Tuesday, October 30, 2012

It’s Not Just Fear Not, But Trust!

We have just a final thought on fear in disasters.  Then a quick thought or two on the latest political push. I’m actually writing this a couple of days early and may publish it a day early, to make sure it goes public.  Hurricane Sandy is aiming right for the area of the Midatlantic region where I live.  So, who knows if I’ll continue to have power?  So far, on Monday morning, the winds are picking up but steady at maybe 20 miles an hour.  Tonight and tomorrow could prove more interesting.  And that leads to more thoughts on fear.

One thing that’s clear in the Bible is that fear is one of Satan’s favorite weapons.  Maybe, in part, because it causes pain.  But I believe his main use for fear is to immobilize people.  If you’re an unbeliever and get hit with fear, you’re too busy dealing with the problem yourself to think about seeing if God can handle it and it might be time for a relationship with Him.  If you’re a believer, fear gets you to stop focusing on God.  Instead, you’re looking at the problem and yourself.  Either way, it keeps people from connecting with God and learning that trust we all really should have.

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“Words are sacred.  They deserve respect.  If you get the right ones, in the right order, you can nudge the world a little.” – Tom Stoppard

Writers Write posted that on Facebook.  And it highlights a very real problem, particularly with some of the campaign rhetoric.  There’s an old acronym, FUD, that describes a lot of what goes on with this election's ads.  For those who don’t recognize the term FUD, it’s short for fear, uncertainty, doubt.  So, before the election’s done, let’s look at some of those tactics.

One of the ads against same sex marriage  says that, after same sex marriage was passed in Massachusetts, it was introduced as part of the second grade school curriculum without any notification to parents and not allowing them to remove their child from that segment of the course.  The counter-ad has a teacher holding up Maryland’s same sex marriage act and saying that’s not in the law – a non-answer.  It supposedly wasn’t in the act passed in Massachusetts, either.  It was something that changed after same sex marriage was in place as a law.  One apparently leading to the other.  The response is FUD.

There’s another ad with a family man, “Todd”, barbequeing.  He tells the camera that everyone knows someone gay and he doesn’t want to be the one to tell a gay friend that they couldn’t be committed to whoever they wanted because his vote got in the way.  That says two things.  “Todd” either has no values or doesn’t have the backbone to stand up for what he believes.  Either way, that’s not good.  The second is that, the last time I looked, no ceremony or legalization created commitment.  It may legalize it and celebrate it, but we discussed that last time.  If you need a ceremony to commit to someone, then you don't really have commitment.  This ad is another example of FUD.

Then there’s the one that just plain offends me.  It’s a brief anti-conservative cartoon strip that takes redistribution of wealth, compares it to Jesus feeding the masses, and suggests that redistribution is feeding the poor like He did.  Let’s read that passage.

Matthew 14:13-21 (KJV) When Jesus heard of it, he departed thence by ship into a desert place apart: and when the people had heard thereof, they followed him on foot out of the cities.  And Jesus went forth, and saw a great multitude, and was moved with compassion toward them, and he healed their sick.  And when it was evening, his disciples came to him, saying, This is a desert place, and the time is now past; send the multitude away, that they may go into the villages, and buy themselves victuals.  But Jesus said unto them, They need not depart; give ye them to eat. 
And they say unto him, We have here but five loaves, and two fishes.  He said, Bring them hither to me.  And he commanded the multitude to sit down on the grass, and took the five loaves, and the two fishes, and looking up to heaven, he blessed, and brake, and gave the loaves to his disciples, and the disciples to the multitude.  And they did all eat, and were filled: and they took up of the fragments that remained twelve baskets full.  And they that had eaten were about five thousand men, beside women and children.
 
Redistribution takes away some of what one person has earned and gives it to another who hasn’t earned it.  In this passage, we see Jesus take the loaves and fishes and multiply them to feed the 5,000.  When He was done, there wasn’t the boy’s one basket left, there were twelve basketsful left over!  Jesus gave back more than He took.  Are Msrs. Obama, Biden, Bernanke and their followers suggesting they can do the same without messing up the economy even more than it already is?  And are they suggesting that, unlike Jesus, we should ignore what Proverbs and other passages suggest ought to be the results of being sluggard and refusing to work?  If we look at Matthew 26:11, Mark 14:7, and John 12:8, Jesus even suggests that the spiritual life takes precedence over feeding the poor.  The poor would always be with us.
 
There’s a lesson, here.  We gain nothing spiritually by taking from one to give to another.  And we don’t help anyone by feeding them, despite a refusal to earn their keep.  Yes, there are those, like Mephibosheth, who truly need assistance.  They end up at the table, being served.  Also, the giver gains nothing if his giving is either forced or is done so others can see his good works.  But teach a man proper spirituality and he’ll voluntarily give to those who really are in need.  I don’t recall a single agency of our government that teaches the spiritual first, so that giving is a natural response.
 
I don’t usually spend so much time on politics.  But there are so many spiritual untruths, this year, that I just had to respond to some of them.  Whatever your beliefs, stay safe in the storm, then go vote.  Truth is important.

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