Update on my new political blog

Hey everyone (or anyone who actually looks at this)!

One of the reasons why I haven’t posted anything on this blog in a while is because I recently started up a new blog: oursacredhonorusa.blogspot.com. This new site is dedicated to tracking political issues that arise within our nation and the world, and it also allows me to discuss my opinions on some political crises (such as the budget crisis). 

I will maintain this blog, for personal reflection, from time to time, but I plan to focus on efforts on the other site, so please check it out!

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Trials

If there is one thing that I have discovered over the course of the past year or two, it is the fact that no matter how much you fight against it, life always has a way of catching up with you, and offering some sort of challenge. Whether that comes through work, relationships with friends and family, schooling, or sometimes all four, there always seems to be another trial waiting for us beyond the next turn.

I’ve really been struggling with this fact, lately. This past year of school has been incredibly difficult for me for a number of reasons – I’m learning that homework as a freshman is hardly even comparable to the homework of upper division classes. Additionally, I’ve begun to worry about my future career and aspirations – will I find the perfect internship that can allow me to have the appropriate connections for that job, one day? I know that these fears are foolish – God has already provided me with so much over the course of my life, it is ridiculous to even consider questioning his provision for me in the future. However, I suppose it is still human nature to worry about the future, or regret the past. Isn’t it funny that the one time in history that we think the least about is the one which we have the most control over – the present.

God has not gifted us so that we can transform the future – he has called us to live holy and godly lives in the present. One day, the future will be the present – and then maybe God will use us to make a difference, but until that happens, there is no sense in worrying about it. The perpetual “present” is what will prepare us for our ability to deal with the problems of the future “present” – so why would we want to dodge all of our training? I think it is funny that we often forget that Jesus himself taught us not to worry about the future, but trust him in the present. In Matthew 6, Jesus says,

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them.Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? (Matt. 6:25-27)

Why do we think that we can better understand what to do with our lives that our Lord and Savior? Jesus reminds us that God is fully aware of our temporary needs and desires. It is not our place to worry about them. Jesus says that, instead, we ought to “seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well” (Matt. 6:33). Our place is to change our perspective and energy to address our spiritual growth today – not our growth tomorrow or next year, but right now!

Now I want you to understand me when I say this – I am not speaking as some “high and mighty” individual who thinks he has found the way to bring eternal peace and happiness…I fully realize that this is difficult and, at times, virtually impossible. I worry as much as anyone – but what I realize is that this attitude is WRONG. It shows an unwillingness to place our lives fully in the control of God. It is resistance to his divinity and lordship over our lives. Let’s acknowledge that God is God, and we are not. Let’s accept his lordship and submit to his guidance. I don’t mean that we shouldn’t strive to better ourselves or prepare ourselves for the future – in fact, I think that too often we don’t adequately prepare for our future lives. Too often we “live in the present” in the sense that we fill our days with fun and excitement and other diversions. And yet, we find ourselves worrying about the future. No wonder! When we waste our presents, we have good reason to have concern about the future!

Learning to submit our worries to Christ doesn’t mean that we do not carry any responsibility – we have the responsibility to walk in accordance with God’s leading and direction for our lives. We have an obligation to use our “present” to prepare for our “future.” But spending that precious time worrying accomplishes nothing at all.

I’m working my hardest to make a difference in the way I live my life right now. I still worry, but I’m learning to place those concerns before Christ, because if I don’t, I will burden myself to the breaking point, which is never a good thing. After all, Christ says, “For my yoke is easy and my burden is light” (Matt. 11:30).

God Bless you all, this Friday – and I encourage you to devote your time and energy to concentrating on honoring God in the present, rather than worrying about the “future present.”

Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. – Matt 6:34, NIV

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In Christ Alone

O Lord, our Lord,

how majestic is your name in all the earth!

You have set your glory

above the heavens.

From the lips of children and infants

you have ordained praiseb

because of your enemies,

to silence the foe and the avenger.

When I consider your heavens,

the work of your fingers,

the moon and the stars,

which you have set in place,

what is man that you are mindful of him,

the son of man that you care for him?

You made him a little lower than the heavenly beingsc

and crowned him with glory and honor.

You made him ruler over the works of your hands;

you put everything under his feet:

all flocks and herds,

and the beasts of the field,

the birds of the air,

and the fish of the sea,

all that swim the paths of the seas.

O Lord, our Lord,

how majestic is your name in all the earth!

view from my apartment complexThis Psalm (Psalm 8) is unequivocally my favorite psalm in the Bible. King David had such a wonderful gift at speaking words of truth in beautiful ways. This particular psalm communicates just a taste of the wonder and majesty of Almighty God. I was standing on the balcony of my apartment complex today, looking out over Rocklin and Roseville… looking across the freeway and across the soccer field…and feeling so much awe at God’s creation. It’s not a new experience for me at all – I’ve felt it many times before, and I know that I am not the only one. My sister has spoken many times about it as well, even writing about it on her own blog on a few occasions. view from my apartment complex looking southwestNow, I know it’s easy to argue over what exactly the feeling is – whether it is “joy” as C.S. Lewis called it, or something else entirely. But the amazing thing is that it is actually painful in one sense, and yet equally good. It’s like the silly phrase “hurts so good.” It really does. I wish I could communicate the feeling with words, which I suppose is why I am writing this, but I know that I will never even begin to explain the sensation. It is just one of those supernatural things that will never be fully understandable until we reach eternity. It’s that feeling you get when you see cars driving down the freeway while just in the distance is a beautiful stretch of nature expanding as far as the eye can see. It’s the feeling you get as you look at clouds swirling in the sky, or when you’re sitting quietly reading a good book outside – away from any other person. I’m convinced that the only appropriate response is just absolute worship. Not worship of nature, or worship of the feeling, but worship of the One who created both.

I’m not a perfect person, I know that. I’ve struggled with sins many times in my life, and I still do. I have acted in anger, frustration, and contempt. I’ve held grudges, and I’ve allowed my mind to dwell on things that are sinful. But when I stand in the presence of God and experience that longing – that joy – all I can feel is gratitude. Almighty God, the creator of all that is in the earth – unimaginably holy and pure – died on a cross so that I can be free to worship Him, despite my past. He has set me free from sin, and allowed me to stand in his presence and praise him. What an amazing gift that is.

The one thing that is so difficult to bear is being unable to fully satisfy that longing for relationship with Him. At least in this life. That is what makes joy so horribly painful, while still so wonderfully good. I know that one day there will be a way to satisfy the longing – but not until eternity. But even though I cannot fully be satisfied in this life, I can do the next best thing: I can worship and praise him in this life. It might not fully satisfy me, the way it will one day, but it is the only thing that can bring ANY satisfaction in this life.

“In Christ alone my hope is found
He is my light, my strength, my song
This Cornerstone, this solid ground
Firm through the fiercest drought and storm

What heights of love, what depths of peace
When fears are stilled, when strivings cease
My Comforter, my All in All
Here in the love of Christ I stand”

 

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Flag of our Fathers

♫ Oh! thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand
Between their loved home and the war’s desolation!
Blest with victory and peace, may the heav’n rescued land
Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation.
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto: “In God is our trust.”
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave! ♫

This final verse to America’s national anthem always fill me with chills – not just because of the poetic quality, but because of what comes to mind when I consider American history. In 1776, fifity-six individuals placed their name on a piece of parchment and solemnly pledged “our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor” in support of its text.  These men envisioned a nation where freedom and representation for the people was not just a dream. They were idealists, yes, but it was one of those great times in history where ideals became reality. Not immediately, though. No – it took over 10 years and a long, brutal war before the Constitution, which became the overarching legal document for future generations was ratified. America had been through a lot, and that was only the beginning.

Through many long and violent wars, one of them between brothers, America has endured and grown and the fiery passion for liberty hasn’t died. Sure, some things have deteriorated, and there’s plenty of room for improvement. I would be the first to admit that many of the ideals that the Founding Fathers sought to protect have been marginalized – some have even been usurped entirely. But what did our Founding Fathers say about this? Their example alone is worth careful attention. Most Americans are likely familiar with one particular passage from the Declaration which states,

We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, – That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

But, I would wager much fewer are familiar with the following lines:

Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed…Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the Necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States.

They believed that they had utterly exhausted their abilities to seek restitution and were compelled to separate from the government of Great Britain. Further evidence follows after the list of King George’s usurpations,

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our comon kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and consanguinity.

They truly felt that there was no other course of action but total independence from the British Crown. I cannot help but feel that their situation radically surpasses our own sufferings in this nation. We have representation – it might not be ideal, but we, the people, elect them. If we do not like the legislation they pass, it is our Duty to hold them accountable in the next election. We should praise God that the government our Founders established is still in effect. The American people still have power – we must remember that fact. That is something that is worth celebrating, today, is it not?

I would like to draw particular attention to one portion of the above text – “We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here.” Often, it is easy to forget how deeply religious freedom is rooted in this nation. The early settlers came to this land to seek freedom from religious persecution and to live their lives free from the restraint of oppressive government regulation. In that same spirit, the United States of America were formed.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States

The trust in divine protection has been visible for generations. A visiting Frenchman, years later, remarked that “America is great because she is good, and if America ever ceases to be good, America will cease to be great.” He saw the Christian lives of the people and their deep trust in God as remarkable. My favorite quote of all time comes from James Madison, where he states, “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” The only reason that America has endured as such a visible sign of freedom is because of our trust in God. That is something to celebrate today, is it not?

Today is July 4th, 2012. This is the day that Americans set aside to celebrate the freedoms we have in this nation. Freedom of religions, freedom of speech, freedom to bear arms, freedom from unlawful search and seizure, freedom to be viewed as innocent until proven guilty, freedom to have a speedy and public trial before before an impartial jury, and countless other freedoms that America provides. These rights and freedoms do not come from our government – our government acknowledges these rights as coming from God. Where else on this planet will such a proclamation be heard? That is something to celebrate today, and I intend to do so. Will you join me in celebrating this land that God has blessed, and continues to bless?

May God Bless America, and may the star spangled banner fly for generations to come.

~ A Renegade for Christ

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Standing Armies

In order to move on from a controversial post, inspired by a political frustration – allow me to post on a new topic – one that is also controversial (I am who I am, okay?).

Last night, I found myself up until about 2:00am reading some of the Federalist Papers. I was struck by a comment made by Hamilton in one of the essays:

“Standing armies, it is said, are not provided against in the new Constitution; and it is therefore inferred that they may exist under it. Their existence, however, from the very terms of the proposition is, at most, problematical and uncertain. But standing armies, it may be replied, must inevitably result from a dissolution of the Confederacy” (Federalist No. 8). 

I was reminded of past discussions and readings that I have had regarding the existence of standing armies – and how, according to some, standing armies are unconstitutional. However, I find it amusing now to think of such a statement being made, in view of Hamilton’s testimony here — here he advocates for the ADOPTION of the new Constitution, already acknowledging the Constitutionality of standing armies.

However, I can’t help but wonder what you, the reader, might have to say about the necessity of standing armies. I am aware that some libertarian leaning individuals believe standing armies to be a potential threat, as some of the Founding Fathers  felt.  What do you think about the current size of the United States military? Post in the comments below, if you are so inclined.

I tend to personally favor the existence of standing armies in today’s world, though I do see the threatening nature of them, if one has little trust in the Federal government. I think it is rather irresponsible to ignore the potential threats from the other world superpowers – China and Russian, not the mention many Middle Eastern nations. In light of current technology and global trade and interaction, I feel that it would be rather foolish NOT to have standing armies.

I would love to hear your opinion on the matter, though.

Sincerely,
~A Renegade for Christ

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States’ Rights…For Murder too?

Many Americans are, no doubt, familiar with presidential candidate Ron Paul and his general beliefs. The libertarian inclinations of this man have led to his traditional arguments in favor of preserving the Constitution and upholding states’ rights. His economic policies follow the Austrian school of economics, which favor a free market devoid of government intervention. He also argued strongly in favor of supporting the rights of unborn children, and has openly opposed the Roe vs. Wade ruling and abortion in general. For many of these reasons, I have held a strong degree of respect for the man, regardless of his unpopularity among the mainstream Republican Party and his often uncouth supporters.

However, it has recently come to my attention that Dr. Paul is not in favor of federal laws regarding abortion, as he considers it to be a “states’ rights” issue. I admit, this bothered me, so I decided to look a little closer at his sentiments on abortion. On his campaign website, his stance on abortion is stated specifically:

“As an OB/GYN who delivered over 4,000 babies, Ron Paul knows firsthand how precious, fragile, and in need of protection life is.

Dr. Paul’s experience in science and medicine only reinforced his belief that life begins at conception, and he believes it would be inconsistent for him to champion personal liberty and a free society if he didn’t also advocate respecting the God-given right to life—for those born and unborn.

After being forced to witness an abortion being performed during his time in medical school, he knew from that moment on that his practice would focus on protecting life.  And during his years in medicine, never once did he find an abortion necessary to save the life of a pregnant woman.

As a physician, Ron Paul consistently put his beliefs into practice and saved lives by helping women seek options other than abortion, including adoption.  And as President, Ron Paul will continue to fight for the same pro-life solutions he has upheld in Congress”(http://www.ronpaul2012.com/the-issues/abortion/).

Well, if this is indeed his beliefs, than he may be a good candidate after all. Unfortunately, when asked whether he thinks minors should be provided with the morning after pill, he declared, “I think the states have the right to try to do that, the morning after pill is nothing more than the birth control pill…How are you going to take all the birth control off the market? It would be impossible. States have some rights to regulate things, they regulate alcohol and nobody complains too much about it” (http://detroit.cbslocal.com/2012/02/28/ron-paul-states-should-decide-if-16-year-olds-can-get-morning-after-pill/).

This startled me, and began to anger me. After all, this is coming from the man who declared that, “I can assure you life begins at conception” (http://www.ronpaul.com/on-the-issues/abortion/). However, he is willing to let the states provide 16 year old girls with pills that effectively –according to his own definition of life – kill a child. That is an extremely disturbing implication.

I realize that this is one particular issue, and not even a central one for the 2012 elections. However, as a Christian who is absolutely pro-life, I find this to be a very important issue to keep in mind, especially in view of the fact that we are hours away from Super Tuesday. Ron Paul had lost my support as my choice candidate a few months ago. However, in view of this new information, I am not even sure if I can continue to maintain him as my second choice in this election.

Our Founding Fathers understood the value of human Life when they wrote:

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness” (Declaration of Independence).

and,

“We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America” (Constitution, Preamble).

May we also remember the value of Life – as a God-given right to all individuals regardless of age, size, or social condition. And may we reflect on these values as we look forward to the coming election.

~A Renegade For Christ

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CRP Convention

This weekend, I was fortunate enough to be attend the 2012 Convention for the California Republican Party (CRP), in San Mateo County. I was very pleased to be able to attend this event and even more pleased to be able to volunteer to help gather signatures for the STOP SB 48 campaign. While there are a great deal of things that I could certainly say about this event, I will concentrate on a few specific areas.

SB 48 and the Class Act

I believe I have referenced the STOP SB 48 campaign previously on this site. If you are not familiar with SB 48, it was a senate bill that was passed by the legislature and signed into law by Governor Brown, which mandates that schools discuss and emphasis the sexual orientation of individuals in history texbooks (K-12). The law goes so far as to say that one cannot “reflect adversely upon” the Lesbian, Gay, Transgender, and Bisexual (LGBT) community. The coalition backing the STOP SB 48 campaign disagrees strongly with this legislation, for many reasons, including:

1) Politicians at the state level are mandating this in all schools, K-12 – This is problematic because it is placing the politicians in the role of educator, rather than leaving educational requirements to local school districts to decide.

2) This is undermining parental authority by requiring the state to teach on controversial social issues without the authority of a child’s parent.

3) This bill requires that only a favorable image of the LGBT lifestyle be taught. However, no group, whether  ethnic, religious, gender, or sexual can be objectively and accurately portrayed if only positive information can be circulated about it. True history must “tell it like it is” and not insulate and protect different groups from objective representation simply because of their sexual orientation. 

The CLASS Act (Children Learning Accurate Social Sciences) is an attempt to overturn SB 48 through the California initiative process. Having followed SB 48, to a degree, since it was debated in the legislature,  I was pleased to volunteer at the CLASS Act’s table, this weekend, and gather signatures for the petition to get this initiative on the ballot.

***If you are interested in signing this petition, to get the CLASS ACT on the ballot, visit http://stopsb48.com/ ***

Inter-party Conflict

 Another interesting aspect of the CRP convention, was the inter-party conflict that was present, particularly between the supporters of the different presidential candidates. For a while, on Saturday, the main lobby become clogged with Ron Paul supporters who marched through the lobby and halls with big signs chanting things like “End the Fed!” and “Peace not War!” Before long, the supporters of Newt Gingrich had organized with their signs and were chanting their own slogans across the room to the Paul supporters. Though the clogged lobby made it difficult to gather signatures for my petition, I was impressed by the civility between the different groups. Though they had no qualms about chanting the praises of their favorite candidate, at the top of their voices, they remained generally pleasant when spoken to, in person. I feel proud to know that it is still possible to have strong disagreement, while still preserving a degree of civility. 

***

Considering the weekend as a whole, it was a remarkable experience, and one that I hope to repeat in the future. There were good and bad aspects to the weekend, to be sure, but overall I was glad to have the opportunity to meet some people who truly care about our nation, and desire to restore America to her founding principles. Today, I feel a strong sense of pride in our nation, and hope for the future. There are still individuals fighting for freedom and justice, in the world, and I am proud to call myself an America, today.

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