Reflecting God

Previously I talked about understanding loving God as obedience and enjoying life. I would like to summarize these with the proposition that the life worth living is the one that reflects the character and nature of God. If we know who God is, then we can live the life we want to.
Rather than try and urge people to just obey God in order to love him, if we focus on reflecting his nature, we include both direct obedience following his created order. We need to have a mindset that seeks to follow his design in creation. If we are only seeking to follow law, then what are we to do with the myriads of grey areas we run into on a daily basis?
For example, if I am to reflect the nature of God in my finances, I am going to give money to those in need, I will avoid debt, I will not stress over finances, and I will save for a rainy day. Giving money reflects God’s love and care for those in need. Avoiding debt follows God’s wisdom of not being bound to another human being. Not stressing shows faith in God’s providence and mimics the faith in God’s plan that Christ had. Saving for a rainy day comes from an understanding that God has made us finite and we have no idea of what will come tomorrow.
Reflecting God’s character, at least for me, helps to reduce the stress of individual decision. My goal is not to make the exact right decision every moment of my life. My goal is to as a whole act out God’s character and nature as much as possible. So where it comes to things that are not moral, I think of the organization and order in God’s creation.
Part of enjoying God’s creation is enjoying it on his terms, even when the sinful way is temporarily more pleasurable. Part of our faith needs to be in the goodness of God as expressed through his order.
For example, Scripture makes it clear that all forms of sexuality are to be saved for marriage. There are however no prescribed rules of physicality in dating. We have not rule of whether holding hands, kissing, cuddling, groping etc. are okay or not. God designed it so that sex means marriage. If you have sex, you are married. If we understand God’s nature as a holy devoted God to his people, and his view on marriage, then it is very simple to reflect God’s complete devotion to covenants by keeping ourselves from all forms of sexuality before marriage.
Though the Church continually rallies “no sex” there is a long list of un-Christ-like behavior between holding hands and sex. So, enjoy life through following God’s character, even if it means forgoing pleasure in the moment.

Politics for Tuesday: Healthcare Debacle

Political Tuesday

                Healthcare. It used to be a swear word to conservative Republicans, and the defendable pride and joy of liberal democrats. Now no matter what side you are on it is an embarrassing mess. (Which I wish more politicians would vocalize. The Republicans should not be cheering the failure of the bill as much as they are, they should also be lamenting that our government would do anything this poorly. It’s embarrassing, even if you just mentioned the website).

                But the larger problem at hand at the moment is, to what extent do we hold our politicians responsible for doing a poor job, lying, or being ignorant. I am going to use Mr. President as an example, not in order to bash him by any means; in fact I hope to have an opinion that is understanding and kind so as to be an example to both political parties. I want to use him as an example because he has been in the media enough that most people know what has been going on (In fact I feel free to write this because both the liberal and conservative media have been upset at the handling of the healthcare law), and he is a singular example that everyone will know and can then hold congressman, senators, and local politicians to the same standard.

                Mr. President, as shown on both conservative and liberal media, have been pointing out inconsistencies in what was promised, and what has actually been delivered. There are three possible reasons for inconsistencies in what was said and what happens.

The first is that the politician lied. This is the easiest to jump to and proclaim when it is someone of the opposing party, however, if we want politicians to have integrity, we must also have the integrity to patiently give them the benefit of the doubt and treat them better than we think they are treating us.

                The second is that they were ignorant. Being ignorant is difficult to deal with as it is part of their job to be in the know. They are being paid to be professionals and know what is going on. Just like generals in the military must know what is going on in combat, if they don’t people die. If politicians do not know what is going on, then people suffer. However, they are only human so at times they cannot know everything. Furthermore, they could have bad advisors. To a great extent they are responsible for having good enough judge of character to pick good advisors.

                Thirdly is that something changed from when they made the promise. Most of the time when this happens I don’t give them much grace because they shouldn’t not have made a promise about a decision that they could not enforce themselves. Blaming other political leaders, the system, the voters, etc. is not an excuse. They know full well the obstacles in their way.

                So, Mr. President is either a liar, ignorant, or a foolish promise maker. Personally I believe he is the latter of the two. He should have read the bill and had the right advisors to know the vague areas that could be applied in various ways. He also should not have made a promise on how it would be enacted when that is not in his jurisdiction.

                How do we respond? We need to hold all of our elected officials to a higher standard. If they are ignorant or incapable we should call them on it. But we must also not be too harsh. We must leave room for dreamers and visionaries. Martin Luther King’s dream was not realized in his life time. But we should not fault him for pursuing something big. We must be able to recognize ignorance and abuse of a position and the attempt to dream big dreams and pursue them.