Friday, November 9, 2012

The Sky is Falling, We’re Turning Communist, and Other Post-Election Goodies

Obama won the 2012 presidential election. That made some people happy and some less happy. I’m in the second group. But, this blog isn't about Obama, Romney, Ron Paul, or anyone else. I’m writing about how we can respond.

Here’s what I can say with certainty: I have no idea exactly what will happen during the next four years. Well, that’s not true. I have some ideas, and many I do not believe are good. But the 2012 election is behind us, and the fact is that Obama is our President. So, how do we respond?

“The Sky is Falling”

I seriously doubt the world will come to an end because Obama was elected. I write as a Christian, as one who believes the truth of Scripture. Truth that says God controls who rises into power (e.g., John 19:10-11, Dan. 4:25, Isa. 13:17). In the United States, He works through the ballot box (we have input). But Proverbs 16:33 says, “The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the Lord.”

If you are pro-Obama, you won’t ask this next question. But if you are anti-Obama or “Obama neutral”, you may naturally ask, “Why did God permit this man into office?” Here’s what I can say with certainty: I have no idea (you must admit I’m consistent). But I know of several possibilities! It could be that he is the man America “needs” to build our country (although, to be honest, I have a hard time believing this). It could be that he is the man America “deserves” as a consequence of any-of-a-hundred cultural sins. It could be that God is judging America. It could be that God is pushing Christians in America to get off their duffs, to quit chasing the American dream as their primary purpose, and to instead pursue kingdom purposes. (I’m not saying we ignore the American dream, just move it into “second place”.) Regardless, we should seek the welfare of the city (county, parish, state, country) as we live an even-more secular culture, just as Israel was commanded to do when they were taken by the Babylonians (Jer. 29:7).

Life might well be harder during the next four years. Life for Christians in particular might become harder during the next four years. Only time will tell with any certainty. But whether life gets harder or not, God doesn't change. And, frankly, God says he uses trials to grow us (e.g., James 1:2-4), although I’d prefer to grow without trials J. As a believer, I need to “live by faith” even in a messy world (Gal. 2:20). It might not be easy, but am I willing to trust God no matter what?

We’re turning Communist / Socialist / Martian

Frankly, it won’t surprise me if in the not-too-distant future, our culture looks more like post-modern Europe than many of us want. I hope that’s not the case, but it looks likely. Let’s assume for the sake of argument that Obama really wants us as a socialist country (I’m not interested in commentary on whether he does or not – I’m simply stating it for the sake of argument). He is not the sole cause; maybe not even the primary cause. He’s just the latest step. For example, welfare came into being to “help those in need”. However, it created dependence, not independence, and it’s been around a long time. Our culture has largely lost the “if you don’t work, you don’t eat” (I am not lumping people who legitimately need help in this discussion) and the “help equip those who need help to stand on their own two feet” ethics. For a host of reasons, we've developed a culture that practices yome. (Yome = “You-owe-me”. A secretary from my engineering days taught me this word). Only time will tell if we continue along this path or change as a culture.

Communist? No, but not impossible. Although the philosophy of “communism” must have a socialistic economic system, not all socialism must be communistic. This one I call, “Overreaction”.

But no matter what, God is still God. I am still called to be faithful to Him and walk in faith.

What should we do?

Pray a lot (1 Tim. 2:1-3).
Respect the office, even if you don’t respect the man.
Get your hands dirty. Instead of saying “they shouldn't ” (whomever “they” are or what “they” shouldn't be doing), get involved with others. Educate people one-on-one. Help them see how to work and the value of work. You get the idea!
Read Economics For Dummies (or something similar) to learn or relearn basic economics (of course, some of you already know it well. You are exempt J.) I think too many of us don’t understand the basics.
Don’t believe everything you see, hear, or read (maybe believe nothing). For example, I've seen a host of half-baked videos that distort facts, but people pass them along as truth. Check the facts, check the facts, and then check the facts.
Stop diatribes on Facebook and other venues. Your fans already believe you; your “enemies” won’t be convinced. Don’t pass on ad hominem attacks, half-truths, and anything else that inflames. Pass on “the truth and nothing but the truth”. If you pass on opinion, identify it as such. Offer positive  suggestions about how to get involved.
Do get involved in the political process. Stand up for those who can’t stand up for themselves. Try to influence politicians, but…
Remember, a believer's true citizenship is in heaven and we are primarily ambassadors here. So, while influencing the culture, do so in a Christ-like way and serve Him first and foremost. This kingdom may fade; His never will.

I don’t know exactly what will happen in the next four years. Obama is my president, just as Bush was my president before him. Doesn't matter which (if either) I support. Things might improve; they might deteriorate. I have my suspicions. Either way, take a deep breath, trust God, get involved, and live with kingdom purposes in view.

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