someone lacks a sense of humor when they’re talking about politics or current issues, the more I avoid them. Seriousness and ideology seem to be close cousins.

    I have a close friend who’s an attorney. He’s more conservative about most things than I am. We have a lot of fun teasing each other about our ‘worldviews.’ It rarely gets contentious. However, that’s not always possible in family situations!

  6. Nomans says:

    Lute,
    Do you have any advice for me?
    It has become such a strain, and they are super aggressive! I never bring it up, but can’t come into agreement when they do, and they ALWAYS do…
    I tried the lighthearted thing as well, and i think it was like I was spitting on their golden Beck :mrgreen:

  7. ( |o )====::/ says:

    I’ve shifted my media relationships from input to :: output :: and apply myself to creating digital paintings, photographs, cartoons, good old fashioned pencil sketches, original music compositions using Apple’s GarageBand, Sony Acid & my guitar & keyboard, videos authored in iLife and websites using iWeb.

    Being an active producer and no longer a passive consumer has freed me from the tyranny of being told what to do, where to go, what to think, and especially what to believe

  8. Lutheran says:

    Nomans,

    Another great post.

    The danger with this stuff is that the emotional part of your brain hijacks the rational part. And chronic anger is especially damaging to the brain.

    The only difference I have with what you said is I believe there are positive addictions and negative ones. I think running/exercising are positive ones…as long as they don’t become obsessions, which does happen.

  9. Nomans says:

    Being an active producer and no longer a passive consumer has freed me from the tyranny of being told what to do, where to go, what to think, and especially what to believe
    What a powerful statement!

  10. Nomans says:

    Yes it does, and I actually have to guard myself against it. I understand this mechanism well! 😉

  11. Lutheran says:

    Nomans,

    I think you have to set boundaries…I know it must be dang near impossible not to get sucked in! But if you come away feeling drained and angry and depressed, best to not engage or disengage — change the subject perhaps. Leave the room physically if you must.

  12. Nomans says:

    excellent idea, and yes it can leave me feeling so sad and drained. I just want to scream because I love them and they have become slaves! This is what kills me. God gave us such a beautiful creation in the human mind. It is powerful in reasoning and judgement, and then He even highlighted it with discernment by the power of the Holy Spirit, and they lay down and let these agendized strangers who have no interest in their spiritual well being to spoon feed them this poison!

  13. Fred says:

    Is this thread a good example of what you feed yourself is what you will become?

    I stopped listening to guys like Rush about 15 years ago when I discovered he was really an entertainer and not an advocate.

    Of course I don’t listen to President Obama either.

  14. ( |o )====::: says:

    Nomans,
    I’ll offer some tactics that have worked for my wife & me, celebrating 30 years of marriage tomorrow…

    Patiently outlast them by changing the subject to how great their grandkids (your kids) are

    Get up and go for a walk, blame it on the need to stretch out that reoccurring hip cramp (aka pain in the a**) that is triggered by their mention of Beck & Limbaugh or Maddow & Maher

    Stay married to their son, have a lighthearted and funloving relationship with him. My mother in law finally admitted my wife and I have a good marriage (took her 29 years to say it)

    Rest in those bible verses that have given believers confidence and hope no matter what their country, culture or historical context. After all this is NOT about American supremacy, it’s about The Living God’s supremacy

  15. Erunner says:

    You forgot the e-mail forwards! Every time I receive one I head to snopes!! 🙂

  16. Nomans says:

    G
    I am grateful and will follow your advice 🙂

    I am a big picture girl and see things rather conceptually, so it is the pricipal that is painful. I can’t stand to see God’s people, who have been completely liberated, enslaved to anything.

    I will say this…
    It is an excellent discipline for me in love choices, and seeing past behaviors into souls that God is head over heals in love with.

  17. ( |o)====::: says:

    Nomans,
    Remembering what the sage Newnham has said recently, “lasers, not shotguns”

    vital advice, especially in relationships, because though the principle of liberation is a great ideal the influence you hope to have with your in-laws can only come with single acts of patience, kindness, patient forebearance “in the moment”, sometimes having to say, “I need to not talk about Glenn Beck & politics right now” and being willing to offer still another cup of coffee and more time. It didn’t work with my father in law, so I would just keep quiet, smile and let him think I was an idiot (instead of opening my mouth and removing all doubt).

  18. Captain Kevin says:

    Michael, this is such an important topic. Great post! I do occasionally listen to Beck or Hannity, but only when I happen upon them. Kind of like with anything except the Bible, you have to chew up the meat and spit out the bones.

    Why do so many “christians” seek a messiah other than Jesus?

  19. ( |o )====::: says:

    Nomans,
    Gotta run.
    Enjoy beautiful CdA and those long summer light filled days. I’m at Pacific Beach celebrating my beloved and her daily foolish choice to stay married to her strong willed, opinionated, overly optimistic artistic goofball

  20. Michael says:

    CK,

    See Nomans @ 7:54.

    There is an addictive quality to this stuff and we do become conditioned to it.

    The other part?

    We don’t really believe that God is involved…I think we’re practical deists looking for something that will work.

  21. TonyP. says:

    I think it’s a matter of timetables in many instances. We want things resolved (by God supposedly), and when it doesn’t happen in our timeframe as we see it, we turn to those that will work it to our satisfaction. The problem with that is that man has a decided lack of progress at “handling” just about everything…..

    And methinks that God has a different idea of what is “important” than we do…. 😉

  22. Michael says:

    TonyP,

    That is a factor as well…very much so.

  23. Michael says:

    The reality is that strong emotions…passions…make us feel alive and empowered.

    The odd part is that this energy is usually passively received and it dissipates until the next program..

  24. Em says:

    i think – dunno – that everyone is looking for the ’cause’ of the degradation of the things that we’ve valued in this country, but not everyone has “valued” the same things, so we see the “cause” in what is against what we value

    in reality we’ve lived in a fairly peaceful, stable land with lots of elbow room – it’s the lay of the land, itself, that is changing – not saying what’s driving the change (as a Christian i think i know), not saying it’s good; it just is changing and most probably it is a dynamic that is completely out of our hands to stop.

    commenting before reading the thread here so that i don’t lose my train of thot – now i will go back and read and probably get enlightened 🙂

  25. Michael says:

    “being an active producer and no longer a passive consumer has freed me from the tyranny of being told what to do, where to go, what to think, and especially what to believe”

    That is one of the more profound things you’ve given us…

  26. TonyP. says:

    Another factor is that when someone becomes a loyal listener, caller, blogger 😎 , etc., it helps to feed our need to be part of a group. I think that many people (yes, including Christians) feel a decided lack of community these days. We may be surrounded by people and yet feel totally alone.

  27. TonyP. says:

    Conintuing my thought….once we become part of a “group”, it leads to the constant need to defend that particular idea. This has a tendedcy to escalate in proportion to the perceived level of “attack” against it.

  28. TonyP. says:

    BTW,

    I am apparently fon of “quotes” today…. 😀

  29. Michael says:

    TonyP,

    You’re on a roll this morning…that is another dynamic…along with the need to be “right”.

    If I’m “right” then someone of necessity must be “wrong”.

    The very dangerous thing is that the middle ground is considered to be wrong by both sides.

  30. Believe says:

    …needed to be reminded of this.

    Thank you Michael…great exhortation.

  31. TonyP. says:

    Michael,

    The thing that always gets me is that we as christians are supposed to have that same manual for “right vs. wrong”, and yet we seem to get the most joy out of destroying one another with it.

  32. Em says:

    i can ‘enjoy’ small doses of Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck since i discovered that those guys are part of the plan to subvert us ‘mericans – “they” are using these radio guys (like steam vents) to keep the masses focused in an ineffectual, non-interfering state of confusion while “they” carry out their plan to take over the world and all it’s gold… 🙄
    it’s a conspiracy i’m telling you

  33. Michael says:

    Believe,

    Those of us with blogs or other forms of media need to be reminded a lot…it’s easy for me to get riled and rip away at someone…but I’m also ripping at the fiber of who we’re supposed to be.

    As with most articles and sermons, I write for myself first… 🙂

  34. Michael says:

    Em,

    Absolutely! 🙂

  35. Kevin H says:

    My wife for the most part is politically ignorant. Recently she had expressed at some sort of family setting (at which I wasn’t present) that she wanted to become more informed about these things. Her aunt then gave her a list of 3 people in the media she should listen to because the espouse things from an Evangelical Christian viewpoint. My wife then came to me and gave me the list of names because she didn’t know who they were and needed help in finding out where or how she could listen to them. It was at that point that I needed to inform her that Hannity and O’Reilly are Catholic and that Beck is a Morman, and none of them are actually Evangelical Christians.

    I tend to be more conservative from a theological, political, and economic standpoint. That doesn’t mean I always agree with “conservative” stance on all issues, just do more often than not. Even with the men listed above, I will probably more times than not agree with them ideologically. However, I agree not so much with their methodology and how the “liberal” side is often demonized and/or misrepresented and/or made out to be the “enemy”. It’s just a shame when men like this are held up as the standard bearers for Christianity.

  36. Michael says:

    KevinH,

    They are the most prominent voices in the country that “represent” Christianity.

    Think about that…

  37. Kevin H says:

    It’s a sobering thought.

  38. TonyP. says:

    When did Christ stop representing Christianity, I wonder? Last I heard He was still in charge…

    Just sayin’

  39. Michael says:

    TonyP,

    We’re His ambassadors…another scary thought. 🙂

    He needs to hire an agency…

  40. TonyP. says:

    Michael,

    LOL 😆

  41. Jim Jacobson says:

    Balance is what is needed IMHO. I think it is important for us to be informed on the issues, especially those of us who teach. For each story out there, there are truths, lies, spin, and maybe even some good ideas… it’s sifting through the rhetoric that can be frustrating.
    When the arguing is going on, I just think it is like the “athletics of ideas,” it doesn’t make me mad, I am just looking for what is correct.
    Perhaps I’m in the minority, but I enjoy it.

  42. Jim Jacobson says:

    Kevin H. I am not a cheerleader for Hannity, Oh-really?, & Beck, but they do at least have a christian worldview,… they believe in a benevolent creator God, as opposed to being humanists. As for Beck’s Mormonism… I think he’s ignorant of his own faith.

  43. Michael says:

    Jim,

    I think you’re in the majority, not the minority.

    Truth gets lost when only polar opposites are allowed in the discussion.

  44. BrianD says:

    What you feed your mind greatly affects it and influences it.

    I’ve seen this in several ways, including the neo-conservative paranoia that permeates much of the Christian media.

    Years ago I listened to Rush and Point of View because I thought I was supposed to as a good Christian…never mind that along with any good I heard, I also heard that the Democrats were evil and willing to steal and take from you in some manner; the end of the world was coming, and so was the antichrist and his world government; we were all losing our freedoms to whatever and if we didn’t act frantically quickly one more of our precious freedoms would be lost forever….

    Now I hear it when I listen to so-called Christian radio.

    So, like some of you, the answer for me was to shut it off altogether.

  45. Michael says:

    Jim,

    What is a “Christian worldview” ?

    I submit that is a propaganda phrase for the religious right that has little grounding in Biblical truth.

  46. papias says:

    “Rest in those bible verses that have given believers confidence and hope no matter what their country, culture or historical context. After all this is NOT about American supremacy, it’s about The Living God’s supremacy.”

    Amen Guitar Man!

  47. Michael says:

    BrianD,

    That’s the pastoral advice I gave my friend…shut it off.

    Praise God, he did and now feels like he literally has a new lease on life.

  48. Kevin H says:

    Jim,

    I agree that for the most part that they have what we would consider to be a Christian worldview. That’s why I said that more times than not I will agree with them ideologically. It’s their tactics in expressing those worldviews that will often rub me the wrong way.

  49. papias says:

    Attending only Sunday School yesterday, I missed out on the service, which I heard was given by a wel known politico in my area, who also happens to be running for office.

    Glad I missed it.

    My SS teach is pushing a book by Michael Levin “Liberty and Tyranny”, which I wonder what that has to do with the gospel? Maybe its me and I’m thick-headed?

  50. Jim Jacobson says:

    #45, Well, I could only submit my use of the phrase.. I think it’s a basic belief in the God of the bible. The benevolent creator God, the God of the ten commandments, as well as a general belief in Jesus, without necessarily a born again experience.

    I think there are a ton of these types in our country, they think they are christians, attend church, but not necessarily saved. Even within the LDS, or Catholic camps, I think it is a ripe field. These folks IMHO just need the gospel presented to them in a “more accurate way” I led a “mormon” to Christ just last week. It was just a label. She believed in God, and fortunately was not really sure if she was a christian or not. She now is,.. and a new bride and mommy as of this weekend!

  51. Kevin H says:

    I’ll let Jim answer Michael’s question about a “Christian worldview” for himself.

    I do agree it’s a phrase that is often used for propaganda reasons. However, to me, a Christian worldview is trying to look at the world through the eyes of Christ to the best of our finite ability that we can do such a thing.

  52. Jim Jacobson says:

    Kevin, agreed on tactics. I think that is where they really blow it.
    I am going to really get myself in trouble here…. I like Ann Coulter.
    Not the bomb-throwning outrageous Ann, but if you listen to what she says on many topics, she is brilliant. He books are incredibly funny,… and true in some cases.
    It’s the sifting that can be frustrating.

  53. Michael says:

    Papias,

    Sounds like they’re getting ready for mid term elections…talking about the wrong kingdom.

  54. TonyP. says:

    Michael,

    “Even in those cases the objective must always be repentance and reconciliation and restoration.”

    Part of our problem is the vast array of hoops and hurdles that we place out for the person to have to go through to be reconcilled, much less be restored.

    I’m not saying that issues that require repentance and such should just be whitewashed, but we christians spend a BUNCH of time making sure that the offending party knows how truly horrible they are before we let them back into “our” church. ANd then we make sure to bring it up ocassionally to make sure they remember that they were worse than the rest of us….

    Sigh….

    Heads up, I have been weighed and found wanting. 😯
    So have you (universal you).
    Jesus alone is righteous.
    And He forgives, can we as His ambassadors do less?

  55. Michael says:

    Oddly enough, when I think of the “worldview” of Jesus I think first of the Beatitudes and Matt 25.

    I haven’t heard anything similar from politicos…

  56. Michael says:

    TonyP,

    You have been spending a lot of time with God….

    “Part of our problem is the vast array of hoops and hurdles that we place out for the person to have to go through to be reconcilled, much less be restored.”

    That comment should have been an article of it’s own…

  57. papias says:

    Michael,

    Midterm elections were my thought as well.

    BTW, great post!

    One thing I remember Chuck Smith saying was to “keep politics out of the pulpit. If you say that you are a Democrat, you will lose half your members. If you say that you are a Republlican, you will lose half your members. ” While in practice it may be something different, the thought is nice.

  58. papias says:

    So how do we talk politics from the middle of the firestorm?

    Or do we just withdraw from the conversation, since the middle egts blasted from both sides?

  59. Michael says:

    papias,

    Good question.

    The part about the middle getting blasted is to me a great truth and great danger.

    I have no real answers at this point…I parse everything through the Gospels and try to help others keep their powder dry.

  60. Em says:

    am i wrong in thinking that there is a history in ‘mainstream” Christianity of believing that it/we would conquer the whole world for Christ and then Messiah Jesus The Christ would return to rule the Kingdom (after we conquered the world for Him)? i had picked up the idea somewhere back there (not from an RC) that this was the RC teaching… 😕

    if so, it might be understandable that Christians now think that we are the Christian nation that must hold the ground and spread “Christian” Democratic government throughout the world…. sure takes our focus off of Christ as we try to do so…

    at one time i thot the Church had always, historically, anticipated a removal of the Church before things on earth were subject to what is prophesied for ‘end times.’

  61. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    “What is a “Christian worldview” ?

    For my first 25 yrs as a Christian, I was taught “it’s all gonna burn.” Is that it?

  62. papias says:

    Michael –
    Its a good thing that I consider myself more a Libertarian – I’m used to getting blasted!

  63. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    em – to your #60
    That is not an RCC view – but as a post millennialist, that is Pat Robertson’s view.

  64. Michael says:

    Em,

    That’s post millennialism and it was popular before the 2 world wars put the lie to it…

  65. Believe says:

    There are certainly some issues we can all unite on…pastoral accountability and a Biblical Standard for pastors/elders are two issues I can think of.

  66. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    My political view is the old adage “all politics are local politics.”
    We belong to the MLD party and do what is right for us, with the outgoing thought of, if we do what is “right” for us, then that will ripple along to others.

  67. Michael says:

    MLD,

    “For my first 25 yrs as a Christian, I was taught “it’s all gonna burn.”

    Was that really a prevalent teaching to the degree I hear?

  68. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Michael,
    it was followed by “being concerned for this world is like polishing the brass on the Titanic”. It was huge during the 80s – at the same time being taught (and I bought) that Reagan, the Moral Majority and Robertson would save Christian America.

  69. papias says:

    Believe
    “There are certainly some issues we can all unite on…pastoral accountability and a Biblical Standard for pastors/elders are two issues I can think of.”

    – Don’t forget “Financial Transparency”!

  70. Michael says:

    MLD,

    I must have been asleep…with the oil spill news I was thinking about this the other day.

  71. Believe says:

    Papias…yes, amen. Financial Transparency…a healthy measure of accountability. Good for all involved in a local church organization.

  72. London says:

    Yep, yep, and yep again!!

  73. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    If you want Financial Transparency, don’t let the pastor be a signor on the checking account.

  74. Em says:

    as a political science illiterate, the Bush (i’m not an anti-Bush BTW) plan to save Iraq for Democracy made no sense to me and aroused a bit of curiosity as to where that utopian idea came from – it may be dying, but it’s not dead in some circles…

  75. Cheri (sisterD) says:

    “If we can’t do that in the family, we have little hope in the world.”
    Family wow. We arr born in a family by birth and into one by spirit.
    Lord, give me a pure heart for both. Blow away the drose left by the fire of life and make them both pure. True. Real.
    Ps 51:13 “Then I will teach transgressors Your ways,
    And sinners will be converted to You.”

  76. Em says:

    How many churches have ever even heard the term: “Generally Accepted Accounting Principles?” How many people think the term “audit” is a bad word?

  77. Michael says:

    There’s been a tragedy in Albuquerque…workplace shooting.

  78. ( |o)====::: says:

    Michael,
    Thanks for the compliment

    All, though you probably won’t like his politics I hotta recommend Frank Schaeffer’s books, especially Crazy for God.

    Schaeffer was dismissed as a whiner, a punk, and more by some former participants here but as one who’s life, loyalties, and “world view” were closely aligned to his dad, Frank’s epiphanies parallel my own with most of the same conclusions.

    I know Frank us now dismissed by many ‘cuz he’s now avregulsr contributor to Huffington Post, but he really is a good counterpoint and has much to say to those if us who are constantly told that to be a follower of Jesus one must be a loyal member of a certain party, listen to and agree with certain broadcasters, and never question authority.

    Ok, gotta go play on the beach…
    …heck, someone’s gotta do it! 😉

  79. Babylon's Dread says:

    The Republican party is AS antichrist as the Democrats… The alignment with the Republicanism from evangelicals is repugnant.

  80. ( |o)====::: says:

    damn iPhone autocorrect!
    anyhow, I’m sure y’all will figure out my post

    Praying for God’s intervention in Albq shooting

    PAX

  81. Michael says:

    BD,

    I agree @ 11:20.

    My heart is with you folks in ABQ right now…

  82. papias says:

    BD – Let us know what else we can do besides pray.

  83. BrianD says:

    thoughts and prayers, BD.

  84. Another Voice says:

    Michael,

    I think I understand the post. May I ask a followup.

    What is your opinion on political activism as a Christian? Or put another way, are you even making a comment in that area?

  85. Kevin H says:

    Praying for the situation in Albuquerque.

    I can also appreciate BD’s 11:20. So many of today’s issues are so politicized and polarized so that the focus often becomes on the vileness of the “enemy” as opposed to actually trying to solve the issue at hand.

    For instance, an issue like how do we help the poor and downtrodden. From an economic standpoint, while also realizing that we’re doing with a fallen humanity and cannot achieve a utopia of any manner until Jesus’ return, I am of the opinion that in the end, capitalistic ideas are usually more effective at helping the poor than are socialistic ideas. Now I admit could be wrong in my thinking and I’m not looking for a debate. What I am trying to point out is that my main concern is with helping the poor and trying to determine what the best methods would be to do so.

    However, in our political world, the heart of the issue moves away from truly trying to help the poor to instead demonizing the other side that is “wrong” in their methodology. Republicans will accuse Democrats of not caring about freedom and liberty while Democrats in return will accuse Republicans of being greedy and not caring about the poor. Not saying everybody acts this way, but way too many do, to the extent that the focus becomes on gaining power and demeaning the enemy. In the end, everything breaks down so that nothing or very little of good actually gets done.

  86. Michael says:

    AV,

    If someone wants to be politically active, that’s not my concern….until they try to baptize their positions as being of the Lord and the opposition as the devil.

    I won’t tolerate it in the church…I go mucho loco when that happens.

  87. Believe says:

    Michael said, “I won’t tolerate it in the church…I go mucho loco when that happens.”

    LOL. 😆

    …and rightfully so, IMO.

  88. Michael says:

    KevinH,

    Very well said…

  89. Em says:

    are we saying, then, that post-millennialism is anti-christ? it seems to be the ragged thread that Christian political activism hangs from? or is post-millennialism still an arguable and valid end times view?

    just trying to get the players straight – any input appreciated

  90. Em says:

    BTW, i know, or think i do, 🙂 that most political activist Christians are themselves, pre-trib rapture advocates, or think they are – but conquering the world or keeping the USA for God has to come from somewhere….

  91. Michael says:

    Em,

    I think you’ve hit upon a contradiction in logic we can all consider….

  92. Nomans says:

    Sorry for skipping out earlier. This is a really productive conversation!
    Praying with you all for the horrific tragedy in NM and Sarahs very painful family situation.
    Also, a resounding “HAPPY LOVE DAY” to G-man and the bride of his youth.

  93. Em says:

    uh-oh, didn’t mean to overlook Grendal’s & wife’s milestone – still in love – a beautiful, God-blessed thing – congratulations to them indeed!

  94. Em says:

    um, Michael, does logic contradict itself (by definition, can it?) – is it possible that we’re not logical … some of us, anyway 😉

  95. Em says:

    do on-line donations to this ministry (it is one) have to go thru pay-pal? i just got rejected 🙁 will use snail mail, which i am more comfortable with, i guess

    am sitting here convicted at giving to others who minister to my life and not giving to this one…

    hope i’ve got the right address – BTW

  96. Em says:

    i’m making this thread look like a german shepherd dog web-site – sorry 😆
    i’ll occupy myself elsewhere for awhile

  97. papias says:

    Em – No problem here with German Shepherd dogs – I have one myself! 110 lbs of puppy.

    In additon to demonzing the opposition, something else bothers me with the polittcal talk. When it tuns into “turn this country back to its Christian roots” mindset – like that’s gonna solve the problems! (Much less the idea that the Founding Fathers were all Republicans.)

  98. Another Voice says:

    If someone wants to be politically active, that’s not my concern….until they try to baptize their positions as being of the Lord and the opposition as the devil.
    ——————————————————–
    Michael – I hear you in the context of the noise of today. Really I do.

    But when I look back at a Wilberforce or a Martin Luther King, I find myself not in agreement. Sometimes we CAN know we are on the Lord’s side in the political controversies of the day. Of course, we can do without the bombast, and we should if we seek to be effective.

  99. centorian says:

    nomans has spoken well.
    “It has almost become a replacement religion, leaving real power at the door.”

    It sure does appear like a replacement religion. I have too many around me that have bought into this mindset. Funy thing is, that they consider their POV to be life and vital for the health of the church. They have no ideal how draining and discouraging it is to be around them.

  100. Michael says:

    AV,

    I see no one with the moral authority of a Wilberforce anywhere today,
    I see people interested in power and ratings who will say anything to achieve their desires.
    Having said all this, Im neck deep in learning about the border and immigration and will end up making very political observations and statements.

  101. Michael says:

    Centy,

    They tend to be drained and discouraged themselves…my friend ended up really depressed.
    They find some strange refreshment in dragging people down to their level, though.

  102. Michael says:

    Em,

    I think that in some minds the US took the place of Israel as the aplle of Gods eye…hard for me to say cause I’ve always been a tad bit of a rebel…

  103. Another Voice says:

    I see no one with the moral authority of a Wilberforce anywhere today,
    ——————————————————-
    First – I agree. 🙂

    Second, what would that moral authority look like? He was a politician. Are we open to ANY politician EVER having such authority today – or have we tossed the whole bunch into the used-car salesman category (not to offend anyone who sells used cars by the way)

    Sort of back to your “we need a prophet” question. Are we open to God using a politician to speak with clarity on the moral issues of our day?

  104. Michael says:

    AV,

    God could do so…but I don’t see anyone like that at the present time.

  105. filbertz says:

    Michael, this is a thought provoking post. Most evangelical christians give assent to being “citizens of heaven” and being under the lordship of Jesus Christ, but in reality are, first, Americans and sold out to democracy. Few have ever pondered the deep discrepancies of those two positions or considered how viewing oneself as primarily a citizen and representative of heaven under the leadership and headship of Jesus would effect their approach to living in America today.

    As to the talking heads of the ‘right’ they are among the most arrogant and rude individuals I’ve ever heard. Their shows make me appreciate commmercials. 🙂 Actually, I never watch nor listen.

  106. TonyP. says:

    If the pulpits will keep to their charge of “feeding the sheep”, perhaps one day a politician will rise up with the Truth in his mind and the Kingdom in his view.

  107. TonyP. says:

    All fairness to the “right”, the “left” versions of things are pretty much icky as well.

    Yes, I said icky……

  108. TonyP. says:

    “It’s not just politics, it’s in the church as well.

    Sect against sect, clergy vs. laity, tradition vs. tradition with invective and rage being the weapons of choice.”

    I have yet to see a carniverous sheep…..how do we reconcile going at one another like, dare I say, wolves?

  109. Michael says:

    Fil,

    Well said.
    For some reason I have very easily and almost completely adopted the identity of a pilgrim passing through on my way home.
    I have been assured by many that believing so is ungodly and unChristian…and down right weird.

  110. filbertz says:

    Michael,
    I agree that the pilgrim imagery is most appropriate, but very contrary to popular culture. I have embraced the term “sojourn” for my remaining time, for I am convinced that life is more often hard than convenient, unjust than fair, and disappointing than fulfilling. That doesn’t mean I’m dour or sour, but that my joy comes from Christ and happiness in much simpler things. Too many Christians are utopian regarding their time here. They will ultimately be disappointed. We shouldn’t spend so much time dressing up our tents.

  111. Reuben says:

    I am a right wing fruitloop. However, a wise man once said, “Keep your politics out of God’s church!”

    (Glenn Beck)

    I have stuck with that. Politics will not come up in teaching the Word of God.

  112. Na'amah says:

    …i agree w so many seemingly ‘opposing’ POV’s expressed here because each one of them can/may lead to diametrically opposing conclusions of actions depending on one’s political bias.

    And i preface these words with my opinion that specific political points of view and information do NOT belong in our churches, being preached or part of a sermon. I think if God’s word is being taught it is incumbent for each adult believer to decide on their own how to personally translate it into political expression and engagement apart from His house. The Cross of Christ is not divided.

    We are “pilgrims” passing through… and are we not the salt of the Earth as well…are we not to ‘care’ for the quality of life within our communities. Research has shown the more government involvement/intervention we have, the less independent and self accountable a community is…not to mention creative. (the someone else is responsible or will ‘take care of it’ syndrome)

    And if your community government is corrupt don’t we have a responsibility to address the evil and corruption?

    The USA government gives the least percentage of its GNP of any nation each year. (although that sum is greater than most other nations) as ‘charity’ But US citizens voluntarily donate more than all of the other nations committed percentages combined. EVERY YEAR. By choice, not by a government edict.

    I want the freedom of choices to continue. I fear if we as God’s people do not engage and become involved in the political aspects of keeping government out of our daily lives our choices will become more and more limited and dictated to us. San Diego had an overzealous government worker who concluded home churches, bible study was not to be permited in a neighborhood do to parking statutes and business zoning. CA legislature nearly passed a required law for thermostate controls, twice (government agency to determine your home temperature) to be installed into all private homes…already a law that you can’t carry an atomizer for asthma w you as a minor on any school campus, but the school nurse can sign you out for an abortion off campus if you are 12 yrs or older w/out parental knowledge/permission.

    …why i want us to pay attention… be involved

    😀 and this may all just be my own bias against ‘authority’ in general… we are created in His image…this includes BRAINS i think each person should use theirs daily.

  113. Fred says:

    I see a problem here and it is the idea some may have that government has to be theologically correct. It doesn’t, but I do have the responsibility to act and vote the conscience of my knowledge of God.

    I remain pro-life, I am careful about the death penalty, marriage is between men and women, protecting the rights of the innocent, a responsibility to educate the next generation, stewardship of the earth includes protecting the resources God has provide for generations to come, resolving conflicts before they turn into war, protecting the right to worship and other neo-liberal stuff I’m sure are all important to me.

    Now should a church service provide a platform to discuss and teach such temporary political matters? Within the context of the service and scripture school, no! I think if the nature of God is taught people will figure out these things n their own.

    PS. Most of these men on both the right and left are just using their hyperbole to sell advertising and those provide a living for themselves. Their just actors for the most part.

  114. Michael says:

    Na’amah,

    I hear you, but let me complicate the picture some more.
    The church has been involved in politics and it has been an absolute disaster from my perspective.

    Next…I would get involved if I thought there was a difference between the scoundrels to choose from.

    On the other hand…I’ve concluded that the issue most on my heart right now has to be addressed by both the state and church…so I may have no choice in the matter. 🙂

  115. Na'amah says:

    🙂 uh oh Michael a ‘convergence’ of focus!

    and hasn’t church involvement been a disaster from any century?

    yeah… i am very aware of the scoundrels of all varying shades of the continuum… and i will work w what there is to work w in hope of one day what was the ‘lightest’ shade becomes the darkest.

    i have been identified as an eternal optimist by some, pollyanna by others and some not so nice names as well more than likely well deserved in some situations!

  116. Believe says:

    Na’amah said, “We are “pilgrims” passing through… and are we not the salt of the Earth as well…are we not to ‘care’ for the quality of life within our communities. Research has shown the more government involvement/intervention we have, the less independent and self accountable a community is…not to mention creative. (the someone else is responsible or will ‘take care of it’ syndrome)

    And if your community government is corrupt don’t we have a responsibility to address the evil and corruption?”

    Amen. We are Pilgrims, we are Stewards, we are Salt and Light.

    Unfortunately the same disease that infects our Churches (sin, abuse and corruption) also infects and infests our Governments.

    …sin, abuse and corruption are politically agnostic.

    Politically, there are some issues which, filtered through principles in Scripture, we must necessarily be “for” or “against”…

    No “Christian” should have been politically aligned or have supported Hitler’s political party and platform.

    Michael is right…there are issues that require both Church and Politics to come together and “do what’s right”…World War II was one of those times…we may, in the coming years, be facing another one of those times.

  117. Michael says:

    If I’m right we will soon be in need of heroes…God may just raise some up and extend our lease here…we need to be watchful and hopeful in the midst of the current reality.

  118. Believe says:

    Michael said, “I hear you, but let me complicate the picture some more.
    The church has been involved in politics and it has been an absolute disaster from my perspective.”

    It has been a disaster at times…and at times it has influenced for good.

    God, in His Sovereignty, uses His Church and the Tares for His purposes…His ultimate Glory. We will each give an account for our Vapor…and for what God has called each of us to do…if you are compelled toward politics…use your Talent…if you are compelled away from politics, use your Talent in whatever context and situation God guides you.

  119. Another Voice says:

    Moral authority in politics….Trying to look at our world today and see how it is that ANYONE can pass muster.

    Well first we ask about the testimony
    a) Do we want a clean life since birth. A Mitt Romney type (sans Mormonism)
    b) Do we want a testimony where the person has overcome something big by the Lord’s grace. (Considering many on the left accused Bush of coke snorting and boozing even in office, I tend to doubt that)

    Next, what church do they attend
    a) Can it be against evolution?
    b) Can it believe in spiritual gifts (i.e. tongues) for today?
    c) Can it be ‘young-earth?
    d) Can it speak loudly against abortion and/or homosexuality?

    Or..reverse those questions too. In other words, can it believe in evolution, support homosexuality and/or abortion ‘rights’, deny spiritual gifts.

    Then we ask, how can a politician exist without money
    a) Can he/she be independently wealthy and self-fund, and still not be accused of buying the election
    b) Can he/she fundraise and campaign like all politicians (even if he avoids the negative ads) and still retain moral authority?
    c) Is he/she responsible for rejecting all contributions that might even REMOTELY be tied to some (gasp) special interest.

    These questions would be used to degrade any politician in the eyes of half the naiton, no matter how answered…And I didn’t even ask if he/she could be part of a National Political party.

    I love Wilberforce. But the men Wilberforce fought in the political realm were also professing Christians for the most part. And if Amazing Grace is not entirely a fairytale, then it seems Wilberforce needed a fair amount of help from the heathen (like-minded on the evils of slavery) as well as a few political tricks and parliamentary shenanigans to be sucessful in his life’s calling.

    And success of that magnitude IS a political feat, as it would be in our nation as to our moral evils.

  120. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    I think that it is quite humorous that the Bible doesn’t say anything about government. Nor did Jesus ever speak on the subject. We assume that democracy is a Godly form of government etc – but there is no evidence for it.
    Righteous rule is the only requirement – Israel was ruled by kings, good and bad. The good were commended and the bad were condemned.

    We have read in too much of the American fantasy for how this country was founded (which I don’t believe was Christian based). But look what we admire – slavery written into the Founding Fathers original ideas; women, less than full citizens and only property owners with full voting rights. Even the idea of the Senate was set up to allow the rich to rule over the poor.

    Even our great ‘Fathers’ couldn’t get it right. Politics are futile and only serve for dinner conversations / debates.

  121. Michael says:

    AV,

    In any walk of life, whenever someone wants to give their “testimony” I want to run.

    The rest is irrelevant to me…my only concern is that someone be honest and speak honestly and intelligently to issues and act according to principles and in the interest of the country (state, locality.)

    The best example I have is the one I’m consumed with, the implosion of Mexico and all the issues that surround immigration.

    The next balanced, informed speech I hear on the matter from a politician will be the very first…right now it’s a popularity contest and a pissing match and the bodies being stacked up are irrelevant.

  122. Another Voice says:

    MLD – You mean God does not believe in freedom of religion? 😉

  123. Another Voice says:

    Michael – It won’t be someone giving their tesimony. It will be the digging up of dirt by the enemies as well as whatever is a matter of public record.

    The candidate could be silent on all of this stuff, but the rest of the nation would not be.

    I would add though, you sound like one of your favorite guys – Finney. He said Christians had a responsbility to vote for the honest candidate – that honesty was the primary thing.

    I agree with you, and him.

  124. Michael says:

    If I just agreed with Finney, I’m changing my mind… 🙂

  125. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    AV,
    I don’t think that any government can take away our belief in God. I wonder if we are better Christians because we are free than those who live under persecuted situations 🙂

  126. Believe says:

    MLD, I kind of disagree with this:

    “I think that it is quite humorous that the Bible doesn’t say anything about government. Nor did Jesus ever speak on the subject.”

    What was the Sanhedrin? Weren’t the Scribes and the Pharisees the Jewish “government”…and the Law their “constitution”?

    Matthew 23.

  127. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Believe,
    Was Jesus against the concept of a Sanhedrin or was He just against the way that they (that particular group) operated? I am sure that if they were a bunch of ‘just’ guys ruling for the good of the people, Jesus would have had no problem with them.
    My point is that Jesus didn’t say, “you guys do not have a democratic form of government. I want to see you guys start running for office and the most votes wins.

  128. Linnea says:

    I can’t participate in the topic of this thread with any mark of objectivity, so I won’t.

    I will say this: Christians need to be informed about current events. Paul knew and took advantage of his rights as a Roman citizen. We would do well to know the principles and documents by which this country was founded.

    Thank you for prayers for Albuquerque’s situation.

  129. Believe says:

    MLD, I get your point…”democracy” is not necessarily mandated in Scripture…in fact the Early Church more resembled pure Marxism…while the OT was a Theocracy.

    Jesus Christ called the Religious Leaders/Church Government to repentance and turned over some tables…I will have to dive more deeply into His interactions with Pilate (and secular government)…

  130. Em says:

    Fred,”I see a problem here and it is the idea some may have that government has to be theologically correct. It doesn’t, but I do have the responsibility to act and vote the conscience of my knowledge of God.” amen

    “…should a church service provide a platform to discuss and teach such temporary political matters? … no! I think if the nature of God is taught people will figure out these things n their own.” amen to that, too

  131. Another Voice says:

    I don’t think that any government can take away our belief in God
    —————————————————————-
    I remember the tears of an elderly citizen of the Soviet Union after its collapse, when he heard the gospel for the first time and was given a Bible in Russian. His words were that “his government had deprived then of what they needed more than bread”

    So if by “our” you meant my belief or yours, MLD’s, belief – then I say amen. Otherwise, I will disagree as to “our” referencing mankind in general.. Satan uses government tyranny to keep people from the gospel, and has done so for centuries.

    My joke was about the contradiction between the 1st Amendment and the 1st Commandment. Christians would be wise to remember that.

    That said..I support the 1st Amendment for our nation. But I don’t think somehow this was an “inspired” issuance on par with Scripture.

  132. filbertz says:

    so what about America today is so worth compromising the Church for? Seems like a bad trade to me, one that may well have eternal consequences. The Church supercedes borders, generations, ideologies, social classes, races, gender, and so on. What about America even comes close? So many are willing to die in defense of our country, but in defense of the gospel? Does our patriotism exceed our loyalty to our savior?

  133. Another Voice says:

    Michael, here is a question.

    Can a Christian ever have moral authority and not tell people of their need for Christ and/or the need for Christ as the solution to the problems of the day? Personally, I do not see Gandhi for example as a “moral authority” in the context of this discussion.

    Obviously, I am not talking about evangelizing every moment. If you are a governor or President or judge or whoever, then do that job when it is expected. But can anyone have moral authority for example who speaks the truth about sharia law? The moment a professing Christian goes out of his way to tell us what a great religion Islam is, that is the moment I tune out. Many Muslims may be fine people, neighbors and citizens. That does not mean their religion is not taking people to hell. How can a Christian say or think otherwise?

    Remember the firestorm when Britt Hume suggested that Jesus Christ might be the answer to Tiger Woods restoring his life – instead of Buddhism?

    The reaction mostly was ‘Who is Hume to talk about someone’s religion”

    As a pastor we can say these things, and it is even expected. Of course, as a pastor if we dare wade into the arena where evil can actually be stopped, we are mixing the church with politics and dismissed as either irrelevant or labeled with some pejorative.

  134. Michael says:

    Linnea,

    “I will say this: Christians need to be informed about current events.”

    I agree in principle.
    Now, how do we do that?
    I’m buried up to my ears in books and research that all confirm that in a couple vital areas my government lied like a rug and continues to do so.

    All our national media appear to be slanted one way or the other and truth and real information are almost impossible to discern.

    You have to really work…and go “outside the camp” to get a perspective untainted by an agenda…and even those purveyors usually lack pristine motives.

    I’ll admit it that I have lost almost all trust in our most important institutions.

  135. Fred says:

    I may be a citizen of the Kingdom of Heaven and a pilgrim, but I still live on the earth. To me it just seems many are putting their all their chips on the return of Jesus or death to help them escape this world. What a worthless God dis-honoring existence. Could this be what Jesus was referring to when He told the parable about the wicked servant?

    PS. I still can’t stand Rush and if it wasn’t for the worthless news on the other Networks I wouldn’t give Fox a second look. Hey I don’t watch Fox News either so forget what I just said.

  136. Michael says:

    AV,

    You won’t like my answer.

    At the moment I’m reading everything the author Charles Bowden ever wrote that I can get my hands on.

    He’s a profane unbeliever…a man who likes to indulge his flesh in many ways and sometimes write about it.

    His language is beyond coarse in conversation and occasionally in his writing.

    However…he’s honest, thoughtful, real, and passionate about the issues he reports on and he has written prophetically and brilliantly about things no one wants to address in the mainstream press.

    He is a very carnal man and I also think he’s a prophet.

    He has huge moral authority because he risks everything on telling the truth as he sees it.

    At this juncture of my journey I’d rather go drinking with him than to the next Ligonier convention.

    I’d also trust him more than most people I’ve met in the church.

    My job is to preach the Gospel…I don’t care what religious beliefs my politicians hold anymore than I care about my doctors faith or my mechanics.

    I just want a good, honest man or woman doing the best job they can.

  137. Another Voice says:

    So many are willing to die in defense of our country, but in defense of the gospel?
    ————————————————————-
    The two are not the same obviously, but they sure are not mutually exclusive either. Soldiers die not just “for the country” but for the freedoms, values and ideals our nation holds. The freedom to both enjoy and freely share the gospel is one of those freedoms, and noticeably absent in any nation ruled by tyranny.

    On Memorial Day and Veterans Day and July 4th – I look around the world and then look at the freedoms I have in this nation and I worship and thank God for them.

    Then I remember that to whom much is given, much is required.

    That’s my take at least…everyone else’s mileage may vary.

  138. Another Voice says:

    He has huge moral authority because he risks everything on telling the truth as he sees it.
    ————————————————
    You’re right Michael. I don’t like it. I don’t like any connection to morality, or authority, that is based (apparently) on being sincere.

    I still like you though… 🙂

  139. Michael says:

    AV,

    I told you so ! 🙂

  140. Michael says:

    I could get in so much trouble tonight… 😉

  141. Na'amah says:

    Michael

    this is why i trust you and ‘like’ you even then we both know we are ‘supposedly’ on ‘opposite’ sides of the political realm.
    “I just want a good, honest man or woman doing the best job they can.” and “I could get in so much trouble tonight…” 😆

  142. Another Voice says:

    He has huge moral authority because he risks everything on telling the truth as he sees it.
    ————————————————————————
    Here is my problem. Bowden thinks I am a racist. That is the truth as he sees it.

    The problem is it is an offensive lie. Men with moral authority are not offensive liars.

    Now, if I was in government, would I want to meet regularly with Bowden as an expert on the crisis. Yes. Would I want to take seriously his suggestions. Yes.

    Would I look to him as any sort of moral authority – no frickin way.

  143. Michael says:

    Na’amah,

    We agree on the big stuff…and I’m just postponing trouble for another day. 🙂

  144. Michael says:

    AV,

    When did he call you a racist?

  145. Em says:

    hmmm… will someone define what they mean by having “moral” authority? is it a colloquialism? i pontificate without moral authority (i’ve paid the heavy dues that most my age have, but that doesn’t give me moral authority) – just pondering the term – one of those that you realize that you’ve heard so often that you don’t really know what it means…

  146. Michael says:

    Em,

    That’s an excellent question.

    To me…a person has moral authority who lives the virtues they espouse, and they have done so at some personal cost.
    It is the polar opposite of being a hypocrite.

  147. Another Voice says:

    “I think the fundamental objection to the “Mexican migration” is racism” (his interview with Texas Tribune that has the audio online (lest he be misquoted or taken out of context)

  148. Another Voice says:

    To me…a person has moral authority who lives the virtues they espouse, and they have done so at some personal cost.
    ———————————————————–
    Really?

    I am just imagining all the people to which this applies. The mafia comes to mind first. The mafia live by a code, and that code is often costly to them personally.

    I have had a chance to get to know someone who is connected. (Irish) Fascinating character to say the least. He certainly lives by the values he espouses, and it has cost him over the years.

  149. Michael says:

    AV,

    I think he’s right, but I don’t think it applies across the board.
    I don’t believe you are a racist.

    I do know that before I went to Juarez, I was.
    I do know that when I worked for a bank that catered to the needs of Mexicans and became the biggest remittance bank in the country that our customers were outraged that there were always Mexicans in line with them and we had Spanish language signage alongside the English.

    I know that before I went to Juarez, I was a racist, prejudiced against the brown people.
    I know that.

  150. Another Voice says:

    The only way to acquire moral authority is through your character and contribution, to live in such a way as to merit the confidence and the trust of other people
    —————————————————————–
    I think this quote, though offered from Mormon Stephen Covey, fits the spirit of my thinking as to this conversation. All we need to add is “Christlike” before the word character.

  151. Em says:

    maybe, it’s the word “authority” that i’m having trouble with… is that the same as having the moral “right?” … i’m thinking tonight that only Jesus, Himself, has the moral authority … just thinking, not trying to tweek anybody, but myself… trouble is at my age i can figure something out and then i forget what i it is i figured out and have to start all over… 😀 … so a word to all figure things out while you can still remember what you figured out – either that or become a Lutheran 😆

  152. Another Voice says:

    Michael, do you think he would treat me as innocent until shown guilty on the racism charge, if we were to discuss these issues….or would I have to spend half an hour trying to establish that I am not a racist first – and likely not be believed even then?

    See the difference…

  153. Michael says:

    AV,

    So…can only Christians have true moral authority?

  154. Michael says:

    AV,

    I can’t speak for Bowden…but my guess is that he would engage your arguments before drawing a conclusion one way or another.

    My impression is that he firmly believes that we are more badly misinformed than anything.

  155. Michael says:

    Em,

    The authority part comes in when it’s a parent, pastor, or politician type who puts an expectation on you.

    If the parent is drunk when telling the teenager to stay away from alcohol, they have no moral authority to do so in the eyes of the child.

    The principle applies across the board.

  156. filbertz says:

    dying for our country is the ultimate price paid by soldiers, either enlisted or drafted. Dying for the gospel could be anyone who claims the name of Jesus. I’d say there’s a significant difference between the two, especially as the dad of two soldiers. I’m not going to argue about the freedoms protected and so forth, but posed the question more for the consideration about our willingness to even entertain the idea of dying for the sake of Christ.

    I guess it’s just too far afield for the topic at hand.

  157. Em says:

    hmmm, does a politician have authority? i guess they do… that’s a mistake – but moral authority? ? ?

    thanks for patient answer to random ponders tonight, Michael

    God keep all close and comforted this night

  158. Em says:

    now filbertz has me wondering … it really chapped my hide when our government couldn’t expedite the ballots of the military in the last couple elections…
    sometimes moral authority comes not from what we choose, but what we’ve been asked to do? ? ? and done….

    now i’m done….

  159. Another Voice says:

    God bless you filbertz – for what it’s worth, I remind my congregation regularly that they should be prepared and willing to die for Jesus – and that He expects no less of them if the time came…

  160. Another Voice says:

    Michael, we have two different contexts. A moral authority, like a leader, in the general sense must be a Christian.

    Having moral authority on an issue does not necessitate being a Christian, as long as that view is consistent with the Biblical view, which is the only view that is moral. Sometimes we don’t know with certainty what that view might be – and it is OK to just call someone an authority on an issue and drop the ‘moral’ part.

    My question for you – can true moral authority be contradictory?

  161. London says:

    “The authority part comes in when it’s a parent, pastor, or politician type who puts an expectation on you.”

    Any parent, pastor or politican that puts an “expectation on me” is going to be surely disappointed and it serves them right! :mrgreen:

    btw…it sounds kinda like eerie..like something out of Harry Potter…

    Pastorus Expectationous spell or something…

  162. Michael says:

    “My question for you – can true moral authority be contradictory?”

    I’m getting tired…ask the question a different way so I can process it. 🙂

  163. Another Voice says:

    Based on your definitions above, it would seem two people could meet the criteria of earnest sincerity and personal cost and be on opposite sides of an issue.

    So who holds the moral authority in such a case?

  164. Michael says:

    AV,

    Both…depending on the issue.

    One of them could be (will be) wrong, but that doesn’t cause a loss of moral authority in my eyes.

    Back in the day…Oregon had two good men for senators.

    They were usually on opposite sides of an issue, but both were worthy of respect because they sought to be honest and good in their judgments.

    To me, they both had substantial moral authority.

  165. Another Voice says:

    One of them could be (will be) wrong
    —————————————————
    OK. So from God’s perspective, there is only one with the moral authority, but from our limited viewpoint, both can have it, because we are unable to state through chapter and verse which one in that issue should be followed. Am I reading you clear on that?

    This is where and why I suggested above just dropping the word, moral, when we may not know God’s mind on something.

    Two people can be authorities to me on an issue, though holding different viewpoints. No question. The word, moral, is where I am stumbling.

  166. Michael says:

    “So from God’s perspective, there is only one with the moral authority, but from our limited viewpoint, both can have it, because we are unable to state through chapter and verse which one in that issue should be followed. Am I reading you clear on that?”

    If we’re looking at political issues then both can still have moral authority as they have not compromised any moral virtue.

    There are people with differing views on immigration, the wars in the Middle East etc…where God may be on both sides and neither.

  167. Another Voice says:

    Michael – remember Joshua 5:13-15 where Joshua asks the Lord if He is for them or their enemies, and the Lord says “No (neither)” – and then proceeds to explain that He will be giving Jericho into their hands.

    Seems to fit your last comment…

    I think I will go out with that Scripture. Good Night.

  168. Believe says:

    Michael said, “The authority part comes in when it’s a parent, pastor, or politician type who puts an expectation on you.

    If the parent is drunk when telling the teenager to stay away from alcohol, they have no moral authority to do so in the eyes of the child.

    The principle applies across the board.”

    I agree with this line of reasoning.

    It jives with Matthew 23 in my opinion.

    There is the authority to tell people what to do…and then there is the moral authority where one’s actions jive with the message and/or the commands…

    It can be quite conflicting and stumbling when the “authority” lacks the “moral authority”…by saying one thing and doing another.

  169. Michael says:

    Good night, AV.

    Excellent discussion with you, as always.

  170. Michael says:

    Believe,

    It creates great confusion and loss of trust…and it’s where many of our institutions find themselves today.

  171. Na'amah says:

    loss of moral authority… as a parent

    on any issue, even if the parent is ‘true’, if s/he is a drunkard, adulterer, murderer, abuser,etc. their child(ren) will recognize and challenge their authority to judge or direct and ‘command’ their compliance and respect as their parent. Or more clearly, that they can admonish, correct and direct their actions/behavior in a ‘one up’ position.

    children are very forgiving, accepting and wanting to love their mother and father… and they also know our hyprocrasies when we demand and judge them to be better than we are ourselves.

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