Flag Waving American: Yet I have some concerns…

I am a flag waving American. It’s true. I love my country and the principles of liberty and justice for all for which it stands. I know the country has had problems from the outset. After all, it consists of people. Screwed up people. Like me. I will let you decide whether you belong in that characterization. Bottom line is that despite our principles we manage to make a mess of things and to contradict the very things we hold dear. I won’t make a list here because that is not the point. The point is: we are flawed. But I maintain that the American ideal of liberty and justice for all is fundamentally good insofar as it places God at the center of all that we are and do. What other country in history has attempted this?

Many pundits on the left side of the political and religious cultural scene have undertaken to highlight the very real and also the assumed (from a liberal perspective, e.g. guns, wealth for those who work for it, personal liberty to make choices and experience resultant benefits and consequences, etc) faults and by extension to deconstruct the validity of our nation’s formation (the fleeing of religious persecution in Britain, the Declaration of Independence, and the Revolutionary War), and later key defining seasons which sought to correct clear evils in our culture (the Civil War comes to mind, relevant because it sought to abolish slavery, as does the arrogant and horrific systemic treatment of Native Americans). I agree with some of their criticism, but not all. Nor do I agree with their conclusions which are motivated by unabashed liberalism and Christian progressivism.

My first loyalty is to the Lord God and to his Son Jesus Christ. My primary citizenship is heaven. Thus, I am present here and now on earth and as an American citizen, but my actions, attitudes, motives and their collective results will be judged by God alone. I know this. Likewise, I do not question the similar claims of those who disagree strongly with me. Only God knows such matters.

But what am I to do as I see the country I love denigrated repeatedly by the political, media, and religious power brokers of our time? How am I to respond when actions are taken which erode personal liberties, destroy initiative to be innovative and entrepreneurial, punish hardworking wealth earners by taking from them to give to those who will not work, and forcing people to rely on the state for income and health benefits (and taxing them as a penalty for opting out!), rather than their own work ethic?

Many of my friends would suggest that I should not get involved at all so that I do not burn bridges of friendship. Yet, those same friends continually encourage agreement with policies which appall me. Surely, burning bridges is not my intent and it certainly will not occur by my choice. But neither can I remain silent when a president of the United States seeks to destroy the foundation upon which this nation was built in order to make it more liberally palatable. That is, he seeks to create the perceived and real need for government intrusion into personal lives, business, the marketplace, and perhaps soon into religious institutions so that there is an equitible distribution of misery which cries out for help from the powerful: in the liberal matrix, the powerful are the aristocracy of politicos, media mavens and celebrities,  and also the social service agencies which are dependent on the financial considerations of their benefactors.

So, I wave the American flag today, praying for our nation, for our president, for our Supreme Court, for all of our elected representatives, and for the American people as we race headlong into the most critically defining election cycle in recent memory.

Don’t despair, those of you who may agree with all or part of my post. Just vote your conscience in November and encourage others to do the same. And to those of you who disagree with me, be sure to vote your consciences, too. Too much is at stake for any of us to assume that others will make the right decision without our direct participation in the process.

God bless each and every one of you and God bless America!

priorities in dual citizenship

I am a citizen of heaven and a citizen of the United States of America. The former trumps the latter in every respect. Yet, unlike a growing number of my friends, I do not summarily disregard or downplay the importance of my American citizenship.

I understand the tension they may feel. They do not want American patriotism to turn into some form of idolatry which displaces the priority of worshipping God. To be sure, their diligence in distinguishing between God and country is worth taking to heart. Yet, some of them have begun to displace love of country altogether, pointing out the evils which have been perpetrated in the past or that are now going on. Others have taken a step away from any civic involvement, including voting or engagement in the arena of ideas which concern our culture. They have checked out, citing that their first citizenship is in heaven.

I do not begrudge them this right. My ancesters and relatives fought and died on fields of battle so that these folks may exercise their right to question the legitimacy of the Revolutionary War (yes, someone recently did this), or the right of governments to utilize military forces to defend their lands.

It is no simple matter to navigate the tension of citizenship in God’s economy and of the nation in which we are born. As an American, I respect any human being who loves their country in any part of the world. The Olympics are a regular tribute to such patriotism. It does not mean they have to like everything that country has done or will do. America is no exception.

Let’s get real. America has done some really bad things, as have other nations. Slavery, abortion, corruption in high places, perversion through mass media, and so on. Of course, many of my friends would disagree with my list, applauding abortion (they call it a woman’s right to choose), and abhoring colonialism (there is some validity to their argumentation, but it is not quite so simple as they typically make it) or capitalism (this is the one that really annoys them above all others, a point which I find ironic since they deploy capitalistic methods to spread their message and fund their agendas, such as environmentalism and redistribution of wealth).

In the end, my priority is my citizenship as a servant of the Lord God. Since he has situated me as an American citizen, I also owe a measure of allegiance to this nation. I do so whole-heartedly, given America’s dedication to liberty as one nation under God.

What about you? How do you navigate your priorities concerning citizenship?

potpourri: Obama, Israel, apocalypse, politics, and statues

President Barack Hussein Obama gave the order for the operation to kill terrorist Osama Bin Laden. Many in the world breathed a sigh of relief. Apparently Obama did too. He is feeling pretty good about himself right now, I imagine. I base this on how many times he referred to himself when he announced the news late the night of Bin Laden’s death. I also base it on how brazen he was in demanding that Israel return to its pre-1967 borders in order to pave the way to peace with Palestine. This is the same Palestine that wants to see Israel wiped off the map. This is the same Palestine which is unified with many other border nations toward that aim. It is the same nation that is backed by terrorists who support the Palestinian Authority. You know, the Palestine which Obama supports when he isn’t busy doling out billions that America does not have to Egypt.

Understandably, Israel is upset. So are many Americans. Those Americans who support Obama’s despicable posturing against our ally, Israel, should review their history. You know, the holocaust, genocide, Islamic Jihad for the last 1,500 years, and so on. If the borders are reset, then there will be NO buffer for defense purposes. Israel will be exposed and vulnerable. The nations around them will pounce like vultures. And America will be responsible. What does Obama plan to do? Send American troups to throw Israeli citizens who live in the disputed regions out of their homes? With this president, there is no telling. I wonder if Israel even considers us an ally anymore?

That brings me to the topic of statues. Apparently Kareem Abdul Jabbar is miffed that the Lakers basketball organization has not yet produced a statue of him in front of the Staples Center. The commonly held opinion among news media and many fans is that he deserves one for his performance, but not for his long time anti-social, high maintenance behavior. He whined about it on Twitter and now it is a big debate. I think most people are missing the point.


Jabbar feels entitled. So does Obama, which explains his meddling in all manner of foreign affairs, despite his early world tour apologizing on behalf of Americans for 200+ years of colonialism. But here is the difference. Jabbar is just being Jabbar, looking out for number one, which would be himself. Obama is looking out for his own interests and that of his fellow social architects who seek to diminish the United States in the eyes of the world, and remake it into something the nation’s founders would be repulsed to behold. Obama’s stance against Israel is a significant step into this paradigm shift. Based on his pattern of behavior and his policies, I can forsee him posturing to continue weakening the American economy, military, social structures, and even land claims. Sounds preposterous, I know. But tell that to the Israelis.

Then there is Arnold. You know, “listen to me now and you can think about it laytooohr.” Well, we listened to him for years, and now the piper is coming back to play a revealing tune. I won’t review the sordid details, but the point is that he felt entitled.

So, what does this have to do with the apocolypse that I so ominously referenced in the blog title? Not much, except that a charlatan so-called prophet with a ridiculous sense of entitlement concerning the treatment of Scripture predicted the end of the world tomorrow. Apparently 1974 didn’t pan out for him, so he had to rework the math, deciding ultimately on May 21, 2011. I am not holding my breath. I think, instead, I will do a little life planning for myself, asking God how I might live in a way that does not demonstrate an attitude of entitlement, but instead, an attitude of humility after the example of Jesus Christ.

Welcome to a new year and new decade!

*Tap*tap*tap* (((((echo))))) Wow. It is quiet here. Everyone must be asleep from a night of celebration, ringing in the new year. For my part, I went to bed early, although I did wake up five minutes before midnight only to fall right back asleep. I know. I am a party animal. Rawr. :)

2011 is here. For the record, I am pronouncing it twenty-eleven, not two thousand eleven. The latter is far too cumbersome, don’t you think? Consider what will happen, say, one hundred fifty years from now. Do we expect people to be saying, “Two thousand one hundred and eleven?” I don’t think so. They will say, “Twenty-one sixty-one.” Simple as that.

So, this is my contribution on this first day of the new year and new decade. Let’s all agree to say the year in a way that meets with our long held linguistic tradition. Let’s say, “Twenty eleven!” Just like that. Go ahead. You can do it. C’mon. I promise, no one will laugh at you or call you before the thought police in D.C. Say it. There, now. Didn’t that just roll off the tongue? Twenty eleven. So much easier than two thousand eleven. And think of all the carbon that will be not be expelled into the ozone because you were diligent to conserve, yes? For every word you are able to omit from your conversation, a corresponding amount of carbon is thereby not released into the atmosphere, thereby lowering the sea levels and–what? Why are you looking at me that way? Oh, nevermind. Say it however you want, you carbon exhaler, you.

In the meantime, have a wonderful new year full of joy and happiness. And thank you for enduring this moment of satirical respite. If you were offended by my climate change humor in anyway, I am sure you will find the little x on the top right hand corner of your screen which will help you scurry along elsewhere. Just don’t breathe too hard while exiting. Don’t want another iceberg to calve as a result in Antarctica. :D

Read My Lips: No Earmarks

If you do not like politics and strong opinions, then you may want to wander to another blog just for this post. If you do like them, then read on.

The bill designed to preserve the Bush era tax rates has been highjacked by Democrat and Republican earmarks to the tune of billions of dollars. As an American taxpayer and citizen, I am appalled. I say nix the whole thing. Let the taxes go up for now. And let the freshman conservative politicians who won the last election have their say in the new year. Let them shove a tax reduction package up Washington’s arrogant nose.

It is politics as usual in Washington. Obama wants this bill passed now because he knows it is the only way he will salvage any sense of tactical advantage as he enters the latter two years of his first, and likely final, presidential term. So, let the Republicans and Democrats stew in this mess of their making. I am ready for some actual conservatives to show statesmanship and leadership in the new year. I hope they are up to the challenge.

I heard someone on the radio lament that government could conceivably shut down if the bill is not passed. Seriously now, is that such a bad thing?

the price of liberty

Today citizens of the United States of America celebrate our independence from the tyranny of a monarchy which once threatened to extinguish the flame of liberty that burned brightly on our soil. Some hearts wavered, hoping that reason and compassion would prevail across the ocean. Others knew better, citing the implements of war already washing ashore, filled with troops. War was afoot. Patrick Henry knew it. And so in this milieu he offered his unfiltered remarks, hoping to spur his comrades to necessary action, lest the flame of liberty be extinguished. He sought to break the chains of England’s control once-for-all, exclaiming, “Give me liberty or give me death!”

As you celebrate the holiday with your family and friends, take time to remember and reflect upon the principles upon which our nation was founded. You may be reminded of these principles by reviewing our Declaration of Independence and our Constitution.  Remember, liberty was bought at a high price, and often must be maintained with a high price, not least the willingness of the American citizenry to take personal responsibility for their behavior and needs, rather than look to government to solve their personal problems, such as finances, retirement, and having a place to live.

Be blessed this weekend and beyond, enjoying the free air of liberty.

God Bless America

Tomorrow is the 4th of July. For those who love liberty, who appreciate the sacrifices of our American founders and our contemporary patriots, who believe in the ideals for which America stands, it is a day of celebration. It is a day to sing, “God Bless America.”

However, for a growing number of younger Americans (especially younger evangelicals), this statement may be a source of embarrassment.  They point to the many problems which existed at the start of this nation and throughout much of its history and to problems which continue to exist to this day. The treatment of the indigenous Indian tribes (who themselves migrated to North America), the horrific African slave trade, and the onset of greed and crime related to the gold rush are just a few of the tragic situations which developed for a variety of reasons. These are important parts of our history which typically were glossed over in favor of placing America only in a pristine light. The criticism that American historians ignored our collective culpability in these situations is valid, but the critics also risk making the same error by ignoring what is right about America, and ignoring how far we have come in just a short 200+ years. Continue reading