what does god think about healthcare reform?

Category : living a life of faith

Today was an historic day in this country.  Major healthcare legislation was passed.  This legislation has been highly polarizing, meaning that you are thrilled or dejected, excited or fearful, energized or overwhelmed.  I rarely talk about politics here, because faith isn’t about joining a political party.

This is the lesson the disciples had a hard time understanding.  The disciples fully believed Jesus was going to reign as a new David-like King.  That he was going to kick the Romans out, free the Jews from oppression, and make them world players.

They were so wrong.

Sounds a lot like today, huh?

A lot of people are terrified of this legislation because it threatens their way of life.  They see healthcare “reform” as bankrupting the country.  Almost certainly changing America’s standing as a world power.  And, according to some, may not actually improve healthcare at all.  Ironically it may make it worse.

So they are upset. They are fearful.  And they are angry.

That’s why I wanted to talk about this today.  This is an important conversation.  The stakes are high.  If we don’t act today, we may be doomed.  But the stakes aren’t for what most of us think.  We aren’t playing for healthcare; we are playing for something much more important.  We are playing for the Kingdom and eternity.  Unfortunately most of us don’t keep that in mind as we respond to the passing political whims of the day.  We get caught up in the excitement and the emotion, and we forget where our true loyalties must lie.

When we belong to the Kingdom, we play by different rules.  And no matter what happens, we need to live by those rules.  Not by what makes our lives easier or more comfortable.  That’s the radical and revolutionary nature of God.

Even if healthcare reform is worse than all those predictions – it is nothing compared to what believers have experienced through the centuries.  It is nothing compared to Daniel being thrown to the lions, or Paul being thrown in jail, or the early Christians in Rome being burned alive.

We are called to live by Kingdom standards no matter what’s happening to us in the world at large.

This holds true for people who love the healthcare bill too.

Don’t think this is a post just for Republicans.  This is a post for Democrats as well.  If you are thrilled by the legislation, where is your faith?  Is it in government reform?  Or God?

Is healthcare reform good or bad?  That’s not for me to say.  That’s for political pundits to discuss.  What I’m concerned about is living out a life of faith.  And it seems to me that no matter which political party we belong to, we are all too quick to throw God under the bus.  We’re all too ready to live our lives without him.  We are quick to put our hopes into political parties, wealth, or our intelligence.

Thousands of years later, we make the same mistakes the disciples did – we root for the wrong Kingdom.

photo provided by flickr user boliston

politics and faith

Category : God, Jeremiah, barbarian, different, faith, hope, living a life of faith, trust

……….

Election day.  There may not be any other day that so many Americans get worked up and angry over.  Besides the obvious Sunday of football.  While some people say that elections are becoming more “vicious” and “partisan”, I think they’ve always been that way.  Last time I checked there haven’t been any pistol duels in Washington recently.

Politics can be exciting.  A lot can ride on an election.  We’ve seen this in the last few elections.  About a third of the country despised the direction of the USA under George Bush.  Now about a third of the country despises the direction of the USA under Obama.  We seem to be evenly balanced in our dislike of political trends.

So if there is so much tension, anger and animosity, why do we get so worked up about politics?

For some elections and politics represent the hope of change.  That’s what Obama campaigned on.  Although he wasn’t the first, he might have been the best at it.  For others it represents the continuation of the status quo. Their party gets to stay in power.  They get to call the shots.

Ultimately it boils down to one fact: elections can have profound consequences.

So what does this mean for someone who believes in God?  How do politics and faith mesh?  Especially when you are living out a life of faith?  I wish I had an answer for you.  I don’t know how you balance the two.  I don’t know if people of faith should be involved in politics.  I don’t know if they should stay out of politics.  There are certainly disadvantages to both choices.  And there are compelling reasons to do either.

But what I do know is God warns us to be careful of believing too much in human-only solutions.

“Cursed is the one who trusts in man,
who depends on flesh for his strength
and whose heart turns away from the LORD.”

(Jeremiah 17: 5)

For many believers I think politics has taken on a primary importance because at their core, they don’t fully trust that God is in charge.  They aren’t quite on board with believing that God really is acting.  I recognize that paints with a broad brush.  I know many Christians who are fully on board with God’s plans.  But I also know many people who don’t know what it means to submit to God and trust him.  And there are some days I can’t fault them for that.  When we hear news of disaster, rape, murder, or other horrific things, it’s easy to wonder exactly how all this fits into some kind of “plan.”

God, though, is very clear on this.  We need to trust him in all circumstances.  Not just when things are running smoothly.  That’s the point of the book of Job.  Job needed to trust God, not because Job’s life was good, but because God is, well, God.

God hammers this point home to Jeremiah too.

“But blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD,
whose confidence is in him.
He will be like a tree planted by the water
that sends out its roots by the stream.
It does not fear when heat comes;
its leaves are always green.
It has no worries in a year of drought
and never fails to bear fruit.”
(Jeremiah 17: 7-8)

Jeremiah’s mission was to deliver a message of destruction and punishment to his country.  That’s not easy sailing.  But God reminds him – don’t place your trust in the human solution.  Place your trust in my solution.

Whatever your politics, if you are a believer than it is your responsibility to put your trust in God, not in elections.  Elections can be important.  God may even want you to be involved.  But never at the expense of your first allegiance: to the Kingdom.

faith applied to life

Category : choice, different, faith, fear, sin, taking action

  

Sometimes people don’t always see how their faith impacts their life.  “It’s a personal thing” or “it’s between myself and God” are expressions of this idea.  But faith, and the way you live your life, can never be separated.  What you believe impacts how you behave.

Just look at the financial mess the world is facing.  While there are so many factors, perhaps too many to understand, that have triggered these events there is one thing we can look at: human behavior.  We see executives taking huge amounts of money while their companies go under.  Is there anything wrong with this?  Maybe not.  But can you imagine Jesus doing this?  The point of being a Kingdom person is that we are willing to sacrifice everything for our brothers and sisters. 

Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends (John 15: 13)

The same should be true of the people we place in government.  Unfortunately it’s not.  By the time this is all said and done we will find politicians on both sides of the aisle (and other world leaders) who knowingly acted for their own welfare, sacrificing the welfare of their countries.  God warned Israel that the minute they put a king over them instead of God, the best of everything they had would belong to the state. 

But Christians can change this.  Not by forcing non-Christians to live by God’s rules, but by living out those rules for ourselves.  There is nothing more powerful than witnessing a life lived out in faith.  Nothing more convincing that God exists.

So in the midst of all of this, remember that faith applies to your life, just as much as it does to CEO’s and Senators.