Friday, December 25, 2015

Christian Principles Matter

Christmas and the lead up to it has given me time to be contemplative about what has happened in my life over the last few 0months. I have found myself taking the high road in arguments more, perhaps reflecting the leadership of the Cruz campaign but also reflecting what I've learned from the pastor and members of Marion Avenue Baptist Church.

A bright light was shown before me the first Sunday I stepped foot in Marion Avenue Baptist Church. I've been going to church my whole life and knew that I was a Christian, but I didn't know how to actually be a Christian. I hope I don't lose you. I had slipped into thinking that Christianity was a works based faith rather that a faith based upon God's grace. The works come after the grace, not prior to. The work of a Christian is the work of trying, while all the time failing, to be more like Jesus. Perhaps the man that has had the greatest impact on my life in recent years has been Marlin Bontrager, just by asking me to come to church with him and his amazing family. Becky and Marlin have raised the most impressive bunch of children I've ever seen. I enjoy their company and I hope to call them friends for the rest of my life, no matter where God leads my life. Pastor Joseph Brown also must be commended for showing me that I can be both bold in my opinions and faithful to Jesus.

This has helped me to realize that I should not expect anything of anyone that I first wouldn't do myself. A great weight has been lifted off of my shoulders in realizing that faith only need be placed in God and not man. There is truth in knowing the peace that passes all understanding.

Christian principles are also the reason that I see the good in the campaign I've decided to invest my time and effort in. It has a trickle down effect. I see a noticeable difference in the way people that are backing this campaign deal with other people and the way people invested in other campaigns do. Those of us in the #CruzCrew will defend Ted and his family but we don't go out of our way to besmirch someone for being who they are unless they tell lies about Ted Cruz, his family or one of our many supporters. I will not hesitate to stand up for my friends and many involved with the campaign are my friends. Many other candidates' supporters, namely of the national Republican "front runner" see no need to have a foundation in moral or ethical principle. They only see the need to destroy the system. While I see the system as being fundamentally broken too, I also realize that there needs to be a principled plan to fix the system. Destroying something and hoping that someone has the right ideas to fix it just because you like the way that person talks to the people you hate(and hate is the right word) is a fool's errand. What someone says today must judged against what they have said in the past if they have shown no actual change of heart or conversion. If someone comes to God through Jesus, I truly believe they will change. If not, I see no real evidence of change.

Barrack Obama was elected on hopes and whims of people who saw him as a transformational figure with no evidence of him doing any of what he said. The current Donald Trump phenomenon is eerily similar in construct. A giant swell of support for someone just because "he fights" against the bogey man of political correctness in the same way that Barrack Obama fought against "corporate America" and for the "people". Political correctness is dispatched with the truth, not hot air and empty promises.

As a common saying goes, if I were put on trial for being a Christian, I would hope there would be enough evidence to convict me. I don't know if I'm there yet, but I'm trying. What is disappointing is the large number of people that spout conservative Christian views when running for office but show nothing of the sort once they are elected. We even see it with candidates that have had a modicum of success in years past that have now had the Ted Cruz light shown upon them. They are actually just big government social conservatives that are not interested in liberty or freedom. All they want is their world view to be imposed by government. As Christians, that type of thinking should terrify us. All we need is the freedom to worship and tell people of our faith though deeds and words. Having a President that believes in Jesus is important, even paramount, but I also think that same President should also know that government should be smaller and less intrusive. I think this is where the self centered big government social conservatives lose most voters. Ted Cruz is happy to take questions from atheist voters and will happily tell them they are free to worship, or not, of their own free will, but their free will stops at the point of someone else practicing their constitutionally protected rights. He will then tell them he hopes they choose to follow Jesus, but that must be their own decision and no one else's.

I have waited so long for a leader to actually turn us toward Constitutional government. Frankly, I think this election is more important that any of us actually knows. As Christians, we mustn't push our views by making the government do our biding, rather we must show people the way through being ambassadors for our faith in Jesus Christ and showing people His grace but we must also not be afraid to call out those who treat Christianity as a weapon for their own purposes. While we may have the armor of God, we can't force someone to believe. Belief comes through being born again in Christ, not the strong arm of the government. The government, when directed by just men, will allow His Church to regain its rightful place in American society through free will and Christian example.

All of this doesn't mean that we should slink away and not be involved in the process of electing our leaders. Quite the opposite is true. We must be quick to defend what we know is true and just as quick to call out wrong doing. We must be more discerning and less tolerant of injustice. We must elect leaders that will respect our faith, our churches and allow freedom and liberty to rule the land for all people. We can be both good Christians and advocates for smaller, less intrusive government.

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