Every election cycle (which is pretty much endless these days) I hear the argument that we citizens should be grateful for whoever is put into political office but the outcome of election’s is “God’s will”. Then, when their guy loses, some of those people get tied up in knots because either they don’t really believe what they’re preaching or God didn’t choose their candidate and that’s just unacceptable. How DARE God not choose the politician who most uses his name to make money and get votes and control people’s personal lives? Harumph!
Now that we have 45 in the White House I’ve heard it again, but less this time (probably because I’ve allowed some people to leave my life and others to enter). But, in all honesty, I can actually see it. Oh, not because 45 will do God’s will in, well, anything ever but because our great citizens have been complacent for long enough!
We’ve allowed the government full reign over everything! Improvements were happening slowly. We’d made progress on protecting the environment and on human rights. Women’s concerns were being taken almost seriously. Corporations were learning they had to act right by their consumers AND employees! But it was slow and there were those fighting every step of the way to resume a way of destruction.
So now we have 45. Donald J. Trump. Stephen Bannon. Rex Tillerson. A whole slew of the worst filth humanity has to offer in charge of our nation and reversing every human rights and environmental gain that’s been made in the last, well, ever. How can this possibly be God’s will?
Well, look outside the government. Look to the people. We’re waking up! We the People are getting involved! In our communities, our local governments, our environment. Every time 45 announces another human right or government program he wants to eliminate, the people move en masse to prevent disaster. We have NEVER seen this kind of involvement! Eliminate funding to Planned Parenthood? They take in a year’s worth of donations in one weekend. Eliminate funding to women’s health care providers in underdeveloped nations? Donations skyrocket there, too. Lock up American citizens and permanent residents and green card holders because of where their plane flew in from? Watch as people storm the airports to free those wrongfully held! Lawyers donated their services to help release people!
We can’t even keep up with all of the harmful, hateful garbage this administration is getting past us! It’s too much too quickly! Their only chance is to keep us dizzy and distracted, and they are good at that. But there are enough of us ready to fight back that we can mitigate a lot of the harm.
So maybe that is God’s will. Get everyone awake and active and participating in our local communities and helping all who come our way. It’s a shame it took something so destructive to wake us up but we’re here now. And we’ll do everything we can to stop this group from destroying the only world we have.
For years I’ve heard people talking about how the Bible is meant to be taken literally. These people almost invariably point out certain laws in Leviticus. Never the laws that affect them personally, though. Shellfish and pork are fine. It’s also okay to eat meat on Friday. Divorce is quite acceptable, slavery is illegal, and it’s nearly impossible to get all of your clothes made of a single fabric. Almost everything is mixed fibers!
However, the laws that allow people to dictate how others live — those are literal! Homosexuals are bad! Witches are evil! Stone him! Burn her! Kill them all! Those are horrible laws. Why would anyone want to keep laws like these alive?
Leviticus is part of the history of the Israelites. These laws may have served a functional purpose at the time. But they hardly seem relevant to a supposed Christian society 5000-6000 years after the fact.
In fact, if we do want to call ourselves a Christian nation, maybe we should consider taking the teachings of Christ literally instead. How about the Gospel according to Matthew?
In Matthew, Jesus performed many miracles. He healed the sick, caused the blind to see and the deaf to hear, and began raising people from the dead. Twice he fed thousands from a very small amount of food!
He also laid down many laws. Do not be angry, do not swear an oath, do not resist an evil person. Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you. He strictly forbade divorce and has stern words for hypocrites. Anyone who announces their gifts to the needy, prays in public, or would “disfigure their face to show others they are fasting” will get no reward from God. They put on a show to receive applause from others. They have received their reward and deserve no more.
The concept that Jesus talks about the most in Matthew is faith. Matthew 17:20 Truly I tell you, if you have faith so small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you. Matthew 21:21-22 Truly I tell you, if you have faith and do not doubt, not only can you do what was done to the fig tree, but also you can say to this mountain, ‘Go throw yourself into the sea’ and it will be done. If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.
He also repeatedly accuses his disciples and other followers of having little faith. In Matthew 8:23-27 they were in a boat when a storm began to rock the boat. Being afraid they were going to drown, they awoke Jesus to save them. Matthew 8:26 He replied, ‘You of little faith, why are you so afraid?’ Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm.
An even more interesting story is in Matthew 16:21-33. Here Jesus sends his disciples ahead in a boat. When he was ready to catch up to them the next morning, he simply walked across the water to the boat! The disciples freaked out but Jesus called Peter to walk with him. He was able to for a moment but began to sink when he got scared. “Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. ‘You of little faith,’ he said, ‘why did you doubt?'”
In Matthew 17:20 Jesus referred to “faith so small as a mustard seed”. Why a mustard seed? What’s the significance of mustard seeds? Matthew 13:31-32 The Kingdom of Heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his field. Though it is the smallest of the seeds, yet when it grows, it is the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds come and perch in its branches.
So the mustard seed is the smallest seed yet it has the greatest potential. How does a seed reach this potential?
Matthew 12:3-9 A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. Still other fell on good soil, where it produced a crop – a hundred, sixty, or thirty times what was sown.
It sounds pretty straight forward. We must sow our mustard seed of faith in good soil in order to produce a crop. OK, easier said than done. In Matthew 5 and 6 Jesus gives a list of rules to live rightly. Most of these rules regard relationships with other people – don’t hold on to anger (5:22), do not swear an oath at all (5:34-37), do not resist an evil person (5:39-42), love your enemies (5:43-47), and “do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” (6:34)
I believe this last verse is most significant because in Matthew 10 he gives his disciples the ability to heal and cast out demons then sends them out to spread the ministry but to take nothing with them. He instructs them to look for hospitality in the various towns they visit. Here they get to put Matthew 6:34 into practice! Is this the soil in which we must plant our mustard seed of faith? Not worrying for tomorrow but knowing tomorrow’s needs will be met? Again, easier said than done!
What will happen if our seed is sown in this soil? Matthew 17:20 Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain ‘Move from here to there and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.’ Matthew 21:21-22 Truly I tell you, if you have faith and do not doubt, not only can you do what was done to this fig tree, but also you can say to this mountain ‘Go throw yourself in the sea’, and it will be done. If you believe you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.
Trees withered! Mountains moved! Prayers answered! That is quite a statement but Jesus makes it twice in Matthew so it is possible. Jesus said, “Nothing will be impossible for you.” NOTHING!
So why don’t we have a nation of people walking on water or quelling storms or withering trees or even healing the sick or feeding thousands? Is it so difficult to plant our faith seed in the Words of Jesus so that it can become a tree with birds perched in its branches? We must practice living the words of love and faith spoken by Jesus so that we can ask in prayer without doubt.
I guess this explains why modern Christians prefer to take the harsh words of Leviticus literally rather than the words of hope and love spoken by Jesus in the Gospel according to Matthew. It’s easier to condemn our neighbor “because God said so” than to have faith in our own ability to perform miracles, even though Jesus taught us the possibility.
“I believe abortion is a bad, evil thing; therefor, everyone in the world must live by MY beliefs with no room for anyone else’s to be considered!” ARROGANT!
“I’m a GOOD citizen! All those slackers and deadbeats need to stop being disabled and poor and get minimum wage jobs that won’t pay the rent instead of asking for handouts!” ARROGANT!
“Insurance providers should not cover birth control! If she wants to have sex she should take care of it herself!” I THOUGHT YOU DIDN’T LIKE ABORTION OR WELFARE! THINK IT THROUGH! YOUR WAY MEANS MEN CAN’T HAVE SEX, EITHER! THINK IT THROUGH!
“Let’s dump this industrial/mining/nuclear waste into the local water supply. It won’t affect anyone. At least not in our generation.” THINK IT THROUGH!
“Why so many industrial regulations about pollution? All these rules keep costs up!” AND POLLUTION DOWN! THINK IT THROUGH!
I could keep going. There’s a really long list of problems with the modern conservative policies. And then there’s the oh-s0-witty comebacks. “Obama put a short term slow-down on ONE type of visa from ONE country after some people were found to be improperly screened until better screening practices could be put in to place! That’s the same thing as Trump’s ban on ALL travel from SEVEN countries where no credible threats against America have ever been found.” NOT THE SAME THING! AT ALL! PLUS it’s a wonderful recruiting tool for our enemies overseas. Pictures of babies in handcuffs is not a way to make new friends!
And how about that pending war with China? Yeah, that looks like it’s going to be a nuclear blast!
Personally, I like having breathable air and drinkable water and food that doesn’t make me sick and the ability to choose what religion I want to be part of, if any at all. When I was having trouble with uterine fibroids, I’m grateful my insurance covered birth control pills to help regulate the growth of the tumors and the associated bleeding and PMDD even though I was infertile at the time.
Seriously, people! Actions have consequences! Think it through! I know it’s hard and it sucks but we can’t live in an overreactionary state. It is harmful to everyone, the planet included.
Now, the problem with modern liberals is they want to work with everyone and compromise. It’s obviously ineffective and makes them weak. On some of these issues there can be no compromise. We NEED water. We NEED air. We NEED access to birth control. We NEED to accept that everyone is different and has different beliefs and telling someone they have to live by YOUR beliefs is arrogant and idiotic. Do you want someone telling you you have to live by their beliefs? No, you don’t. I see your memes all the time on that issue, too. “Your religion can’t influence laws that affect my life but mine HAS to write laws about YOUR life!” ARROGANT! And the whole reason why our U.S. Constitution has that whole establishment clause thing about the separation of church and state.
Until we come together and decide to help each other and stop using our religious texts to bully each other and realize we NEED a healthy planet to live on, things are just gonna get uglier from here.
May all the Gods and Goddesses help us. One may not be enough this time.