Monday, August 29, 2016

Let Him Sit Down

Oh my goodness.

So Colin Kaepernick set the world on fire by not standing up during the National Anthem in an NFL game and then stating:

"I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color . . . To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder."  1

Lots of reactions to this - including this own coach who said "it's not my right to tell him not to do something."

Coach Kelly - of course it is in your rights to say what he should do.  Just as it is Kaepernick's right to say he doesn't support the flag, it is your right to say the flag is not a racist emblem.  You have the right to remind him that this is the same flag that came up over the hills of Maryland and then Tennessee and Georgia that eventually paved the way for a Constitutional Amendment that ended slavery.  It's not about the flag.  It's about who we are as people.

We don't change things by pulling out - we change things by standing up.  Getting involved.

In fact we all have a right to speak up and say, "look, the guy is a football player - we probably shouldn't take him too seriously."  I mean this is the same guy who got fined by the NFL for racial slurs in 2014.  The same guy who pronounced doom on Houston by Tweeting Houston flooding pictures. 2  Come on, people - let's take his sentiment seriously (we have a lot to work on in our nation) - but you and I can do a better job at leading this country toward change by the simple actions we take on our way to work, in our jobs and the communities we find ourselves in.

So let him sit down. 

The rest of us can live up to the ideals of what this country should stand for (and what our faith should lead us to do).   

Thursday, August 11, 2016

What's good for the goose . . .

I would much rather be blogging about something else but I just can't.

There are still blogs running around out there saying that the best thing for a Christian to do in this current election cycle is to vote for Trump.

I really don't care about the politics.  

Vote for whoever you want to vote for.  But please leave 'Christian' out of this - it's awkward.

It's awkward because when our best hope as believers is to vote for someone who resonates so little with following Christ, you really de-value what it means to follow Jesus.  Have we forgotten that our hope is in God, and not in an election?  God does pretty amazing things when believers follow their conscience - not who will be on the Supreme Court.  You can't calculate the odds and pray at the same time.

This election cycle is the kind of stuff that gives great sarcastic ammunition to my skeptic and unbelieving friends.

And it is so well deserved.

Morals used to matter.  In 1998 Bill Clinton was on trial for what he did with Monica Lewinsky.   The entire Southern Baptist Convention said the character of the president is important.  Character is something that is essential to our Commander-in-Chief.

Character was important when Clinton had an inappropriate sexual relationship with an intern and then lied about it.  This was a serious charge.  The president's ethics and morals are important.  In 1998 Jerry Falwell said, "He is no longer worthy to fulfill this office."  (Washington Post)  It was all about the president's character and ethics.

How times have changed . . .  

In 2015, Falwell's son endorsed Trump for president and invited him to speak about "Two Corinthians" at Liberty University's chapel.  
Talk about a flip-flop.

Now, I am sure Trump is a nice guy and probably fun to hang around with.  But even Trump has talked about how shady he was in his personal and professional life.  The guy recognizes himself that he is no boy scout.  That matters.

How crazy is it that there are theologians writing blog posts that tell us a candidates character is not as important as the rights that he will safeguard for believers?  (Townhall)  Like Cyrus, God could be using Trump to keep our nation 'Christian.'  How ironic that this kind of theology is exactly what is making our nation less and less like Christ.

Something smells fishy here . . .

If morals mattered then.

If ethics mattered then.
If character mattered then.

It all matters now.

Anything less than that tells the world that our Christian convictions are as thin as the width of a paper ballot.  Follow your conscience and let God take care of the political consequences.  The growth of faith has never depended on who is in office.

Monday, August 1, 2016

You can't get a moral result from an immoral vote.

So I have seen all of the articles that are going around arguing that Christians can vote for Trump and still feel morally justified:

See, here's the problem: Good people all over the United States find themselves in a pickle.  They don't necessarily 'like' Donald Trump as a presidential candidate but they definitely don't like Hillary Clinton.  So they are forced to embrace someone who is really difficult to embrace at times.

(this would have been a good thing to think through during the primary season, but that's none of my business)

So anyway, we find ourselves here - in the uncomfortable spot of having to either vote for Hillary, vote for Trump or vote Gary Johnson (the third party choice right now).  And yes . . . I know a vote for Johnson is a vote for Hillary . . .  keep reading.  The big question is how can a person who claims to follow Jesus vote for a guy who seems to be the antithesis of everything that is associated with Jesus?

And no, I won't argue details about that last statement.  It is just an accepted fact.  No matter how much you like Trump and how much you love Jesus - they are very different people.

But anyhow, in the meantime there are a slew of articles running around that tell me, as a Christian, that voting for Trump is actually a moral choice.

That may or may not be true . . .

A moral choice is something I choose regardless of the outcome.  That is what makes it moral.  I am not swayed by the outcome - the ends do not justify the means.  I am evaluating by decision by ethical, theological and philosophical standards that don't have anything to do with whether it achieves anything in the long run.  It is right because it is right.

Otherwise we are dealing with pragmatism.  Here is what I mean:

Take everything off the table: No Hillary.  No Supreme Court.  No bathroom-gender issues.  No E-mails.

Now I ask you - look at a candidate and ask yourself: "Would I vote for citizen 'x?'"  Are they an informed person who doesn't misspeak often in public?  Do they refrain from lying?  Cheating?  Do they make wise choices in their personal life?  Professional life?  Do people outside their family hold them in high regard?  Have they elevated humanity through their life's work?  Can you honestly say they care more about serving us Americans than they do their own interests?

If you answered no to more than three of those questions and still support this person, you are no longer making a moral decision.

You are making a decision based on pragmatics.  You don't really believe in the person, you just want to defeat the other person.  That is political expediency and it is robbing you of your own morals because you are no longer letting God lead.  Instead you are stacking the deck and working on your own behalf because there is no moral force of the universe that will have your back if you don't compromise on what you know to be true.

That is false.  And there are literally thousands of pages of scripture that tell you God is in control and your vote should be pinned to a moral compass that has nothing to do with whether or not your side wins.  The only thing immoral here is your belief that you can't vote on your morals.  You won't get a moral result from an immoral vote.

In the end you become a pawn in a very manipulative game of politics.

Don't do it.  Stay true to what you know is true.  And don't let slick arguments tell you anything else.