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Tag Archives: Barack Obama

Jesus Voted Democrat in 2008

I know I just offended a bunch of people by using that for a title.  Was that on purpose to get your attention?  A little.  However, it is also very much the point I want to make this morning.  Actually, this post has been brewing in my mind for quite a while.  I feel it is timely to pull the trigger on it because I live in South Carolina, and we are at the center of the Republican primary fight until Saturday.

Before you get out your pitch forks and torches and come hunting to string me up for making such a claim, please hear me out.  This comes from some of the stuff God has been teaching me over the last year, and he is still teaching me even now.  I feel like it is time to share some of these thoughts and maybe start a conversation about them.  Maybe God is teaching you some of the same things.  Maybe he needs you to start thinking about them.

Let me start with my credentials.  I am a recovering hardcore conservative.  I am still really conservative, but the edges are starting to soften.  As long as I can remember, I have been interested in politics and the way the world works.  I started watching the news at a very early age, I followed the events of the world, and I asked my dad questions all of the time about America’s leaders (he was a Marine, so I figured he should know).  The first time I saw the White House was like going to Disney World for me.  One of my prized possessions is the letter I got back from the first President Bush after I wrote to him during the Persian Gulf War.

As I grew up, I became more and more set in my political thoughts.  I was a proud Republican.  I thought the Religious Right was always right.  Conservative became a badge I loved to wear.  I was really into the primary politics during the year I was a senior in college.  I really felt like I was being a good Christian to be pulling for the “good guys.”  When I met Christians who labeled themselves “liberal,” I almost always doubted their faith.  I did not know how that could be possible.

That pretty much stayed somewhat the same until very recently, except for the doubting of people’s faith…I stopped doing that a long time ago.  God really did a work on the amount of trust and stock I put into politics and conservatism as a movement.  When God took a hold of me last year and shook me awake, he opened my eyes to who he is, what the world is for, and my place in it all.  A part of this was seeing that maybe there is more than labels like conservative and liberal and more than who might be in office at any given time.  Maybe I need to put less worry into it.  Maybe God is in control way more than I give him credit for.

As I wiped the sleep from my spiritual eyes, I started to realize a few things that I need to refocus on:

  • God is sovereign, and this includes our government.  No matter who is leading our country, the bills they are passing, or how much it seems they are ruining or helping the “American way,” God is not asleep at the wheel.  He knows what is going on.  He has been around a while.  He has seen countries come and go.  As a matter of fact, he was the one who caused the comings and the goings.  He knows what he is doing.  If a democrat or republican becomes president, it is not like this is a shock to him.  Like what this means or not, who ever sits in the Oval Office was put there by the Almighty himself.  Really.  Romans 13:1  says, “Everyone must submit to governing authorities. For all authority comes from God, and those in positions of authority have been placed there by God.”  All authority comes from God.  That means it truly comes from him and is intended by him.  Those in positions of authority have been placed there by God.  Despite what you might think about it, God put both George W. Bush and Barack Obama in the role of President.  Really.  I know that may be hard for people on both sides of the matter to take, but it is true.  God is ultimately in control.  We kind of just need to deal with it, trust him, and get to the bigger job of loving him and loving others.
  • I need to trust and submit to what ever authority I am under, even if they are a different political party.  Not that there is anything wrong with supporting and being involved with a political party, I myself fully intend to vote in the republican primary on Saturday.  We live in a democratic republic (those of my readers who live in the US, at least), and we have the right to vote.  We need to take advantage of that.  However, there has to be more to life than that.  Be involved, but we can not make that our identity.  God has called us to so much more than politics.  We can write to Congress and try to get our voices heard, but there has to be more than that.  At some point we need to realize that God put these people where they are, and though we disagree we need to submit to their authority.  Do what you can to get things changed, but do not make this your whole life.  God has called us to two major jobs, and that is to love him and love others.  We can do that no matter who is in office and what they are doing.  We can do that even if we had a monarch or dictator (though it would be more difficult).  When we submit to our rulers, we are really submitting to God.  That is what we are supposed to do.  If you doubt, go read further in Romans 13.  Verses 2 through 5 are pretty clear on this point.
  • Agree or disagree with taxes and what they go to pay, we need to pay them.  I intended to just focus on trusting and submitting to authority, but I decided to end out Paul’s thoughts in Romans 13.  The final thoughts on government are in verses 6 and 7, “Pay your taxes, too, for these same reasons. For government workers need to be paid. They are serving God in what they do.  Give to everyone what you owe them: Pay your taxes and government fees to those who collect them, and give respect and honor to those who are in authority.”  I know I might be opening a can of worms on the taxes thing, but if we are to trust and submit to our government, we need to pay our taxes and move on.  Seriously.  It would be nice to have extra money, but we need to trust what God is doing.  Use your vote to try to change things.  Write a Congress person or two, but just move on.  Don’t spend your life worrying about the taxes.  God is in control and he will take care of you.

That brings us back to the title.  Jesus did vote democrat in 2008, and his vote was the only one that counted.  The hard part for us, especially as free-voting Americans, is to realize that no matter who “wins” office it is God-ordained and our job to realize God’s authority through it.  Politics can not run our lives.  Worry about who is in leadership has never been meant to be.  Yes, we do need to do our part, vote, and contact leaders when we disagree.  In the same note, we need to move past that and look for what God has for us to do day to day.  Even if our country fails and we are thrown into uncertainty, God is still God and he is still in control.

So go vote, but also love everyone around you and show them God’s love…no matter who they vote for.

Father, Jesus, and Spirit, please help me know your authority and submit to it.  Help me to see you no matter who is in office.  Thank you.  I love you.  Your son, Joe.

 

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Uganda, the LRA, and Invisible Children — Repost

This is an older post, but I have decided to post it again because it is a very current subject.  This post includes what is going on in Uganda, what the LRA is, and how you can help through the organization called Invisible Children.  Most of this was written by a guest blogger, Chris Rosenberry.  Please read, learn, and then help.  It is so easy and can be done right through this blog.  Thanks!

Two weekends ago, I started a segment called “Why Weekends” in which I want to look at problems in the world that we, as inhabitants of our planet, are all responsible to be a part of changing.  I do believe the Christians should be motivated by the love of God to make a difference in light of these issues, but I also think it is something for everyone to work on no matter what you believe.  The first one was about extreme poverty in the world and one way to be a part of the solution (give it a read if you haven’t Why Weekends–Why and WorldVision-Part 1).  I intended to get to Part 2 this week becauase I was sick over the weekend, but another solution to an extreme poverty related issue presented itself to me and I wanted to move on it.

“How You Can Be the Change” will be an occasional segment for opportunities that come up to offer you ways to “be the change” that the world needs with minimal effort on your part.  Part of this will be to include “experts” when I can to give you first hand information and experiences from other people.  Today I was able to do that.

I have asked my friend, Chris Rosenberry, to write and tell you about an organization called “Invisible Children.”  If that sounds familiar it might be because it is on your computer screen right now.  Look to the left of the page.  There is a widget called “Social Vibe”.  This is a way for you to raise money and support for charities by just watching ads online.  That is all you have to do.  You only have to sacrafice a couple of minutes.  So easy!  I have chosen Invisible Children for my charity because what they do is awesome and what they are fighting is awful.  Instead of me telling you about it, I will let Chris give tell you about his experiences with the organization and about why it is so important to him.

Chris went to North Greenville College with me for a little while (Go Mounties!).  He is now the Youth and Arts pastor at The Refuge in Hilton Head, SC.  He is the husband of but one wife and the father of three.  Chris has a passion for social justice, obscure music, and the Philadelphia Phillies.

Okay, take over Chris.

Five years ago my eyes were opened to an unseen tragedy that would change my life, and the lives of my family, forever.  I had just begun working as a youth pastor in Hilton Head, SC and was looking for ways to get my students involved in missions projects which we could support without getting in a van or on a plane.  In my research, I found a video, backed by the Killers’ song “All These Things That I’ve Done” (an instant selling point), where high school and college aged students were giving up the comforts of their beds to sleep in fields and parking lots, writing letters, and trying to make people aware of one of the greatest disasters of their generation.

For well over 20 years a war has been waging in East Africa, in the nation of Uganda.  This war, a civil war, began as a well supported uprising within the Acholi people, the people of Northern Uganda, against the nation’s government.  But when its leader was exiled and a new leader, named Joseph Kony, attempted to take control of the rebellion by creating his Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) support dwindled.  With little support from his own people, Kony and the LRA resorted to abducting children and forcing them to fight as part of the LRA.

Since Kony took control of the rebellion, thousands of children have been abducted and thousands have lost their innocence and their lives.  It is estimated that currently 90% of the LRA is made up of children, and that over the years as many as 66,000 children have been abducted.  It is also estimated that over the course of the war, over 1.8 million Northern Ugandans have been forced into Internally Displaced Camps (IDP camps) as a way of minimizing the casualties of this war.  And though about 900,000 of these people have been allowed to return to their homes, there are still almost 1 million people living in IDP camps where approximately 1,000 people die every week.

The war in Northern Uganda, which has now also spread to Congo and other East African nations, has been called the greatest humanitarian crisis in the world today.  What is worse, is that for many many years this crisis was completely invisible to the outside world.  That is, until 3 film students from San Diego got on a plane and discovered what was to become their life’s work.  They came home with footage of children walking for miles each night to find a safe place to sleep, footage of the Acholi people living in fear of the LRA, and footage of aid workers asking for help.  They also came home with a mission, and shortly thereafter released their footage as a documentary film entitled Invisible Children: Rough Cut.  This film was the genesis of an organization that would commit itself to ending the war in Uganda, restoring the Acholi people, and helping to make the universe of East Africa a safe and thriving place for children to grow up.  That organization is called Invisible Children.

Since that first film, which was released in 2003,  Invisible Children has seen much change in Northern Uganda.  Schools have been rebuilt, peace has been as close as a signature way, children feel safe to sleep in their own homes, laws have been passed in the United States to aid Uganda in the capture of Joseph Kony, and hope seems very much alive.  But the work is not complete.  Joseph Kony and the LRA are still at large.  They continue to terrorize the people of East Africa, with most of their focus on the nation of Congo, and they continue to abduct, abuse, and enslave children, but Invisible Children will not give up.

Since my first encounter with Invisible Children n 2006 my family and youth group have seen, and been a part of, some of the major changes in Uganda.  We have slept in fields for days, we have been to Washington to enlist the help of our government, we have told the story of these children whats seems to be a thousand times, and we have seen our own lives changed for the better.  It is truly amazing what happens when put others before ourselves, when we take care of our neighbor, even if our neighbor is halfway across the globe.  Our involvement has taught me the depths of what the Apostle James calls pure religion:

Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world. James 1:27

There are times when we say to ourselves, “Someone else will take care of that problem” or “That is not my problem,” but what I have learned is that there are those who do not have voices of their own, who cannot speak up and ask for help, who do not have the power or influence to affect change, and therefore it is the job of those of us who have a voice to speak up, to act, to not rest until justice has been found..  The cause of Invisible Children has shown me my voice, my students’ voices, my wife’s voice, and even the voices of my small children.  We will not rest until there is peace and restoration in East Africa, and we pray that you will join us.

For more information, ways to get involved, media resources, or ways to donate to the cause please visit Invisible Children.

 

Back to Joe:

Don’t forget, you can EASILY help Invisible Children make a difference by just clicking on the widget to your left and watching some ads.  Come on.  It is simple.  Then go to the website and find out other ways to help, like Chris said.

Make a difference.  Be the change.

Don’t forget to become an email subscriber. Updates will be sent automatically to your inbox!  If Chris blogging brought you here, please check out my other posts.

Performancing Metrics

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Uganda, the LRA, and Invisible Children

 

Two weekends ago, I started a segment called “Why Weekends” in which I want to look at problems in the world that we, as inhabitants of our planet, are all responsible to be a part of changing.  I do believe the Christians should be motivated by the love of God to make a difference in light of these issues, but I also think it is something for everyone to work on no matter what you believe.  The first one was about extreme poverty in the world and one way to be a part of the solution (give it a read if you haven’t Why Weekends–Why and WorldVision-Part 1).  I intended to get to Part 2 this week becauase I was sick over the weekend, but another solution to an extreme poverty related issue presented itself to me and I wanted to move on it.

“How You Can Be the Change” will be an occasional segment for opportunities that come up to offer you ways to “be the change” that the world needs with minimal effort on your part.  Part of this will be to include “experts” when I can to give you first hand information and experiences from other people.  Today I was able to do that.

I have asked my friend, Chris Rosenberry, to write and tell you about an organization called “Invisible Children.”  If that sounds familiar it might be because it is on your computer screen right now.  Look to the left of the page.  There is a widget called “Social Vibe”.  This is a way for you to raise money and support for charities by just watching ads online.  That is all you have to do.  You only have to sacrafice a couple of minutes.  So easy!  I have chosen Invisible Children for my charity because what they do is awesome and what they are fighting is awful.  Instead of me telling you about it, I will let Chris give tell you about his experiences with the organization and about why it is so important to him.

Chris went to North Greenville College with me for a little while (Go Mounties!).  He is now the Youth and Arts pastor at The Refuge in Hilton Head, SC.  He is the husband of but one wife and the father of three.  Chris has a passion for social justice, obscure music, and the Philadelphia Phillies.

Okay, take over Chris.

Five years ago my eyes were opened to an unseen tragedy that would change my life, and the lives of my family, forever.  I had just begun working as a youth pastor in Hilton Head, SC and was looking for ways to get my students involved in missions projects which we could support without getting in a van or on a plane.  In my research, I found a video, backed by the Killers’ song “All These Things That I’ve Done” (an instant selling point), where high school and college aged students were giving up the comforts of their beds to sleep in fields and parking lots, writing letters, and trying to make people aware of one of the greatest disasters of their generation.

For well over 20 years a war has been waging in East Africa, in the nation of Uganda.  This war, a civil war, began as a well supported uprising within the Acholi people, the people of Northern Uganda, against the nation’s government.  But when its leader was exiled and a new leader, named Joseph Kony, attempted to take control of the rebellion by creating his Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) support dwindled.  With little support from his own people, Kony and the LRA resorted to abducting children and forcing them to fight as part of the LRA.

Since Kony took control of the rebellion, thousands of children have been abducted and thousands have lost their innocence and their lives.  It is estimated that currently 90% of the LRA is made up of children, and that over the years as many as 66,000 children have been abducted.  It is also estimated that over the course of the war, over 1.8 million Northern Ugandans have been forced into Internally Displaced Camps (IDP camps) as a way of minimizing the casualties of this war.  And though about 900,000 of these people have been allowed to return to their homes, there are still almost 1 million people living in IDP camps where approximately 1,000 people die every week.

The war in Northern Uganda, which has now also spread to Congo and other East African nations, has been called the greatest humanitarian crisis in the world today.  What is worse, is that for many many years this crisis was completely invisible to the outside world.  That is, until 3 film students from San Diego got on a plane and discovered what was to become their life’s work.  They came home with footage of children walking for miles each night to find a safe place to sleep, footage of the Acholi people living in fear of the LRA, and footage of aid workers asking for help.  They also came home with a mission, and shortly thereafter released their footage as a documentary film entitled Invisible Children: Rough Cut.  This film was the genesis of an organization that would commit itself to ending the war in Uganda, restoring the Acholi people, and helping to make the universe of East Africa a safe and thriving place for children to grow up.  That organization is called Invisible Children.

Since that first film, which was released in 2003,  Invisible Children has seen much change in Northern Uganda.  Schools have been rebuilt, peace has been as close as a signature way, children feel safe to sleep in their own homes, laws have been passed in the United States to aid Uganda in the capture of Joseph Kony, and hope seems very much alive.  But the work is not complete.  Joseph Kony and the LRA are still at large.  They continue to terrorize the people of East Africa, with most of their focus on the nation of Congo, and they continue to abduct, abuse, and enslave children, but Invisible Children will not give up.

Since my first encounter with Invisible Children n 2006 my family and youth group have seen, and been a part of, some of the major changes in Uganda.  We have slept in fields for days, we have been to Washington to enlist the help of our government, we have told the story of these children whats seems to be a thousand times, and we have seen our own lives changed for the better.  It is truly amazing what happens when put others before ourselves, when we take care of our neighbor, even if our neighbor is halfway across the globe.  Our involvement has taught me the depths of what the Apostle James calls pure religion:

Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world. James 1:27

There are times when we say to ourselves, “Someone else will take care of that problem” or “That is not my problem,” but what I have learned is that there are those who do not have voices of their own, who cannot speak up and ask for help, who do not have the power or influence to affect change, and therefore it is the job of those of us who have a voice to speak up, to act, to not rest until justice has been found..  The cause of Invisible Children has shown me my voice, my students’ voices, my wife’s voice, and even the voices of my small children.  We will not rest until there is peace and restoration in East Africa, and we pray that you will join us.

For more information, ways to get involved, media resources, or ways to donate to the cause please visit Invisible Children.

Back to Joe:

Don’t forget, you can EASILY help Invisible Children make a difference by just clicking on the widget to your left and watching some ads.  Come on.  It is simple.  Then go to the website and find out other ways to help, like Chris said.

Make a difference.  Be the change.

Don’t forget to become an email subscriber. Updates will be sent automatically to your inbox!  If Chris blogging brought you here, please check out my other posts.

Performancing Metrics

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,