by pittcaleb 5832 views
I abandoned this blog almost a year ago, but retain it for writing longer "notes." This one has been stirring in me for some time, please give it some of your time. - C2
This post really has to parts, if part 1 starts to bore you, please don't skip the rest, just jump down to the second section where I deal with Christians & Disasters...
I spent a lot of time in the car on my recent 2,600 mile road trip. 54 hours and 20 minutes to be exact. I had the "opportunity" to listen a wee bit of talk radio along the way. As a Libertarian, I believe in limited (or no) government with a very strict scope of operations. Thus I tend to align with the "right wing conservative" talking heads out there when they discuss the current state of our deficit, debt, taxation and stimulus packages.
Now I enjoy a good political debate, but what I want is honesty. I don't like it when a trivial point is made into the Apocalypse or a major one trivialized. I want honesty and genuineness.
What I heard on my 2-week road-trip was a lot of people saying, and I quote, "Us American's are merely asking the Federal government to do what we are forced to do every month - balance the budget!" They go on to say that they have to pay their bills and live withing their own means and that there's no reason the federal government shouldn't do the same. Let me tell you, I agree with the conclusion, but not the precursor.
- Base-line unemployment stands at 9% while it was only 4.5% just a few short years ago.
- Homes are being foreclosed upon at staggering rates - 1.3 million in 2007, over 3.0 million in 2008, almost 4 million in 2009, 3.8 million in 2010!
- There were 1.7 million Bankruptcy filings in the year ending March 2011, 1.6 in 2010, 1.2 in 2009 and 900 in 2008.
- The average American family has nearly $16,000 in credit card debt.
To go on the air and seay "We're forced to pay our bills, the Government should too" is simply disingenuousnss. The argument can, and should, be made using facts, not by making failed comparison. If all we ask is that our government spend money like *we* do, then we're doing a mighty fine job.
The average NET WORTH of a minority family in this country is only $6,000 (black & hispanic). This computer system I'm using is worth that much, second hand! To say to the government do as I do is disingenuousnss 'cause if it did, they'd be getting up their eyeballs in debt, filing for bankruptcy and leaning on another government to bail them out. That's how we roll... Be it (necessary) food stamps, unemployment, FEMA aid, Farm Subsidies or TARP.
Should the government change the way they do things? Yes! Can we go around asking them to merely "balance the books like we have to do?" No! Because as a country, we DON'T balance the books. I do, and I'd love to know who's holding on to my $16,000 in credit card debt!
The East Coast recently got walloped by Hurricane Irene. I was quite fortunate, our damage was cleaned up with a kitchen towel (ruined, cost $1.98) and a RedBox late fee ($3.98, since refunded). I have nothing to complain about.
Now let me state that I we are a church-going family. My wife and I are both active in ministry and support our church both financially and with our time. We minister both inside and outside of the church walls.
Some have said to me, "You are so blessed" or "God protected you and your house" during the storm. I've heard it on TV said that "God blessed us by protecting our house." Now let me go on record as saying I believe in God's protection and dare want it lifted from my family! I believe God can keep bad things from happening to you, make your clothes or vehicles last longer, not need repair - you get the gist. I am "that kind" of Christian.
However, when my house is bone dry and my Christian friend, who I know serves the Lord, loves the Lord and is Faithful to the Lord has a flooded basement a block away - did God decide "Screw them, I'm going to protect the Cohen's today and let the Smith's (substitute name) house flood?" Did the Smith's somehow fall into sin in the days before the hurricane and thus lose God's protection upon their house? Or is their house simply built in a place where if it rains hard and the power is lost (mine wasn't) their sump can't keep up and their basement floods? Did God allow the tree to fall and destroy a house simply because that person wasn't being as faithful as the other? I can only compare two known Christians for the sake of this insane argument mind you.
I find it disingenuousness for me to tell my Christian friend, or any friend for that matter, "I feel so blessed that God saved our house from flooding." That puts myself up on a pedestal as being a better person than them if their basement flooded.
There's a JBQ question that reads, "What is the meaning of the story of Job?" The answer on the card states, "That not all misfortune that comes to a Christian is punishment for Sin." My the transitive property, I argue also the opposite. "Not all good things that happen to a Christian are reward for faithfulness."
My wife had a mountain biking accident once. Pretty ugly actually, but she has a great story to tell now. A Pastors Wife told us while she was in the hospital that this must have been punishment for sin. It changed our relationship forever. Yes, sin & sickness entered the world together, but if this correlation is accurate, prayer time at church I suppose is the listing of people who aren't "good" Christians then, right?
With the 10th anniversary of 9/11 coming, I'm starting to read stories of those who felt God's guiding hand as they escaped the catastrophe. Some deal with massive doses of survivors guilt. I can not fathom being in the towers that day. No words. I also can not fathom surviving that and continuing to lead a normal life afterward.
I caution those who make comments of how God blessed them, or saved them or directed them to consider how they phrase their remarks such that the opposite can not be inferred. Yes, God can help guide you out of a collapsing building. I do not disagree whatsoever and I pray for Him to guide me through the calamities I find myself in. However, to say it in such a way to presumes those who dies God didn't care so much about is, well, being disingenuous.
I struggle with the religious overtones 9/11 has come to represent. That if this is a God-thing, how said God could have allowed 3,000 people to die that day. That if God choose to save person X, why he didn't save person Y on the same floor who attended the same church and tithed the same amount.
However, if, through the sin of the world, this was an act of utter malice towards an innocent people in an act of war - well, stuff happens, and we deal with it once it does. Some people survived that shouldn't have, some didn't that should. Hero's were born and lives were lost. I am sure God's hand guided many to safety that day, even kept some from going into the office at all. But bad things happen in this world. Sometimes good people pull through. Sometimes they don't. Why does the drunk survive the accident, but the 24 year old co-ed who just got engaged not? These are things we'll never understand. It's on my list of questions to ask God when I get to Heaven. I'll let you know the answer when I get there. And I won't be disingenuous with my answer.