Monthly Archives: November 2012

Taxes and Sola scriptura

Just a short thought.  I was driving the other day and heard Obama make some remarks about how Congress needs to put aside party politics in order to avoid the forthcoming Fiscal Cliff.  If nothing is done, tax reductions / cuts would expire at the end of 2012 and we would see huge jumps in personal income taxes across all income brackets.  Republican House Speaker John Boehner and Democrat Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid separately came out with similar comments that party politics needs to be put away in order to get the job done before the year-end deadline.

Everyone seems to agree that taxes needs to remain “low” — a relative term of course.  Everyone seems to agree that raising taxes across the board, especially during tough economic times, would be disastrous.  Like the usual political rhetoric, every politician claims to want to keep taxes low.  The funny thing is that the traditional media keeps playing clips from everyone with the same message — as if it’s a surprise to anyone.  What would really be interesting and newsworthy would be if someone were to come out and just say “we need to stop taxation completely”.

Anyway, this media circus around the canned “keep taxes low” push reminded me of Christians that make all kinds of outlandish claims based on Scripture.  Baptists, Pentecostals, Methodists, Presbyterians, Evangelical, and non-denominational denominational Christians (those that claim to not be a part of a denomination in name, but look, feel, smell, and sound like a denomination) — all of them claim to believe what they believe based on Scripture.  Every.  Single.  One of them.  In fact, most of them will claim their only creed is Sola Scriptura or by Scripture alone.

And yet, they divide the Body of Christ into factions and clubs again and again and again.

Those guys have their picnics on the lawn.  

Those guys think they’re the only ones going to heaven. 

Those guys play organs in church.  

They raise their hands while praying.  

Those guys baptize their infants. 

Those guys welcome homosexuals in their building.

Sound familiar?  And for every finger point and turned back, the justification is usually something like “it’s not my doing.  I’m just obeying the Bible.”

Brothers and sisters, I am never one to discount the absolute authority of Scripture for those that claim to follow Christ.  I firmly believe that

16 All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work. (2 Timothy 3:16-17(NKJV))

But with maturity, I’m beginning to see that I can be sure of 2 things when it comes to my faith.  1)  I am a sinner and in desperate need of a Savior and 2)  Jesus Christ, the perfect and spotless lamb, took my place and punishment in order that I might be redeemed once and for all because I could never do it on my own.

Everything else, I approach the Scriptures with humility and lean on God’s wisdom (not the canned responses of my denomination) to show me how to live in holiness each and every day.

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Liberty and Wealth

Had a couple very interesting exchanges on FB this week, which makes me wonder if I should re-post the link to this on FB like I normally do.  Anyway, most of this has been brewing in my mind for ages.  I may decide to break this up into 2 posts.

The first one started when I made the simple statement:

”Why is it acceptable for leftists to hate the rich with such venomous fervor, using blanket statements and racial prejudice, unchallenged by most? And of course, that excludes the ‘good’ rich like athletes, movie stars, musicians, Steve Jobs types, teenage entrepreneurs, Berkeley University professors, Europeans, etc. If conservatives started to go on MSNBC or FB or Twitter and spew garbage language at the poor simply for being poor, THEN it’s hate speech and pooh poohed?”

Now what prompted this was the aftermath of the election results.  There were so many ugly things posted on FB that I tried to ignore, but what I kept seeing over and over was this lashing out against rich, white men or the 1% and how Obama’s victory was something like a veiled threat that the mobs are coming to get you.  Okay, maybe it wasn’t so veiled.

There’s an obvious double standard when it comes to rich, white, men.  If Rex Tillerson of Exxon Mobil were to go on FB or Twitter and start writing ‘stupid, poor minorities.  You deserve what you get.  Stop crying over your life and get a job’, could you imagine the fallout?  He’d be crucified.  And yet, no one seems to think twice at comments like ‘Romney and the rich Wall Street elite are all a bunch of lying, stealing, raping b@st&rds that need to get out of their ivory towers and start paying up because we won.’

For those of you that don’t know, I’m not a wealthy person.  We’re a single income household by choice and we have 7 children to feed and train.  We love the size of our family and wouldn’t change it for all the gold in the world.  I don’t take any government subsidies or welfare because I’m morally opposed.  Now don’t get me wrong, it’s only by God’s mercy and provision that my children have never felt like we’ve been poor.  We’ve never missed a meal.  Never been homeless.  They’ve always had plenty of toys and clothes and beds to sleep in.  But do they each have iPhones and laptops and gameboys?  No.  Even if I had the money, I probably wouldn’t spend it on those things.

But my wife and I have learned long ago to be content with what God has given us.  That’s not to say that we sit back and don’t work, waiting for manna to drop from heaven.  I work very hard.  I’ve put myself through graduate school while working full time.  I’ve sacrificed many evenings, weekends and holidays to make a name and reputation for myself with my employers and coworkers.

Regardless of whether you are rich or poor (which of course are relative standards anyway), I am deeply opposed to theft of property whether the perpetrators are dressed with a ski mask and a gun or wearing silk suits and employees of the State.  No one has the right to your property.  For any reason.  That includes your home, your land, your guns, your oxen, and most importantly, your person.

Now, some people mistake my opposition to theft as greed and think that I am somehow opposed to charity.  Nothing could be farther from the truth.  I think we are all called to be charitable.  I think a basic, fundamental, human response to seeing another person suffering or in need is a desire to help them.  My opposition is to the justification of THEFT in the name of charity because as I’ve said many times, if you don’t have the CHOICE to participate in charity and to what extent, it is no longer CHARITY and you don’t score any points of piety for participation.  To top it off, THEFT in the name of charity is most likely the least efficient way to affect change.  Study after study has shown that when a large, centralized, government with no accountability is in charge of collecting and distributing charity, you see rampant waste, corruption, and horrible rates of return.

Well, my statement above touched off a firestorm with one of my FB friends.  In the end, what I tried to get him to see was that there are good people and there are bad people.  There are thieves and there are saints.  There are people that work thanklessly behind the scenes because they take pride in their work or the people they help and are not just doing it for the paycheck.  There are others that will sell their grandmothers into slavery if it will afford them the hottest new car or toys or even a Big Mac.  My point is that putting the blame of all of society’s woes on everyone within an arbitrarily broad brushstroke is mental laziness and the reason we have such a divided country.  The wealthy are not all greedy, unscrupulous, Scrooges and the poor are not all helpless victims.

My friend brought up Enron and AIG and how they screwed countless people out of billions of dollars in savings and investments.  He went on about the greedy Wall Street types that fire low level employees just to inflate their stock price.  He was enraged about CEOs that took on too much risk and drove businesses into the ground and yet received ‘golden parachute’ exit bonuses.  But embedded within all of this anger was a basic premise of “being fair” – that overly wealthy executives are unfairly compensated, seemingly at the cost of lower paid employees or the gouging of customers.

As your grandparents might have told you, Life is not fair.  Nature is not fair.  And if by fair, we mean equal in every way, then I don’t WANT to be fair.  I really hope the NFL doesn’t start putting guys with my ability on the field to be fair because it would be really boring to watch.  I hope I’m not the standard used to determine who’s going to be the head surgeon in the ER because I get light headed at the sight of blood and innards (I barely made it through my wife’s c-sections and that was only because I was behind the veil.)   I don’t want to dine in restaurants where the chefs have my taste buds and culinary skills out of fairness because everything would be either really bland or way overly seasoned.

The problem is that the media and intellectual dullards have effectively brainwashed mainstream America, especially the young, into believing that stereotypes and blanket statements of hatred are okay as long as it’s directed at rich, white, men.  Throw in there southerners or country folk for good measure.  But they cry racism, sexism, prejudice, economic elitism, and more if you speak badly against their protected groups.

What I successfully led my friend to understand was that all the hatred and anger he had bottled up was really against evil people, rich and poor alike – that making blanket statements like “ENRON SUCKS” and throwing all of their honest, hard-working former employees under the bus was the equivalent of hating all blacks or women or cat lovers.

Wealth is an easy target but ultimately, it’s not the real culprit.  It’s something that seems harmless to attack because there are many more in the middle and lower classes than in the upper classes.  It’s also true that covetousness will erode people’s morals and pretty soon, we get to a place where we justify theft for the greater good.

I don’t covet others’ wealth or good fortune.  I don’t claim rights on any person’s property simply because “I need it”.  I can’t own anyone else’s person and subject them to slavery.

And don’t fool yourselves.  Those people that keep crying for ‘fair share’ and equality are the same people that will storm your front doors and ransack your homes if the power goes out for more than a couple days or a storm floods the streets cutting off food supplies from groceries.

I was literally schooled in the Milton Friedman / Chicago style of economics.  I’ve since departed in some areas of Friedman’s ideologies particularly where it comes to the FED and monetary policy.  But, Milton will always have a place near and dear to me.  Here’s a message that is short and sweet.

In a later clip, Donahue (who still doesn’t get it) assumes that if Milton had his way, he would tear down all of the systems and structures in place right now and setup his vision of how economies, society, and legislation should be properly set up.  Friedman quickly corrects Donahue in that he wants no part of forcing a system in place that is not established by mutual consent of those affected.  Liberty precludes anything short of totally voluntary participation and the use of force to obtain a desired result.  If the idea is so good and needed, people should be willing to participate of their free will.  Otherwise, there’s room for debate.

Can’t we all just get along?

Again, too long since my last update.  So much going on.   I’m thinking I should just do a weekly wrap up of all my FB comments / links / discussions (as well as conversations with friends) on my blog to keep track.

A shout out to Brad and Tom at the Annoying Peasant Radio and all their fans.  Started listening live and I’ve enjoyed the chat room dialogue.  Tues nights at 8:30 pm cst.

So, we’ve re-elected a President.  And, the political name calling / finger pointing has ratcheted up to new heights (or would that be lows?)  It’s amazing how people that can sit and laugh and joke about kids, work, spouses, TV shows, and the price of the newest iPad can get so angry and ugly when it comes to politics.  I’ll admit I’ve been guilty of starting many arguments that have resulted in friends on FB un-friending me or even blocking me completely.  In college days, I used to ride the bus with a good friend that was as Left as could be.  We used to get into these shouting arguments that would make everyone (including my future wife) nervous and uncomfortable.

But with age and experience, this year was a very different election for me and my wife.  When you allow yourself the freedom NOT to choose from 2 parties that are both horrible, your world view completely turns around.  When you realize that the “choice” between spending money you don’t have on worldwide welfare vs. worldwide militarism really doesn’t make much difference, you understand that the problem is not WHERE we’re spending on credit but THAT we’re spending on credit.  When you wake up and understand that we’re not electing a religious authority, a CEO, a chief physician, the head of charitable distributions, or your children’s schoolmaster, you no longer hold them accountable to deliver on such needs.

I have friends that voted for Obama.  I have friends that voted for Romney.  I have friends that voted for Gary Johnson.  I have friends that did not vote.  I love them all because I’m not friends with them because of their allegiance to the donkey or the elephant or the porcupine or the walrus.  And every day, it’s my mission to try and make people think.  Think about their values and why they hold them dear.  Think about whether there are better ways to achieve their end goals than using force or violence.  Think about whether it’s really the Christian thing to do to shun anyone that doesn’t agree with your interpretation of God’s word.