April 28, 2016

Throwback Thursday: Angry Facebook Mobs

Throwback Thursday is a series of posts, wherein I will on (some) Thursdays post a piece of writing from back in the day. Generally not from this blog. I will edit lightly for readability, but my intention is to allow each piece to stand basically as written. Over the years my mind has shifted on many things, as my knowledge of life, the Scriptures, and myself has grown. I'm not in the business of hiding this fact, so these will probably (at least on occasion) contain some things which even I think are crazy.

Originally posted on Facebook as: "Because apparently I belong in the White House...or jail" January 4, 2010

So I posted a status about appreciating real news and started World War 7...or whatever World War we are on now. So I thought it prudent to examine some of what other people had to say there, and take the time to flesh my thoughts out more thoroughly.

My original point was that I was thankful for a source of news where I got just that - news. News pertaining to the larger and more important issues of our day. This would most definitely include politics, both on the national and world scale. I took three examples at random that would fit into my 420 character space of a Facebook status. Apparently I picked three that made people very angry. I guess it's more fun to shoot a cow if it's sacred.

First- Sports. Yes, I do love my sports. I love watching football (although the NFL is becoming more sissy and feminized by the day, which is rather sickening) and baseball. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE sports, and there are a lot of benefits. There are many life lessons to be learned through playing sports not the least of which are hard work, dedication, working together with other people, and submission to authority (coaches). All important stuff. And I enjoy watching sports, and have no problem with sports themselves. What I do have a problem with is when people start worshiping them at the expense of other things. Our culture of 24 hour sports coverage is really silly. We focus our lives on them, to the point where people neglect their responsibilities, gamble away their money; men neglect their families, over what? Two teams of fifty some guys trying to cross a line carrying a piece of leather in their hands? That is plain foolishness. I agree, great recreation, and it's nice every once in a while to watch a game and just forget about everything else in the world. But when this becomes a pattern in our lives, it really is nothing more than childish denial. Denial that there is a real world and that we are the ones responsible for taking care of it.
As far as the Olympics representing national pride and such and such. Bunk. Perhaps 30 years ago they were still relevant, but outside of Michael Phelps and Usain Bolt, I'm going to go out on a limb and say 80% of us don't know and really don't care who any of the other Olympic athletes were in 2008. And when those people won, did we celebrate what great countries they came from, or did we celebrate their great personal achievements? No, I really don't think any national identity is derived from sports, that may have been the case in the past, but I think most countries and people are worried about other things. Some third world countries run by Communists or Dictatorships put a great deal of focus on it, but that is merely in an attempt to puff themselves up and put on a nice show before the world in an attempt to shove many of their huge flaws underneath the proverbial rug.

Another issue I have is the focus on these celebrities’ lives; who really cares that Tiger Woods cheated on his wife? It really is no more egregious than your neighbor doing the exact same thing (not to downplay the moral/sin implications here, or to imply that in any way cheating on his wife was okay); it really didn't deserve non-stop coverage for days on end. Steroids. Who cares that Barry Bonds was juicing? While North Korea and Iran are producing nuclear weapons and insisting violence against us and our allies, Congress was investigating whether MLB players were using steroids. It's BASEBALL!!! Yes, steroids are against the rules, MLB can deal with that. Yes, they are illegal; the police can deal with that. But instead it gets so hyped up by the media that Congress decides they need to stick their porky fingers into something where they have no business.

I guess my summary statement would be that sports should be just what they used to be referred to as- a "pastime". Something used to pass time, and to be an occasional escape. Occasional. Because there is a real world out there that demands our attention.

Next- Global warming. I will admit, I have not done a ton of research on this. I have seen numbers, from both sides of the argument, and the few and far between bi-partisan groups looking into the issue. First off-there is absolutely no question that over the course of the 20th Century there was a definite warming trend in our world. This was, however, not a large temperature increase. It also is not (contrary to popular belief) a result of increased CO2 in the atmosphere, in fact CO2 levels actually followed temperatures upward. So while I do not believe CO2 to be a major issue, I do find it humorous that those "doing something" about it (the Al Gores and George Soros or the world) emit more "greenhouse gases" flying around telling us that we need to stop doing just that. Quite an illustration of hypocrisy.
I do however, believe as a Christian that God entrusted us with the care of this planet, and that we ought to be conservationists. Not environmentalists or protectionists, who would stop human progress in the name of saving a tree or an owl. But in Genesis God gives man dominion over the earth, which with it implies responsibility to care for this place we call home. This is an area where on one hand I get really annoyed with the hype, because I do not find it justified, but as Christians I also believe it is dangerous to completely dismiss any concerns for the environment, because to do so is to abdicate a God given responsibility, and therefore it is sin.

Third on the agenda, politics...wow. Big one. This one is something I have wrestled a lot with lately because I haven't had a lot of direction in my life. All I've known is that I need to write and I need to speak. Two of the main professions where both of these are done are being a minister and being a politician...two occupations which seem diametrically opposed at the core, yet are truly the only things I have any passion for anymore. So I was quite confused. And I came to the conclusion that any political movement of force starts at the bottom, which means it must start in people's hearts, which means the way I could best affect the political scene would be not running for office, but by preaching the Word of God. But then comes a major pitfall, that being losing the focus on people and their relationship with God, and simply using Christianity as a means to a political end. This in the end would not only be unfruitful, but sinful and wrong. It really misses the fact that the Gospel is truly a powerful thing that touches not blind masses, but individuals. Jesus died to save your soul from Hell, not save us from nationalized health care. So then I wrestled in my head more what I was supposed to do, and the conclusion I came to is this. God has given me a vision for what would happen if people's hearts were changed. Ultimately, who is in power will be determined by God, but it generally is an outworking and expression of where the heart of the people is at. So essentially, Christians need to quit focusing solely on issues. Don't get me wrong, saving marriage as the union of one man and one woman is important. Stopping the murder of unborn children is important. Making sure that we're free to express our beliefs is important. But in the end, it's people's hearts that matter. Not as a means to an end, but the end. Christians go about change backwards. We try to control people's actions to conform to our beliefs, when in reality it is foolish to even think that way. People will ultimately act out what they believe, and that's what we need to focus on. People. Their beliefs, their thoughts, motives, and their inmost being. Because they need Jesus. So my summary here would be that as Christians we need to focus less on issues and more on people. Now in our concern for people it will behoove us to push for certain types of government and to support certain leaders, but this is not our end goal. Jesus came to save people because He loved them, now it's our job to convey that love to them.

4th- Little kids saving cats...I hate cats...I think that covers that one fairly well. 

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About Me

Follower of Jesus. Husband of one. Father of four. Pastor at Remsen Bible Fellowship (remsenbible.com).