Republican National Convention 2016

I’ve not watched it 🙂 Nor do I plan to. I’m amazed that the “conservative” party that touts lower spending, less government extravagance, and oh, con-ser-va-ti-sm is putting on such a grand and lofty display of wealth in order to supposedly attract more voters to its side.

It reminds of mega churches that do the same thing, spending millions and millions on buildings, staff, and programs in order to attract more converts to their side–their pedigree of Christianity. These ever-expanding institutions of power in both politics and religion do nothing to further causes of love and liberty but instead push away those genuine seekers of the philosophies that our country was founded upon.

Did you know that the federal government grants host cities of the RNC and DNC $50 Million dollars?! Actually, the federal government can’t grant anything–they can only confiscate (from you and I) and give to another. This is the supposed behavior that so many Tea Party supporters claimed to hate. I am dumbfounded as to how many of these folks are falling in line behind the party now that they have a wall-building candidate in Donald Trump.

I only hope that this is not a sign of things to come from a potential Trump presidency but I expect it is. One need only take a look at Trump Plaza (Tower of Babel anyone?) to see the glamour which this man surrounds himself with. This RNC has already way surpassed the 2012 Tampa convention in both scope, media attention, and cost. A friend, who owns Orlando Enclosures in Florida attended the 2012 RNC and is attending this year’s as well said he has never seen anything like what they are doing this year. Tampa was pretty low-key relatively speaking. It looks more like we are crowning a king than voting for a servant of the people this year.

We are in a sad state of affairs in the USA. I hope and pray that things change fast. Neither Hillary Clinton nor Donald Trump are going to do anything to shrink our Leviathan government spending! Why do we continue to elect “businessmen” to public office? What is the primary role of a CEO? It’s to grow a business of course. If our aim really is to shrink government and reign in spending then ought we not hire a Dave Ramsey-esque debt hater instead? Haha, that’s a little tongue-in-cheek but you get my drift.

Don’t Succumb to Hate

5 police officers were shot and killed by a sniper this past weekend…an action that appears to have been racially motivated. Some in media are even going as far as claiming government conspiracy here–a staged response to police targeting black people unfairly.

I don’t pretend to know people’s (or gubment’s) motivations for hate. Does hate need a motivation other than itself? Is it really necessary to label a crime as a “hate crime”? Isn’t all violent crime a hate crime?

With the relentless videos being replayed by the media it is very easy to succumb to hatred ourselves…wanting revenge for those we feel are victims of injustice. I know the feeling. As a victim of child abuse myself, anytime I witness a parent being violent with their child, whether physically or verbally, I find my blood starting to boil, I place myself in that child’s position, and I want to step in and defend the defenseless.

Imagine being the King of Kings, creator and witness of all crime! How is Jesus able to stand it all and not want to succumb to hate himself and wipe out the entire population? Every time I feel myself wanting to avenge others I remind myself of this fact…we have a loving Father that knows all, witnesses all, and yet he still chooses love.

Amazing.

When Family Doesn’t Understand

I’m hanging out in New York this weekend with my family. We are an interested mixed bunch, spiritually speaking. My oldest brother who is a surgeon has gone the very traditional route. He takes his family to church and sees it as a way to keep the family close and behaviors in check–after all he has three young boys 🙂

I do not attend a church at all anymore, even though I am a former licensed pentecostal minister (I know, I know). I am choosing to live and love freely, looking for opportunities to share authentic community with other friends of Jesus.

My other brother, who has not worked in 10 years (though he finally just a got a job working for a roof cleaning company in Battle Creek, MI) is not a spiritual guy at all.

My Mom, however, is a bit of a zealot. She  goes to church several times a week: Monday night prayer, Thursday night bible study, Sunday worship, etc.

The problem is that my Mom is a bit of a hypocrite to be frank. She does not really have the “love” thing down and I suspect church for her is mainly a personal need thing. Like, “I need to feel forgiven and church helps me feel forgiven”.

I remember when we were shifting away from the traditional religious approach to Jesus when our daughter was 3 years old and my Mom was so upset with my wife and I that we were not teaching our daughter about “hell”. Really? So in order to help a young child understand a loving God I need to put the fear of hell in her? It caused a bit of a problem with our already strained relationship with my Mom.

It seems to me that trying to bring our children to God through the use of fear is real close to child abuse. It seems extremely manipulative. But most of all, it does not work. I know hundreds of kids whose parents put the fear of God in them growing up. Most of those kids  ran as fast as they could from the church. Hopefully they will come back someday but most sadly will not.

On the other hand, I know some kids whose parents instilled the love of God in their kids first and foremost. Those are the ones that have stayed close to God into adulthood. That’s the approach we have chosen to talk with our children as well.