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Mormonism, Racism, and Romney: Part 2

Continued from part 1

No religion should change it’s doctrines based on the movement of the culture it happens to be in. If you watch the video, linked to in the original article, of Tim Russert interviewing Mitt Romney, Russert was asking Romney if he ever questioned how he could be part of a religion that was considered racist. Beside Romney not answering the question, there seemed to be the expectation from Russert (as well as others) that the LDS church should have changed their stance on blacks long before, especially in light of how the country had progressed in the area of race. But that is not a reasonable request for any religion that takes itself seriously. You can’t go to Islam or Christianity and tell the people, “You know, society has changed. We’re in a pluralistic world now, and you need to stop believing your way is the way. You need to change your doctrine to respect that different roads lead to God, or to no God at all.”

The point I’m trying to make is that according to the LDS church, withholding the blessings from blacks was not an issue of the people being racist, or of the people being a product of the culture they grew up in, and if only they would have repented of their racism the LDS church would earlier have started to treat black Americans equally and they would have participated in the church just like any white American. According to the LDS church, the treatment of blacks was God’s will. Therefore it was a part of the religion itself, outside of the dictates of the members themselves. Mormons were simply being good Mormons.

Mitt Romney grew up in the LDS church. He still holds quite strongly to his LDS faith. He was a clear thinking adult before the church lifted the ban. By all accounts I’ve seen or heard, which aren’t many, he was a good Mormon. He even took the position of bishop, a leader of a local stake.

Now it’s time to get real with this discussion.

Andrew Sullivan, in his article for The Daily Beast, calls the LDS church a “white supremacist church.” If you step back from your (possible) knee-jerk reaction to that phrase, and look at what he’s saying, then you may have a difficult time arguing against it. Until the end of the ban in 1978, black American Mormon men were less worthy than white American Mormon men. If you had one black Mormon child and one white Mormon child, and even if it was the case that today that both might be considered worthy, before 1978 only the white child was actually considered worthy and could be ordained and receive certain blessings.

This practice went on from the time of Brigham Young until the 1978 revelation and declaration.4 In any other context, discussing any other topic, we would be talking about the racism going on here. We (who revile and rebuke racism anywhere it rears its evil presence) would be disgusted and wondering out loud where were the protestors. The structure of the LDS church is not that different from the Roman Catholic church. The history of the Catholic church reveals many instances of protest and dissent over doctrines and practices that created change or affected the future of the faith. Where were the John Wycliffes of the LDS church? Where were the Jan Huses? Where were the people who were going to stand up for black American Mormons and call for the church to finally recognize their equality as fellow brothers and sisters?

Well, it all comes back to this fact: God himself instituted this ban. God himself established this racist situation. The leadership of the LDS church (from the president and prophet to the Quorum) over the decades has guided the church and the people through the raging waters of this racist situation. They did their job to the best of their abilities.

Continued in part 3

 

4BlackLDS.org has a historical timeline that is fascinating and complex. There seems to be debate over whether or not a certain black American was ordained to the priesthood by Joseph Smith himself.

Mormonism, Racism, and Romney: Part 1

The scriptures in the LDS church are the Bible, the Book of Mormon, the Pearl of Great Price, and The Doctrine and Covenants. There are 138 sections in The Doctrine and Covenants, along with two Official Declarations. The first Official Declaration has to do with the halting of polygamy.1 The second Official Declaration was issued in 1978 after President Kimball received a revelation from the Lord, wherein all worthy members of the church were now able to receive priesthood and temple blessings, regardless of race. The declaration was signed by the First Presidency. One of the members of that team happened to be Marion Romney, the cousin of George Romney, father of Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney.

The declaration made it very clear that blacks in the LDS church, who were considered worthy in the same vein as their white brothers and sisters, would be treated equally. Also quite clear was that no apology would ever be issued by the LDS church to blacks.

But, we have to recognize something: the LDS church ought to give no apology. As the Declaration says, it was “in God’s eternal plan” that at some time the blessings would not be withheld any longer. While the people of the church waited for that time, they

pleaded long and earnestly in behalf of these [those excluded, e.g. blacks], our faithful brethren, spending many hours in the Upper Room of the Temple supplicating the Lord for divine guidance.2

Ultimately God is the one responsible for the blessings and an equal status being withheld from blacks. In the past, God established the rule (for lack of a better term), and only God could change the rule according to his plan. The First Presidency in 1949 said quite clearly,

The attitude of the Church with reference to Negroes remains as it has always stood. It is not a matter of the declaration of a policy but of direct commandment from the Lord, on which is founded the doctrine of the Church from the days of its organization, to the effect that Negroes may become members of the Church but that they are not entitled to the priesthood at the present time.3

All the people of the LDS church could do was plead for God to give them guidance. They were living in obedience to the will of God. To have turned on God over this, to have allowed blacks to receive the blessings (assuming it would even be possible), would have been rebellious.

Continued in part 2

 

1If you take the time to read it you find it more makes the statement that polygamy is no longer practiced, that it is better to stop and adhere to national law than to have the temples essentially shut down; it’s pragmatism not revelation that caused the pause in the practice of polygamy.

2From the Second Official Declaration.

3From The First Presidency Statement on the Negro Question, August 17, 1949.

New Series Intro: Mormonism, Racism, and Romney

Today, a new four part series I was putting together will go up. 4 kind-of short posts focusing on the LDS church, its history with racism, and the connection to Mitt Romney. The point of it all is to both make sure my brothers and sisters who will be casting a supporting vote for Mitt Romney next week are aware of the issue, and to challenge all of us, myself included, to take extra time and consideration of the issue of racism and how it thrives today.

But, first, I feel I need to lay a little ground work. I wanted to give a bit of background into my relationship with the LDS church and that may help you see why this is an extraordinary issue for me.

I don’t mention it much but I spent a good two to three years in deep study of the LDS church. Yes…it was because of a girl. Not to the extent you’re thinking, though. She and I worked together, and she peaked my interest in wanting to find out more about the LDS church. She gave me a Book of Mormon, and off I went. I got a hold of a Pearl of Great Price and Doctrine and Covenants, and got to work. I focused on reading their stuff, listening to their arguments, and seeing things from their perspective. I remember writing a 20+ page letter to her, and another coworker who was also Mormon, talking about what I read and my responses to them. I never gave them that letter. It was more an exercise for me. Instead I gave them each a short 1 page summary of where I was at, and we had a nice little discussion from there. We were good friends, then we all ultimately went different ways because of school, work, moving, etc.

That didn’t stop my thirst for reading about the LDS and having discussions when I could. I did take a break for a couple years while life changed. I married Kimbrah, we started a family, and moved again. That’s when my wife and I spent about a year and a half sharing dinner and conversation with LDS missionaries in our little San Diego area apartment. Some LDS girls helped my wife bring groceries in one day. Then, a week or so later, a couple of missionaries came knocking at the door, apparently thinking that we’d asked to watch a movie on eternal marriage in the LDS church. I kind of think that was a ruse on their part, but that’s alright. We were more than happy to have them over. They were some of the most wonderful kids. Each so different. Each with so much ahead of them. And they were obviously confused by us and the love we showed them. We never once tried to “evangelize” them, or “convert” them. We fed them and had great conversations. We listened and asked questions and listened some more. They listened and asked questions. We knew them by their first names, and this was before the rules started to loosen up on missionaries.

They felt safe and loved in our home. Sometimes they’d be over twice a week. That one tall boy could eat. I don’t think they ever ate so well during their two year missions. And they helped us move

But we love LDS folks enough to be honest with them, and expect them to be honest with us as well as their own history. I hope my fellow brothers and sisters can show them courtesy and respect, and recognize how seriously they take their faith.

So, keep an eye out for the upcoming posts. Read them over. Hopefully they’re not so jumbled it’s hard to understand.

Every member of the community has a role

At lunch time, I was reading Yoder’s section on The Fullness of Christ in Body Politics. This is great:

The Paul of Ephesians uses the term the fullness of Christ to describe a new mode of group relationships, in which every member of a body has a distinctly identifiable, divinely validated and empowered role.

When Paul was writing, this pattern for the definition of roles in the group differed profoundly from the patterns that already were present in his world, just as it differs profoundly from our own. Sharing roles was not a culturally available social model.. . . According to this standard account [the worldly model, as in contrast to Paul's social model], a very few persons–one or, at the most, two or three in a congregation or parish–has the special role of “minister.” Only this especially qualified person can do the special thing that makes the church what it is supposed to be. (47-48)

And it is that worldly model, essentially a hierarchy within a church body, that helps limit a body, that suppresses God-given gifts, that places itself up against the work of God in a community and an individual.

We ought to be encouraging a true, consistent level of involvement from every member of the body. Not the small leadership (pastors, teachers, elders, board members, etc.) telling everyone else in the congregation to find some (other) place to be involved: e.g. work in the nursery, not teach the congregation on a Sunday morning; be a greeter, not work on the vision and mission of the church. We are all equal, and we have different roles, different gifts. Our churches ought to be structured to encourage that reality. And if that means being rid of a current, traditional church model, then let it be done.

Let there be a flood of justice

I hate all your show.

You should hate mine, too.

When I start writing about issues of anabaptism, of church and state, politics, the Kingdom of God amid empire, disciples of Jesus being in but not of the world, I like to get in the mood. I like to be in that zone. Usually it’s prompted by something I’ve read from Revelation, Mark’s Gospel, Luke’s Gospel, John H. Yoder. Other times the prompts come from things I hear, like a teaching by Greg Boyd or James White (neither anabaptist nor pacifist, but his points are always so well stated they force me to think and study further).

But to really inspire me while writing I need to listen to some music. Derek Webb is the default, an there is nothing negative in that status at all. I know that at any time I can switch on Mockingbird, The Ringing Bell, or Stockholm Syndrome, and quickly be transported into the real, prophetic Christian struggle. I’m listening to Mockingbird right now. Webb just has a glorious way about his prophetic music. Rich Mullins is (not was; he may have died, but his legacy never will) another wonderful prophetic voice who maybe a lot of Christians didn’t (or still don’t) realize just how much. They were too busy basking in entertainment to grasp the messages from Mullins.

But one of my favorite songs right now is from John Foreman (mostly known for his role in Switchfoot). One of his solo projects is the catchy and convicting Instead of a Show.

I hate all your show and pretense 
The hypocrisy of your praise
The hypocrisy of your festivals
I hate all your show

Away with your noisy worship
Away with your noisy hymns
I stop up my ears when you’re singin’ ‘em
I hate all your show

Instead let there be a flood of justice
An endless procession of righteous living, living
Instead let there be a flood of justice
Instead of a show

Foreman once mentioned that some Christians had been offended by this song (I can’t find the link to it right now, but I will and will update this). Well, that’s what Scripture does: it offends those who are offended when convicted.

The song is a retelling of the powerful words found in Amos:

“I absolutely despise your festivals!
I get no pleasure from your religious assemblies!
Even if you offer me burnt and grain offerings, I will not be satisfied;
I will not look with favor on your peace offerings of fattened calves.
Take away from me your noisy songs;
I don’t want to hear the music of your stringed instruments.
Justice must flow like torrents of water, righteous actions like a stream that never dries up.”

God was sick of the show, the hypocrisy. Instead of the people’s noise, he said there must be justice, a flood of justice, and “an endless procession of righteous living.”

The song is a reminder of what God wants us to be doing, of what we ought to be doing, instead of the show we tend to put on. Sometimes that show happens Sunday mornings during “church.” Sometimes the show goes on at home, or in a Bible Study, or even a soup kitchen. And it’s the show that needs to stop.

This song always helps keep me in check, and is incredibly inspirational.

That song will stay on my while-writing playlist.

Why do you say the Pledge of Allegiance?

I first asked this on Facebook.

Question for my fellow Christians (and please read through the preamble and explanation before responding so you get where I’m coming from): if you recite the Pledge of Allegiance, support reciting the Pledge at schools, do so in church, etc., can you tell me why?

I am trying to understand the why here. I’m trying to grasp the motivation or desire to recite the Pledge, for a Christian, for someone who has pledged their allegiance to Jesus. I used to recite the Pledge. Sang the National Anthem at ball games. Appreciated the patriotic and nationalistic services on Sunday mornings. I’ve been there. But, as I engaged the Scriptures, as I asked certain questions about Jesus and what it means to be a disciple, as I came to an understanding of Christianity as pledging an allegiance to the King of kings and to his Kingdom, and as my conscience arrived at a place where I could no longer split or share my allegiance, I stopped reciting the Pledge. My path here was quite rough, very bumpy. But here I am.

And when I ask why do Christians say the Pledge, I admittedly have a difficult time coming at it from the perspective of where I used to be, of who I used to be. When I ask questions, or am asked tough questions, I always encourage others and myself to look from multiple angles, to step into another perspective. If you want to know about Mormonism, read the Book of Mormon, Pearl of Great Price, Doctrine and Covenants, their teaching manuals, the conference statements, and ask Mormons without trying to convert them. Reading what Mormons call “anti” books (e.g. stuff by Bill McKeever) may be helpful at times, but it doesn’t come close to reading what they read and thinking how they think. The truth will win out in the end. Don’t be afraid.

So I come to you. I’d really like to understand why you, a Christian, recite the Pledge. How can you say the words and pledge your allegiance to a flag and a republic/nation when you also say your allegiance is to Jesus? I’d really appreciate it.

I am not looking for a fight or a debate. This is an open forum. I may ask follow up questions, but merely for clarity or details. Thanks in advance.

Testing the RSS feed

Feel free to disregard. Having trouble with the RSS feed on here. Just trying to fix it.

Insight via Carl’s Jr.?

I saw this on a Carl’s Jr. take out bag the other day: “Made with quality ingredients. Like flavor and awesomeness.” I immediately thought of Monsanto and the battle over labeling products with GMO ingredients here in California, a.k.a. Prop 37.

Simple technique: distract people with characteristics like flavor, awesomeness, large production numbers, etc. while not ever telling you what’s really in the food.

7 letter word Eddie: Excited

I just received Selling Water by the River by Shane Hipps. That one was a randomly won prize in a contest I forgot I entered. Score!

The other, Red Letter Revolution from Claiborne and Campolo, came a little bit ago. That one I get the privilege to review. Score!

But, I’ll still drop a review down for the Hipps book. It’s very welcoming, isn’t it.

Van Gogh: prophet extraordinaire

It’s like Vincent Van Gogh painted a light bulb in my brain.

One of my favorite reads through the weeks is Church Marketing Sucks. A couple days ago Scott McClellan published a great piece: Church Communication Hero: Vincent Van Gogh.

Under the heading “He was, in a manner of speaking, a prophet,” he wrote something that really struck me regarding the famous painting of his, Starry Night (a print of which we have up on our wall):

Here’s Jethani again: “… Starry Night depicts the vistas of van Gogh’s soul more than the countryside surrounding Saint-Rèmy, France. The deep indigo of the sky was used by Vincent to represent the infinite presence of God, and the heavenly bodies are yellow—van Gogh’s color for sacred love. The divine light of the stars is repeated in the village below, every home illuminated with the same yellow warmth. For Vincent, God’s loving presence in the heavens was no less real on the earth.” And here’s where that critique comes in: “But there is one building in van Gogh’s imaginary village with no light, no divine presence—the church.”

It’s that last part in particular that I never considered. And, like a passage in a book by Yoder that causes me to think for a few days instead of continuing to read, I got stuck meditating on it and looking at the painting. And that’s when the abstract light bulb was switched on for me.

Granted, many of you probably already saw it or read about it. But, for me, this was a revelation. I can finally see the painting.

First we see the sky with the big, bold lights.

There is God at work. Magnificent. Evident. Then we look at the town.

Church detail

Look at the houses of the town. They all have lights. They are all inviting and welcoming. In the darkness, they shine like little lighthouses. That is God at work on the earth.

And in the middle of town stands the great church. Tall, authoritative, strong.

And dark. Lifeless. Uninviting. Unwelcoming. Blending into the darkness. The church is part of the darkness, instead of being the great light on earth.

But that’s not the end of the critique as I see it. The most profound object in the painting is the huge tree in the foreground. It goes from the earth and cuts deep into the heavens.

But this is no mere tree. It’s dark, deep, yet empty. Amid the bright lights in the sky (again, God’s work in the heavens) and the lights of the town (God’s work on the earth), the tree cuts into them both. I can now see the unmistakeable analogy Van Gogh used here: the tree is a larger, more dominant, more dark and empty, representation of the church that is dark and lifeless in the town. Look at the shape. Look at the form. It’s identical, simply flipped horizontally. The emptiness of the church on the earth–in the town, in the community–is mirrored in the tree as being empty and dark in the heavens as well.

To say he was unhappy with the church is an understatement.

Starry Night is a wonderful, dramatic painting. Now, being able to see it better, to begin to understand it better, the painting has taken on a new life. Vincent Van Gogh was indeed being prophetic. He had eyes to see, and the paint brush was his tongue. And while we ought to have eyes to see and ears to hear, what will we say and how will we say it?

Walking through The Apocalypse, i.4-6

John's Revelation

Ἰωάννης ταῖς ἑπτὰ ἐκκλησίαις ταῖς ἐν τῇ Ἀσίᾳ· χάρις ὑμῖν καὶ εἰρήνη ἀπὸ ὁ ὢν καὶ ὁ ἦν καὶ ὁ ἐρχόμενος, καὶ ἀπὸ τῶν ἑπτὰ πνευμάτων ἃ ἐνώπιον τοῦ θρόνου αὐτοῦ, καὶ ἀπὸ Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ, ὁ μάρτυς ὁ πιστός, ὁ πρωτότοκος τῶν νεκρῶν καὶ ὁ ἄρχων τῶν βασιλέων τῆς γῆς.

Τῷ ἀγαπῶντι ἡμᾶς καὶ λύσαντι ἡμᾶς ἐκ τῶν ἁμαρτιῶν ἡμῶν ἐν τῷ αἵματι αὐτοῦ—καὶ ἐποίησεν ἡμᾶς βασιλείαν, ἱερεῖς τῷ θεῷ καὶ πατρὶ αὐτοῦ— αὐτῷ ἡ δόξα καὶ τὸ κράτος εἰς τοὺς αἰῶνας τῶν αἰώνων ἀμήν.

From John, to the seven churches that are in the province of Asia: Grace and peace to you from he who is, and who was, and who is still to come, and from the seven spirits who are before his throne, and from Jesus Christ – the faithful witness, the firstborn from among the dead, the ruler over the kings of the earth.

To the one who loves us and has set us free from our sins at the cost of his own blood and has appointed us as a kingdom, as priests serving his God and Father – to him be the glory and the power for ever and ever! Amen. (NET)

In these few sentences alone are some powerful declarations that I think we might miss if we reading the text with a futuristic prophecy perspective. Remember the context during which John was writing these words: the Roman Empire is strong, powerful, authoritative. The Emperor has complete reign over the people within the conquered world. Christianity is still fairly young and being ravaged by persecution in various regions of the empire. If you read the text for what it is you find the anti-empire proclamations.

First, the one being called “he who is, and who was, and who is still to come” is God. Not the emperor, but God. Not Claudius. Not Nero. Not Galba, or Otho, or Vitellius, or Vespasian. Not Titus, the mighty destroyer of the Jerusalem temple, and especially not Domitian. God alone is, was, and is to come. And God sits on a throne, unmatched by man.

Second, Jesus is called “the ruler over the kings of the earth.” This is a radical statement that too often is under-emphasized (not just in this text, but throughout the Scriptures; not just in our reading, but in our daily lives, in our national context). Yet, this is what truly sets the tone for the rest of The Apocalypse. Jesus is the true ruler. He is King of kings and Lord of lords. Those of us who are his subjects (his disciples, his friends, his followers) must place our allegiance with him and no others. We cannot split our allegiance. Not that we must not, but that we are unable to. We either serve the King of kings, or we serve one of the kings of the earth.

Jesus is called ὁ πρωτότοκος τῶν νεκρῶν, “the firstborn from among the dead.” If you think back to the letter to the Colossians, and the contrast made between Jesus and the Emperor (Col. i.15-20), Paul there also called Jesus πρωτότοκος ἐκ τῶν νεκρῶν, “the firstborn from among the dead.” He is the one to worship, who brings life to the dead, who rules even over death. The Emperor doesn’t even come close.

Third is the most obvious, radical, rebellious statement: Jesus “has appointed us as a kingdom, serving his God and Father.” We are a kingdom. In the middle of this vast, powerful, authoritative, Roman Empire, Jesus has appointed his disciples “as a kingdom.” We are a kingdom here on this earth amid the many earthly kingdoms, and we have Jesus as our King. We are what Jesus wants to do on the earth. We must be obedient in our service.

All of the imperial language is intentional. Worshipping Jesus–placing your allegiance in Jesus–puts your life in contrast with the kingdoms of the earth, with the Empire. And this is a great encouragement. Why? Because you have the King of kings, Lord of lords, ruler over the kings of the earth, master over death, and the one seated on the throne over all creation, on your side.

Do not get sidetracked by phrases like “kingdoms of the earth.” The US is an empire as much as Rome was. It looks a bit different, but the ideology and activities aren’t that different at all. Just because we do not technically have a king or royalty doesn’t mean we do not have a kingdom of the earth. So when you’re considering how to apply this text today, keep in mind the context and that the world truly hasn’t changed all that much. Empire is Empire.

Pulpit Freedom Sunday sermon from Trinity Mennonite Church

This is a great sermon that I hope you all can take a few minutes to listen to. It’s not what you might think from the title of this post.

This sermon was given at Trinity Mennonite Church in Glendale, AZ, by Hal Shrader. He’s a wonderful teacher. Ahem. Peter. You need to go check them out. They are only a few minutes away from you.

Click here for the Sermon Audio.

What? Californians don’t like communion or something?

What’s the deal Cali!?!

Election Day Communion is coming up in just a month.

Yes. It’s the Tuesday as election day. Can’t forget it now, can you?

I took a look at the updated participation map and it’s over 200 congregations so far, in 42 states. That’s incredibly encouraging for a Christian like me who can get incredibly discouraged. It makes me smile. Gives me a bit of hope.

Congregations nation wide. Looking good.

Seems a bit loaded on the east coast. Then I took a look at the churches participating (so far) in my state of California.

Yikes. Only two. Come on, Cali! What’s the deal?

Election Day Communion is a great event. It’s a great opportunity for us to focus and remember. To unite. To humble ourselves. To serve one another. To love. It’s not limited by creed or denomination. It doesn’t matter if you’re voting or not. This is about Jesus and his Kingdom.

Participate if you can. Check it out.

And, if you have a congregation in California…make it happen. Are we seriously going to let those mid-westerners and east coasters think they’re better Christians than we are? I mean, Maine has two. Jersey has two.

Let’s show the country how the west coast throws down a communion.

Very good pieces on voting

In the last few days I’ve read three very good pieces on voting. All three share my own anabaptist foundation, though we have different backgrounds. And all three have a little different take on this issue (two are conscientious non-voters, the other argues for voting).

Mark Van Steenwyk wrote Between Barack and a Hard Place

Andy Alexis-Baker wrote Why I Am Not Going to Vote

Ted Grimsrud wrote Should a Pacifist vote for a warmonger?

Take some time to look them over. Different lengths. Different level of details. But all three very challenging and thought provoking. Actually, they are all three very action provoking. Even better.

I do have something I’d like to write up regarding voting, but still have to put it together.

Yep. They’re plenty fair.

I saw someone say that billionaires lie about fairness. Hogwash! Millionaires and billionaires are plenty fair. They create vast opportunities,1 especially for us poor folk,2 and even give us opportunities for travel and adventure.3 If we choose not to return4 from our global expeditions,5 they’ll immortalize us in speeches.6 Yep. They’re plenty fair.

————

1 Remember, they’re the ones creating all the jobs around here. That’s why they, our true economic saviors, need more tax breaks and opportunities to hold on to more of their money without the government getting involved. We, the poor and working folk, are more than willing to pay a little more in taxes ourselves–and even give up taking some of those government handouts–if it means they can have more money to ensure that we get more jobs.

2 I mean, that’s why we poor folks are around, isn’t it? Someone’s gotta do the labor, otherwise the M’s & B’s wouldn’t make their money. And if they don’t make their money, the jobs won’t exist anymore. Show a little compassion. Don’t drink the hater-aid.

3 A lot of us have had the chance to go to exotic places. A while back it was France, Germany, Japan. Then there was this place they called ‘Nam (I can’t find it on the map). There was even Iraq a couple times. Now we’ve got travel brochures for Afghanistan & Lybia. There’s even talk of Iran or Yemen. Get to meet a lot of different people. Some of us will even get to fiddle with robot planes. (I always wished I could get my kids R/C planes like these.) I think they can even shoot something. Sounds fun. And, we’ve really gotta be the ones to take these trips. The M’s & B’s are very, very busy. We can’t have them on those expeditions, risk them getting hurt out there. They’re the creative ones. They’re the clever ones. They’re the geniuses that keep the country going. We need to protect them.

4 I hear a lot of people don’t come back from their trips. A lot!

5 These are real adventures. Mostly Arabic speaking places, though. Wonder why? Well, our good leaders know best. We poor folk tend not to be as educated. We don’t read as much, or get the abbreviations behind our names on paper. So, it’s actually for the best that the M’s & B’s are the ones making the difficult decisions around here. They know what’s best for me. I mean, look where I am. Look where they are. And I know that if I keep working, keep trying, someday I might be like them. Weird thing, though. The M’s & B’s keep telling us that, but a lot of us are older. A lot of them started being M’s & B’s really young. Well, I guess that just means I’ve got more work to do, and need to take on more responsibilities.

6 The speeches are nice. A lot of Thank You’s. Well, I’m sure if those that are gone, getting mentioned in those speeches, were still here they’d say, “You’re welcome.” It’s what we do. We poor folk are willing to sacrifice our money, our time, our muscles, our families, our churches, our communities, our parks, our farms, our beaches, our streets, our houses, our trees, our land, our friends, our international neighbors, our futures, our God, our health, and even our lives. We’re willing to sacrifice it all for the millionaires and billionaires. So they can continue their good work. There’s a lot of us. And there always will be. When I’m gone another one will take my place. I just hope, in the speech about me–if I get one about me–they’ll say my name right.

Pulpit Freedom Sunday: I have some questions

Scot McKnight’s quick post about “Pulpit Freedom Sunday” jogged my memory. The more I think about this “Pulpit Freedom Sunday” coming up Oct. 7, the more questions I have.

  • Will the pastor/teacher present a balanced argument, pros & cons, for each candidate or proposition?
  • Will conscientious non-voters (similar to conscientious objectors; not to be mixed up with folks who don’t vote maybe out of laziness) be recognized and not ridiculed or called out to vote?
  • Will the perspectives of conscientious non-voters be recognized and allowed (e.g. be presented) or is this strictly for voters?
  • Will pastors be considerate of those in their congregations that will vote the opposite way?
  • Are churches setting aside their regularly scheduled sermons, maybe hitting pause on a series they’re in?
  • Will the congregations be reciting the Pledge of Allegiance at the beginning of the service?
  • Will Scripture be at the foundation of the sermons/exhortations, or sprinkled in throughout?
  • Will Scripture be read at all?
  • Will relevant Scripture be read at all?
  • Will relevant Scripture be read and considered relevant at all?
  • Will the focus of the sermons/exhortations be on obedience to the Way of Jesus, or holding strong to a partisan platform?
  • Is the (often times blind and uncritical) support for Israel, no matter the issue, going to be at the forefront?
  • How many congregations will allow for dialogue on the issues and candidates, either during the service or afterwards in some capacity?

And I’m sure I’ll have more questions to add on here.

Do you have any of your own questions? Would love to see them.

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