Monday, February 27, 2012

Political Correctness- Republican, Democrat, or Independent?


This is a difficult time of year (and will be for the next several months until the elections hit us in November.) The difficulties are found in the fact that we are compelled to vote NOT by the attributes of a given candidate but rather, by the Not-as-bad-as lack of attributes of a given candidate. In other words, we decide to elect based upon what amounts to “the lesser of two (or more) evils. and in order for a candidate to prove why we should vote for him (or her), they then parade all of the negativity of their opponents before our TV screens, radios, and all sorts of print media.

Yet the worst part of all of this political circus is found in this fact: we are led to believe that our vote for the particular candidate or party is what will truly make a difference in our country. It is time for us to realize the ridiculousness of this suggestion. (But before I say this, understand that I am NOT advocating against voting; instead we each NEED to posit our support for a particular candidate.) Our country, however, will not be changed because of a particular candidate for president or a majority of a particular party in congress, etc.; the USA will be changed only by the blessings, mercy, and grace of God.

In other words, it is important to know whom we are voting for, but it is far more important to know the Lord, the Creator of the Universe, and to intercede to Him for our country. His change in America can be brought about through a Democrat/Republican/Independent. His salvation of America can be wrought through President Obama or any other candidate. It is NOT the candidate nor the party-affiliation that will change our nation; it is God Himself.

Our issue as Christians is that we stay before Him for His mercy and that we refuse to get caught up in the political side-show that keeps us away from our primary task- prayer. Again, do not be confused; we need to know our choices and we need to vote accordingly, but we deeper need to know from whom comes our help: our help comes from the Lord, the Maker of Heaven and Earth. (Ps 121:1–2 NLT).

So, I challenge each of us to intercede for our nation and its leadership. I encourage to support our President and others in leadership (as is a God-given responsibility) and to quit whining about all their failures and hi-jinx. It is God that changes the nations, not the leaders. It is the people on their knees in prayer that influence a nation, not a political promise that “tickles the ears” of its intended audience. Politics and politicians WILL NOT change our world, only God can and will … if [His] people who are called by [His] name will humble themselves and pray and seek [His] face and turn from their wicked ways, [He] will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land. (2 Ch 7:14 NLT).

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Lectio Divina- A Spiritual Discipline

A while back, while working on my Doctoral project and dissertation, I developed a modified exercise of the Christian Spiritual Discipline known as Lectio Divina. I learned a lot of excellent things about this exercise and I adapted them for my project/dissertation. I also found that these adaptations were an excellent daily practice for life-change. Because my life-goal is to be a catalyst for life-change among believers, I present them to you. Here they are:

The six steps of the modified lectio divina are:

· Silencio– a brief time of quieting and centering oneself for the purpose set before him/her.

· Lectio– a guided devotional/spiritual reading for the day, usually using only 8 (or so) biblical verses or 1 or 2 paragraphs of a contemporary or classical Christian writing.

· Meditatio– Meditation/rumination on that which has been read.

· Oratio– A prayer of devotion and surrender.

· Contemplatio– Contemplation of what has been read and of what God has sparked within one’s heart, including what it means to the hearer, and what action/decision needs to be performed as a response to that reading.

          (repetition of steps 2,3, 4, and 5 as much as needed and/or desired)

·  Journaling– An opportunity to record and preserve those thoughts and responses in a tangible manner for the purpose of later self-evaluation and observation.

I do recommend that these readings be brief (such as 8 verses or 1/2 paragraphs) and that a set time be given (maybe 45 minutes or so.)

Friday, February 10, 2012

Candidates for Office

We are now well into the election season and, once again, it seems that mud-slinging and one-upping one another are typical fare.

I guess I have a couple of questions for all of the candidates and voters:

1) Does one have to be a politician in order to be a candidate? It seems that all candidates are true politicians which, according to my personal definition, is congruous with phony and integrity-lacking. Once again, it seems that we are forced with voting for the one who is the lesser of the evils.

2) Is the mid-slinging really necessary? No longer are we to vote on someone because of their personal merits; instead we are to vote for the person with the least amount of dirt on his face and/or skeletons in his closet.

3) Some want us to take religion out of the voting process. I think this really interprets to mean that “one’s ‘religion-less’ religion is more important and more capable of producing a good candidate than is one’s Christianity.” It doesn’t work that way my friend. God MUST be at the center of our voting process.

and finally,

4) Can God really save this nation, either because of or instead of our particular government official? I believe He can.

2 Chronicles 7:14-15- “Then if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land. My eyes will be open and my ears attentive to every prayer made in this place. “