Politics and Relegion
Two of the things we are told we are not supposed to talk about in polite society. Well I can’t say anyone ever accused me of being a member of polite society and I have to say two of my favorite things to talk about happen to be Politics and Religion. So come on and join me in the not so polite corner of the world and lets have some fun.
I am a Christian, I attend a United Methodist Church, I am also a certified lay minister and I serve in the pulpit at a small country church.
I get very frustrated when I hear people talking about Church and State issues and even more so when I hear people try to twist scripture to fit their own political ends. I recall a time I was in a bible study group and we had a fella come visit our group. This gentleman was the Republican candidate for the office of Governor here in the state of Missouri. This guy actually came in to our class, invited by another church member, and proceeded to tell us how his bible was more worn out than the ones we where using. Here was a guy trying to come in and pander for our vote at church by telling us he was a better Christian because he wore his bible out. Whoopee dooo.
As a man of faith I do love to see folks with worn out bibles. That means they are at least looking at them once in a while. Nothing sadder than a bible that a family has owned for 20-30 years that still looks brand new, because it just sits on a shelf. I remember when I first started moving toward faith I knew we had a bible in the house I just didn’t know where.
Now I can proudly grab my copy of scripture as well as my copy of the U.S. Constitution. Being a political Scientist by education and a Christian by profession of faith those two kinda go hand in hand. No matter how often the left argues that the two cannot co-exist anywhere including the bookshelf I am here to argue that they can and should.
Now many of you on the left will get mad at me throughout the course of this discourse, hopefully the only other people I offend as much as those on the left will be those on the right. Too often the political right tries to hijack faith as their platform while they pick and choose what parts of Christianity they want to follow, or like that politician in my bible study they try to hijack my faith for their vote. So if I make you mad, good. If I make you think, better. If we find common ground, best.
Like I said I am a political scientist by education. I have a Masters degree in International Affairs and Administration; I focused much of my studies on environmental policy. As you can imagine that takes in a pretty huge chunk of study. My particular interests dealt with sustainability in the usage of our natural resources. We too often forget that the way we look at the environment should not be just based on how many board feet we can get out of a tree, or how many bushels of beans can we squeeze out of an acre of land. We live in a world based on systems. An all-knowing God puts those systems in place. Yet for some reason we seem to think that we are smarter than God and we can manipulate those natural systems to meet our needs, and to some degree we have, but we are really only successful when we work with the natural systems not against them.
We have been given an awesome book of how we are to treat each other and how we are to treat the land and resources that make life possible for us here on earth. In the following pages I will be going through the bible and comparing the policies that we should be following with the policies that we are following and even what we need to do to get on the right track. This is a labor of love for me because I get to work on things I truly enjoy. I hope you enjoy reading it and discussing it as much as I do.
Hopefully we can agree on one thing. Genesis is the first book of the Bible. Beyond that, well we will see how it goes. Before you get to concerned I am not going to go book by book through the Bible. I would guess you would not enjoy reading it and I sure as hell would not enjoy writing it. Yes I said sure as hell, always struck me as funny how some folks are offended by a statement as simple as that one. As a Christian in order for me to be sure of salvation I would pretty much need to be sure about the alternative, wouldn’t I. But I digress, back to Genesis. In the book of Genesis the Lord Almighty lays down some rules. And pretty much first thing out of the box we break them. Sad to say that pretty much sets the pattern of our existence. God gives us directions and we either do not read them or we figure we have a better idea than God so we will just do things our way and pray that God will see things our way eventually.
Genesis 1:1 “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” (NRSV). Pretty simple start, scripture tells us that God created everything, everywhere. Genesis continues on to explain what day God created what aspect of the universe on. God separates light from dark then goes on to create birds and fish and eventually down to us, or more exactly Adam and Eve. So lets look at Adam, Genesis 1:26 God decides to create us in his image and give us his blessing as well as dominion over all living things on the earth and then tells us to go forth and subdue it, that’s in Genesis 1:28. The Lord gives us plants and trees for us and all the animals of the earth to eat from, then he calls it a day, the sixth day to be exact. And on the seventh day he rests. And tells us we need to take that seventh day and rest as well.
Lets just stop for a minute or two right here and think about this. God the creator of the universe and all things in it took a day off to rest. And he tells us we need to do the same, pretty cool really, shame we don’t do a better job of following the simple rules.
Now please do not get the idea that this is designed to replace scripture or the study of scripture. Please doubt my conclusions and look it up your self. Try and argue these points, I am fine with that. Especially if the only way to get people to study the bible is to have them look for ways to argue with me, I am really good with that.
Back to the previously interrupted discussion seventh day, day of rest. We just don’t do it anymore. Most of us blow past Sunday and do not even slow down. Yes I know technically Saturday is the seventh day but for most folks the only day we could even consider for rest is Sunday.
I mentioned earlier how we screwed up in the garden, heck now we screw up by not taking the day of rest, yep we cant even take a break without screwing it up. Pretty impressive really, makes you wonder why God even puts up with us. Guess only God knows why.
Stay tuned folks there is more to come provided I do not get distracted by shiny objects or pretty girls which has been known to happen.