My life

Strangers and aliens

One of my primary concerns about the American church is that so many Christians seem to be more American than Christian. You will find no greater patriot than a conservative believer. Unfortunately, this often results in the church supporting unjust policies and corrupt leaders, with the reasoning that if something benefits the US or our causes, it is justified even if it is twisted or steps on the rights of others.

The Bible makes it clear that, if we are followers of Jesus, we are no longer citizens of the world. Numerous passages refer to our status as strangers and aliens here:

John 17:13b-18 NLT: I told them many things while I was with them in this world so they would be filled with my joy. 14 I have given them your word. And the world hates them because they do not belong to the world, just as I do not belong to the world. 15 I’m not asking you to take them out of the world, but to keep them safe from the evil one. 16 They do not belong to this world any more than I do. 17 Make them holy by your truth; teach them your word, which is truth. 18 Just as you sent me into the world, I am sending them into the world..

1 Peter 2:11-12 NLT: 11 Dear friends, I warn you as “temporary residents and foreigners” to keep away from worldly desires that wage war against your very souls. 12 Be careful to live properly among your unbelieving neighbors. Then even if they accuse you of doing wrong, they will see your honorable behavior, and they will give honor to God when he judges the world.

Hebrews 11:13 NLT: 13 All these people died still believing what God had promised them. They did not receive what was promised, but they saw it all from a distance and welcomed it. They agreed that they were foreigners and nomads here on earth.

Ephesians 2:19-20 NLT: 19 So now you Gentiles are no longer strangers and foreigners. You are citizens along with all of God’s holy people. You are members of God’s family.

If we are truly citizens of God’s Kingdom, our allegiances on earth are secondary. Patriotism is fine, but if our Kingdom concerns are righteousness, holiness, and redemption, they will filter our view of political and social issues, and we will be concerned with correcting and preventing injustices rather than justifying them. We can love our country, but we need to be unflinchingly honest about its flaws and abuses.

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My life

The Roadkill Political Platform

I didn’t vote yesterday. I have no idea who any of the candidates are, plus I didn’t know it was an election day.

I dropped my party membership during the budget fiasco a few weeks ago. Somehow I had ended up on e-mail lists for BOTH parties, equally stupid hate-mongering impeach-Obama-impeach-Ted Cruz-type stuff. It has taken a while to get unsubscribed.

Last night I realized that it had been at least a week since I’d had to look at Ted Cruz’s long sad face. I also have not had to see Miley Cyrus’s tongue in about the same time period. Both absences make me supremely grateful. (Would Ted Cruz’s filibuster have been more effective if he had twerked?) Now I have to look at Humpty Dumpty, the mayor of Toronto, every five minutes, but at least he doesn’t represent my government. Although it sometimes feels like Washington is full of crackheads.

Recently I saw where Arnold Schwartzenegger backers are considering a push to amend the Constitution so that he can run for president. I wonder how that will sit with the birthers. It’s interesting that I never saw anyone fuss about McCain being born in Panama.

What is it with Americans wanting to elect actors, anyway? And why do politicians seek celebrity endorsements? I wonder what the impact would be if Miley Cyrus endorsed Ted Cruz. If I were a politician looking for a celebrity endorsement, I’d choose someone like Mr. Rogers. Now there’s someone with credibility and integrity. Too bad he’s gone.

At my workplace, there is often a TV on all day, usually set to CNN. It’s amazing how many words newscasters spew out in the course of a day, regardless of whether they have anything to say. The most trivial and the most profound news get about the same amount of airtime. I wonder if Wolf Blitzer gets disgusted when he has to cover celebrity news.

Fortunately, the sound is kept off or low. And I have noise-canceling headphones.

I could never be a politician. I discovered long ago that if I talk too much, eventually I put my foot in my mouth. Besides, it takes me forever to form an opinion because I usually see both sides of everything. I have strong views on a few issues, but scratch my head over many more.

Were I to run, my wife would be my celebrity endorsement. She’s a well-known singer, has high-level politicians in her phone directory, and has performed at major political events… in Colombia. For that matter, I myself am better connected in Colombia than I am here. The former vice-president, Francisco Santos, was a classmate of mine at the University of Kansas. The current president, his cousin Juan Manuel Santos, was also at KU but I never met him. Another classmate and one-time roommate of mine ran for mayor of Bogotá and president of Colombia, but he’s an ass and it would be counterproductive to have his backing.

This is one of the rare times you’ll see me blog about politics. Proclaiming my political or social or religious convictions attracts trolls, highlights differences with my friends, and usually does little to change anyone’s mind.

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