Monday, December 21, 2009

Arms Wide Open

Not long ago I attended a workshop on relationships and bonding. At one point the instructor asked us to hug the person next to us. Well, I didn't know the person next to me and immediately I felt a twinge of anxiety. Now, I'm actually a fairly free hugger, at least with family and friends. But, I've grown more cautious on just handing out hugs willy nilly (is that how you spell that particular phrase?) particularly with my profession. However, I cannot solely blame my fear on that; the fact of the matter is I was scared to open myself up to a stranger. Lucky for me the lady next to me apparently had no such reservations. She got right up walked over and gave me a big and warm hug. If she felt any anxiety about it, she certainly did not show it. Right there something subtle changed inside me. Fear left, replaced with love. Yes, I think you can love people you don't even really know. I also realized in that moment, that though I talked about wanting to serve others, I was letting fear dictate too much of my thoughts and actions. I was too worried about my own self protection. I decided than that I needed to live and serve with my arms wide open.

There is a reason that I'm posting this message at Christmas time. I will attempt to make the connection. Per my usual, it might take a bit :)

Not long after my experience at the workshop I recalled another experience that I'd had. Some time ago I was working with a young woman who had faced some rather difficult circumstances in her life. She was a delightful individual to work with, optimistic despite her challenges. In the midst of working with me she was unexpectedly faced with a tremendously difficult decision. It was in fact one of the most difficult choices I've ever encountered as a counselor. Because of confidentiality I will not go into any more detail than to say either choice had some potential heartbreaking consequences. Needless to say she and her challenging decision weighed heavily on my mind for a time. I kept thinking about my responsibility. I of course would not attempt to make the choice for her, but knew I needed to be a support. I made it a matter of prayer. My question was simple "What should I do?" I did not know, and the answer was not forthcoming.

At some point during this time I attended a mid week religious service. While there my client and my question continued to weigh heavily on my mind. However, and I'm not sure how or when it happened specifically, but a couple of things changed within me rather simultaneously. It went from weighing heavily on my mind, to weighing heavily on my heart. And the question changed from "What should I do?" do "What does she need?". The change was subtle yet had a profound impact on me. And not long later while in the silence of a holy place the answer to what she needed came clear as day. She needed to be in the arms of The Savior.

I can hardly express how humbling that answer was for me. How in the world was I supposed to provide that for this young lady? But, I also felt at peace. God knew how. I just needed to be humble and attentive to learning. And I needed to be there for her, no matter what the answer was, offering support, encouragement, compassion and empathy. The Savior would take care of the rest. And that's exactly what He did.

Things turned out fine, as they always do when we put ourselves in His hands and especially when we put ourselves in His arms. We both openly acknowledged feeling at peace with her eventual decision.

I think providing the way for someone to be in The Savior's arms has many aspects. But, as I was reminded of the experience I thought living with arms wide open is one of those ways.

There is no greater example of living with arms wide open than The Savior Himself. In fact think about the symbolism of the cross. Willingly He gave us the greatest gift, His precious and Holy Atonement, and He did so with His arms wide open. He is love, complete, unfettered, and extended to all who will receive.

He is our example. We strive to follow that, humbly recognizing that we fall exceedingly short. But, still we strive. Christmas is all about giving. We honor and celebrate Christ's gift of love to us. And we in turn try to give that love back to Him. He taught that when we do a service to the least of our brethren (and sisters :) we do that service to Him. As we embrace one another, in whatever way we do, in a way we are accepting and giving that embrace to Our Savior and Redeemer. We love, we look for ways to share that love, and we do so regardless of whether or not we feel fear. If you seek to serve you will find a way. I’ve experienced that in my own life, and especially lately as I’ve tried to honor my commitment to live with arms wide open.

I asked one of my kid client's the other day what he was giving for Christmas. He quickly responded "I usually give my parents and my family hugs" Well, I thought that was just perfect. So, embrace your family, your friends, and even a neighbor you hardly know if you feel so inclined. One of life's greatest treasures is the love we share.

My favorite Christmas anthem is "Oh Come All Ye Faithful." I love the message of being in His Holy presence to adore Him. The third verse gets me choked up just about every time "Yea, Lord we greet thee." I long to one day greet Him, to kneel in His presence. The only thing I can imagine that would be better than being in The Savior's presence is being in The Savior's presence with my loved ones. Honestly, I'd love for there to be a crowd. That can happen as we open up to one another and love and let other’s love you back.

Oh come let us adore Him, with grateful hearts and open arms.

Merry Christmas and May God's richest blessings be yours,
Sarah Emily Jordan

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Postette: Mad Libs

Why do I keep putting "Postette" at the beginning of these last several posts? Not because they are little colorful squares with a little sticky on them. It's because they are cute and little.

Anyway, what do you think of the following vid? Understand this is a liberal host of MSNBC going after one of the most liberal Congress members out there.

So, I fully admit to finding some humor in that. But, really I want to say to the Progressive liberals who are really upset about this current healthcare bill, I feel your pain.

Dylan Ratigan is very upset by the fact that the healthcare bill in its current form only seems to help insurance companies. Honestly he has an excellent point. Of course his solution is to create a public option in order to provide "competition." What that would end up doing is to create government control. Now though the government will mandate we all have to buy health insurance, but limits our choices. The government gets to determine which insurance companies have acceptable programs. Yeah! How great will that be?

Guess what the government has proven time and time again, and poignantly in this whole health care debate? That they can be bought. Behold Lincoln, Landrieu, and today's addition Nelson. It's repugnant. Insurance companies are well aware how easily they can buy favors off our corrupt government. Ratigan, I agree with your assessment sir, well some of it. But, you get the picture.

And by the way, Ben Nelson, thank you so much for throwing the pro-life movement under the bus, for your pot of gold. Thanks to you and other pro-life Democrats, of which Harry Reid is one, who did not stand up for that principle, we tax payers who are pro-life will be forced to pay for abortions. It is morally despicable.

So, there you have it Progressive Liberals, I'm upset too. For different reasons maybe, but we can feel each other's pain. You guys are right that competition will be a good solution, just not from the government. The insurance market needs to be free. Competition will breed choice and improvement. Its one of any number of ideas that could actually improve our situation. Oh, and I feel your pain as you watch politicians you thought were on your side do little to nothing about stopping the bill.

But, I'm with you Libs, "Kill the bill!" The thing is ridiculous. It's gross.

Well, that wasn't a postette really (it was kinda medium), but I'm keeping the name, like I said it's cute!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Postette- Separation of Church and State

-Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between Man & his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, & not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should "make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof," thus building a wall of separation between Church & State.- Thomas Jefferson 1802

So, I recently was reading a press release from my Church that stated there was going to be an increased emphasis on seeing to the welfare of the needy in our communities. I thought that was cool! That is such an important role of the Churches. I was shocked though when I read some of the comments following the article that reported the press release. Side-note I really need to stop reading comments, cheese whiz people can be mean to each other. Anyway some were accusing the Church of being socialist, some were saying that Conservatives were going to be mad about this, and such.

Wow! Some people really miss the point about Churches. They are separate from government. Thomas Jefferson made the statement he did in order to protect religion. Freedom of religion is essential to having a moral people. And a moral people will take care of those in need. Its not socialist, its charity in a purer form than government welfare.

And no Conservatives are not angry about taking care of those in need. In fact Conservatives want to give, just not via the government.

I've said it before, "get out of the way government!" Please government separate yourself from the mercy that belongs to the people, and especially the Churches.

Postette- A Climate Debt

One of the more ridiculous ideas that come from the whole climate change scare is the idea that developed countries have to pay some sort of debt to underdeveloped countries by way of our emitting more CO2. Please. It drives me nuts that so many are willing to base economical and political systems on an unconvincing science. Also what is the deal with the climate debt. To me it is rather obvious that the leaders of those countries will continue to do with that money what so many have already done with free money. They will take it for themselves and do little to nothing to actually help their people.

If leaders of underdeveloped countries really wanted to help their people they would seek to establish a political system that resembles what our founding fathers established here.

The United States did not get to be the country that it is because other countries gave us a bunch of money. We became who we are based on protecting the gift that God gave us, not just life, but the power to direct that life. Government's role is to uphold and protect that most basic right.

Of course these days our Government is willing to dictate to us what we have to do. When that begins it ceases to be a protector and starts to become an overseer, which inevitably leads to tyranny.

Why are we going in the opposite direction of freedom in our own country, and why are we considering continuing to propogate tyrannical systems with ideas like a climate debt.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Families for Change - Spokane

The Conservative Independent Rant is pleased to announce the formation of a local group to discuss past and current politics, and the actions we as citizens can take today. It is called -Families for Change Spokane- founded by Tara Mclaughlin and myself Sarah Emily Jordan.

This kind of group has deep historical roots. In fact these roots stretch back to before the American Revolutionary War. Before there was a single shot fired, there were groups of citizens meeting together to discuss their concerns, grievances and possible courses of action. From these groups came the ideas, definitions, motivation and commitment that would set the stage for the foundation of the nation that would become a beacon to all nations for freedom.

It was perhaps with a nod to the importance of these groups that the founders ensured that the right to peaceably assemble would be proclaimed and protected in our Constitution.

We, therefore are exercising that precious right.

There are many who have felt that our nation is not currently on the right track. Any in the Spokane area, who have concerns are invited to attend our meetings. We plan to learn from one another, to discuss concerns and ideas, and to discuss appropriate action.

We look forward to coming together peaceably. This blog will be updated periodically with meeting times and locations.

God Bless

Justice and Mercy Part (I don't know what number I'm on)

Recently here in Washington State we had a very preventable tragedy strike. Four Police Officers were shot and killed in a brutal manner. Like many my heart goes out to the families and the fellow Police Officers affected by this travesty.

A lot of attention has been paid to the fact that the shooter had been granted clemency in Arkansas by the then Governor Mike Huckabee several years previous. While I believe the responsibility for this horrible event rests with the perpetrator, I do think the situation is indicative of a political philosophy, and the damage this kind of thinking can do. What possible philosophy could I be talking about? Well, if you've ever even glanced at this blog you probably already know the answer: Progressivism. Have you heard of it?

Progressivism has infected the general political mindset into thinking that Government is supposed to be compassionate. This infection has affected both sides of the aisle. Governor Huckabee demonstrates the Republican version of Progressivism also known as compassionate conservatism. I have pointed this out before, and will likely continue to do so: The Governments’ job is not mercy and compassion. Their job is justice and law.

Governor Huckabee strikes me as a compassionate person. But, he inappropriately used his Government position to mete out his personal feelings of compassion. Justice dictated that the man in question answer the ends of the law, to serve his time and debt to society.

I personally have experience within the prison system here in Washington. I teach Sunday School (I know you may have been expecting a juicier tidbit). It has been a wonderful opportunity to serve our brothers and sisters who are incarcerated. There are quite a few religious organizations that provide services for them. Prisoners who actively participate in a religious program while incarcerated have significantly lower rates of recidivism. The Washington State Government has started to more closely look at these religious programs to perhaps start similar state programs. Now, on the surface that might seem like a good idea. But, I'll tell you my reaction to it, "BACK OFF!!" The Churches are doing a good job. Perhaps the best thing the Government could do would be to allow the Churches even more access to the prisoners. The Government should not be in the business of being compassionate. They instead should ensure that prisoners pay their debts while also providing for other, appropriate organizations to provide the means for prisoners to receive compassion and mercy.

That's the same way I feel about welfare. The Churches do such a markedly better job than the Government at providing welfare services. People say, well maybe the Government should design their programs to more closely match the Churches. I say "BACK OFF!!" and "GET OUT OF THE WAY!!". The Churches do a better job. Government bureaucracies have become about examining behavior and results. While Churches are about the individual welfare of people. Thus the Government is directed only by what they can observe, and it takes a ridiculously long time to examine. Churches are directed by principles of mercy, compassion and individual redemption. Their work helps people change from the inside out, thus giving the individual the power, not the Government in changing individual situations and society in general.

The Government does not do a good job with mercy. These are just a few examples of that fact. It is unfortunate that we sometimes need tragedies to remind us of that. Please Government get back to your job of justice and law. Let us take back the responsibility for mercy and compassion.