For it is by grace you have been saved...

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

The State of the Union (one more pointless opinion)

OK, I admit, I didn't watch the State of the Union address.  I used to try and sit through these things, but I get so tired of the same old rhetoric, the same old sound-bite policy statements, the same old partisan pot-shots...from both sides.  So my family and I watched an old Jimmy Stewart movie instead (and no it wasn't Mr. Smith Goes to Washington). 

But I have a response to the State of the Union anyway.  Because I don't need a politician to tell me about the state of affairs in this land I live in and love.  So here it is. 

1.  We are further from being a "Christian" nation than we've ever been.  I won't argue that we ever were truly a Christian nation.  Our founders certainly came with religious freedom in mind, and our early leaders were certainly governed by a Judeo-Christian worldview.  But I don't think we can truly say we were a Christian nation; Christian-led, Christian-friendly, etc. yes, but... 

Anyway, we are further from any biblical worldview that at any time in history.  We could talk the acceptance of abortion, gay marriage, pornography, alcohol and drug abuse, etc.  We could talk about the increasing vileness of "entertainment."  We could talk about the every decreasing influence of the Church, due largely to the ever increasing influence of the world in the church. 

I think the one example that clinches the argument is the recent Grammy Awards.  I heard friend after friend, supposedly Christians, rave about what a great show the Grammy's were, none of them seeming to be bothered by the over the top sex and hedonism of most of the music and musicians, and none of them even mentioning the fact that it was used as an opportunity it perform a mass gay marriage ceremony.  We've become so much like the world that this things don't even phase us. 

2.  The system is more broke now that it has ever been.  And I don't just mean broke in the sense of financially bankrupt, though that certainly applies.  But the system in general.  A system that pays exorbitant salaries to men and women to "serve" our country, passing laws that they themselves are exempt from, more concerned about party power than the prosperity of the populace, more focused on impressing through the media than truly governing through principle. 

Case in point.  The one thing I heard from last night's speech (while changing discs in the DVD player) was this idea of increasing the minimum wage for those working under federal contracts, and challenging the rest of the nation to do likewise.  "Give America a raise," I think was the line.  Sounds good. Everyone cheers.  Hey, I haven't had a raise in five years, so I'm all for it!  But it's not sound fiscal policy.  Sure, the President can talk about more money, he prints his own.  But for the rest of us, that money has to come from somewhere.  

If every business suddenly gives $3/hour raises, where are they going to pay for it.  Sure, we could argue that the corporate CEOs could give up a bit of their profits, and surely some could.  But most small businesses don't have the biggest profit margin to begin with.  They are already taxed to death by the government, like the rest of us, to pay for a litany of "services" that for the most part help no one.  So the only way to come up with the funds is to raise prices.  My family can hardly afford to eat out at a fast food restaurant anymore already.  If prices go up to cover higher wages, we'll stay home.  Fewer customers now coming in, means less money coming in, which leads to lay offs.  Jobs lost.  Yeah, that'll work.

That's just one minor example.  The point is, our government system was the best design in the history of the world.  I really believe that.  But we've broken it.  Judges try to legislate, Presidents bypass Congress with "executive orders," Congress just does whatever it takes to win the next election.  It's broke.  An infusion of "new" faces and ideas from a third party like the Constitution Party would help, but I'm not naive enough to think that even that will be a cure-all.

3.  The need for the Gospel is more evident than it's ever been.  At least in this nation.  I know that the world has suffered through worse regimes, seen more difficult circumstances, etc.  But in this nation, the depravity of men's hearts and the need for a Savior is more evident than ever.  The Church needs to step up and be the prophetic voice it was intended to be.  Not necessarily for political change, though we should certainly be involved in that.  But in the end, the changing of individual hearts and minds through Christ is the only answer.

It's time to stop playing games, stop trying to be popular, stop trying to impress the masses with our clever speeches (no, most of them aren't sermons) and our hip worship bands, and just preach the Gospel.  Preach the Word, in season and out.  This is certainly an "out" season, but we are to preach it anyway.  Preach the Word, call men to Salvation in Christ, no other power on earth can truly change the "state" of our Union. 

Conclusion:  First, if you patiently waded through all of this, what's wrong with you?  Don't you have anything better to do?  Second, I called this "one more pointless opinion" because the truth is, what I think about the state of the Union really doesn't matter.  Truth is, what the President thinks about it doesn't matter either.  Our goal is to please God.  What does He think about the state of our Union?  

One day we'll all be answering to Him.  And on that day, there will be no sound-bite media to make us look good, no partisan crowd to cheer at all the right places.  Just us, one by one, answering for what we've done with His Son, how we've served Him, how we've loved Him, how we've loved and served our fellow man in His name.  How will we stand on that day?  His is the only "opinion" that matters. 

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