Posts Tagged ‘politics’

Psychology of Protest

November 29, 2016

When you are suffering, when your life is unsatisfying, you will always search for meaning.  For some, the meaning is found in a particular ideology or worldview that puts everything you experience emotionally into a niche of the system.  If you are suffering poverty, there’s a reason that fits the paradigm.  If you suffer what you experience as oppression, there’s a reason.  If you are sad, fearful, depressed, or dissatisfied with life, there’s a reason.  According to the ideology the reason is never found inside yourself or your life choices, but always in the society at large, and the solution is found in government.  That is why protesters from many different causes can join together in one large march.  They are all demanding change according to their ideology, and one that encompasses every grievance will attract a variety of people.

Protestors are not reasonable people.  They don’t really want solutions to problems facing the nation as a whole.  They want their own way.  They are convinced that a change in government policy will give them what they want, and they are convinced that what they want is righteous.  There is no middle ground, no center, no compromise.  Frustrated that they have not found a way out of their dilemma, being exposed to only one point of view, anger at their situation becomes anger at everyone else who isn’t protesting with them.  They may not understand how government works, but since government is the god of their worldview, they are demanding government give them what they want, regardless of consequences.

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Politics as Religion

November 29, 2016

An alarming trend has occurred in America that hasn’t probably occurred since the Civil War.  Families have become divided, to the point of not speaking to one another, over politics.  A recent New York Times article on the subject shows that it tends to be the left who separates from others over their views.  What has happened?

It would seem for some people that politics has become their whole reason for being.  They see themselves, their world view and their ideology as having all the answers for a fulfilling life.  Rather than look at every issue from both sides and form a rational response, politics for some has become irrational.  They have only looked at one side of an issue, refuse to see there might be another side, and instead brand those who disagree as not “wrong” or “misinformed” but as actually evil.

If I do not agree with the worldview, I am a hater, and an evil _____  fill in the blank with whatever pertains to the issue at hand.  There is a litany of words to choose from.   And the person who banishes a family member feels very righteous and justified in doing so.  They see themselves as being on a moral high ground, courageous and sacrificial in banning others from their lives, even if those people were once important and loved.

Politics has become the religion of some.  It is based on a philosophical system that sees the world according to a particular paradigm.  Everything about life, meaning and satisfaction can be explained according to this paradigm.  It differs from religion only in lacking a God, and lacking a faith in a life after this one.  It gives the person meaning and purpose, as well as a sense of their own righteousness, and therefore, examining and possibly changing some of their beliefs is psychologically threatening–hence the lack of ability to reason with someone who disagrees.

A reasonable faith, one that is based on looking at all the available arguments and choosing the reasonable solution, is a faith that allows one to listen to others without feeling threatened, and allows for a periodic re-examination of conclusions based on further evidence.

The ideology as religion will probably not last for most people.  Government becomes a very unsatisfying God, and the older one becomes, the more one realizes one’s own mortality.  Ideology doesn’t answer questions of transcendence.

Who You Know

July 31, 2016

In all the tumult and chaos of the world today, we wonder what is secure.  What can we trust?  What can we hold on to and be safe?   Some people have a little place in the country.  Some people have an underground bunker.  Some are hoarding, and backing that up with guns.

Maybe the biggest part of preparedness is getting ready to meet God.  We are all going to die one way or the other–through war or terrorism, through an automobile accident, illness or freak accident.  And then whether or not we are close to the end of the world, it is the end of the world for us when that final event happens to us.

Jesus talked about the end of the world and his own return.  He said when he returns the glory of it all, the glory of His appearance, and the sheer magnitude of the earthly changes happening–noise, light and movement, will have everyone trying to hide in caves if they don’t know Him.  For those who have a relationship with Him, we will recognize who we’ve been waiting for.  We’ll hold our hands up like little children waiting to be picked up by their returning parent.  And so it will be that those who go with Him leave this dimension.  Those who hide will stay.  And when He leaves, He takes all the light with Him, leaving those here in the “outer darkness where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth.”

Perhaps taking time to know Him, studying the stories of Jesus, talking to Him in prayer and checking out the truth of His claims is the best preparation for these times, after all.

Election 2016 part 2

July 31, 2016

I keep hearing dire predictions about what will happen if Clinton wins.  I keep hearing dire predictions about what will happen if Trump wins.  I hear how much someone hates one or the other of the candidates.  But in one sense, who occupies the White House doesn’t matter.  God will have His way with this country.

This doesn’t mean God won’t punish people who lie, destroy others, steal, and support moral wrong.  He will punish those who violate the natural moral law which has been around forever.  But despite all the evil and dysfunction, He will accomplish His purposes in the world.  Good people may suffer in the backwash of some of the evil things other people do.  People still get in the wrong place at the wrong time, and good people will be jailed and perhaps killed for being on the wrong side of the political winners.  At the same time, God is using all of it–all of it, to accomplish eventual, eternal good for those who love Him.  Rather than worry about who is in the White House, we ought to worry about whether we are part of God’s house.

Politics

March 13, 2016

Too many Americans are treating their fellow Americans like enemies.  I see this as very dangerous and I fear what could come of it.  People can have opposite perspectives, yet refuse to be enemies.  Painting everyone who disagrees a hater, or worse yet, acting hateful is poisoning the atmosphere we all have to breathe.  I don’t hate anyone, but I sure hate what the political process has become.

Not Thoroughly Thought Through Ideas

October 23, 2015

Have you ever put your foot in your mouth?  Have you ever had someone tell you, “Hey, that’s crazy”  “That’ll never work” or “You forgot about…”   all in a manner of correcting your “not thoroughly thought through idea.”

We all have “thought out loud”, musing through ideas that are new to us, and we get feedback from others allowing us to modify or correct our ideas.  However, newcomers to politics haven’t always learned you can’t do that in public..  Your political opponents will grab onto that half thought through idea and make you look like a fool, a “strange” person, or a crazy idiot.  Only those who have been groomed for the game know how to give a politically correct answer all the time, even if the answer in no way fits the question asked.

Otherwise brilliant people often have a long career end in infamy because their declining health, depression or early stages of senility cause them to write things that are quite out of character and “not thoroughly thought through”.  They may, at that stage of life, be somewhat isolated, and no one is listening to their ideas and sharing the feedback we all still need.  Their political correctness has declined along with age, and they have begun to sound like doddering old fools.  In reality, they just need the thinking adjustment that talking among friends produces.

The danger, of course, in our increasingly politicized and politically correct culture, is that everyone will be afraid to say anything new or to think aloud, and everyone will become parrots, stifling the new ideas that a vibrant, lively democracy needs to thrive.

Politics is a Temporary Thing

August 28, 2009

During these dark and worrisome days, it helps to remember politics is a temporary thing.  When we look at the state of our economy and the almost certain passage of a plan which will become a nationalized healthcare plan within a few years, there is a worst case scenario.  While not all the specifics are the same, its useful to look at Argentina.  It shows what happens when a country collapses under its debt.  We may not collapse for the same reasons, but the collapse will likely look similar.  Ironically, ours may be worse and last longer, because we are bigger, our load will be bigger, and the IMF will be less able to help us recover.  The likelihood is, we may go through the hardest times this country has ever seen.  In Argentina, about a quarter of the nation was jobless and homeless.  Here, I predict people will double and triple up in houses, and they will have to share everything to survive.  There will be more crime and unrest, and as services fail, some of us will die for lack of basic healthcare, electricity, and possibly even food and water.  However, most of us will survive.  As my grandmother would say “And what is this in the light of eternity?”  She was right, of course, for despite the long life I’ve lived, I can promise life passes quickly.  And we are all going to die sooner or later, of something or other.  The intervening years may be very tough, but we will take it a day at a time, and we will do whatever we must.  God always knew we would be foolish, and He has it covered.  He certainly never wastes a crisis, or anything else either.  So, while I can get all hot and bothered about how bad conditions were in the 1980s when I was living in England, and how we in the U.S. are now going merrily down the same path, God is in control.  And “What is this in the light of eternity?”  “This too, shall pass.”

Prayer for the Nation

March 2, 2009

I came across something I think is very appropriate for this time in history.  Peter Marshall was chaplain of the U.S. Senate at the end of World War II.  It was a very difficult time for the economy, with many people out of work, a huge national debt, and the nation trying to rebuild the destruction in Europe.  This could have been written today.  I hope our president is a man of prayer although I don’t see an indication of it.  I hope he is praying for the wisdom and character he needs to lead this nation.  Surely, we need to pray for him and for the country.

Prayers for the Nation by Senate chaplain Peter Marshall  1947-1949

Our Father, when we long for life without trials and work, without difficulties, remind us that oaks grow strong in contrary winds and diamonds are made under pressure.  With stout hearts may we see in every calamity an opportunity and not give way to the pessimist that sees in every opportunity a calamity.

Lord, when we are wrong, make us willing to change.  And when we are right, make us easy to live with.

Let us not be frightened by the problems that confront us, but rather give thee thanks that thou hast matched us with this hour.  May we resolve, God helping us, to be part of the answer, and not part of the problem.

Save us from hotheads that would lead us to act foolishly, and from cold feet that would keep us from acting at all.

Help us, our Father, to show other nations an America to imitate–not the America of loud music, self-seeking indulgence, and love of money, but the America that loves fair play, honest dealing, straight talk, real freedom, and faith in God.  Make us to see that it cannot be done as long as we are content to be coupon clippers on the original investment made by our forefathers.  Give us faith in God and love for our fellow men, that we may have something to deposit on which the young people of today can draw interest tomorrow.

Help us, O Lord, when we want to do the right thing, but know not what it is.  But help us most when we know perfectly well what we ought to do, and do not want to do it.

Lord Jesus, thou who art the way, the truth and the life, hear us as we pray for the truth that shall make men free.  Teach us that liberty is not only to be loved, but also to be lived.  Liberty is too precious a thing to be buried in books.  It costs too much to be hoarded.  Make us to see that our liberty is not the right to do as we please, but the opportunity to please to do what is right.

Deliver us, we pray thee, from the tyranny of trifles.  Teach us how to listen to the prompting of thy Spirit, and thus save us from floundering in indecision that wastes time, subtracts from our peace, divides our efficiency, and multiplies our troubles.”

Another Kind of Politics

March 1, 2009

While America debates the economy and politics, and it seems to occupy front burner on everyone’s mind, another quieter form of politics goes on unnoticed.  Its the politics of personally making a difference, at often great cost to self and no cost to the recipient.

I met the most amazing couple the other day.  They started disaster relief work in the 1980s and continue to this day.  They have a nonprofit which exists for the sole purpose of providing relief in as many American disasters as possible.  They have traveled to tornadoes, hurricanes, fires, floods and ice storms.  Their assets include a warehouse, a “feeding unit” trailer, a laundry trailer and a chainsaw trailer.  They assist anytime they are called by one of the national disaster relief agencies (Red Cross, Salvation Army, Southern Baptist Disaster Relief), as long as they aren’t already gone on another disaster.  This couple has taken all sorts of disaster training, and are licensed as ham radio operators.  Oh yes, how do they fund their ministry?  They use some of their warehouse space to operate a thrift store.  This way they can help the poor in their community by selling needed items in good condition for pennies on the dollar, while their small profit funds their travel to disasters, and new equipment.  They bought their feeding, laundry and chain saw trailers with those profits as well as donations.

When they go to a disaster, they take sleeping bags and a crew to drive the vehicles.  They sleep in a host church, on the floor, in their sleeping bags.  They use the church bathrooms, but take showers in their shower/laundry trailer.  They set up their feeding unit, and sometimes in partnership with another feeding unit, are able to prepare up to 25,000 meals a day.  These are served in styrofoam containers,which they transport to feeding sites in temperature controlled “cambros” using trucks and other vehicles.  Often they are the sole “kitchen” for several emergency shelters.

They take a couple dozen people with them to assist in the work.  The team stays on site 7-10 days on average and works 15 hour days with no days off.  This involves sleeping on floors, using portable showers and eating the same meals they are putting in styrofoam containers.

What is the payoff?  Their very modest salary as ministry directors.  For the volunteers, nothing.  The volunteers pay to get themselves to and from the worksite, usually taking their own vehicles.  Why do they do it?  Simply put, they love Jesus, who told them “Whatever you do for the least of these, you do for me.”  They hope some of the people they help will see the love of Jesus at work and want to know Jesus for themselves.  But they help everyone, without question and without any strings attached.

I learned they are just one of a network of such disaster relief nonprofits, mostly Christian, which cover the entire United States, and are the lifeblood of disaster relief.  I also learned that a lot of hotel and restaurant chains would do the same work for millions of dollars from FEMA –the same work that is today done at no cost to anyone but the nonprofits.

Dear President Obama

January 24, 2009
Dear President Obama,
 
I was deeply disappointed that you would lift the ban on funding overseas abortions.  I wish you would study what really happens during an abortion.  It is so grievously sad and tragic as well as cruel, what really happens.  I have personally seen abortions and aborted fetuses, and it totally changed my mind.  We can talk about “choice” all we want, but there are all kinds of choices, and people make the most horrendous choices every day.  God has given you so much power to do good.  Please think, pray and reconsider.
Nonni