6 Truths to Stand On When Voting

Dear Zion,
With the campaign advertisements, donor & polling phone calls, it is clear that election season is upon us! Christians are, often rightly, concerned over where the country is going, what candidates do and say, and the pressure cooker of the election season only adds to that. But what truths from the Bible can we stand on, even leading up to the election? Here are six:

  1. God is sovereign over whoever is elected in November. It is clear from Scripture that ultimately the White House, as well as every position of power, comes from God’s power and authority. He “brings kings down and He sets kings up” (Daniel 2:21). The rise and fall of nations is in His control (Daniel 4:30 – 37). If even such little things as the life of sparrows (Matthew 10:29) and the rolling of dice (Proverbs 16:33) and under God’s control, will God not also oversee the heart and decisions of rulers (Proverbs 21:1)? The citizens of America will elect their leader on Nov. 6 by voting, but this is simply the means that God uses to install the leader He has chosen.
  2. God can use bad leaders to accomplish good things. Even if the person who gets elected is not the person we wanted, God is still able to accomplish His purposes! In fact, God always accomplishes what He wants, and no force in heaven or earth can thwart Him (Ephesians 1:11)! God called the pagan king Cyrus to be His “messiah” in setting His people free from exile (Isaiah 45:1 – 4). The apostle Paul reminds us that even an emperor as wicked and notorious as Nero was still the Lord’s civil minister keeping peace, rewarding righteousness and punishing evil (Romans 13:1 – 7). Ultimately, all rulers, kings and presidents will be subdued before the King of Kings and President of Presidents, Jesus Christ (Psalm 2)!
  3. Therefore, our ultimate hope is in God, not politics. Continue reading

Mapping Out the Zealot vs. the Tax Collector

Aside

How do we apply the fact that Jesus made room in the Twelve for both Simon the Zealot and Matthew the Tax Collector? Certainly, it must remind us that Jesus’ invitation was to a wide and deep mercy in God. Simon, who was ready to take down the institutionalized, status quo, Roman occupation is at one end of the spectrum. On the other, Matthew earned his bread and maintained a social status feeding off of the very institution Simon was seeking to destroy. Both of them need salvation found in Christ alone.

So are these political opposites, with the application being Jesus calls neo-socialists as well as fascists? Democrats and Republicans? Or does Rome function more as an icon of the passing-away-world, and not politics per se? In this case, Simon is the ascetic, jihadist, fundamentalist; Matthew the cosmopolitan, worldly promoter of any/every zeitgeist. Or is there some other taxonomy that these two disciples map on to?

How to Speak Truth to Power?

Aside

Michelle Obama: “He [Jesus] was out there fighting injustice and speaking truth to power every single day.” (source: ABC news)

True. But the question is, how did Jesus speak truth to power? As Spartacus, or as Julius Caesar?

Both Spartacus & Caesar “spoke” to the powers of their age. Spartacus did it as a rebel and insurgent, leading a revolt. And Caesar did it as the power, controlling and squashing those who abused authority they derived from him.

So in which way did Jesus speak to the Pharisees, the “Temple system,” and the political powers of 1st Century Judea? As Lord or Servant? And how should the followers of Jesus follow Him today?

Get Out the Conservative Christian Vote?

We had an election on Tuesday last week. I paid my dues.

What was interesting for me were some the mailers and adverts being sent out to local pastors in an attempt to encourage the vote. (Side rant: Just after taking a full time call in the Midwest, I was shocked and awed at the amount of mail that comes through a pastor’s inbox, assuming that the pastor and/or church will serve as a bully pulpit or free advertising for nearly any cause under the sun. /rant) What was surprising was the ideological content of the mailers versus the support and foundation they were built on.

I received one such advertisement urging conservative Christians to vote (presumably for neo-conservative policies in the Republican platform), and to spur them on five historic heroes were pictured with accompanying quotes. Continue reading

New Letter from Youcef Nadarkhani

“Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” Matthew 5:11-12

Youcef Nadarkhani – Christian pastor imprisoned in Iran – has now been in jail over . You can read the original letter in Farsi here (PDF).

Greetings from your servant and younger brother in Christ, Youcef Nadarkhani.

To: All those who are concerned and worried about my current situation.

First, I would like to inform all of my beloved brothers and sisters that I am in perfect health in the flesh and spirit. And I try to have a little different approach from others to these days, and consider it as the day of exam and trial of my faith. And in these days which are hard in order to prove your loyalty and sincerity to God, I am trying to do the best in my power to stay right with what I have learned from God’s commandments. Continue reading

Milton Friedman on Legislating Morality


I don’t agree with everything from the Milton Friedman-U of C school of thought. In fact, there are parts even in this brief segment that I have strong reservations about.

But is anyone strong enough to disagree with his opening assertion?

There is a fundamental economic law – which has never been contradicted to the best of my knowledge – and that is that if you pay more for something, there will tend to be more of that something available. If the amount you are willing to pay for anything goes up, somehow or other, somebody will supply more of that thing.

We have made immoral behavior far more profitable. We have, in the course of the changes in our society, been establishing greater and greater incentives on people to behave in ways that most of us regard as immoral.

If this is correct, how may this insight be applied to current moral challenges?

Reflections on the Iowa Caucus

As they were related to me from Concord & Garfield Townships of Hancock County:
Gingrich: 25%
Santorum: 22%
Paul & Romney: 18% (tie)
Perry & Bachman: 8-10% (tie)

For the entire state:
Romney: 25%
Santorum: 25%
Paul: 21%
Gingrich: 13%

If Gingrich is taken out of the front runner position, the results look much closer to the state’s overall results. I wonder how much of Gingrich’s positioning is the result of a dinner & speech event he held at Mason City, IA (20 min. away) several weeks ago. Clearly, the two townships represented at this caucus were just slightly out of step with the rest of the state. It will interesting to see how Iowa, and Hancock county more specifically, matches up to New Hampshire and national primary votes for the GOP candidate. Continue reading