Category Archives: Facebook

Where is your hope and faith?

It’s been almost a full week of a self-imposed sabbatical from Facebook and shockingly, the world continued to move forward.  I had no profound reason for taking the break other than I want to see how long I could go without the daily facepalms and pulling out my already thinning hairline.  Still, there were some big events this week worth discussing.  One event in particular, that I’m sure has been blowing up FB, was likely also a topic covered by pastors and preachers from pulpits all around the world this Sunday morning.  This is, of course, the 5-4 SCOTUS ruling that States could no longer prohibit homosexual couples from getting a marriage license.

Based on some of the conversations I’ve had with friends, I imagine that some Christians (and other believers of faith which prohibit such unions) are wallowing in the ruling, lamenting over the failure of the Right Wing to mobilize enough petitions or grass-roots community protests ahead of the vote.  Others may be asking how things got “so bad”, how our country founded on Judeo-Christian doctrine could allow such an abomination.  I’m sure there are others looking down their noses and pointing to the failure of Democrats or fathers or the church or the media or women’s lib or the Kardashians to blame for the current state of society.

As a Christian first, and a Libertarian second, I’m not surprised at the outcome of the ruling.  I can honestly say that I knew this day was coming sooner rather than later.  I also can say that this doesn’t change a single thing for me.  And if there are some of you out there that fit the description above, I think you need to re-evaluate where you put your faith.

KEEP CALM

I’ve written previously that the government should get out of the marriage licensing business altogether, which is a popular political viewpoint shared among Libertarians.  I still think grown, consenting adults should not be legally prevented from marrying whoever they want.  The State has no business sanctioning or prohibiting any kind of marriage.  Many Christians take my attitude as a cop-out or that I’m somehow watering down God’s law in place of Man’s law.  That couldn’t be farther from the truth.

The difference is simply that I don’t think the State can or should try to prevent sin through its various mechanisms of coercion (fines, imprisonment, theft of property, life and liberty).  The State is not our judge.  That place of honor is reserved only for Christ.  And Christ does not need the local police, city council, state representatives, federal judges or the POTUS in order for His will to be done.

In Romans chapter 1, Paul writes about the depravity of man.  He lays out quite clearly that man has a sinful nature and that we ALL fall short of God’s holy standard.  For the unbelieving sinner, this is foolishness.  Why should I not fulfill every pleasure or desire I have without an ounce of guilt, simply because God is holy?

On this point, I don’t understand why more Christians don’t seem to grasp this simple concept that sinners are going to sin and do so boldly.  No laws, no policeman, no threats of violence or wars or imprisonment are going to stop that.  What’s even more perplexing to me is how Statist Christians try to legislate God’s law into Man’s courts thinking this will somehow redeem the lost.

More importantly, how does God deal with man’s sin?  Verses 24, 26, and 28 in Romans Chapter 1 clearly states that God “gave them up” or “gave them over” to their sinful natures (and those of you that study God’s word will know to pay particular attention to anything repeated not just once but twice).

What does this mean?  God is not shielding or preventing man from following their sinful natures.  We must choose to follow our own consciences whether we will follow our stomachs or follow Christ.  We must choose whether to guard our eyes and ears from watching questionable movies and pictures so readily available on the internet.  We must choose whether our mouths will spout profane language, and not just because states like Virginia that want to fine you if you do.

As a Christian, I understand that I’m saved by faith in Christ through grace, not by my works.  Our moral living and obedience to God’s law does not earn us salvation or God’s love.  But our desire to live in holiness it is our reaction, our realization of our salvation.  It is not the mechanism by which we are saved.

To me, it’s clear that our faith, our morals, and our standard has absolutely nothing to do with Man’s Laws.  The government does not provide a roadmap for moral living and that was never the intended purpose for it in the first place.

For those that believe that the latest SCOTUS ruling somehow damages God’s plan for marriage, I ask YOU whether you’ve pursued adulterers and divorcees with the same frothing fervor as homosexuals seeking a marriage license.  I would be willing to bet that some of the most vocal opponents to this ruling have been divorced or looked lustfully at another person or even had adulterous relationships.  What does God’s plan for marriage have to say about that?

For those Christians that are still confused, disillusioned, or losing faith in ‘Murica over this ruling, I want to encourage you to step back and remember God is sovereign.  There’s nothing that catches Him by surprise.  This ruling should likewise not change an iota of your faith.

If anything, I pray this development has opened your eyes to the realization that putting our faith in the laws of the land, or the Congress, or the President, or the Supreme Court is folly and you will ultimately be let down someday.

But instead of lamenting, as our preacher shared this morning, rejoice and have the perspective of 1 Peter 4:12-13 “12 Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; 13 but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy.”  Similarly, as Christ preached in Matthew 5:6 and 10 “6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, For they shall be filled. . . . 10 Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

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Fellowship 3.0

Been seeing this clip trending on Facebook recently and it got me thinking. I understand what the author is trying to convey, that we should try to make connections with people. His premise is that by staring into a little phone display or your computer screen, you’re not really engaged with people. (The irony is that my friends are using Facebook to promote the notion to stop using Facebook so much. But I’m guilty of doing the same on other topics.)

What’s interesting to me is that the cover photo for the “Look Up” video clip shows 2 ladies at a bus stop using their phones and one woman without. The imagery is supposed to make us feel like we’re all isolated because of technology. What you don’t see (and yes, I’m bringing in Bastiat’s / Hazlitt’s “Seen and Unseen” into a post about relationships) is what the 2 ladies on their phones are doing.

Maybe they’re texting their spouses or their children.

One of them might have just found out about a loved one’s serious illness.

Maybe there’s breaking news about a controversial vote.

Who knows?

As I had shared in a previous post, the issue isn’t the mode
of communication we choose to use.

I know of at least 2 friends that found their spouses through playing games on the internet. Both couples have been happily married now for almost 15 years and they have lovely children.

The internet is responsible for my family getting to know, and eventually meet, some dear friends of ours. We’re going down to the Houston area this weekend to celebrate Jami’s high school graduation (I’m still coming to grips with the idea that little Jami is now an adult and transitioning into the next chapter of her life.)

Focus on fellowship, by whatever means available to you.

Can Christians be Libertarians?

Wow!  Can’t believe it’s been 10 months since I last posted here.  I’ve been doing a lot of my ranting on Facebook, so I guess that’s satisfied my need to vent.

In between all of my rants for liberty, I’m often faced with the charge that I’m more Libertarian than Christian, that somehow the two can’t coexist.  If I don’t support:

  • keeping gay marriage illegal,
  • incarcerating pot smokers or dealers,
  • having Creationism taught in public schools,
  • the growing police state (eg. if you have nothing to hide, you wouldn’t be so worried about them / have you read Romans 13?),
  • pledging allegiance to a flag,
  • restricting hate speech against Christians / encouraging hate speech against Muslims,
  • Israel’s right to ___ unconditionally

then apparently, I’m choosing Liberty over the Bible.

There’s actually a FB group called “Christian libertarians (New)” which I read every now and then.  There are some good ideas and discussions posted, but sometimes it turns into this “I’m more Christian / Libertarian than you” bickering back and forth which I get enough of already elsewhere.

So where does that leave me?  It’s actually not very complicated, but because we’re all walking around with our own preconceived notions and labels, most of the conversations I have are spent re-defining terms for the average Joe Christian.

Take for example Marijuana.  In most States, it’s completely illegal to use, sell, possess, or produce.  In some, it’s legal for “medicinal” purposes.  In Colorado, it’s totally legal, though the production / distribution is now regulated.  Now, do I believe the use of pot is heretical?  I’m not convinced.  Yes, scripture tells us to be of sound judgement and sober in spirit.  To that end, I think it’s “lawful, but not profitable”.

But when it comes to Liberty and my Faith, the one thing I come back to time and again is that the STATE in no way, shape, or form will determine for me what is righteousness according to God’s Word.  Think about how laws are written in this country.  Basically, a handful of politically connected, influential and powerful organizations bribe their way into Legislators’ pocketbooks to get the laws they want passed.  Even if democracy (read: Mob Rule) worked the way your 8th grade civics books taught you, do you believe God’s Law will stand up to a 51% popular vote?

Does God need the STATE to enforce / establish His laws?  Do you believe the STATE speaks on His behalf?

Being a student of Economics, I can also tell you that the universal truth of STATE legislation is that all the good intentions leading up to a law will have unforeseen / unintended consequences that either negate the original goal, make matters worse, and will ultimately remove choice from individuals.  Is the goal of Christians (that rally for larger STATE protections) to ultimately remove any possibility of choosing to sin in this world?  If we pass just the right laws, will we all live in perfect holiness?  How did that work out for the Old Testament Israelites?

(Grrr.  I had written a couple more paragraphs, but I’ve somehow lost them.  Here’s my attempt to re-write)

If you’ve read any of my previous posts here or on FB, you know that I believe the Bible is God’s inerrant and complete Word.  I also believe that every man and woman must take responsibility for the choices he makes, bear the consequences and rewards, and someday give an account for his life.

You can’t force me into heaven by taking away the availability of drugs, alcohol, violent movies, short shorts, or girly magazines.  You can’t keep me from sinning by locking me up, taking away all my possessions or threatening me with violence.

We, as Christians, need to show the world Christ.  We need to do it without the use of force.  When we use any kind of force, we are sending a message of works-based salvation.  GOD’S Law will convict the soul and reveal the need for Salvation.  It is then that Christ’s free gift of redemption can be shared.

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.

Just a quick update

I’ve resolved to significantly scale back my Facebook time. I’ve also gone and cut off about half of my ‘friends’ there. At the end of the day, about 10% of the time I get useful information from my friends about what’s going on in their lives. There’s maybe about another 10% of interesting local or global news shared. The other 80% of the stuff on Facebook is filled with garbage and black-holes of time. Don’t get me wrong, the 80% is fun and a nice stress release. But I need to heed my own words of advice and grow up.

I’ve also resolved to spend more time with my wife and children. This would be more quality time and not just time occupying the same geography. For the last 3 years, I’ve been finishing my MBA and was just used to being in ‘Daddy working’ mode. It is now time to re-acquaint myself with my family.

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