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Job hunting and the sad reality

In an odd twist to our lives, I just spent the past couple of hours tonight job hunting online, wherein I submitted my resume and filled out applications for three graphic design positions: one in Irvine, CA; one in Knoxville, TN; the last in Boston, MA.

Was I looking for those places specifically? Nope. They just happen to be where the positions were available, and the positions were ones I am qualified for. The pay would be excellent.

Is that good? Heck no.

I don’t want to move. We have some great plans for this house and property we’ve only lived in for just over a year.

But, the reality is, as of Jan 1, 2013, it will cost us too much to work & live here. My job at The Californian is very low wage. With the raise freezes and the 5% pay cut that have been in place for 3 years, my pay has been stagnant. There have been reassurances that the pay cuts will not end, & there will be no raises up coming. There are no other positions at the paper that I can move into with better pay.

There are no design positions available in Bakersfield at the moment. And I can’t just go it alone via freelance because that well of client base is tapped out by the few and successful agencies in town. It’s still a small town; not much work to go around.

In January, our health insurance rates will almost double, which will suck an extra large chunk out of each paycheck. There is simply nowhere for us to cut in our own budgets. Well…that’s not totally true. We spend a lot on gas, like everyone. If I just don’t drive into work, we’ll be fine. Of course that would mean not having a job at all anymore.

What a viscous cycle.

So I’ve opened up my range: anywhere. I don’t want to move. My wife doesn’t want to move. My kids don’t want to move. But do we have a choice? So far God has done nothing to really bind us here. There’s been nothing but closed door after closed door, struggle after struggle. I don’t want to give up this farm and this dream (though the dream can go on elsewhere, I know).

Can I just get another job? No. My wife’s health is so shoddy I have to be here when I can. We can’t afford to hire help. There is no community of people around us, supporting us with helping hands in that way.

Plus: should I have to get another job? Is that what the people of God are supposed to be doing, working away from home more than they spend time at home with their families? Why is it that I can’t have or find a job, a source of income, that will cover our needs and expenses?

Some say, “At least you still have a job.” Technically true. In the real world, though, it’s an absolute hell of a situation. The reality is that people who are underemployed by wage (not hours worked but by rate of pay), especially at a full time position, are unable to rectify that problem so easily. We can’t just go find another job. We have to work. And because it’s full time during the day, I have to wait until the wee hours of midnight to do serious job hunting.

So now I need to go to bed, so that I can wake up, get ready, and get to work, to do a job I am very good at. I will smile and I will love my Jesus. And I will come home and send more resumes and fill out more applications.

Just not here in Bakersfield.

Wisdom: Wendell Berry

“Rats and roaches live by competition under the laws of supply and demand; it is the privilege of human beings to live under the laws of justice and mercy.” ― Wendell Berry

Farmers aren’t just good for food. They can feed you in so many ways.

Thoughts on the Reign of God

Contrary to what is frequently believed, the reign of God does not consist in a state or in some institutionalized social system. The reign of God is not even a “state of affairs.” Rather, it is a dynamic reality: it is the sheer fact that God reigns.. . . The whole purpose of the Law of Moses was to show that where God reigns, a totally new society appears, a social order in which the injustices suffered in Egypt are not to be repeated. The alternative to empire is the reign of God. - A. Gonzalez

An absolutely incredible statement when understood. The Church, under the reign of God, is a new, alternative society. If the Church looks and acts like the kingdoms of this world–including the US–then it is not God’s society at all. As God did with the Israelites enslaved in Egypt, pulling them out and establishing a new society under his reign, he has done so with the Church with Jesus as our King, our Pharoah, or Emperor.

But if we cannot separate ourselves from the kingdoms of this world–if we cannot let go of our lives under the reign of human kings and earthly empires, if we cannot survive without the vestiges of a man-made Republic or a human-fashioned socialism, if we have to reform the Church to look and act like a kingdom-of-the-world democracy–then all we do is cry out, “We have no king but Caesar,” and send Jesus off to be crucified.

Election Day: Choosing to Remember

For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night in which he was betrayed took bread, and after he had given thanks he broke it and said, “This is my body, which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way, he also took the cup after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, every time you drink it, in remembrance of me.” For every time you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s (του κυριου) death until he comes. (1 Cor. xi.23-26)

To proclaim the Lord’s death, our Lord Jesus’s death, is to proclaim his reign over the true Kingdom. Jesus solidified his place on the throne when he took his place on the cross.

Tomorrow, when Americans will cast their votes for which king (President) and council (congress) they want to have reign over this particular earthly kingdom for the next number of years, Christians around the country will be joining together, in extended community, and sharing in the body and blood of the true, eternal King, Jesus.

Together we will remember the Church, our Lord, our sin, our mission in the world, and the One Who is the only true hope for the world.

Whether you vote or not, regardless of who you vote for or what propositions you’re in favor of, we should all meet at the Lord’s table and remember that we’re all in the struggle together. Congregations all over will be hosting a special service. Groups will be gathering together, taking time out of the night.

We will not be able to join with any larger congregation tomorrow night. But I’d like to try and have a little communion service with the family. If anyone would like to get together, we’d be more than happy. I want our kids to know that the Kingdom of God, the true kingdom, the only Christian nation, is always more important than earthly kingdoms.

If you can’t gather with a larger body, or if your church isn’t either participating in Election Day Communion or hosting their own special services, do something special at home. You won’t be alone even if you happen to be the only one physically there at the time. The Lord’s Table is where Christians everywhere can and do unite, in spite of our differences.

Homesteader’s right of passage

I feel as if I’ve gone through the homesteader’s right of passage.

Yesterday, with the help of some good friends just down the street, I successfully processed two of our chickens.

Processing, if you’re not up on the lingo, refers to the killing, defeathering, and prepping (a.k.a. gutting) of a chicken.

I had never done it. Our friends had done it once, a couple weeks ago. I was going to go then to watch and learn and try my hand at it, but things kept getting in the way. So, this weekend, it all worked out. They did their second rooster, then I handled our two Rhode Island Reds that, honestly, needed to go. They were something of rescue chickens, that were not treated well before. We tried to help them, but the nastiness took them over. They pecked anyone. They pecked the ducks and geese and asked for fights. We decided it was time.

The actual process of processing was not as gruesome or messy as I thought. It was actually far less than expected. And it really doesn’t take that long.

In order for us to do it again, though, I know I’ll need to get a hold of some extra tools and necessaries.

But, I’m certain I could do it again.

Many thanks to our friends down the street. I’m glad they went first.

Now, it’s real.

I am thankful: Day 2 (and 1)

I missed Day 1, so this will be a two-fer.

Day 1
I am extremely thankful for my wife, who has stood by me and helped me for over 10 years through my insanity, selfishness, and bad decision making. Also for our 5 (soon to be 6) little boys who are a joy and a blessing, not a burden and a curse. Sure it can be tough financially, but the Kingdom of God isn’t run by money. Even if it doesn’t look like it by the world’s standards, we are blessed.

Day 2
I am extremely thankful for the van we were able to purchase yesterday. Not for the material possession. Ultimately it’s just a van. But what it means right now is that we have a vehicle that we can all fit in. Our van died six weeks ago or so, and we’ve only been able to borrow a truck that can’t fit us all. We haven’t been able to gather with fellow Christians in over 6 weeks. Of course, the week we decided to check out a new church nearby (living out in the country, nearby is relative; it’s a 12 minute trip, as the Nazgul flies), our van died. So, was it God telling us we weren’t supposed to go to that church, or was it the demonic forces trying to keep us away from where we were supposed to go? We haven’t been able to go places as a family. We’ve spent a lot of extra money making extra trips. But now, we’ve been extremely blessed with a vehicle that can help us be a family, and help us do what we need and want to do.

Martin Luther King Jr., “The Drum Major Instinct”

May my living not be in vain.

A sermon so powerful and so relevant. How easy it would be to imagine listening to this sermon this coming Lord’s Day.

Martin Luther King Jr., “The Drum Major Instinct” Sermon – YouTube.

Mormonism, Racism and Romney: Part 4

Continued from part 3

LDS members today need to be honest about the racist history of the church. But who is responsible?

If it is God who is solely responsible for the prolonged suppression of blacks, and the superiority of whites, only ending when God decided it was time, then the LDS God himself and the LDS church itself is racist at its core. If God is the one responsible, then the teachings and history of how and why black people look the way they do and were inferior to whites, cannot be expunged and must be embraced by all Mormons, Mitt Romney included, like it or lump it.

If the LDS leadership is responsible then there needs to be more discussions on why and what next. Why didn’t they pray and urge God more to end the ban? Why did they merely leave it up to God? Why did they continue to suppress blacks even when they thought or knew it was wrong?

But what about LDS members who were not in the upper echelons of leadership? Are their hands washed clean of their church’s racist history? Of course not. They decided every day whether or not to stand up to the leaders, or even to God himself, and be a voice for their black brothers and sisters. The whites chose to either be superior, or fight for equality. Today Mormons need to decide how they will talk about the racist history. Will they embrace it in honesty and work through it, or will they cast it aside and say, “That was in the past. We are all equal?”

Today, during this last week of the Presidential election push, many Christians around the country will be voting for Gov. Mitt Romney. Obama is a Christian.7 Romney is a Mormon. And one of the biggest farces when it comes to politics is that religion doesn’t matter. Of course it matters. Consider how many people keep calling Obama a Muslim. If it didn’t matter, than why bring up the opinion, as ignorant as it may be? Are you not going to vote for a Muslim? Why not? Is it unconstitutional? If it doesn’t matter, then why was there all the hype about Jeremiah Wright’s church and black liberation theology?

Whether you’re okay with it or not, religion matters. For the most part, focus on Mormonism has been on polygamy. But all the while, and lasting much longer than the practice of polygamy ever did, the core of the religion has embraced racism, has taught racism, and there has been no repentance or repudiation of it. Even if Mitt Romney did not like or directly teach it, he has not stated that the suppression of black Americans in the LDS church was in any way wrong. And from his interview with Tim Russert, it’s obvious he is not willing to call his church wrong, to say a negative word against its history, or to even address the issue directly.

What will he do as President? How will he speak to issues of racism? Will he be a trailblazer and a leader, or another politician? Will he do what’s right for the country, or whatever isn’t negative toward his church? How can he be a champion for civil rights when he supported the suppression of black Americans within his own church? Is it difficult to see the hypocrisy when you say, “The color of your skin doesn’t matter when you’re trying to get a job,” but then say, “The color of your skin proves you are not worthy of blessings in our church?”

And Christians by the millions will go support him to be the face and voice of the country. I hope they do so being informed of the facts, and have come to terms with Romney’s response to the issue. I hope they approach their support with honest questions and expecting honest answers. May none of us ever be so tied to our partisan affiliation that we are able to make our decisions in good conscience.

The history and theology behind the LDS church and black Americans is complex. You read LDS writings on the issue and there is a lot going on. But what is clear is that they have not considered the suppression of blacks within the church as wrong, and likely never will. There is no apology. There is no repentance. And Mitt Romney is towing the line. He had a great chance to clear the air. He had a great opportunity to support all people above the evil of racism. He didn’t. Why not?

He had opportunities before the 1978 declaration to take a real stand for black Americans. He didn’t. Why not?

 

7Whether you agree with his particular choices of doctrine or practice is irrelevant to that issue. My guess is you don’t agree completely with everyone in your church, even the pastors, yet you still consider them Christians. Many will be even quick to judge the faith of someone based on their partisan political choices, without even knowing them personally, and that’s just sad.

Mormonism, Racism, and Romney: Part 3

Continued from part 2

Mitt Romney, like so many other LDS members until 1978, supported the practices and teachings of the church–in particular the LDS leadership–over the people. He contributed to the suppression of equality for black Americans. Instead of critiquing LDS history, instead of repudiating the racism that was rampant in his faith, he essentially validated the racism by saying he was “proud of [his] faith, and the faith of [his] fathers.” He gave credence to the idea that it was the will of God, and the Mormon people, though unhappy with it (by virtue of their being pleased when the ban was lifted, even to the point of Romney weeping when he heard the announcement), could do nothing but wait on the Lord to make the change.

He must have been unhappy with his Prophets who either did not plead enough to the Lord to lift the ban,5 or perpetuated the racism by continuing to teach the same sort of ideas that, for example, Joseph Fielding Smith taught:

There is a reason why one man is born black and with other disadvantages, while another is born white with great advantage. The reason is that we once had an estate before we came here, and were obedient, more or less, to the laws that were given us there. Those who were faithful in all things there received greater blessings here, and those who were not faithful received less…. There were no neutrals in the war in heaven. All took sides either with Christ or with Satan. Every man had his agency there, and men receive rewards here based upon their actions there, just as they will receive rewards hereafter for deeds done in the body. The Negro, evidently, is receiving the reward he merits.6

That is a racist teaching. Keep in mind, being racist has no bearing on whether it is true or not. That’s a separate theological discussion. But, the teaching gives superiority to whites over blacks, and all because of choices that were made during an existence that we cannot remember now. No black person, whether today or pre-1978 declaration, remembers taking Satan’s side during the war in heaven. The only reason they might even think that is if LDS leaders and teachers tell them that and they believe it. Romney and others, while unhappy with their leaders, did nothing about it.

Completed in part 4

 

5There is a great article available in PDF form: “Dispelling the Curse of Cain: Or, How to Explain the Old Priesthood Ban Without Looking Ridiculous” by Armand Mauss. Here’s the link to the PDF.

6Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation, Vol. 1, pages 66-67.

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.

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