Saturday, June 27, 2009

Prayer for Healthcare Justice

If there is among you anyone in need, a member of your community in any of your towns within the land that the LORD your God is giving you, do not be hard-hearted or tight-fisted toward your neighbor. You should rather open your hand, willingly lending enough to meet the need, whatever it may be. – Deuteronomy 15:7-8 (NRSV)


Please join me in praying that President Obama’s public option plan is included in the final product of healthcare reform. Of course, we want God’s will to be done. Should I be in error, then it is best if this does not pass. However I cannot imagine that the public option health plan would not be in tune with God’s will.

Please pray with me for this to happen. It amazes me when I hear Christians say, “Well, I can only pray”. ONLY PRAY? While we don’t understand the deep mystery that is prayer, we do acknowledge that it is powerful beyond measure. Let us pray with our words, our mental images, our feelings, and our actions. (Contacting our representatives certainly counts as an act of prayer!)

Dear Lord, I pray that you help this nation to embrace and enact a healthcare system that provides for everybody’s needs regardless of ability to pay. I pray that the emergency room stops being the primary care provider for anybody. I pray that all people receive preventative care, comfort care, and that they are treated with dignity. Not my will, but your will be done. In Jesus’ name we pray. AMEN.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

President Roosevelt on Freedom

Franklin Delano Roosevelt proclaimed four freedoms. Below are his own words as found in his January 6, 1941 State of the Union Address to the Congress.

“ In the future days, which we seek to make secure, we look forward to a world founded upon four essential human freedoms.

The first is freedom of speech and expression--everywhere in the world.

The second is freedom of every person to worship God in his own way--everywhere in the world.

The third is freedom from want--which, translated into universal terms, means economic understandings which will secure to every nation a healthy peacetime life for its inhabitants--everywhere in the world.

The fourth is freedom from fear--which, translated into world terms, means a world-wide reduction of armaments to such a point and in such a thorough fashion that no nation will be in a position to commit an act of physical aggression against any neighbor--anywhere in the world.

That is no vision of a distant millennium. It is a definite basis for a kind of world attainable in our own time and generation. That kind of world is the very antithesis of the so-called new order of tyranny which the dictators seek to create with the crash of a bomb.”

Freedom of Speech and Expression: There is no freedom unless one is free to speak their mind without fear of government oppression. This includes freedom to express ideas that are offensive and foolish. We can disagree with one another, but we must never try to silence another.

Freedom to Worship: Worship that is imposed is no worship at all. Worship can only happen when one freely chooses to engage in it. In our post-modern world we must support all people to worship as they see fit. This is true whether we are speaking of Christians, Jews, Buddhists, Wiccans, Hindus, or any other faith. Equally important is openness to those who choose to not to worship at all.

Freedom from Want: This comes down to economic justice. God gives more than enough for every person on earth to have plenty. Scarcity is due to sins of distribution. Freedom without basic necessities is merely an abstraction. All of God’s children need the basics of a decent and healthy life. A sustained and meaningful peace depends upon this.

Freedom from Fear: One cannot be truly free if they are a prisoner in their own home. Imagine the fear on the streets of Pakistan and Afghanistan. For that matter, there is fear on the streets of Kansas City. We need to work for a safe world in which people are free to walk down the streets at night. We need a world safe enough so that a child can assume that she/he will live to see adulthood.

FDR did not limit the scope of these freedoms to the United States. He laid out a vision for worldwide freedom. Can you imagine a world in which these four freedoms are realized? As a Christian, I believe it will happen. As a human, I believe I have a responsibility to work for it.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Rest In Peace Dr. George Tiller

Dr. George Tiller was gunned down in his church on Sunday morning. Dr. Tiller dedicated his life to providing health care for women. He was murdered by a coward. May God bless the soul of Dr. Tiller. May God bless the family of Dr. Tiller.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Auto Industry Blues

Proverbs 29:7 - The righteous know the rights of the poor; the wicked have no such understanding.

Tax dollars have been given to the U.S. auto makers. For this I am glad. Yet will the women and men who rely on these jobs be taken into account? Will the retooling of General Motors mean more outsourcing and layoffs? What is the point of saving the auto industry if we don't save American jobs? It seems as if the only thing that will be "saved" for GM is the name. Of course I suspect the higher ups will end up smelling like a rose. It will be the average worker who is hurt. Stimulating the economy should mean stimulating everybody's economy, not just the well-to-do.

God cares about the rights of the poor. Let us hope and pray that today's auto workers are not tomorrow's poor. A note to the U.S. auto industry: DO THE RIGHT THING!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Bob Dylan's Masters of War

Masters of War
------Bob Dylan

Come you masters of war
You that build the big guns
You that build the death planes
You that build all the bombs
You that hide behind walls
You that hide behind desks
I just don't want you to know
I can see through your masks

You that never done nothin'
But build to destroy
You play with my world
Like it's your little toy
You put a gun in my hand
And you hide from my eyes
And you turn and run farther
When the fast bullets fly

Like Judas of old
You lie and deceive
A world war can be won
You want me to believe
But I see through your eyes
And I see through your brain
Like I see through the water
That runs down my drain

You fasten all the triggers
For the others to fire
Then you set back and watch
While the death count gets higher
Then you hide in your mansion
While the young people's blood
Flows out of their bodies
And is buried in the mud

You've thrown the worst fear
That can ever be hurled
Fear to bring children
Into the world
For threatening my baby
Unborn and unnamed
You ain't worth the blood
That runs in your veins

How much do I know
To talk out of turn
You might say that I'm young
You might say I'm unlearned
But there's one thing I know
Though I'm younger than you
Even Jesus would never
Forgive what you do

Let me ask you one question
Is your money that good
Will it buy you forgiveness
Do you think that it could
I think you will find
When your death takes its toll
All the money you made
Will never buy back your soul

And I hope that you die
And your death'll come soon
I will follow your casket
In the pale afternoon
And I'll watch while you're lowered
Down to your deathbed
And I'll stand o'er your grave
'Til I'm sure that you're dead

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Humanity's Power

Please read Acts 1:1-11.

This is a great text. It paints a creative and beautiful image that inspires and comforts. There are two things that are jumping out at me in this present time. I say "in this present time" because the scriptures are alive and creative. They meet us where we are with the proper challenge and comfort for our situation. Below are the two things that are jumping out at me now. Perhaps you will find them meaningful as well.

VSS 6-7: So when they had come together, they asked him, "Lord, is this the time when you will restore the kingdom to Israel?" He replied, "It is not for you to know the times or periods that the Father has set by his own authority...."

- The followers asked a question that is in their hearts and minds. It comes from their worldview. Notice that Jesus does not berate them for this, but he does not answer it either. Rather he states that we need not worry about when God will set things right. Further, he does not confirm or deny their belief that God will "restore the kingdom to Israel". I feel certain that nobody can truly grasp God's plans for the future. Religions point to ideas that help us get by, but God is God and will do whatever is best for all involved.

- Since Jesus stated that we are not to concern ourselves with the times of God's future actions, perhaps this gives us both permission and instruction to work for the betterment of creation. It is true, in my opinion, that we are incapable of bringing about perfect peace and justice. BUT that does not mean that we are to twiddle our thumbs and wait for God to fix things. We have work to do. The work is meaningful. The work of bettering creation is meaningful in and of itself. We are blessed in the work as creation is blessed by our work. (By creation I mean all that is God's: environment, justice, peace, animals....)

VS 8: "But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witness in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth."

- This is great news. We have power. No, make that POWER! The Holy Spirit grants us power beyond measure. We can use this power to make the world a better place. While you are at it, don't forget to use the power for yourself. In my opinion it is utter nonsense to claim that we are not to seek happiness for ourselves as well as others. No more martyrs thank you very much.

- We have POWER to live a full and vibrant life. This life will be brimming over with service for others. Perhaps you will use your power to serve face to face with those in need. Perhaps you will use your power to communicate ideas of uplift and justice. Perhaps you will do both...and much more!

- Discernment: Here is the bug-a-boo. It is an observable fact that decent and intelligent Christians disagree on social issues. As I write this post there are people of faith protesting the University of Notre Dame because President Obama is speaking there. These folks are upset because he supports Roe v Wade. I do not share their view, but I respect their passion. Another example of differing views is that I support single-payer (universal) health care for the United States. I arrive that this through my understanding of Jesus. It is obvious that many thoughtful and caring Christians disagree with me. Still, I'm going to use my Holy Spirit POWER to work for this. All I'm trying to communicate at this point is that we can only do the best we can when it comes to discerning God's truth. Nobody will get it completely right. We need to discern and live out our discernment. We also need to love and respect those who differ from us. We can disagree and still meet on the top of God's holy mountain.

I encourage you to fully embrace the POWER that you already possess thanks to the Holy Spirit. I too will work to fully embrace this POWER. Let us live this day to the fullest!

God bless you.

Brian

Friday, May 8, 2009

Mother's Day

By clicking the title of this thread you can read "Mother's Day Proclamation - 1870" by Julia Ward Howe. It appears that Mother's Day began as a peace movement driven by women. While we honor mother's this Sunday let us remember, out loud or silently, the origins of this day.

Happy Mother's Day!
Brian