Usually, I take less than minimal interest in the ways congressmen or women choose to decorate their DC offices. It’s mostly trivial to me. However, when a congressman decides to go with the Downton Abbey motif (at a cost of $40,000), that piques my curiosity (and causes me to question his wisdom). The unfortunate revelations surrounding U.S. Rep. Aaron Schock (R-IL) have gradually surfaced, leading to his resignation announcement today.
Schock made a pretty big impression in the nation’s capital. He recently was described this way by Politico: The guy might just be America’s most photogenic congressman. The Men’s Health cover (above) dates from June 2011. The congressman rose quickly through the ranks and enjoyed wide margins of victory in his most recent elections. Continue reading “The Shocking Lure of Celebrity”→
An article in today’s The Guardian caught my attention. In an especially humanizing piece, author Ed Pilkington (in Fayetteville, Arkansas, the byline notes) offers a thoughtful presentation that Hillary Clinton’s Arkansas Friends reveal a woman wanting to win on her own terms.
As with the aforementioned post, my post also originates in Fayetteville, Arkansas. And I, not normally a Hillary-watcher, found Pilkington’s observations interesting. The piece is an effort to set into context Mrs. Clinton’s email debacle news conference (earlier this week). Contrasting her admissions of failure, er, stupidity, er, desire for privacy and convenience to the frustrations of her earlier years and a determination to do things her way, Pilkington unveils a canvas painted by those closest to her. Continue reading “Winning On One’s Own Terms”→
If, like me, you’re chomping at the bit to have these elections over (as in totally O-V-E-R-!), tomorrow is our day to get the thing behind us. I have to admit, when Rachel of Card Services called me last week, it was almost a relief … because the call wasn’t from someone doing polling or urging me to get out and vote! (What really got my dander up was the caller ID when Rachel’s call came through said Vanguard! Really?)Back to Election Day tomorrow, I’m ready. It’s amazing how many campaign ads are being run during every commercial break … on television, on radio, on social media! It’s seems hardly possible that I’m beginning to miss the State Farm jealous wife middle-of-the-night ads (What are you wearing, Jake from State Farm?) as well as the various Cialis ads. No, I’m probably not missing them, just surprised they’re being so thoroughly edged out by all the political ads I guess.
Because my Beloved and I are one of the diminishing number of US households that continues to maintain a landline, we’ve gotten used to contending with repeated calls from Heather and/or Rachel from Card Services. Yes, our number is on the Do Not Call Registry. I’ve even gone so far as requesting the phone company block certain numbers. For a short period of time, I even went through the process of filing regular “complaints” on the Do Not Call website. A lot of good that did … wasting more of my time. But the aggravation from these telemarketer/ scammers has continued unabated.
The 2012 news reports that purport a successful FTC action against Heather (including jail time) have yet to be borne out by my experience as she’s still getting through to me. (Is she calling from jail?) As for Rachel, I think she’s still calling, but I’ve stopped answering.
Now, with the Mid-Term Election only three weeks from today, we’ve once more entered that crazy lunatic land populated by non-stop Robocalls and Opinion Polls. Because we’re in Arkansas where there are a number of hotly-contested races, the political ads have been running since March and the polling has seemed almost constant since Labor Day. Continue reading “No(!) Opinion”→
The religion of Islam permits a man to divorce his wife through the thrice-repeated pronouncement of ṭalāq. Given today’s deadline for filing income taxes, plenty of folks all over the country — RIGHT NOW! — wish a simple “I divorce thee, I divorce thee, I divorce thee!” would suffice to sever the bonds that inextricably tie us to this overtaxing, overspending, insatiable monster called government.
Many American taxpayers find themselves in the untenable position of doing what they consider to be “right” (paying their taxes) and “wrong” (funding government’s irresponsible and socialist practices). Recall the pre-Revolution complaint “No Taxation Without Representation!” It was one basis for our Declaration of Independence. The concept is as relevant today.
What does the Bible teach? Is it biblical for a Christian to opt-out “for conscience’ sake” (Romans 13:5) ?
Aside: I ran across a Tweet and its blog rebuttal betwixt my two adult daughters. My (unsolicited!) contribution demanded more than 140 characters but elder daughter’s blog comments were disabled; thus my post here. Elder daughter’s first post (with younger daughter’s Tweet prominent) and a companion post are thought-provoking (recommended) reading.
Second Aside: Comments about same-sex marriage (which prompted the original Tweet/blog exchange) are reserved for another occasion.
Third Aside: If my comments here seem lop-sided, it’s only because elder daughter provided posts while younger daughter opined in a single Tweet.
… Enough disclaimers! Elder daughter’s post Married to Government makes many points with which I agree. I won’t address the Erick Erickson column, except to note I concur how laughable it is to employ euphemism (gay marriage vs. civil unions), the “mental gymnastics” that only promotes cognitive dissonance. Ugh!
So, let’s do as elder daughter proposes: reconsider Romans 13. By titling this post Divorced From Government, my hope is to draw balanced parallels between my elder daughter’s post and my own. She argues that many Christians blindly affirm the belief that Romans 13 dictates robotic fealty to government. She challenges this autopilot mindset.
For my part, I agree with her critique! Any Scripture passage viewed in isolation makes possible a myriad of errors. It’s appropriate to question how one may judiciously weigh Romans 13 (Paul’s treatise) against Peter’s Acts 5:29 declaration, “We will obey God rather than men.” Do Peter’s words contradict Paul’s?
Fourth Aside: My elder daughter describes Romans 13 as “the favorite Bible passage of would-be tyrants” − a debatable charge (in my view). Seldom have tyrants (would-be or otherwise) sought or needed Scripture’s imprimatur to justify their misdeeds. But I quibble.
Elder daughter supplies a compelling list of saints who stood firmly against oppressive rule. These saints keenly remind us of God’s infinite grace in the midst of grievous circumstances. However, if we focus only on their choice to obey God, we ignore the “parade of believers” who were subject to the tyrant’s brutal whim.
Having celebrated earlier this month the Resurrection of Christ, I reflect how unlike Peter (in Acts 5) Jesus was. In fact, when the soldiers came to seize Jesus, this same Acts 5 Peter drew his sword and cut off the ear of a slave. The Son of Man instantly admonished Peter: “Put your sword away! Shall I not drink the cup the Father has given me?” (NIV)
Peter’s instinct was to wield his sword against an unjust arrest. Yet, in remarkable contrast, Jesus’ mission from the Father enabled him to surrender Himself to the soldiers. Neither man’s actions belie the truth of Romans 13 (that “there is no authority except that which God has established” NIV) nor, in my view, would either man’s actions condemn the other’s. They were both intent on fulfilling the Father’s will in their lives.
My elder daughter observes: “Most governments FAIL God’s standard ….” (She’s usually more circumspect about all or nothing statements than I am.) Still, I think she’d actually agree with my contention that ALL governments inevitably and repeatedly fail God’s standard.
So let’s return this discussion to April 15, 2013, and as elder daughter maintains, we must choose as did the Founders. When it comes to government diktat (in this instance, the payment of one’s income taxes), we each determine whether and when to prudently submit or stand in defiance. Neither action represents a superior position, but rather the call of God in an individual’s life.
May I humbly suggest that viewing the “witness of Scripture as a whole” requires balance wherein both submitting and standing in defiance must be compatible.
Men like Daniel are rare, but when our commitment is to serve the Lord, we know with confidence that we’re in His hands “to will and to work for His good pleasure.” (Philippians 2:13) The ultimate outcome belongs to Him.