Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Founded on the promise of equality

Was just listening to a clip of Michelle Obama speaking to the LGBT folks in convention, around 2008, I believe. The video was offered up with regard to her saying Kenya was Barack’s home country. I’ve no comment on that issue other than the entire birth scenario has been mishandled by BOTH sides, and without proof one way or another, the issue has been settled; so: “Get over it. Move on.”

But, I was very interested in Ms. Obama's comment that: “…discrimination has no place in a nation founded on the promise of equality.” Is a promise of equality the cornerstone of our Nation's foundation, or is it, rather, a promise of liberty? Was her allegation true? Are equality and liberty the same, or are they fundamentally different concepts?

Words and their meanings are important to me; so, I took the time to revisit the Preamble of our U. S. Constitution. There's the line about: “…secure the Blessings of Liberty…” but nothing about equality was mentioned.

Assuming her reference towards equality must then be in the Declaration of Independence, I took time to read it in its entirety, also. The closest I could get is: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed,”

So, what I believe was being established was a free state, rather than an equal one. Emphasis from both documents appears to be with regard to liberty. Mankind is created equal; however, it is not the job of government to enforce sameness (rather than equality) upon its citizens but rather: “…being created equal, citizens are free to pursue those opportunities offered by liberty (within the bounds of established civil governance) as they see fit without intrusion from those whom they have consented to determine issues political.”

Our entire Declaration and Constitution are interesting documents and worth rereading to see what was actually on the mind of the Framers. I commend them to you.

Friday, April 02, 2010

Chuck's Cross

Chuck’s been here about 6 years now, or is it seven? When he arrived, the previous Rector had left some notations in his Parish Roster about his flock, their interests, abilities, good points, etc., ostensibly to make his (Chuck’s) life easier. Likewise, for several years now I’ve considered myself a part of the leadership of the Church, so when he came it was natural that we should have some interaction. Whether a result of the prior Rector’s notes, my visibility, or whatever; early following Chuck’s arrival, he asked me to construct him a Cross to be used in the Good Friday Service. I saw and reflected upon it again today as I do each Good Friday.

It’s built from two pieces of cedar, with the bark still on them and is around five foot tall. Had Christ have been crucified in Central Texas, it’s likely His cross would have been made of cedar. It’s everywhere, and grows straight enough to make a cross. We use it for fence posts all the time. It’s indigenous to the area as probably was the wood used in the First Century by the Romans.

When I built it, I reflected on how unusual it seemed to be building one but I suppose that until today the real depth of that experience hadn’t been fully realized. For the first time, I believe I finally understood that the cedar cross I built is only a copy of the real one I helped build. The one Christ hung upon some 2000+ years ago. Much the same as in The Passion of the Christ, where the soldier pounding the nails was portrayed by Mel Gibson (without credit), done as an affirmation of his responsibility for Christ’s sacrifice, so did I today realize that the cross I built for Chuck is the second one I’ve constructed.

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Render unto Caesar

One of the passages from the New Testament that I tend to rely on all too frequently is Matthew 22:21 (…Then saith he unto them, Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's; and unto God the things that are God's.). It’s definitely in my Top Ten of all time most relied upon verses. Just today I received a newsletter from one of the vitriolic, right-wing, hate-mongering, hypocritical, judgmental, gun-loving, fundamentalist, mind-numbed robots & writers often vilified by Leftists. It said:
“…, Jesus never once spoke about the need for the government to address anything. He was (and is) solely concerned with each individual's heart and being. (“Render unto Caesar”) And it is His gift of life and liberty that we embrace when we fight the tyranny of leftist "compassion."

As Thomas Jefferson wrote, "The God who gave us life, gave us liberty at the same time; the hand of force may destroy, but cannot disjoin them."

We know well that the world is a harsh place. As we survey its poverty -- both fiscal and moral -- or the damage and suffering caused by natural disasters such as the earthquakes in Haiti and Chile, or the man-caused disasters (i.e., "solutions") … inflict upon us, we're reminded of the brokenness of this world. Indeed, Christ didn't die on the cross for a world that didn't need Him. He died for one that did and does.

Ironically, perhaps, that's where Easter brings the greatest hope. Christ conquered death when He rose from the grave that Sunday morning so long ago so that He can return to right all wrongs. In Revelation 21:5, Jesus said, "Behold, I am making all things new."

Our ultimate hope is not in political leaders (though we must always strive to elect upright ones) or in political solutions (though we must always fight for the right principles), but in the renewal that will one day come, as promised by our true Savior. Our hope will not wax or wane with each election, because this world is not all that there is. For that we are truly thankful to our Creator, and we look forward to the day when all things are made new.
Patriot Post
Maundy Thursday 2010
Ignoring my earlier sarcasm, this really spoke to me. OUR HOPE IS IN CHRIST. Not in Republicans or Democrats, Tea Partiers or Socialists but in CHRIST alone. Government has always been and will always be imperfect. I feel it is mankind’s nature to attempt to place himself on equal footing with that of his Creator, and it can’t be done. We must instead realize that our hope is in the promise of Christ’s grace alone.

At the same time we are called to the necessity of existence in this temporary realm and should approach that existence as would Christ. Rendering unto God that which is His and unto government that which is its due. And thus the argument begins. Exactly what belongs to God and what exactly, is due Caesar?