Sunday, May 23, 2010

Justice and Mercy: A Message to Politicians

Alright all you current government officials out there. This post is in order for me to give you some downright truths that I hope you can take a hold of. I believe there are some good people who go into politics. I believe many go into public service with the attitude to do just that, serve. But, unfortunately it seems that far too many get sucked into some corrupt greedy vortex. Again I believe there are some good people in politics, so this message does not necessarily apply to all of them, but most.

Why is it that the American public doesn't trust or really like our Government officials? Have you seen Congress' approval rating these past couple of years? I think many politicians would say that people just don't agree with their political parties or they see that the Government is not moving quickly enough. Those might be partially to explain the dislike. But, honestly I think at the root is that the American people know in their guts that the Government officials are not being just. Justice is fairness and equality before the law. Most of us Americans know that too many Government officials put themselves above the law. We see people not pay their taxes and get a promotion. We see backroom deal making. We see greedy land and money grabs. We see broken promises. We see the attempts to mollify the people by presenting short term solutions, which actually in the end just make things worse. We see lying. We see immorality. We see corruption seething through and through in both parties. Seeing all of that going on, why in the world would we trust? Why in the world would we feel any sense of compassion towards a Government that is increasingly feeling oppressive?

I believe with every part of me that redemption is possible. I've felt it in my own life. I've seen it in the lives of others. I've seen miracles, and to deny the reality of redemption would be a farce and a discredit to what I know to be true. So, my message to politicians is that you can come back. You can return to that feeling of just wanting to serve. But, mercy is only possible if justice is served first. In order to find mercy you have to come clean. You have to put it all out there in the open. You have to be painfully upfront and honest with yourself first, than with God, than with the people you took an oath to uphold. The Constitution is the guide, and that is "We the People." There is no shortcut to this. But, believe me when I say you can absolutely find mercy once you've taken the proper steps.

I used to teach Sunday School and Scripture study out at one of the prisons in my area. It was such a heartwarming experience. I was blessed to work with people who were in the trenches of repentance. They taught me so much about my own life and the steps I need to take in order to truly find mercy. One of the sweetest experiences I had while there was watching a musical of David and Goliath with the inmates. Now, the musical has its rather corny bits, but this one song in particular was really touching for them and me. In fact there were tears streaming down the faces of some of those inmates. They felt that hope that comes from knowing that there is mercy. These were people who were willing to pay the penalty for their crimes, knowing that at the end they could find compassion, redemption and mercy.

The song is an exchange between David and Saul. Saul had started out as a good and righteous king, but he became corrupt with power and wealth. I have thought of this song much in the past little while when thinking about our current politicians.

I say again, there is a way back. But, the only way to mercy is to answer the call of justice. You must step forward into the light and take the courageous step of revealing the truth, every layer of it. Come into the light and feel how cleansing sorrow can be, and how utterly magnificent redemption and mercy are.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

My Cup Runneth Over

My brother and sister in law have a tradition of naming their children Bible/religious names. It's a little 7 Brides for 7 Brothers ish, although they are more creative. So, far there haven't been any discussions about naming a child "Hannah or Hagar or Hephzibah" but they are planning to have a few more :)

My newest little niece was welcomed by their family this week. Mom and baby are doing well. Her name is Selah. If you are like me you are probably racking your brain to figure out where you've read that word before, knowing it is in the Bible somewhere but not sure where. Here is a Bible Dictionary definition, "A musical term that occurs 71 times in the Psalms and three times in Habakkuk. Its meaning is uncertain. Most likely it is a direction to the musicians to strike up, either with a louder accompaniment or with an interlude while the singing ceased." The best part of that definition is that it doesn't really have one, so I feel at liberty to make up my own.

To me Selah means to sing with joy. So, much joy in fact that it feels like my cup runneth over. It probably isn't surprising that knowing her name comes from Psalms (of course it does say it in Habakkuk, no offense to Habakkuk, but I think I'll stick with saying it comes from Psalms, even though it is fun to say Habakkuk, and to write Habakkuk :) that the day she was born I had perhaps the most famous Psalm running through my mind. And the most prominent line to me that day and in the days since is what I've already alluded to, "my cup runneth over." I understand a little better what David felt when he wrote that line. As each one of my, now 17, nieces and nephews runs through my mind I feel so much joy and gratitude that it just cannot be contained, and I feel to sing with joy. God has so blessed my life, my family is one of the greatest of these blessings.

Joy is what family is, or at least what family should be. Yes, there are difficult times and most definitely yes you can get through every one of them if love is the guide. Joy is more than happiness it is not fleeting, it goes more to the core of your being and radiates outward. My family is a wellspring of joy in my life, one that I shall be eternally grateful for.

Many in society today try to come up with counterfeits to family. All one has to do is watch an evenings worth of network television programming to see that there is an attempt to belittle and alter the perception of family and family values. People long for the joy and relationship that family brings so they search for it in things like gangs. There are those on the left who wish to takedown the family entirely. Read "The Coming Insurrection" or read Alinsky's take on the family. There is a knowledge that indeed the family is the most fundamental and important unit in society. So, for those who want to change society to fit their own paradigm and agenda there is a recognition that the family must be taken head on and out. Thus the attempts to counterfeit. The reality is though they may try to approximate the structure, they can never get the joy. Joy is too pure to be manipulated like that. Pray for families. We need good strong families to turn society around.

Pray for parents and children, brothers and sisters, and even aunts and uncles to be guided in peace and love and joy. I'm forever grateful for the joy that is in my life. It sometimes literally takes my breath away to realize how truly blessed I am.

I welcome every new family member with open arms and open heart, and do so with a song of joy, a joy that overflows.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

To The Republic

"I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and to the Republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."

How many times have we uttered those words? They are memorized by children across the nation and recited in public gatherings daily. It is spelled out very specifically that our allegiance is to the Republic. We know that this nation is a Republic. And yet for the last 100 years there has been an effort to label us as a Democracy. Unfortunately the effort has paid off. Too many people in our country believe us to be a Democracy. True there are some Democratic elements, but we are in fact a Republic.

I wonder how the Founder's felt about Democracy, hmmm.

"Remember democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There never was a democracy yet that did not commit suicide." John Adams

"Democracies have ever been spectacles of turbulence and contention; have ever been found incompatible with personal security, or the rights of property; and have, in general, been as short in their lives as they have been violent in their deaths." James Madison (from the Federalist Papers #10)

Somehow I get the feeling they didn't like Democracy too much. I wonder how the felt about a Republic, hmmm.

"The republican is the only form of government which is not eternally at open or secret war with the rights of mankind." Thomas Jefferson

"A republic, by which I mean a government in which the scheme of representation takes place, opens a different prospect and promises the cure for which we are seeking." James Madison (from the Federalist Papers #10)

"The preservation of the sacred fire of liberty, and the destiny of the republican model of government, are justly considered deeply, perhaps as finally, staked on the experiment entrusted to the hands of the American people." George Washington

"There is no good government but what is republican. That the only valuable part of the British constitution is so; because the true idea of a republic is 'an empire of laws, and not of men.' That a republic is the best of governments, so that particular arrangement of the powers of society, or, in other words, that form of government which is best contrived to secure an impartial and exact execution of the law, is the best of republics." John Adams

"The republican principle demands that the deliberate sense of the community should govern the conduct of those to whom they intrust the management of their affairs; but it does not require an unqualified complaisance to every sudden breeze of passion or to every transient impulse which the people may receive from the arts of men, who flatter their prejudices to betray their interests." Alexander Hamilton (from the Federalist Papers #71)

So, it really doesn't take a whole lot of intense research to realize that yes, we are a Republic. Republicanism is the foundation for this free nation, not Democracy. So, why in the world does everybody believe that we are a Democracy. Well, its because it is part of the Progressive agenda to convince us that that is what we are. But, as it turns out the politicians now don't really even care what the majority of the people want, case in point the recent Health Care Reform passage. They achieved their ends of convincing us we are a Democracy, and then pushed forward to accomplish whatever else their agenda calls for. In short it calls for controlling the masses. How do you control the masses? You convince them that you are giving them what they want, and that they need you as their leader to continue to do so. Than you convince them that you know what is best for them, and then give them that. If it sounds like it is approaching tyranny that's because it is. Democracy ends up tyranny eventually. And then because people despise tyranny they will eventually revolt into all out anarchy. The Founders knew that, it's time that reality was broadcast more to the nation.

Since I've already used a bunch of quotes (this has been one of my easier posts :) I'm going to give you a bit more. When I was a teenager I read a novel with a message that has stuck with me ever since. I was recently re-reading it. It is called The Freedom Factor by Gerald N. Lund. It has a lot of sappy parts, and it is kinda old, but it has a pretty powerful message. It centers around a young Senator's aid, Bryce, who is working to pass an amendment to the Constitution that will make us more of a Democracy. He gets a visit from one of the Founding Fathers, a Nathaniel Gorham, who participated in the Constitutional Convention. I thought the following conversation was very well depicted and explains the difference between Democracy and Republic. It starts with Bryce.

"Well, maybe it's time you opened your eyes, Mr. Colonial America. Maybe it's time this tired old democracy you created got a new shot of adrenalin."
"we didn't create a democracy," Gorham said softly. "You still can't see it, can you?"
"All right, so you created a republic and not a democracy. It is still supposed to represent the voice of the people."
"Do you really understand the difference between a republic and a democracy?. . .Don't you know why you've got a national debt big enough to build every man, woman, and child in the solar system a solid-gold outhouse? And why half the world is on the verge of bankruptcy? Don't you see the basic flaw in a true democracy?. . . A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government because sooner or later the people come to realize that they can vote themselves direct benefits out of the public treasury. From that moment on the majority always votes for the candidate or the program promising the greatest benefits from the public treasury. That's what killed Rome. Even the emperors couldn't keep up with the constant demand for bread and circuses. Sooner or later the government goes bankrupt. Democracy always collapses over a loose fiscal policy, and inevitably no matter how long it may take, it will always be followed by a dictatorship... And all this talk about giving more say to the people. That's what's happening here. In the last few years the primary function of the United States government has become the redistribution of wealth-taking money through taxation from one segment of society and giving it to another. . .The real movers behind this amendment, the ones who drive those long black cars and live in the luxurious apartments in Georgetown, don't give a tinker's dam about the voice of the people. They're after power, pure and simple. The Constitution stands in their way and their sole purpose is to remove that and every other stumbling block that prevents them from reaching their goal. . . It's bread and circuses all over again, Lad. And your amendment is one more step on the long road to so-called democracy. If you can't see that, and get others to see it, then may God help you, son. God help you all."

With determined sometimes methodical deliberation the minds and wills behind this transforming idea, of making us into a Democracy rather than what we really are, have led us all carefully to that door. Marching us along a path of which if we could see beyond Democracy we would find it continues and it leads straight to tyranny. It always has, it always does, and it always will.

We need to restore the truth that this nation was founded as a Republic. We need to restore those principles. We need to weed out the corruption and the political machines in order to be able to do so. But, we also just need to spread the truth about this country. We've pledged our allegiance to the flag and to the Republic she represents. Let us honor that pledge. Tell people like it is, we are a Republic.