Friday, September 21, 2012

True Pure Socialism

The truest and purest form of socialism is found, and described, in the Bible. Specifically in the 4th chapter of Acts, verses 32 to 37.

Now the multitude of those who believed were of one heart and one soul; neither did anyone say that any of the things he possessed was his own, but they had all things in common. And with great power the apostles gave witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And great grace was upon them all. Nor was there anyone among them who lacked; for all who were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the proceeds of the things that were sold, and laid them at the apostles feet; and they distributed to each as anyone had need. And Joses, who was also named Barnabas by the apostles (which is translated Son of Encouragement), a Levite of the country of Cyprus, having land sold it, and brought the money and laid it at the apostles' feet.

Now, what we today call socialism is a much different creature than what is described in these 5 verses of scripture because today's "socialism" is a man-made, man-controlled creation while the socialism described and enacted in the 4th chapter of Acts was a construct and creation of Holy Spirit. The purpose of the socialism described was that no one in the church would lack anything they needed.

But above and beyond that calling of Holy Spirit to ensure no one in the church lacked anything, Christ also taught us that we were to give to the poor, the orphans and the widows. In fact, the apostle Stephen was stoned because there was an uproar among the Hellenists who believed their widows were not receiving a fair share because of prejudice. Sound familiar?

Another precept that Christ taught was that if we see someone in need and we have the means to meet that need but don't, offering only the words, "go and be filled" or "go and be warm", etc., then we will suffer the wrath of God on the Day of Judgment. He also taught us that if someone asks us for something, and we have it, we are to give it, even if it's the only one in our possession. He gave the example that if someone asks for our cloak we are to give our coat, as well. If they ask us to walk with them one mile, we are to walk with them two. In other words, if someone asks for help we are to give double what they ask for.

I know I struggle with these teachings as far as putting them into practice. It's difficult, at best, to give to someone when I feel they may be scamming me, but Jesus never said we have an out if we feel they're scamming us. He simply said we are to give. In fact, the truth of the matter is, we are told that we are not responsible for it once we give, it is only our obedience to give and the rest is in God's hands.

I know many who complain about the government helping the poor in the United States. They rightly claim it's not the government's place to take care of the poor. It is, in fact, the responsibility of the church and the Christians of this nation to take care of the poor, but somewhere along the line we have dropped the ball. In fact, the loudest voices complaining about the government taking care of the poor are the church going Christians who are doing nothing at all to help the poor! I know this because at one point I was one of the loudest of the loud!!

If we truly want the government to stop taking care of the poor and needy in this nation then we need to step up to the plate and take responsibility for what Christ told us and fulfill His command to meet the needs of those who cannot meet their own needs for whatever reason. And we must do so with no strings attached and no questions asked, just as Jesus and the disciples did in those first decades of the Christian movement.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Christians Painting Rosy Pictures Are A Disservice To Others

Many Christians say their lives are an open book, when the truth is, they hide the hurts, the pains, the mistakes and the missteps of their lives from view. Recently an acquaintance complained that elder Christians she had gone to for help were suffering from the same problems she had gone to them for help with. She felt as though they should be "beyond" those problems since they had been saved for some time. In my own life, I've had other Christians chastise me because I speak about my problems dealing with pain, loneliness, depression and hurt. I should be "above" those things, by now, according to them.

I truly do try to live my life completely open for any and all to see what it is I'm going through: the joys, the glories, the victories, the pain, the loss and the heartaches, as well. It isn't helpful to young Christians to view elder Christians as having perfected living to the point that we don't have the same problems they have. When they have that perception, they become disillusioned and disappointed as the young woman I mentioned earlier because they learn that we, too, are human. When the preacher and his wife present themselves to the congregation as having a perfect marriage in which they never have disagreements or anger they do a disservice to their congregation, as well as presenting a lie to the fold. No one has the perfect marriage without any problems. A marriage without disagreements is one in which the partners don't care about the other any longer and each is living their own life.

My grandparents were married for 52 years and I would say they had a great, solid marriage. Yet, they still had arguments; even heated arguments. And sometimes those arguments were over very trivial matters. But they chose to love one another and work through their problems and differences rather than surrender to the difficulties and hardships and go their separate ways. Many a young couple today could stand to study a marriage like my grandparents had instead of looking at the marriages of many pastors of many churches in this country because those pastors have put up a false facade of perfection.

What's truly sad is that as Christians we somehow think because we've been saved for 30+ years, we have to put up a front of having overcome all the stumbling blocks and hardships, trials and tribulations. In fact, we're harming the younger generations by doing thus because when they face those same hardships they somehow feel they've failed because they didn't measure up to the standard we've set before them. Jesus was truly our example for this: He was the living, incarnate God in the flesh, yet He faced temptations and trials. He even told us we would always face those trials and tribulations, disappointments and struggles, but that we should always hold on to our faith because He would always be with us.

And so, I will continue to share when I'm going through a hard time; I will continue to praise when I'm going through a glory time, and through it all I will give all the glory and praise to Christ Jesus, for He is my source, strength and sustenance. And maybe, just maybe, some younger Christian will look at my life and know that they're not failing when they go through the hard times, as well.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Compromising Our Beliefs To Achieve Our Goals Is Not Going To Gain God's Blessings

I either missed the speeches where President Obama called for the taking of monies from some people to distribute it to others or I'm completely stupid because I have no memory of such speeches. Yet, I keep hearing people talking about how that's what he wants to do, plans to do and is trying to do. Someone please point me to the exact speeches, or budget proposals, where President Obama has laid out those plans.

I know there are no such speeches or budget proposals. These are simply the scare tactics being used by those who are opposed to President Obama. In our present political landscape, if you can't find something to oppose the incumbent or opposing candidate on, you make up something. This is, in fact, called lying. Yet, it goes on each and every day and in each and every election. Why are we, the American people, putting up with such?

We continue to call ourselves a Christian nation yet we compromise our beliefs in order to achieve our goals. I do not believe God blesses our compromise because our goal is good. We must walk the upright path at all times even if it means we do not achieve our goals. I, personally, would rather fail being honest than succeed being deceitful.

I have said many times that there are plenty of things about President Obama to dislike without having to make up stuff, fabricate stuff or intimate stuff. And I would rather his opponents be truthful and transparent rather than deceitful and secretive because if they're deceitful and secretive during the campaign they're going to be deceitful and secretive once they're elected. There is no way someone is going to win an office using lies, distortions, secrecy and the bending of the rules then turn around and suddenly become honest, straightforward, transparent and compliant once they take the oath of office.