Who Can Stand Upright?

 

The unjust cry out for revenge justice: “No Justice, No Peace!

The envious shout for equal outcome justice: “Fair Share!”

Feminists rally for Pro-choice justice: “Abortion is a Civil Right!”

The LGBT coalition demands lifestyle justification justice: “We demand equality and not your approval!”

Social justice advocates crave an inclusive world: “Check Your Privilege!”

Environmental advocates seek justice “against the onslaught of oppressive toxins and toxic oppressions that threaten to submerge out homes!”

Parents call for education justice: “No Child Left Behind!”

Those who have lost loved ones to inhuman acts petition for criminal justice

…the scales of justice are constantly tugged on by the just and unjust. Yet, in the end, God determines who stands to lose everything and who stands to gain everything.

 

It would appear, looking at just a sampling of recent events, that we have been created by God with a need for justice. There seems to be within us a deep-rooted desire for things to be put right. And because things are not right in our eyes, there is a constant clamor for resolution. Humanity longs to be restored and reassured among the inhuman events occurring every day. Yet justice, in a world of people dehumanized by sin, is often abstracted and ad hoc, and even beastly. And for many today, human rights have morphed into individual rights to justify inhuman behavior.

When man’s justice bypasses deliberative and evidence-producing due process it has deteriorated into kangaroo courts, lynch mobs, mob rule, vigilantism, Cain-killing-Abel retribution and whatever feeds the beast within with power. Diametrically opposite of man’s degraded justice, God’s justice is not a knee-jerk reaction. Rather, it is consistent with God’s character which God has made know to us. Mercifully and within the surety of God’s name, God’s justice is also restorative and humanizing. It is universal and fair – it applies to everyone for all time. And, it includes due process and evidence.

Therefore judge nothing before the appointed time; wait until the LORD comes. He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of the heart. At that time each will receive their praise from God. -the Apostle Paul, 1 Cor. 4:5

And,

For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. – the letter to the Hebrews 4:12

Not only does God’s word go to the heart of the matter, Scripture gives us the means to learn of God’s character and the nature of His justice. Scripture reveals God’s justice in history and God’s justice to come.

With dreams and vision, the books of Daniel and The Revelation of Jesus Christ graphically depict the beastly empires and their beastly rulers. The empires and their rulers do not acknowledge God as sovereign. When they do they oppose God. Both books describe in vivid detail God’s justice in dealing with the de-humanized beasts in the world.

In 587 BCE king Nebuchadnezzar and the ruthless Babylonians conquered and pillaged civilizations. The king’s army captured Jerusalem and plundered the temple. Israelites were taken into exile in Babylon, a city which historically and metaphorically represents a center of man’s opposition to God.

Daniel’s account describes the exiled Israelites being commanded by the king to pay homage to that which isn’t God. Implied in the account, the four Israelites had been taught early on about the One True God and that idolatry was forbidden. They understood from reading the Psalms (115:8) that those who worship idols become like the idols – inhuman.

Those who make them will be like them, and so will all who trust in them.

And, from Psalm 135:15-17 the futility of seeking justice from idols:

The idols of the nations are silver and gold, made by the hands of men. They have mouths, but cannot speak, eyes, but cannot see. They have ears, but cannot hear, nor is there breath in their mouths.

Daniel and his three friends are told they must worship a towering gold statue of king Nebuchadnezzar. They resist, making it clear that that they “walk in the name of the Lord our God”. God saves them and vindicates their stance. From this episode we learn that God vindicates those who wait for his justice. Again, the Psalms provided their pleadings:

Vindicate me, O LORD, for I have walked in my integrity, And I have trusted in the LORD without wavering.  Psalm 26:1

Vindicate me, O God, and plead my case against an ungodly nation; O deliver me from the deceitful and unjust man! Psalm 43:1

Save me, O God, by Your name, And vindicate me by Your power. Psalm 54:1

God’s sovereign justice is revealed to king Nebuchadnezzar in a vivid and perplexing dream about a statue. Daniel’s God-given interpretation describes the king as the statue’s head of gold. The statue’s body is made up of different material elements each representing different kingdoms. In the dream the kingdoms come and go. Daniel goes on to say that an everlasting kingdom – the Kingdom of God – will not be crushed but “it will crush all these kingdoms” and “will endure forever” (Daniel 2).

In Daniel 3 we learn that the king hasn’t learned a thing from the dream or about the One True God other than Daniel’s God is just another god to be respected. The king goes on to create an enormous image of gold. He demands for it to be worshipped like a god.

Daniel 4 records the king’s vision. Another interpretation follows with Daniel describing a tree being cut down and the king being humbled “until you recognize that the Most High is ruler over the realm of mankind and bestows it on whomever He wishes”. We learn that the king’s mind becomes the end result of his self-worship – inhuman and like a wild beast of the field.  The book of Daniel gives us insight into God’s vindicating justice. We see God seeking to spread knowledge of himself within a beastly empire.

 

The Revelation of Jesus the Messiah is a long letter relaying what Jesus was told by his Father about future events. Jesus communicates what he has been told to an angel. The angel then reports the revelation to the Lord’s servant John. And John, we learn in Rev 1:2, is someone in God’s court room who “bore witness to the word of God and to the testimony of Jesus the Messiah”.

John also bears witness to the judgments that will rain down, like stars falling from the heavens, on the “…kings of the earth, the leading courtiers, the generals, the rich, the power brokers, and everyone, slave and free” as they run to hide themselves “among the caves and the rocks of the mountains” screaming.

“Fall upon us!” they were saying to the mountains and rocks. “Hide us from the face of the One who sits on the throne, and from the anger of the lamb! The great day of their anger has come, and who can stand upright?” – Rev. 6: 12-17

The letter is from “He Who Is and Who Was and Who is to Come”. The Son of Man – the True Human and Lord of Creation– is introduced in Revelation chapter 1. He is the one who can rightly judge the beastly rulers and their empires and the Beast itself and those who allowed themselves to be marked by the Beast.

The letter records God’s accounting of those entrusted with the Gospel at one time. Seven letters are read to seven churches. These written assessments remind me of the writing on the wall in Daniel’s day (Daniel 5: 24-26), condemning a ruler who held authority over others and acted against God and man. Ultimately, beastly rulers will not stand before God. They will be removed from power.

“Then the hand was sent from Him and this inscription was written out.

      “Now this is the inscription that was written out: ‘MENE, MENE, TEKEL, UPHARSIN.’ “This is the interpretation of the message: ‘MENE’—God has numbered your kingdom and put an end to it. ‘TEKEL’—you have been weighed on the scales and found deficient. ‘PERES’—your kingdom has been divided and given over to the Medes and Persians.”

And, like the seven symbolic days of creation, there are seven seals which are opened and seven trumpets are blown and seven bowls of God’s wrath are poured out onto creation. In the day of the Lord the world will be purged of its patterns of perverted tyrannical power and of those who have rebelled against God and took on an inhuman existence, even to the extent of murdering those loyal to God:

When the lamb opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been killed because the of the word of God and because of the witness they had borne.

 They shouted at the tops of the voices. “Holy and true Master!” they called. How much longer are you going to put off giving judgment, and avenging our blood on the earth-dwellers?” -Revelation 6:9-10

 

Revelation, as it describes the beast that comes out of the sea, parallels Daniel’s vision description of beasts (Rev. 13). Both the beast from the sea and the beast of the earth are defeated in battle.

Before we “see a new heaven and new earth” (Rev. 21) the enemy of man and the Son of Man, the Deceiver, the Great Beast, the Satan, will be dealt with once and for all:

… the devil, who deceived them, was thrown into the lake of burning sulfur, where the beast and the false prophet had been thrown. They will be tormented day and night for ever and ever.

 

Unlike many of the world’s attempts at justice, God’s justice names evil for what it is and deals with it. Evil’s power was dealt with on the cross. Jesus took all evil upon himself and defeated it. Evil no longer has power over us, unless you decide it to be so. For the loyal, God is Just and Justifier:

God put Jesus forth as the place of mercy, through faithfulness, by means of his blood. He did this to demonstrate his covenant justice, because of the passing over (in divine forbearance) of sins committed beforehand. This was to demonstrate his covenant justice in the present time: that is, that he himself is in the right, and that he declares to be right everyone who trusts in the faithfulness of Jesus. – Romans 3: 25-26

 

Will God’s final justice have you crying out about acts of justice on your terms: “Hide us from the face of the One who sits on the throne, and from the anger of the lamb! Who can stand upright!?” Or, will God’s justice vindicate your loyalty to His faithfulness?

Will God’s justice be the sum of all your fears or the sum of all your fealty?

An Open Letter to Ms. Marilyn Mosby

Marilyn Mosby, Baltimore DA

Marilyn Mosby, Baltimore DA

An Open Letter to Ms. Marilyn Mosby

Dear Ms. Mosby,

For the sake of the five men and one woman whose lives are on the line now and have been daily for the citizens of Baltimore I plead with you that you recuse yourself Ms. Mosby and push for a new venue for the trial. Blind Justice demands it and your law career would not appear to be enslaved to black identity politics.

Something tragic happened to Freddie Gray. We don’t know what, yet.

Your rush to over-charge these six officers due to a coroner’s report of a possible homicide is directly from the theater of Absurd. Freddie was a known druggie-pot and heroin. He may have hurt himself before ever getting into the van. He may have even hurt himself in the van because of another arrest situation he did not want. In jail you cannot get drugs. Paying for bail comes out of drug money. And, he may have, like you, have known that the whole world is watching.

Baltimore Cops Charged

Baltimore Cops Charged

What possible motive or intent would these six officers have to hurt Freddie? Each of them, without a doubt in any one’s mind, had heard the ubiquitous and tainted news reports of so-called police brutality in Ferguson and New York. Wouldn’t each of these six just want to transport Freddie safely to the station without incident? They each knew the jeopardy at hand if anything went ‘wrong’. They would not risk their reputations or their jobs by hurting Freddie. He was already a known criminal. There was nothing to gain ‘racially’ or in any way, shape or form by hurting Freddie. You and the new DOJ AG just intuit criminal and racial intent…somehow.

Ms. Mosby, since you have made yourself into a black youth political activist by your flashpoint statements during your recent press briefing let’s talk politics, briefly.

Rousseauism: new age Liberals, especially black Democrats, have consistently made the claim that institutions, not man himself, are corrupt and constantly flawed (ergo, Democrats constantly arguing for raising taxes to repair their Progressive policy disasters).

If you do not recuse yourself Ms. Mosby because of your obvious incestuous political relationships and push for a new trial venue then yes, the institution and office of the Baltimore DA is deeply flawed. And, as we have witnessed the past six years, the Eric Holder assembled DOJ institution is also deeply flawed and myopically unjust. Do not follow his example.

Justice, Blind Justice, and NOT the ad hoc “hate the man” identity politics framed ‘justice’ is what MLK’s legacy requires of you.

Sincerely,

America

 

Freddie Gray Cop’s Charges: Justice or Political Theater?
IMPORTANT FOLLOWUP, Added after 5-8-2015:

Freddie Gray Case – Former Prosecutor Rips Current Prosecutor

Dershowitz: Charges in Freddie Gray case about crowd control

Freddie Gray Case: Prosecutor Doubles Down on Wrong Law

ADDED 5-30-2015:

VIDEO: Freddie Gray Cast: More Mosby Incendiary Statements

 

Exclusion & Embrace in the Garden of Good & Evil

Tomorrow, before I receive the Body and Blood of the Lord I will again kneel and pray the Lord’ s Prayer:

Our Father, which art in heaven,
Hallowed be thy Name.
Thy Kingdom come.
Thy will be done in earth,
As it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
As we forgive them that trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation,
But deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,

The power, and the glory,

For ever and ever.

Amen.

(Traditional, taken from the Anglican Book of Common Prayer, 1662).

And forgive us our trespasses,
As we forgive them that trespass against us.

Wow, Lord, you want me to forgive that person or that group who has done me so much harm and who even now shows so much hatred towards me?!

When someone wrongs us often our first thought is to retaliate, to lash out and to return to the ‘other’ the same pain caused to us. But, then, at other times, our response may be to become silent and later, perturbable to others. We will constantly gripe and complain, projecting onto others the self-justifying anger and resentment that we bear from the original hurt. The inception of unreality quickly takes shape. It’s not the reality from above.

The story of revenge is as old as the Scriptures but Jesus put an end to this cycle of anger born out of an unforgiving spirit.

Think about the following words in the context of personal relationships and also in the unfolding drama of human relationships across the globe.  Global warming, as a public ‘issue’, is silly compared to the rage, hate and evil which turns brother against brother in a continuing cycle of violence.

Quotes from Miroslav Volf, Exclusion & Embrace: A Theological Exploration of Identity, Otherness, and Reconciliation

“Forgiveness flounders because I exclude the enemy from the community of humans even as I exclude myself from the community of sinners. But no one can be in the presence of the God of the crucified Messiah for long without overcoming this double exclusion ~ without transposing the enemy from the sphere of monstrous inhumanity into the sphere of shared humanity and herself from the sphere of proud innocence into the sphere of common sinfulness. When one knows that the torturer will not eternally triumph over the victim, one is free to rediscover that person’s humanity and imitate God’s love for him. And when one knows that God’s love is greater than all sin, one is free to see oneself in the light of God’s justice and so rediscover one’s own sinfulness.” (p.124)

“Only those who are forgiven and who are willing to forgive will be capable of relentlessly pursuing justice without falling into the temptation to pervert it into injustice.” (p.123)

“When God sets out to embrace the enemy, the result is the cross. On the cross the dancing circle of self-giving and mutually indwelling divine persons opens up for the enemy; in the agony of the passion the movement stops for a brief moment and a fissure appears so that sinful humanity can join in (see John 17:21). We, the others ~ we, the enemies – are embraced by the divine persons who love us with the same love with which they love each other and therefore make space for us within their own eternal embrace.” (p.129)

Volf on the Parable of the Prodigal Son:  “relationship has priority over all [moral] rules” that reconciliation ~ the ultimate goal of justice – could be made complete.” (p.164)

“Without entrusting oneself to the God who judges justly, it will hardly be possible to follow the crucified Messiah and refuse to retaliate when abused. The certainty of God’s just judgment at the end of history is the presupposition for the renunciation of violence in the middle of it. The divine system of judgment is not the flip side of the human reign of terror, but a necessary correlate of human nonviolence. (p.302) (emphasis mine)

Also consider forgiveness as practiced…

Cornelia “Corrie” ten Boom (April 15, 1892 ~- April 15, 1983) was a Dutch Christian Holocaust survivor who helped many Jews escape the Nazis during World War II. Listen to her story here and this short video about her forgiveness.

How to stop evil:

“To triumph fully, evil needs two victories, not one. The first victory happens when an evil deed is perpetrated; the second victory, when evil is returned. After the first victory, evil would die if the second victory did not infuse it with new life.”

– Miroslav Volf
The End of Memory, Remembering Rightly In A Violent World

 *****

Romans 12:21: “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”

*****

“The only way to overcome evil is to let it run itself to a standstill because it does not find the resistance it is looking for. Resistance merely creates further evil and adds fuel to the flames. But when evil meets no opposition and encounters no obstacle but only patient endurance, its sting is drawn, and at last it meets an opponent which is more than its match.”

–Dietrich Bonhoeffer, The Cost of Discipleship

Just, Fair and Equal: the Stooges of Progressivism

“Creating a world that is just, fair and equal.”  This Progressive mantra was recited again yesterday. I heard it during a television interview of two historians at a history writer’s convention in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The black historian’s words sounded so right, so full of righteous human endeavor but in reality his words were the sounds of empty utopian piety deficit of any moral context.

 A world that is just is a world where every man gives the other his due.  Yet government’s redistribution of wealth does the opposite. It takes away from the taxpayer what is due him, his earnings and property and gives to someone else that which is not due him. This confiscation and redistribution of personal property is for no other reason than to turn unequal incomes into equal outcomes.  This highway robbery is currently termed “social justice” by progressives today who were yesterday’s socialists. 

Here is Josef Stalin, a murderous dictator, talking about his desire to see socialism dominate the world (meaning you and me):

“…Uneven economic and political development is an absolute law of capitalism. Hence, the victory of socialism is possible first in several or even in one capitalist country alone. After expropriating the capitalists and organising their own socialist production, the victorious proletariat of that country will arise against the rest of the world …”

St.Thomas Aquinas in his On the Book of Job (8,1) said:

 “Justice is destroyed in twofold fashion:  by false prudence of the sage and by the violent act of the man who possess power.” 

 As we see our nation become increasingly secular we see its structure being pulled away from its Judeo-Christian cornerstone.  And in so doing we the ‘homeowners’ are becoming displaced and disordered much like furniture during a house relocation.  Without realizing it we are becoming objects devoid of human nature, becoming the un-created or the walking dead.  Removed from life’s foundation man is devoid of God-given inalienable rights as well. And with out individual inalienable rights there is only left to mankind the justification of totalitarian power, a totalitarian power that promises a “just, fair and equal world.” This secular utopian promise is not new to mankind:  Hitler and Stalin among others promoted such ‘worlds’.

 Justice can rightly be discussed only within a complete moral context that includes prudence, temperance, fortitude, charity and a host of other God-derived virtues.  To replace that moral context with a secular humanism is to presume that God did not create humans.  It presumes that God did not create man as a person, as a whole unto himself as a spiritual being that exists for itself and of itself and that wills its own proper perfection.  On these grounds secular humanism denies individual God-given inalienable rights in favor of the general ‘good.’ This denial is imposed on us today in our democracy by majority rule – voters enthralled by the secular humanism advocated by the main stream media, by our president and by Democrats in particular are voting to empty man of his individual nature through law and fiat.  They are doing so in the name of communal “social justice.” No one seems to notice except a few on the right.

 Because of human nature there will always be those in a small camp who think to themselves “every man for himself” and “screw the other guy so I can get ahead.”  And likewise, on the other hand, there will always be those who believe that each of us should give up our person, our property and our individualism for the good of the whole. Neither of these political philosophies should ever be put in power.  And yet with high-sounding, pious jingoism pumped out by the main stream media propaganda machine the left is now succeeding into promoting the latter.  We already know who the willing recepient is:   “a sucker is born every day.”

 As individuals each of us should act with justice toward our neighbor giving him his due.  What is his due?  My neighbor is due his inalienable God-given right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.  I owe him truth.  I owe him the same love I give myself.  I owe him freedom from coercion. Beyond that the mantras of “social justice,” fairness and egalitarianism become the Godless mind control pumping the ever marching jackboots of rank and file humanism.  Once a sufficient numbers of useful idiots and stooges have succumbed to humanism’s opiate effect a sure and complete enslavement of our nation under a totalitarian regime will occur. Welcome to the world of the godless if Obama’s regime is re-elected in 2012.

 For a world to be “fair” someone in power has to determine what is fair.  Do you really want to use your vote for that kind of self-subjugation?  Certainly there is no Biblical a priori for demanding that life must be fair. Where does this understanding of the need for fairness come from?  Is there a philosophical argument for fairness?  A moral one?

My guess would be that much of the “fairness” allure comes from popular psychology and socialist rhetoric both which absolve people of personal responsibility and seeks to rectify a person’s losses and hardships by pointing blame at others.  Class warfare rhetoric is a prime example, as it defines others as being the reason for your lack.  More devastating to our culture and its preoccupation with fairness is our nation’s increasingly secular nature, a secular nature of envy and jealousy actively promoted by president Obama in his many “fair share” speeches.  Obama is a secularist wolf in Soros’ bought sheep’s clothing.

  A world that is “equal” is a world that removes difference for the sake of bringing every one down to the same low common denominator and nothing more.  Imagine our government choosing your husband or wife, your doctor, your food, your home and your words based on what is thought to be equal for everyone. Equal-outcome based thinking destroys incentive, destroys each man’s uniqueness, his God-given differences, his inalienable rights and eats away at civic life-like a flesh-eating disease feeding on its host. 

According to Allan Bloom in his book The Closing of the American Mind: How Higher education Has Failed Democracy and Impoverished the Soul’s of Today’s Students in the chapter entitled Values “Egalitarianism is conformism…Egalitarianism is founded on reason, which denies creativity”

 Imagine a world where there is no creativity and no aspirations only sameness.  Imagine being a citizen of North Korea.

Without moral-based justice as an inoculation against greed and envy people would constantly be looking at others to compare themselves with their neighbor. Forget contentment in a world that is egalitarian.

 Finally both fairness and egalitarianism, as laws enacted via secular humanist congressmen and presidents voted for, remove individual moral choice (justice) along with charity, fortitude and temperance from life. If the government does your thinking and makes your choices for you then you as an individual are absolved from any moral duty whatsoever.  What than is the purpose of the individual?  Without you the state becomes the all-powerful meat grinder and you along with everyone else become the human sausage extruded into the casings of humanism. Digest that if you will.

“A government big enough to give you everything you need, is a government big enough to take away everything that you have….” President Gerald Ford

Joseph and the One Percent

You should know that jealousy and envy disguised as “fairness” and “equality” play important roles in a liberal’s political drama.

 Remember the Bible story of Joseph and the coat.  Joseph’s eleven brothers, assuming that Joseph was their father’s favorite son, became extremely jealous when Joseph received a beautiful coat as a gift from his father.  So jealous were they in fact that they plotted to kill Joseph.  But after much hand wringing and intervention by the oldest brother they sold Joseph into slavery.  This was deemed a more humane solution.

 The brothers in order to deflect their guilt gave their father a bloodied garment as proof of their ‘sincere’ lie that Joseph had been killed by a wild animal.  The brothers then considered their “problem” to be out of sight and out of mind.  What mattered most to them was to maintain status quo – everybody was to remain equal.

 From a mature point of view the brothers should not have been jealous. Joseph’s father Jacob had every right to give the coat to whomever he wanted.  But the brothers grumbled and cried foul amongst themselves as do liberals today whenever there is a perceived breach of societal equity.

 Today’s popular psychology helps feed the popular jealousy by reverse thinking.  Instead of providing a positive unselfish viewpoint Freudian based psychology points the finger back at dad the authority figure:  “you feel that you didn’t get your fair share of love from your father.” “Your father treated your brother with more love and affection. “Your father should have given you more.  He should have been fair with you so let’s help you figure out how to get your fair share.” This nonsense is played out day after day in the liberal media and by president Obama with “fair share” rhetoric. 

 These liberal folks will tell you as they have been counseled that life has not given you your fair share so you must demand fairness: “Look at your life.  Do you have what he has?  No?” “Then demand it.” “Demand your right to healthcare. Demand your right to force the 1% to pay higher taxes. Demand your right to live off another person’s property.” This type of debilitating psychology streams from media outlets day and night promoting jealousy, envy and unrest in the people who hear it.

 Co-opted, high-sounding and sanctimonious words hide the real motivation behind the left’s policies:  jealousy and envy hiding in the wings waiting for the chance to ‘correct’ the unfairness.

 Consider this assessment of the Left’s use of innocuous language to achieve their ‘righteous’ ends. Here is Thomas Sowell, economist :

 “The left has a whole vocabulary devoted to depicting people who do not meet the standards as people who have been denied “access.” Whether it is academic standards, job qualifications or credit requirements, those who do not measure up are said to have been deprived of “opportunity,” “rights” or “social justice.”

 The word games of the left – from the mantra of “diversity” to the pieties of “compassion” – are not just games.  They are ways of imposing power by evading issues of substance through the use of seductive rhetoric.

 “Rights,” for example have become an all purpose term used for evading both facts and logic by saying that people have a “right” to whatever the left wants to give them by taking from others.

 For centuries, rights were exemptions from government power, as in the Bill of Rights.  Now the left has redefined rights as things that can demanded from the taxpayers, or from private employers or others, on behalf of people who accept no mutual obligations, even for common decency.”

 Joseph was one of twelve brothers.  He was 1/12th or 8.333 % of the whole.  8.333% had something the 91.667 % didn’t have.  Rounding off, the 92% were envious of the 8% so the 92% decided to bring the 8% down to zero, thus making things fair in their eyes. Removing Joseph from the picture also meant that their inheritance was now larger, divided only eleven ways instead of twelve.  Because of envy and jealousy the 92% proceeded to sell the 8% into slavery and bondage, though murder was considered.  Think about that before you vote for Obama and the Democrats. Think about that when you hear them demanding that the 1% should dish out their shovel ready wealth for your benefit.

 Being your brother’s keeper is so much more than keeping him around and keeping him in his place by only giving him his “fair share.”  It is dealing justly with him by giving him what is due him.  So if a man has been given a gift or has a talent bless him and do not curse him.  If a man receives more than you be thankful to God for what you do have and for his gain. But,  if you by jealousy and envy, in order to make yourself feel better about yourself, your situation and the world at large, confiscate another man’s property,  if you subjugate his person and sell him into slavery or if, when envy has matured into its final state you seek to murder the man better off than you then know that his blood will cry out for justice. Know that God will avenge those treated unjustly.

When You Wish Upon Obama…

you enter the Disneyland-like fantasy world of smoke and mirrors, the amusement park of progressives.  It is there that …

…you live under Chicago style politics instead of the U.S. Constitution.

…you receive Eric Holder – Black Panther style justice which is no justice.

…your liberty is traded for political hype: “Hope and Change’: “Yes, We Can”.

 …the extreme Left receives all manner of special interest goodies. The resulting financial shortfall will be devastating (see Greece, Spain, Portugal, California).  Our children and grandchildren will receive the enormous debt burden.

…the government becomes a monopoly, a monopoly that cannot and will not be broken down. Because of this the competition of the free market system, a system that works to lower consumer cost and to ensure better quality products and customer service will vanish from the scene. You will have to take what the government gives you or go to a black market.

…under Obamacare you have health coverage (you are fined for not having it) but not health care. You will have bought the lie.

…whatever health care you do receive will be meted out by bureaucrats (czars) who will tell how much, when and what kind of health care you will receive. They will also decide who lives and who dies, who benefits and who goes without.

…you are free when Obama says you are free.

…you will have your “fair share” when you understand that running from and resisting the Tax Man is impossible and you surrender. You then become enslaved and live on Obama’s Progressive plantation.

…the only good energy policy is the energy policy that financially powers the Obama candidacy and his progressive agenda.

…America will become a subset of the European Union. (BHO wants to eventually become the potentate of the world.)

…democracy will become meaningless because you will have ceded your liberty to a small group of people who you will be told have your best interest at heart. Your vote will mean nothing. Czars and bureaucrats will replace your representatives.

…a top down government will break the back of the states and in the process also destroy individual liberty. All of this for the sake of controlling costs, controlling your money and controlling you the citizen.

….Christians will be persecuted. The main stream media (powered by Obama’s political and secular colonialism) will openly attack Christianity as not being inclusive enough, as being too extreme. All this and more while homosexuals will be allowed to teach your children their moral values in the public schools.

…absolute moral truth will be replaced with the increasingly vogue secular religions of fairness, egalitarianism, environmentalism and political correctness. These ersatz religions are based on relativism and humanism. These ersatz religions will become the state religions and be reinforced by those who are in power using the main stream media.

…your voice will be silenced (i.e., the fairness doctrine) by the Obama regime if you disagree with his message. And, if you believe that the fairness doctrine will only neutralize conservatives, you are in complete denial. Totalitarians always direct the conversation. Controlling the message, the ideology and indoctrination are central to controlling the citizen on the plantation. See North Korea. See China. See Stalin’s Russia. See…

…your voice will be silenced in deference to a few well-connected intellectual elites who will be exalted within their “ivory tower” college professorships. Your “worker bee voice” will be not be heard.  Instead, your life will become ‘handled’ by these self-promoting social-scientists who receive their power from above.

…America will be divided into those worship the Obamic Vision and those who do not. The race card will be used extensively to promote a divided nation. And, more and more people will claim minority status so as to indemnify themselves against “hate speech”.  Class warfare rhetoric will be used to conflate fairness with an unjust confiscation of property

…your whole purpose in life under Obama will be to become a complacent useful idiot, no more, no less. Through taxation you will be required to buy into the BHO lottery: “Hand me your money and your liberty and we will take care of the rest. Yes, we can.”

…the subsequent rioting in the streets that will occur because of all of the above will be quashed by use of the totalitarian forces put into power by you the voter.

When you wish upon Obama you get the president and the government you deserve.

*****

Course correction needed.

Two Thieves Out of Time

Looking over the strata of my life, I can see very clearly now that growing up I had an Old Testament (OT) view of life.  Early on I began to indoctrinate myself with lists of things which were not right for a person to do.  If I erred, which I often did, then subsequently I would receive in my conscience the requisite judgment and punishment. Basically, I saw myself as a sinner in the hands of an angry God. My life was abundant with shame and lacked mercy toward myself or others.  My thoughts on the rightness of capital punishment fell in line with this uncompromising understanding of my sinful self and the judgment I deserved. I thought, “An eye for an eye?  So be it. It is just.”  But now, though I continue to be politically and socially conservative, I have since changed my view on this life and death matter.

A lot of my early misconceptions about God and the balance sheet I thought that he kept came from my own projections onto God, my father’s own upbringing being infused in me and from the churches we attended.

 My father was raised in a strict Dutch Christian Reformed home. He knew even more shame and punishment under his father’s iron rule of their home.  My dad’s family dutifully attended a Dutch Christian Reformed Church (CRC) situated at the end of their street. The church’s moral code was much like River City, Iowa’s morally proper society as portrayed in the musical The Music Man. Movies, dancing, pool halls were all considered taboo. Sunday was considered the Sabbath and no work was to be performed on that day. Unlike River City, Iowa though, drinking, smoking pipes, cigars and cigarettes were openly enjoyed right after the church service.

In his twenties my father broke away from the Dutch Christian Reformed Church and started attending a Baptist church in the  Andersonville area in Chicago. He soon met my mother at this church.  They married and later attended the Moody Bible Institute together. I was born while they were students.

Over the years our family attended a Baptist/Bible church. There were still OT rules and regulations but the boisterousness of the Baptist church (as compared to the almost absolute silence of the Reformed church service) sounded merciful and more accepting of one’s sins and foibles. To redeem yourself from destruction, there were the constant pleas from the pulpit to walk the aisle and to repent of your sins or to come forward and rededicate your life to Christ or to come forward and vow to become a missionary. Those were the options I remember.  Dealing with personal shame and guilt, the inner man, never seemed to be on the agenda. But, knowing your Bible in and out and cover to cover was on the program. And, in those days, talking about the Holy Spirit was almost taboo. Everything still had to be done decently and in order, every jot and tittle of your life was parsed against the black and white of the Scriptures.

 I am thankful that my dad walked away from the Dutch CRC and not from the Lord. I am thankful for the grace and mercy he has shown to me.  My father never acted in anger or in harsh judgment of me.

I am thankful for some of the time I spent in the Baptist church and for my immersion in the Scriptures. It was in the Baptist church as an eleven year old that I believed and called Jesus my Lord.  I was baptized not long afterward. But I too would later walk away from what I had been brought up in to look for more grace and mercy, to look for the REAL and not the pretentious. In my case, a load of sinfulness and a sense of reckoning ever mounted.  Walking down the aisle of a church was fruitless exercise. Over time, though, I found these two paramours, grace and mercy, in a close relationship with the Lord. And, I found my REAL self by taking the Eucharist every week.

My intimate relationship with Jesus was born out of a lot of personal suffering.  Some of the pain came out of my own sin and folly and some of it came Job-like out of the blue. I have incurred some major crippling losses in my life including the death of a child. I realize now that some of those hard times were acts of mercy – losing what was precious to me at the time but not losing everything as I rightly deserved.  These and other losses helped me to see that mercy and grace were always there with me. And because the weight of what I was dealing with was so enormous I could finally feel God’s hand beneath me. With this safety net underneath I began to cast out my fear.  I was able to give up my sin, my shame and my anger. I began to have mercy on my self and toward others. All of this past reflection brings me to my current view of capital punishment:  no capital punishment, no death penalty.

Without going into balance sheet retribution or what’s owed to society or to the victim’s rights or into capital punishment as a crime deterrent or into the enormous cost of operating the penal system I simply believe that every person should be shown mercy, whether they are in the womb (the most innocent) or on death row (the most guilty).

Mercy is not the absence or negation of justice. Mercy is the outcome of justice which acknowledges the wrong-doing before both parties (the perpetrator and the victim) and demands retribution. But instead of giving the criminal what he fully deserves mercy, instead, hands the perpetrator the noose of time.

“Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life.” I believe these OT words from Psalm 23 accord with a New Testament (NT) response to man’s violence against his brother:  a perpetrator of a crime and the victim may both find goodness and mercy if they turn to God’s Truth – Jesus Christ. The eye for eye retributive justice of the Old Testament has been replaced by a NT call to a relationship with Jesus Christ:  goodness and mercy incarnate. 

The Sacrifice of Jesus on the cross showed God’s solidarity with victims throughout all time. Through His sacrifice the power of violence was renounced and the power of love and truth were advocated.  But not only has the self-giving God shown solidarity with the victims but He invites the perpetrators into the same divine circle of love with the victim. He does not abandon the godless to their evil.  “Christ died for the ungodly, the Just for the unjust.” He has loved our enemies when we could not. In a divine relationship with Him we are able to show mercy, repeated mercy and mercy again.

A life sentence should be given for a heinous crime such as murder.  Life in prison would be a just sentence.  It would allow for the possible redemption of the murderer. We don’t know whether a murderer will repent when he is given a life sentence but we do know from Scripture that the same goodness and mercy which follows you and me all the days of our lives also follows him all the days of his incarceration.  Giving a murderer a life sentence is merciful. Time is mercy for the condemned.  I now see capital punishment as being opposed to the Cross and the act of mercy

Two thousand years ago, two thieves, one on each side of Jesus, received capital punishment for their crimes. One repented.  One did not. The onlookers and the victims and accusers of the thieves had also been followed by the same goodness and mercy as were the thieves.  And like the thieves they would also have to decide where they stood in relation to the Cross of Christ. So would Barabbas. Time as mercy would tell.

*****

The ‘new’ “Eye for an eye” justice:

 “For you will be treated as you treat others. The standard you use in judging is the standard by which you will be judged.”

 Jesus as recorded Matthew’s gospel (7:2)

 “So what makes us think we can escape if we ignore this great salvation that was first announced by the Lord Jesus himself and then delivered to us by those who heard him speak?”

 The writer of Hebrews (2:3)

The quality of mercy is not strain’d,
It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven
Upon the place beneath. It is twice blest:
It blesseth him that gives and him that takes.

Portia in The Merchant of Venice

Shakespeare