Wednesday, July 30, 2008

What’s Wrong with Nuclear Power?

If you ask that question of some people, they will give you a laundry list: dangerous, Chernobyl, waste storage, lack of controls, etc. What it really boils down to is an irrational fear of nuclear power.

I say “irrational” because there has been one minor incident in the U.S. (Three Mile Island) and one major catastrophe (Chernobyl). Three Mile Island was blown out of proportion by the press, and Chernobyl resulted from a dysfunctional Soviet Union. Done right, nuclear can be a source of safe, clean, and relatively cheap energy. I believe it is the key to our future, but some don’t see it that way.

Interestingly, it is the leftists typically are against nuclear power, while those on the Right tend to favor it. Given that nuclear power plants can replace polluting coal-burning plants, thus helping the ecology, I’m not sure why those on the Left are so anti-nuclear. I believe with a concerted effort by the government and industry, we can resolve the waste storage problem, develop appropriate safeguards, and do it right. Let’s stop polluting the earth and go nuclear!

Certainly we can have wind farms, and we can and must conserve, but those measures will not meet the needs of our nation. We must build many nuclear plants and phase out the fossil fuel plants, keeping them in reserve for peak summer usage. With cheap and abundant electricity, we can begin heating our homes electrically, power our cars electrically, and use fossil fuels in airplanes and trucks where there aren’t any readily-available substitutes for petroleum. Let’s move into the 21st century and stop using 19th century technology!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Reduce Government Expenses

Government at all levels is cutting expenses due to the recession and the resulting decline in tax revenues. I believe it is the responsibility of we the people to understand what government officials are proposing to cut, and then let our representatives know what we think. We need to have a voice in the process. Believe me, the special interests have a voice, and if that’s all our representatives hear, that’s who they’ll listen to.

Gov. Patterson of New York just came out with proposals for cutting back expenses. Do you know what he is proposing? Various cities, towns, villages and counties will be doing the same. Will you study what they are proposing and let them know what you think they are doing wrong?

Over the past seven years we have seen the largest growth in federal government since the Great Society and the New Deal, and this was done by a Republican administration! Government has paid for or gotten itself into things that are not appropriate. Now some tough decisions will have to be made, and we must make sure they are made. Let’s start holding our representatives and local officials accountable.

I believe government should do either what nobody else can do (such as taking care of roads, providing public education) or what government typically is responsible for (such as national defense, fie departments, police), and nothing else. Government at all levels will have to stop spending on things outside of its core responsibilities, and stop “earmarks” (spending on pet projects that typically aren’t funded by government). I don’t think government should be funding the arts, for example. This is not a core responsibility. Private funding is more appropriate for the arts and things like that.

Don’t let local officials scare you. The first thing they say is they’ll have to cut some educational programs, and cut back on fire and police. Let’s look at the schools’ core goal, which is to educate our children. Rather than cutting back on education (its fundamental reason for being), let them cut back on sports and extracurricular activities (or charge fees or increase fees). Why subsidize sports and other non-core activities at the expense of education? That doesn’t make sense.

Same with fire and police. Cut back on other things less essential to the welfare of the citizenry. Increase user fees. One problem we have now is rebuilding the infrastructure. I believe this is essential, but some states (and I think the federal government) have plundered the highway trust funds so now they have no money. Decreased gas tax revenues have made the situation worse. There is already tremendous debt, so how can there be more borrowing to fund this work? Bad leadership has created this mess, and all I can think of (besides putting those government officials in jail for robbing the trust funds to pay for their pet projects) is cutting back on nonessentials so that roads and bridges can be repaired and replaced.

We love to complain, but often aren’t part of the process. Our voting record is pitiful in this country. Now, more than ever, it is critical for all of us to be part of the solution. May God bless you as you work to improve our government and our society.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Black in America

CNN ran a series on this past Wednesday and Thursday called “Black in America.” They are running it again on Saturday, 7/26. I recommend you watch it.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Bi-Lingual Nation?

Bilingualism hasn’t been in the news recently, but it’s still there. We see it in many official announcements and in stores. If you go into Lowe’s you see signs in both English and Spanish, and you hear announcements over the PA system in Spanish. The question is, is it appropriate to make the US a bilingual nation?

The history of bilingual nations isn’t always pretty. There have been problems in Canada and in Belgium, both of which are officially bilingual. One thing that has helped unite a very diverse United States is one language. I see no reason to change that.

Some would say that there are so many Spanish speakers in the US that we should accommodate them. First of all, 12 million are here illegally, so I can’t see any reason to become bilingual for that reason. Second, having a bilingual nation will further divide us, which we don’t need. Third, it will reduce the incentive to the Latinos to learn English and assimilate. English will be the language necessary to succeed for the foreseeable future, so a lack of English proficiency would be a hindrance to fulfilling the American dream.

Under our present one language situation, immigrants often retain many of their cultural traditions, but learn the common language of English, strive to get an education, and generally by the second or third generation feel a part of the mainstream US. We see that with most Latinos, so why hinder that process my giving them little incentive to learn English? All we would be doing is creating an underclass of Spanish-speakers.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Where Is God?

Often one of the most frequent reactions to a disaster is, “Where was God?” That was asked on 9/11, and it was asked which Katrina struck the Gulf Coast. I’m sure it’s also asked in many other personal and large tragedies. I have no doubt that as the economic times get tougher, many will be asking that same question, “Where is God?”

I believe our nation has been especially blessed and has been used by God throughout its short history. We’ve had a mix of people from all over the world that have blended together reasonably well. We are united by one common language that anybody coming to these shores understands they will have to learn in order to thrive. This country has not been hindered by a caste system or other artificial barriers to success, with the rather large exceptions of race and usually first and often second generation immigrants.

We’ve been blessed with natural resources, rich farmland, and a government that was designed to be about the best one ever designed by man (flawed not so much by design as by the sinful people who are in charge of it). We have a constitution that guarantees certain inalienable rights (although some of those rights are being eroded thanks to ungodly court decisions).

Our country has been used by God as a haven for those suffering religious and other kinds of persecution; as a power to ultimately bring to a conclusion two world wars; as an example of how a nation should operate; as a base for sending missionaries to the rest of the world; as a source of monetary aid to struggling developing countries; and as a protective force for Israel.

In the past 60 years, we have been progressively turning our back on the God of our Fathers, the God under which the country was founded (“one nation, under God…”). While we probably have the highest percentage of regular church attendance of any nation (which is commendable), in fact we as a nation are moving further and further away from God and biblical principles. We see this in our trashy culture which we the people support by buying or watching what the morally bankrupt entertainment industry produces. We see it in our “liberal” laws and in court cases. Read what Jesus said to the church in Laodicea in Revelation 3:14-17; 19-20

“And to the angel of the church in Laodicea write: The words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the origin of God's creation:

“I know your works; you are neither cold nor hot. I wish that you were either cold or hot. So, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I am about to spit you out of my mouth. For you say, 'I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing.' You do not realize that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked...

“I reprove and discipline those whom I love. Be earnest, therefore, and repent.”

That could be written for us today in the United States, as could the following passage from 2 Chronicles 7:13-15, where God tells his people Israel:

When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command the locust to devour the land, or send pestilence among my people, if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, pray, seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land. Now my eyes will be open and my ears attentive to the prayer that is made in this place. NRSV

I believe we are entering the years of the locust in that we will be soon facing the worst economic times since The Great Depression of the 1930s. Some economic experts are saying it will be worse than the 1930s in that we will have a significant loss of buying power (i.e., inflation) accompanied by unemployment and the other problems that usually are part of an economic downturn. I’m hoping that as a result of that economic hardship, people will return to God and this nation will once again be blessed and used of God. We also have the promise in Joel 2:25a: I will repay you for the years that the swarming locust has eaten… NRSV

So if you ask, “Where is God?” I can tell you God is always where he’s always been. We are the ones who moved. I encourage you to get back into right relationship with God now.

Friday, July 18, 2008

The Reason for Church

In an earlier post, I encouraged those dissatisfied with their own church not to drop out, but to find a church more to their liking. Today some say the Church is irrelevant, and some individual churches have become irrelevant. A church becomes irrelevant when it isn’t fulfilling its God-given purposes.

We have to remember that the Church is not the hierarchy, the clergy, or the organization. The Church is each and every believer, coming together as a body to do God’s work. Jesus established the Church to do his work on earth once he had ascended into heaven. The church operates under the power of the Holy Spirit, but it has to be open to the leading of the Spirit. Some are not, unfortunately, and they founder. Obviously there have been times in history when the Spirit was ignored and terrible things were done by the Church in the name of God.

Because the Church is made up of many people being led and empowered by the Holy Spirit, Jesus said we will be able to do great works (John 14:12):

“Very truly, I tell you, the one who believes in me will also do the works that I do and, in fact, will do greater works than these, because I am going to the Father.” NRSV

As I believe I have mentioned in the past, the purposes of the Church are, in my opinion, the same as those mentioned in the book The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren. As a matter of fact, we can best fulfill those personal purposes by being part of a church. Those five purposes are worship, fellowship, discipleship, ministry/service, and evangelism/mission.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Roman Catholic Discipline

The politicians in Massachusetts, a heavily Roman Catholic (RC) state, have gone against the clear and unambiguous teaching of the RC Church and has given gays certain “marriage” rights. Some of the most liberal politicians (think Ted Kennedy and John Kerry to name a few) are RC, yet their views on abortion and gay rights are not at all consistent with their Church.

This makes me wonder, why is it that the RC Church, which has very definite views on just about everything, doesn’t seem to influence the politicians that come out of that tradition? Is it that the Church has lost all credibility? Is it that that Church’s position on those issues is ignored, just as the ban on “artificial birth control” is widely disregarded? Is it that many of these politicians are really fallen-away Catholics, and claim to be RC only for political expediency?

I believe the answer is probably all three of the above to one degree or another. One of the reasons why the Church’s teachings on some issues are widely ignored may be that the RC Church has taken too many positions on too many issues. The ban on “artificial birth control” is a good example of the Church getting involved in something that should be a matter of individual conscience. So RCs just throw up their hands in frustration, and pick and choose which teachings they will follow and which ones they will ignore. Like the Old Testament Law from which Christians are supposed to be liberated, following all of the RC Church’s “laws” is just about impossible.

My view is that if you are an RC, then you should strive, with God’s help, to live according to the Church’s teachings. If you don’t like some things about the RC Church, don’t just pretend to be an RC and go through the motions, or drop out of church completely. By dropping out, you’re saying that God isn’t important to you. Instead, attend a different church that is more to your liking. There is such a variety of churches out there that you are bound to find one that suits you.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Bad Economic News-How to Respond

Every day you turn on the news or read the paper, and all you see is bad news. That in itself isn’t unusual – what’s unusual is that much of that bad news is now affecting us personally. We feel bad when we hear about tornadoes destroying neighborhoods and even whole towns in the Midwest or the South. We feel sorry for those who have been flooded out of their homes by hurricanes or overflowing rivers. We grieve for those families left homeless by raging forest fires in the West, with all of a family’s earthly possessions totally destroyed. For most of us, those disasters involve nameless people who are far away from us.

But then we hear of job cuts, higher food prices, ever increasing gas prices, lower home values, stock market down, bank failures, and the growing possibility of a deep recession. At that point, we get worried, because it’s now it’s beginning to get personal. These are things that affect us directly – if not now, then pretty soon.

How should we as people of faith respond to this flood of bad news? We may have trusted Jesus for our salvation, but can we trust him to get us through the perils of this life? Let’s see if we can learn something about how we as Christians should respond of the challenges of an economic downturn.

Looking at one Old Testament passage, we can gain some insight on how to deal with today’s challenges. In 1 Kings 17:1-9, the Lord declared that no rain would fall in Israel for a period of several years. This was God’s punishment for the evil done by King Ahab and his famous queen of mean, Jezebel. Notice however, that God provided for one of his own with water from the brook and food from the ravens. These were not ideal circumstances for Elijah and his life was disrupted, but God did take care of him. Moreover, when the brook dried up, God had another plan and sent him to the widow’s house.

Again we learn that God takes care of his own in times of trouble. The situation may not be ideal according to our way of thinking, but God cares for us and may spare us from the worst of the trouble.

From this story and similar Bible passages, we learn several lessons.

1. We Aren’t Immune

The first lesson we learn is that we aren’t immune from life’s problems. That isn’t news to us I’m sure, but sometimes we need to be reminded that that’s the way life is. However, we as followers of Jesus have the benefit of God’s help in getting us through life’s challenges. For example, the people suffered during the famine, but God took care of his prophet Elijah and most likely the others who still followed God. The good often suffer with the bad, but yet God gives us the strength to get through it, and provides for those who trust him.

2. Faith in God Is Best

The second lesson we learn is that faith is God is the best way to go. As Americans, we tend to be self-reliant – to us, depending on someone else is often considered a sign of weakness. Yet God wants us to rely on him – to let him do the heavy lifting. Jesus said in Matthew 11:28-30:

“Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” NRSV

While we are expected to do our part, we are still to put our faith and trust in God to bear most of the burden. We have seen God at work in the Old Testament. We have seen Jesus and the Holy Spirit at work in the New Testament. We have seen God work in our own lives and in the lives of others. God will not disappoint those who trust in him.

If you and I place our faith in God, when the tough times come – and they will – we will have the confidence of children of God. That confidence will be obvious to everyone, and so we will not only be a good example to others, but will be able to share our faith with them. How will that happen? When they ask us, “How can you be so calm when things are so turbulent and the news is so bad?” Then you can share your faith with them by saying:

What have I to dread, what have I to fear,
Leaning on the everlasting arms;
I have blessed peace with my Lord so near,
Leaning on the everlasting arms.

So let’s lean on God, as the Apostle Peter advises in 1 Peter 1:21, NRSV:

Through [Jesus] you have come to trust in God, who raised him from the dead and gave him glory, so that your faith and hope are set on God.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Using Natural Resources

There seems to be a feeling among some that using the earth’s natural resources is somehow a sin, or at least that’s how their rhetoric comes across. With the current debates surrounding oil usage and domestic drilling, let me try to put some of this in perspective.

Obviously the wise use of our God-given natural resources can’t be a sin, because we need them to survive. Even primitive man used natural resources, but he didn’t have much of a “footprint” because the earth’s population was small. Let’s take a look at the creation account in Genesis 1:26-30 to see what we can learn.

Then God said, “Let us make humankind in our image, according to our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the wild animals of the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth.”

So God created humankind in his image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.

God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over every living thing that moves upon the earth.” God said, “See, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit; you shall have them for food. And to every beast of the earth, and to every bird of the air, and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food.” And it was so.

We can imply from this story that God gave human beings the earth’s natural resources to use, but of course not to abuse. We have “dominion” over them, but with that comes responsibility. So far we have abused the earth, squandered its natural resources, and polluted its water and air. These happened because we didn’t use the earth’s resources wisely. I believe we can and should use these resources, but have to do it in intelligent ways, in ways that preserve resources for future generations and don’t pollute.

So what about expanding offshore drilling and drilling in the Artic? I think its wrong if:

(1) It results in us not immediately addressing the underlying cause of our problems, which is too much dependence on oil. Such drilling is a short-term fix, not a long-term solution.

(2) It results in us seriously depleting whatever reserves we have in this country, so that future generations will still have to import oil. The goal of any energy policy must be to free us completely from dependence on foreign oil forever, and using domestic production only for those applications that must use oil, such as airplanes, home heating, and probably large trucks.

In my opinion, North American drilling is not wrong if:

(1) It does not deplete our domestic reserves, so that we have enough oil for future generations.

(2) It is understood to be merely the first step in a comprehensive energy policy that will quickly get us to oil independence.

(3) It is viewed as a short-term fix to take the pressure off prices, and not as a long-term solution. We must continue to work hard to develop alternative energy sources of all kinds and practice conservation.

The earth’s resources have been given to us by God, and we have squandered them terribly. That’s why we’re in the fix we’re in. We now have to apply ourselves to the task at hand, and be willing to make sacrifices for the common good.

Monday, July 14, 2008

The Question of Immigration

After writing in earlier posts about being a Christian citizen of the United States, I would now like to discuss the question of immigration. This has been a hot topic, although some other issues are getting hotter, so there is a little less discussion these days on immigration. Nevertheless, the issue isn’t going away, so we should examine how people of faith should address this question.

First of all, we should define terms. Those on the left say those on the right are against “immigration.” Those on the right say they are against illegal immigration only. “Immigration” is the coming into this country legally following the proper procedures and acquiring the necessary paperwork and documentation (such as a green card). “Illegal immigration” is entering this country without following proper procedures and acquiring the necessary documentation. That’s why illegal aliens are sometimes called “undocumented aliens” or “undocumented workers.” “Aliens” are people who are not citizens of this country, whether in this country legally or not.

I believe a nation has the right and even the duty to protect and control its borders. Uncontrolled penetration of our borders by illegal aliens can cause all kinds of problems in a society, including the risk of terrorism and importation of illegal drugs and other items. Undocumented workers are constantly at risk of having their lives disrupted if they are found out, and their access to social services may be limited. Now that slavery is finally getting more attention, involuntary servitude is another good reason to have better control at our borders, since most slaves are brought into this country from elsewhere. I’m not just talking about the border with Mexico, but also better control at legal entry points and along the border with Canada.

So I believe a person of faith should support our government’s efforts to control its borders for the good of society. However, viciously hunting down illegal aliens using Gestapo-like tactics, persecuting and abusing them, and denying them basic social services is not something we should condone or support. Probably the best plan is a “guest worker” kind of program that would control and legalize short-term immigration. The number of guest workers would vary depending on need and economic circumstances.

We should support legal immigration, especially for those fleeing religious or political persecution. Immigration must be limited because one country can’t accommodate all those who would like to live here to enjoy our economic benefits. There has to be some limit to the number of people we can accept.

However, because approximately 50 million babies have been aborted in this country since 1973, there’s more room than there would have been without legalized abortion. It reminds me of how we nearly wiped out the American Indian to make room for the European immigrants.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Living as Christian Citizens – Part II

In light of what I wrote in an earlier post on this subject, how then should we live as Christian citizens?

1. Trust in God, Not in Government

First of all, we as Christians should put our faith in God, not in government. Our nation’s motto is “In God We Trust” but we seem to be turning from God. Today people have misplaced faith, putting too much faith in government to solve all our problems, and not enough in God. God said through the prophet Jeremiah (Jeremiah 17:5b, NRSV):

Cursed are those who trust in mere mortals and make mere flesh their strength, whose hearts turn away from the LORD.

Similarly, God spoke through the prophet Isaiah when he said (Isaiah 31:1):

How terrible it will be for those people who go down to Egypt for help. They think horses will save them. They think their many chariots and strong horsemen will save them. But they don’t [put their] trust God, the Holy One of Israel, or ask the Lord for help. NCV

For example, Matthew was a tax collector until called by Jesus, who transformed him. Matthew gave up his dependency on the government and put his complete trust in Jesus, without reservation. Zaccheus was a tax collector in Jericho, who repented when Jesus spoke with him, immediately giving up his evil ways. So let us trust in God, not in government, not our job, or anything else.

2. Be Good Citizens

Second, as Christians we are to be good citizens, pay our taxes, obey the law, and show respect to our rulers, which Paul said in Romans 13:5-7, NCV):

So you must yield to the government, not only because you might be punished, but because you know it is right. This is also why you pay taxes. Rulers are working for God and give their time to their work. Pay everyone, then, what you owe. If you owe any kind of tax, pay it. Show respect and honor to them all.

We should pray for our leaders, as the Apostle Paul exhorts Timothy and us in 1 Timothy 2:1b-2, NRSV):

I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for everyone, for kings and all who are in high positions, so that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and dignity.

We should also pray for our country, that this nation will be led by godly wisdom and not by human wisdom, as we read in Psalm 33:10-12:

The LORD brings the counsel of the nations to nothing; he frustrates the plans of the peoples. The counsel of the LORD stands forever, the thoughts of his heart to all generations. Happy is the nation whose God is the LORD, the people whom he has chosen as his heritage. NRSV

3. Be Involved Citizens

Third, we have a right and a duty to speak out on practices and government policies that we feel are immoral, unjust, oppressive, or just plain wrong. We as Christians have a special responsibility, and we can make a difference. One Member of Parliament, William Wilberforce, a devout Christian, almost single-handedly managed to have the British slave trade ended. It took most of his lifetime, he took a lot of abuse, but he persisted and with the help of God was finally victorious in banning that terrible practice.

So vote in every election, stay informed, and let your representatives know where you stand on issues. Nothing is going to happen unless we make our politicians accountable. We have a government that is supposed to be of the people, by the people, and for the people. But if the people don’t participate, then it becomes a government of the special interests, by the special interests, and for the special interests. The kind of government we get is up to us.


In conclusion, we must never put anything ahead of God, but as followers of Jesus Christ, we are expected to be good citizens as I just described. So let us be shining examples of what it means to be Christians in America, seeking peace, justice, and a moral society.

We as a nation have been blessed by God with the best form of government ever devised, with abundant natural resources, and a godly heritage. Even with all of our problems – and there are many – the dream of people from all over the world is to come to the United States. Despite its shortcomings, it is still the best place in the world to live.

However, let us do everything we can to prevent this country from going down the wrong paths that we seem to be following. Wrong paths that deny our godly heritage, continue to squander our resources, and lead us towards an immoral, unethical, and unjust society.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Living as Christian Citizens – Part I

Last week we commemorated our American Independence Day, July 4, when the Declaration of Independence was ratified by the Continental Congress. The Declaration is our foundational document, stating the underlying principles of our nation. The Constitution is the document that puts those principles into action.

On the Fourth of July we think about our country, its struggle for independence over 230 years ago, and what American patriotism means. Patriotism is in the news these days, especially in this presidential campaign. Moreover, there are differences of opinion in the United States as to how Christians should relate to their country. Some say conservative Christians are too patriotic, almost making patriotism into a civil religion. They say there shouldn’t even be a flag flown on church property or displayed inside the church. Those on the other side of the argument say that we, as Christians, are to be loyal to our country and open displays of patriotism are appropriate.

In a certain Gospel passage (Luke 20:19-26), the religious leaders tried to trap Jesus in a question regarding a similar kind of dispute – the question of paying taxes to the Roman Empire. Let’s take a look at this story and other biblical passages, to see what we can apply to our lives today.

Today, the question of whether it is OK to pay taxes to the Romans may seem rather benign, yet to the Jews of that day it was a loaded question. Because the Jews hated praying taxes to the Romans, the religious leaders felt that they were going to box Jesus into a no-win situation with their question. If Jesus said it was OK to pay taxes, his popularity would plummet. If Jesus said it wasn’t OK to pay taxes to the Romans, then he would be subject to arrest by the Roman governor for treasonous speech.

Jesus, of course, astounded them with a good answer, one that was true to Scripture, yet recognized the two realms on the earth: civil and spiritual. Jesus’ famous answer is found in Luke 20:25b (NIV): “Then give to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s.”

Regarding honoring civil authority, the Scripture of Jesus’ day, the Hebrew Bible, says that the people are to support the government. Proverbs 24:21 says: My child, fear the LORD and the king, and do not disobey either of them… NRSV

God told the told the Israelites when they were in captivity (Jeremiah 29:7, NRSV):

But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the LORD on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare.

In his simple answer to the loaded question, Jesus recognized that the two realms are legitimate, and each is to be supported. The people are to support the civil realm, instituted by God, with their taxes. The Apostle Paul wrote after Jesus’ time, but made these points in Romans 13:1-2:

Let every person be subject to the governing authorities; for there is no authority except from God, and those authorities that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore, whoever resists authority resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. NRSV

The other realm is spiritual one, which is the church, and we are to provide what is necessary for its support and its ongoing work for God’s Kingdom. This support includes monetary offerings and volunteer work of various kinds.

More on how we as Christians are to relate to our country in a future post.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Solving the Energy Crisis

People are coming up with all kinds of suggestions to bring down the price of gasoline. Tap into the strategic reserve. Open new oil fields for drilling. Reduce the federal and state gasoline taxes. Build new refineries. Convince Saudi Arabia to increase its production.

As usual, people are thinking short-term and not strategically. This is a long-term problem, and short-term solutions won’t do, and will most likely be ineffective at best, and damaging at worst. Desperate times call for desperate measures. We can’t be looking short-term, because what we need is a complete change in the ways we use energy.

As a matter of fact, the current crisis, which is bound to get worse, is giving us an incentive to act fast – and hopefully boldly and decisively – to do what we should have done 30 years ago. Now we will have to suffer for a while, until the energy problem can be fixed. Short term solutions will take the pressure off, and will just delay the inevitable changes that must be made now.

Do your part – every little bit helps. Be willing to make sacrifices. Put pressure on your senators and congressman. If they continue to dither, vote them out! I don’t care what the party – we need someone who can get things done, can compromise, and make the tough decisions. Right now congress is still too much in the hands of the special interests: radical environmentalists, oil companies, the anti-nuclear zealots, the auto industry, etc.