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Rahman
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Joined: 2004/3/24
Posts: 1374


 Re: Politics


Bro Jeff this is a great article you posted, and i find it most insightful of America's history of our percieved marrige between State and God then, and our now seemingly State separation from God whilst still attempting to live in the same house ... In otherwords still wanting the benefits of His protection under His roof, while increasingly denying Him His due benevolence ...

Quote:
"The mistake in all these stages is confusing America with Zion. She is not the inheritor of the covenant, not the receiver of the promises, not the witness to the nations."


Amen ... The way i view it is AMERICA is not ZION as a political entity, but as a nation THEN, and whose majority NOW still claim Christ IS what makes America as a people "the inheritor of the covenant, the receiver of the promises, and the witness to the nations" ... In my estimation, in the natural, America as a misleading political power is but one of the many kingdoms down the corridor of time that Satan attempted to bribe Christ with ... But America, in the supernatural, as a nation comprised of a now compromised majority of people who profess Christ in ways now so totally misleading to the rest of the world, ALSO qualifies America as recipient to His corrective hand ...

The way i see it (and may God correct me if i'm wrong), as i've said before, is America as a political and economic entity is about to suffer want not so much because of what's done in her by unbelievers, but because of the loss of our savor and light in her as believers ... To me it's like Jonah, ery body in the boat gotta suffer because we've not only run away from our job but now we're even contentedly asleep in the bottom of the boat with dreams of heavenly rapture with a whales belly not even concievable to our future ...

Our conformity to the things of ungodly America is the REAL reason for the soon shaking ... We as the BODY here, have not done well our job of preservation ... :-o

 2006/11/3 17:30Profile
Compton
Member



Joined: 2005/2/24
Posts: 2732


 Re:

Although I admittedly glow with admiration of how we began...perhaps more then some at SI... I sadly must agree with Rahman's conclusion regarding our current state...

Quote:
Our conformity to the things of ungodly America is the REAL reason for the soon shaking ... We as the BODY here, have not done well our job of preservation ..



I've quoted this Puritan thought several times before but it's relevance keeps popping up...

We do not consider our land wicked simply because we see wicked people in it doing wicked things. Instead we determine the land is wicked because we see so many of those who are supposed to be Godly doing wicked things...and suffering little or no reproach.

In line wth Rhaman's thoughts, a land is wicked when it's church behaves wickedly. Rather then being even the faintest preservation in the land, these saltless Christians are an indisputable denial of the power of Godliness. When religous people deny the reality of Godliness they are worse then being ineffective against darkness...truly they hasten rebellion against God.

MC


_________________
Mike Compton

 2006/11/3 23:42Profile
rookie
Member



Joined: 2003/6/3
Posts: 4790


 Re:

Brother Chris wrote:

Quote:
The only issue that I see with this essay (and the previous) is that I don't believe that ANYONE is a true liberal or conservative.



I agree. Once I have finished posting the conservative issues I will post the liberal issues.

The point of these observations are to bring to light where all of us stand in the light of Christ.

We must always ask ourselves...who am I? Why?

Because Paul teaches...

2Cor. 13:5 Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you are disqualified.

God Bless

In Christ
Jeff


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Jeff Marshalek

 2006/11/4 10:47Profile
rookie
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Joined: 2003/6/3
Posts: 4790


 Re:

Brother Mike and Rahman,

It is a spiritual battle that we fight. If I could draw a earthly comparison...it is like fighting the insurgency in the Middle East...Satan never quits.

God Bless
In Christ
Jeff


_________________
Jeff Marshalek

 2006/11/4 10:50Profile
rookie
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Joined: 2003/6/3
Posts: 4790


 Re:

Here is the fourth observation on conservative thought...

"The fourth moral error of political conservatism is Caesarism. According to this notion the laws of man are higher than the laws of God; according to Christianity the laws of God are higher than the laws of man. With this error we have come back to secular conservatives. The peculiar thing about American Caesarism is that the state never says that its laws are higher than the laws of God; it simply refuses to acknowledge any laws of God, in the name of equal liberty for all religious sects.




George Reynolds, a Mormon living in Utah Territory, was charged during the 1870s with the crime of bigamy. In his defense he argued that the law was an unconstitutional infringement of his free exercise of religion. Accepting his appeal, the Supreme Court disagreed. Although it said all sorts of interesting things about why free exercise of religion is good (and why polygamy is wrong-for instance because it leads to a patriarchal rather than republican principle of authority in government), the heart of the rebuttal was a simple distinction between opinions and actions. Appealing to Thomas Jefferson's idea of a "wall of separation between church and state," it held that what people believe is the business of the church, but that what they do is the business of the state. Therefore, the First Amendment does not mean that people may act as their religion requires, but only that they may think as their religion requires; free exercise of religion makes no difference whatsoever to the scope of state power over conduct.




Still favored by many conservatives, this doctrine has startling implications. It means, for instance, that in throwing Christians to the lions for refusing to worship Caesar, the Romans did nothing to infringe the free exercise of Christianity; after all, while being devoured, the martyrs were still at liberty to believe that Caesar was only a man.




A century later, in cases involving other religious groups, the Court conceded the point. Announcing its discovery that faith and conduct cannot be isolated in "logic-tight compartments," it now decreed that "only those interests of the highest order and those not otherwise served can overbalance legitimate claims to the free exercise of religion." But this was too much for judicial conservatives, and the experiment was ended in 1992. Writing for the Court in Employment Division v. Smith (II), Justice Scalia appealed to the notion that the issue in free exercise cases is not whether the state's motives are "compelling," but whether they are "neutral." A law that does not expressly single out a particular sect may burden any religious practice to any degree, so long as this burden is "merely the incidental effect" of the law and not its "object." In other words, repression is fine so long as it is absentminded. Pastoral care and counselling could not be forbidden as such but could be forbidden as an incidental effect of regulations for the licensing of mental health practitioners; the sacrament of baptism could not be forbidden as such but could be forbidden as an incidental effect of regulations for bathing in public places. To be sure, since the recent action of the Court, Congress has reinstated the compelling-interest doctrine, lauding its deed as a "Religious Freedom Restoration Act." But surely this is overstatement. After all, even under the compelling-interest doctrine, claims to the free exercise of religion can be swept aside whenever the state thinks its reasons are good enough. So much we would have had without a First Amendment.




As our own times have made clear, even releasing nerve gas in public places can be an exercise of religion. Perhaps the blame for our troubles lies with the Framers, for refusing to distinguish the kinds of religion whose exercise should be free from the kinds of religion whose exercise should not. But, foolishly thinking ignorance a friend of conscience, we have followed their lead. Afraid to judge among religions, we put them all beneath our feet; pursuing the will-o'-the- wisp of equal liberty, we tumble headlong into Caesarism."

(end of thought)

In Christ
Jeff


_________________
Jeff Marshalek

 2006/11/4 10:55Profile
Compton
Member



Joined: 2005/2/24
Posts: 2732


 Re:

"it is like fighting the insurgency"

That's a great analogy Jeff. Sin (in us) is like an insurgency into territory claimed by God... we keep being surprised that an enemy we just hammered yesterday is already coming back today. Also we are often resistant to accept the government of God in our hearts, and we are not very good at border control. Our eyes and ears let the enemy in too easily and then we wonder why we fall into temptation so easily!

Blessings,

MC


_________________
Mike Compton

 2006/11/4 12:35Profile
rookie
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Joined: 2003/6/3
Posts: 4790


 Re:

Fifth observation on conservative thought...

"The fifth moral error of political conservatism is traditionalism. According to this notion what has been done is what should be done; Christianity, however, though it cherishes the unchanging truths of faith, insists that any merely human custom may have to be repented. "That which hath been is that which shall be; and that which hath been done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun," writes Koheleth, "the Preacher" (Ecclesiastes 1:9). "Behold, I will do a new thing; now shall it spring forth; shall ye not know it?" answers God (Isaiah 43:19).




An illustration of the mischiefs of traditionalism may be found in the 1992 Supreme Court case Planned Parenthood v. Casey, which reaffirmed the supposed right to take the lives of one's unborn children. By inventing the right in the first place, the Court had shattered tradition; no such use of lethal violence by private individuals had ever been sanctioned in common law. But Roe v. Wade had stood for twenty years. As far as the Court is concerned, that makes it a new tradition-and as such, unassailable. Amazingly, the Court upheld Roe even while admitting that it might have been decided incorrectly. "We are satisfied," says the majority, "that the immediate question is not the soundness of Roe's resolution of the issue, but the precedential force that must be accorded the ruling."




Just how does an unsound precedent have force? The answer, says the Court, is that "for two decades of economic and social developments, people have organized their intimate relationships and made choices that define their views of themselves and their places in society in reliance on the availability of abortion in the event that contraception should fail. . . . An entire generation has come of age free to assume Roe's concept of liberty." To put the idea more simply, sex has been separated from responsibility for resulting children for so long that to change the rules on people now would be unfair. Therefore, never mind whether what was done was right; what matters is that it was done.




Moral errors gain their plausibility from the truths that they distort. It is certainly true that precedents, traditions, and customs should not be needlessly disturbed; the gain in goodness from a particular change must always be balanced against the harm of change as such. But this truth applies to the choice between a good law and a still better one, not to the choice between a good law and an evil one. The question to ask about moral evil is not whether we have got used to it, but whether it can be stopped."


(end of fifth observation)

In Christ
Jeff


_________________
Jeff Marshalek

 2006/11/6 0:13Profile
rookie
Member



Joined: 2003/6/3
Posts: 4790


 Re:

The sixth observation on conservative thought...

"The sixth moral error of political conservatism is neutralism. This may come as a surprise, because neutralism also comes in a liberal variety. Whereas the liberal sort of neutralist exclaims, "Let a thousand flowers bloom," the conservative sort cries merely, "Leave me alone." In essence, conservative neutralism is the notion that because everyone ought to mind his own business, moral and religious judgments should be avoided. By contrast, while agreeing that one ought to mind his own business-St. Paul warns three times against busybodies- Christianity holds that moral and religious judgments can never be avoided. They must be straight and true before people can even agree as to what their business is.

Not everyone reaches neutralism by the same route, but conservative thinker Michael Oakeshott follows a well-worn path in deriving it from traditionalism. Conservatives, he says, seek activities whose enjoyment springs "not from the success of the enterprise, but from the familiarity of the engagement." What makes this disposition intelligible in politics is "the observation of our current manner of living" together with the belief that laws are "instruments enabling people to pursue activities of their own choice with minimum frustration." But to say this is to reject the view that laws are "plans for imposing substantive activities"; therefore, he holds, conservatism has "nothing to do" with morals or religion.

Of course the conclusion does not follow, and if it were really true then conservatives could make no decisions at all. Rather than being indifferent to questions of good and evil, Oakeshott himself maintains the good of minimizing frustration, and rather than holding no opinion about religion, he holds the opinion that it is better to be ignorant of truth than to be pestered about it. For example he says that people of conservative disposition "might even be prepared to suffer a legally established ecclesiastical order," but "it would not be because they believed it to represent some unassailable religious truth, but merely because it restrained the indecent competition of sects and (as Hume said) moderated 'the plague of a too diligent clergy.'" The difficulty is plain: If not by his own moral and religious standards, then how does Oakeshott know that competition is indecent and diligence a plague? Why not condemn complacency and sloth instead?

Not even rules designed to tell what counts as pestering can work in a neutral way. Always we must add others to make them work-and what we add makes a difference to the outcome. Christianity recognizes this. For example, consider the principles of Subsidiarity and Sphere Sovereignty. Each targets the problem of knowing where the business of one party ends and the business of another begins. Subsidiarity, a precept of Catholic social thought, holds that greater and higher social institutions like the state exist just to help lesser and subordinate ones like the family. Therefore, to destroy the lesser institutions, absorb them, or take away their proper functions is "gravely wrong" and a "disturbance of right order." Sphere subsidiarity is more prominent in Protestant social thought. Ordering social institutions horizontally instead of vertically, it says that each has its own domain, its own authority, and its own ruling norm, for instance love in the case of the family and public justice in the case of the state. Therefore, each should be protected from interference by the others.

Both rules are meant to deal with meddling, but applying either one requires a vast amount of other knowledge, which one must get from somewhere else-just what the neutralist would like to think unnecessary. To test my college students I used to ask, "To which institution would a subsidiarist give the task of instructing children in sexual mores-state or family?" Almost all replied, "The state." Families need help, they argued, because they do a poor job in this area: They rarely teach children about contraception, sexual preferences, or the many other things which young moderns need to know. I was astonished. Couldn't my students tell the difference between helping the family and absorbing its functions? On reflection their answer was not astonishing at all. They shared neither Christian presuppositions about what sex is for nor Christian presuppositions about how a family works; why then should they have reached Christian conclusions in applying Christian social principles?

There is nothing exceptional about the principles of Subsidiarity and Sphere Sovereignty; no definition of meddling or intrusion can work in a neutral way. Particular moral and religious understandings are always presupposed, and changing them changes the way our definitions work. It follows that forbidding moral judgments will not keep busybodies out of other people's hair. Somehow they must learn the meanings of "other," "people's," and "hair."


end of sixth observation...

Does Christ ever hold to nuetralism?

In Christ
Jeff


_________________
Jeff Marshalek

 2006/11/7 20:11Profile
rookie
Member



Joined: 2003/6/3
Posts: 4790


 Re:

The seventh on observation on conservative thought...

"The seventh moral error of political conservatism is mammonism. According to this notion wealth is the object of commonwealth, and its continual increase even better; according to Christianity wealth is a snare, and its continual increase even worse. Mammonism is what the Big Tent that some political analysts urge for the Republican Party is all about: ditch the social issues, but hold onto the capitals gains tax reduction. To keep your liberty you have to keep your money.




Christians, of course, are not the only ones to have criticized mammonism. Warnings against the love of wealth were a staple even of ancient pagan conservatism. The idea was that virtue makes republics prosper, but prosperity leads to love of wealth, love of wealth leads to loss of virtue, and loss of virtue makes republics fall. Thus if you want your republic to endure, you will do well to seek a site unfavorable to great prosperity-not too warm, not too fertile, not too close to the trading routes. That our secular conservatives disagree with their ancient counterparts will strike no one as a new idea. Odder is the ease with which modern Christians make their peace with mammonism.




An extreme example is found in the late-nineteenth-century Baptist preacher Russell Conwell, who maintained that to make money is the same thing as to preach the Christian gospel. However that may be, to preach his own gospel was certainly the same thing as to make money. So eager were people to hear his oft-repeated Acres of Diamonds speech that he is said to have earned, over a period of years, perhaps six million dollars from speakers' fees alone. Though peanuts by the standards of modern televangelists, at the time that was real money. An inventory of Conwell's more astonishing claims would include at least the following: (1) It is your Christian duty to get rich, and ownership of possessions makes you a better person; (2) The overwhelming majority of rich people are morally upright, and that is exactly why they are rich; (3) It is wrong to be poor, and God does not approve of poor people. That Jesus explicitly contradicts each of these claims (Matthew 6:19-21, Matthew 19:23-24, Luke 6:20) leaves Conwell cold.




A more temperate but still objectionable form of mammonism is found in Toward the Future, a "lay letter" published in 1984 by a committee of prominent Catholic conservatives. Jesus told the story of a master who entrusts his servants with the care of his money while he is traveling to a distant place to receive a kingship. Upon his return, he finds that one servant has buried his share while the other two have made investments. The timid servant he scolds and dismisses, but the bold ones he praises and rewards with yet greater responsibilities. Traditionally the Church has understood this parable to mean that just as a king in this world expects his agents to take risks, not burying his money but investing it to earn a return, so God expects his people to take risks, not burying their gifts but using them to build up the Kingdom of Heaven. By contrast, the lay letter understands it to mean simply that God expects his people to invest their money to earn a return. "Preserving capital is not enough," the authors teach; "it must be made to grow." The use of gifts for the sake of the Kingdom becomes the growth of wealth for the sake of wealth.




To be sure, the lay letter's defense of enterprise is not altogether wrong. Material things are not intrinsically evil, it is not a sin to engage in honest business, and, despite its dubious motivational underpinnings, the capitalist type of economy may well be superior to the alternatives. Indeed the cooperative sort of socialism seems to ignore the circumstance of the Fall, and the compulsory sort cannot even be established without the sin of theft. In a fallen world, much can also be said for the "invisible hand" of the market, by which independent individuals, even though selfish, bring about a social good which was no part of their intention. But even Adam Smith recognizes that the invisible hand does not work unless laborers and businessmen submit themselves to the restraints of justice, and that an interest in wealth alone will not induce them to do so. After all, if winning is all that matters, why keep the competition going at all? Why not use one's wealth to wring special privileges from the government and so become more wealthy still? Capitalism depends on a moral spirit which it cannot supply and may even weaken; it is, in the most exact of senses, a parasite on the faith. But a Christian parasite is not by that fact Christian."

End of observation...

This is probably the most important issue that we face as Christians...the poison that makes one blind and deaf.

In Christ
Jeff


_________________
Jeff Marshalek

 2006/11/9 0:38Profile
rookie
Member



Joined: 2003/6/3
Posts: 4790


 Re:

The eight and final observation of conservative thought...

"The eighth moral error of political conservatism is meritism. According to this notion I should do unto others as they deserve. With the addition of mammonism, matters become even simpler, for then those who need help are by definition undeserving, while those in a position to help are by definition deserving. That meritism is not a Christian doctrine comes as a surprise to many people. Large numbers think the meritist motto "God helps those who help themselves" is a quotation from the Bible. What the New Testament actually teaches is that in what we need most, we are helpless; the grace of God is an undeserved gift. According to Christianity I should do unto others not as they deserve, but as they need.




Aristotle taught that vices tend to come in pairs, because one can miss a mark either by way of excess or by way of deficiency-by going too far or by failing to go far enough. That is certainly the case here, for the conservative mistake of meritism stands opposite to the liberal mistake of propitiationism-doing unto others as they want. In fact the commonest way to fall into either mistake is by sheer recoil from the other. The reason is easy to see: We tend to think of justice and mercy as antithetical, so that to practice either I must slight the other. By this line of reasoning the conservative emphasis on desert is a preference for justice, while the liberal emphasis on desire is a preference for mercy. By contrast, in the Christian account of things justice and mercy are corollaries that must be united. They are united in the Atonement because God neither waived the just penalty for our sins nor inflicted it on us, but took it upon Himself. This staggering gift also teaches what the unity of justice and mercy requires: sacrifice. If to us justice and mercy seem irreconcilable, the reason is probably that we are loath to pay the price of their reconciliation; we are afraid of sacrifice and shrink from the way of the Cross.




What does the contrast between meritism and charity look like in ordinary human relationships? Consider the governmental policy of paying women cash prizes for bearing children out of wedlock. Liberals want to continue the policy because they cannot tell need from desire. Meritists propose ending it because the subsidies are undeserved. Although a Christian may accept the cutoff, he cannot accept it for the reason given. All of us at all times need and receive many things that we do not deserve. The problem with the subsidies is that they are not what is needed. They so completely split behavior from its natural consequences that they infantilize their supposed beneficiaries; to infantilize them is to debase them, and no one needs to be debased.




Very well, says the meritist to the Christian, but we both support a cutoff. The rationales differ, but so what? That makes no difference in practice, does it? But it does. After achieving the cutoff, the meritist thinks his work is done, but the Christian thinks his work has only begun. He must now find another way to offer help; and he had better be prepared to pay the price. For a portrait of that price, don't think of a bureaucrat, think of Mother Teresa."

end of thought...

How many conservatives are engaged in leading those who have not to Jesus?

In Christ
Jeff


_________________
Jeff Marshalek

 2006/11/11 7:18Profile





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