Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Further Clarification on Pacifism/Guns

I guess it is possible to assume from a previous post that I have pacifist leanings. But recently, in my son's "reading book" published by an Anabaptist source, a story came up which took the didactic posture that calling the police on someone who commited or would commit a crime against you constitutes disobedience to God. Further, it was deemed to be sin if somebody locked their doors at night, as this evidenced a lack of faith in the protection of God.

Now before I start, I would say that there are, admittedly, cases where seeking justice against an offender is not the best course. What if your victimizer is close to repentance, for one possible example?

The issue is not as simple as all one perspective or another. Again, be like Solomon and pray for wisdom. Ecclesiastes 4 is again the governing principle. To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven. Having said that, I believe there are more dangers from a passive response than a justice model. If you do not seek justice, you may live with anger the rest of your life. And the wrath of man does not work the righteousness of God. Are any of us prepared to carry that anger the rest of our days?

When my son was younger, I had a practice of occasionally omitting punishment from him when it was due. This was to teach to concept of Grace. My hope was that he would experience the feelings of lack of justice, and understand that God dealt justly with our sin at the cross, and on that basis, can forgive us. But that did not mean that, most of the time, I took a lenient position with him.

Of course, we face that old "what if he/she does it to somebody else" question. If you believe that is a real possibility, then it almost seems immoral not to seek justice. So again, my answer is going to be frustrating to the "binary" mind that only wants one definitive answer once for all, in all situations.

For once in my life, I did not try to explain all of this to my 11-year old. Let him grow up and at least become a teenager before he tries to tackle biblically-derived ethical questions. Right now, that is like trying to have him bench press 400 pounds. We are just not going to read the aforementioned story. That is not a cop-out. That is parental wisdom, preparing the mind of my son in accordance with the way he should go.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Roping and Tying the Straying Life

Does anybody else resonate with that? It is so easy to go astray from reality. Specifically with me, it has been in the area of listening to conservative talk radio. Yep. You read correctly.

The basic philosophical problem with conservative media is not that it calls government overspending immoral, detests abortion, insists on citizens taking personal responsibility for their lives, and favors family values. The problem is that without a unifying life principle, all of it falls apart and is impossible to keep. This kind of media still does not look at man as fallen, and in need of restoration to a PERSON, God, through Jesus Christ. It can't do that. It still cannot call one religion superior to all the rest. Still politically incorrect.

Our pastor at church doesn't play that way. Recently he preached on Galatians 1 and highlighted the curse on anyone with any other gospel. He set forth the thought that it is either the Gospel or a curse. Do we get it practically. Do I get it? Everything, yes everything in our experience mitigates against the simple gospel. Even conservatism. Did not the Pharisees prove that?

I believe people's consciences really do have a sense that many of the conservative principles are right. I myself, feel a lot better when I work for my own money rather than having government handouts, for example. But it is possible to be centered on the principles and not the person of Christ.

What all this means is philosophically, in my estimation, is the needed ability not to separate relationships from principles. Principles serve relationships, and are meaningless apart from them. (by the way, I also think children get dysfunctional not because their parents have no rules, but because they are starved for the meaning brought to them by healthy relationship) God gave the law so we could know God, not so that we could simply walk around with lists we rigorously keep.

How then should we evaluate "conservative" media? The answer may have to wait. For my part, I am taking a month-long fast from listening to any media, conservative, liberal, or otherwise. Time to focus on implementing the principles and laying the groundwork for actually doing them in the context of a relationship with Christ and his church.