An Interesting Comment

Yesterday I posted a Quote of the Week from John Adams, and the quote was:

“The moment the idea is admitted into society that property is not as sacred as the laws of God, and that there is not a force of law and public justice to protect it, anarchy and tyranny commence.”

You can see the comment if you scroll down to the next post below this one, but the main thing that I took from it was concern over Mr. Adams’ use of the word “sacred” in referring to property. (Thank you, Pieter for the great comment!)  I agree with Pieter, but at the same time, I think it would be fair to Mr. Adams to explain just a bit more about his remark, and to go into how it might apply to us today, so here is my annual political ‘editorial.’

This quote comes from a piece entitled “A Defense of the Constitutions of Government of the United States of America” written by Adams in 1787.  Mr. Adams was, in the larger context making the case that if private property could be seized at any time by any government, the result would be tyranny, not simply because Mr. Adams was a materialist, which I doubt, but because his view was that if a government can seize the rightful property of its citizens without due process of law, then it could also take away any right of a citizen.  He was using this argument to argue for the adoption of the U. S. Constitution, as that Constitution created a government of limited scope, rather than one with sweeping authority. Understood in this light, I think Mr. Adams makes a fair point for anybody to give a little thought to in any time.

For us today, however, it is even more urgent for us to consider Mr. Adams’ view, not as a theological point but as it applies to our secular governance.  As a theological point, we put way too much emphasis on “things” and should be more the imitators of Christ who served selflessly His Father’s purpose and had no possessions at all.  As a matter of secular governance while we are here on this earth, I happen to think it requires our attention.

Just the other day, outgoing Secretary of State Hillary Clinton observed that the current U. S. Administration has made mistakes by “abrogating” too much power to the president.  I found this quite remarkable, as I wouldn’t have expected that Mrs. Clinton would make such a comment in public.  Yet, she is quite right (and I have never been one of her fans).  We have seen in recent months a series of statements by our president in which he has said that he will not wait for Congress to act (in various matters) but will take action himself on them.  And, we have also seen a series of Executive Orders that have made good  his promises.  For instance, in one of them he raised the salaries fo Federal Workers and included a pay raise for Members of Congress.

I’ve been waiting for the outcry from Congress and public, but I haven’t heard any…  In this little order, Mr. Obama has ignored the Constitution that he has so recently sworn to God to uphold, as he doesn’t have the authority to make law, and he does not have the authority to meddle in Congressional pay issues.  Congress is the legislative branch, not the president.  Members of Congress are not Federal employees.  Congress and the president are co-equal, and Mr. Obama has not only taken a position of supremacy, he has entirely disregarded the Constitution which specifically states how money can be appropriated.  I can’t help but think that if John F. Kennedy had done a trick like this 50 years ago, that he would have been Impeached. Consider the other important issues of the day that are pending…

A debate is simmering in the background, and one of these days it will move into public view.  That debate is whether or not we should simply get rid of our old “outdated” and “antiquated” Constitution and come up with something that provides much wider authority to government to address our problems.  I hope that if and when this becomes a serious debate, ‘we the people’ will be paying better attention than we are now!

 

OK, there’s my political post for 2013, back to important things…

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Loneliness

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Most of us have times when we feel a sense of loneliness, a sense that we are on our own with no one to turn to and no one who cares.  Sometimes it might feel like the walls are starting to close in… life fades into a sort of grayish  hue.

These are times when it really helps to remember who it is that gave everything for us; the One who died so that we might live life to the full.  Even more, these are the times when we must remember who is was who rose again from the grave, wand who it is that is there for us now.

Even in our darkest moment of despair, our Lord Jesus Christ is right beside us.  Will we turn to Him and feel His presence?  Will we give Him our cares and troubles?  Will we abide in His loving and everlasting arms?

If so, we will find the peace we seek and the end of loneliness.

Stillness and Light

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I came across this picture on the net and I thought I’d share it.  I don’t have anything clever to say about it other than it strikes me as being kind of inspirational.

What I see in this picture is a rising sun shining through morning mists in a forest, or could it be near a great and wonderful Garden that has many trees?  A time of reflection and stillness that is dominated by light from above, a light that is chasing all darkness away.

Yes, it strikes me as inspirational, maybe even metaphorical.  It strikes me as filled with hope and yearning for all that is pure, wholesome and good in creation.  It strikes me as a picture of the hope that we share in Christ.

 

Stillness

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In the stillness of the morning can you hear it?  Can you hear the sounds of stillness?  It could be the gentle rustle of leaves, of a bird or the light whisper of the morning breeze…

In this early quiet, before the sounds of the day emerge, in this still and quiet place, can you hear His voice? You can often find it in prayer; you can often hear Him in His Word. But you will never hear Him in your own voice or in your own strivings; no His still small voice doesn’t come to us when we are loud.

The stillness of the morning is my favorite time of the day, when  near the window to the still quiet world, I have a chance to spend some time in His magnificent presence.

Taxi to the Airport

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Last week I was called out-of-town for a trip I wanted nothing to do with.  It all revolved around a court case that stemmed from a smart guy who made a series of terrible decisions that ruined his family, his life and resulted in his prosecution.  I had no idea what any of this had to do with me, and to tell you the truth, I’m still not quite sure.

After spending several hours around people whom this gentleman had used or abused, I was asked a few questions and then sent home.  The experience was a depressing one to be quite honest.  First there was just the sad reality of all that bad choices had caused, and then just the whole atmosphere of the day.

I was glad to be on my way to the airport.  When the cab pulled up, the driver got out and grabbed my bag and opened the door; he was very polite and friendly… but there was something more than that.  He had a certain quality about him that I know well, and without his needing to say a single word, I knew for certain that he was a mature and sincere follower of Jesus Christ; my brother in the Lord.

Other than our faith in Christ, we have nothing much in common.  He is from the east coast, I’m from the west coast.  He is  African-American, I am white; our life’s experiences are really quite different.  In spite of our apparent differences, within a minute or two we were talking as though we had known one another for years. He was telling me about a ministry problem that he was confused by in his church, and the funny thing is that even before he had gotten very far in the story, I had a complete handle on what he was going to say and what he was going to ask.  When he finished, I heard myself giving him the solution to the riddle… where had that come from? To be honest, I’m not sure that even now I could tell you exactly what the issue was or what I said to him.

His reaction was amazing: “Yes! Why didn’t I see that?  Thank you Lord!”

Then something else happened that was surprising; he knew exactly where I was at that moment and offered the exact sort of encouragement that I need.

Now that I have had a few days to process all of this, it seems clear to me why I had to go on that little trip.  A brother in Christ needed help from someone outside of his regular circle and so did I.  We all know that the church is much bigger and more profound than our own little community of believers, and yet sometimes we lose sight of this in the day-to-day routine.  It makes no difference what our differences might appear to be, for whether they are cultural, ethnic, geographical or whatever, these are only earthly things.  The Body of Christ has no such limitations, and when believers will be still long enough to let the Holy Spirit work in their lives, powerful things can take place to advance the cause of Jesus Christ!