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Christian Government


steve
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Alright guys, and gals, I have been re-reading Borg’s the 'God We Never Knew' and I have some questions and thoughts. Being a conservative minded person I think that we should strive for personal freedom and individual responsibility, however, I understand that there are circumstances that are out of the control of the individual and that we have to find a way to correct this. What do you guys think about government and its role in America? What would you like to see happen and what role will government have?

 

I know this opens up a lot of questions and answers, and I know that we have all had this talk before, but I just can’t seem to get it right in my own head.

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I think Christianity is clear: Love your neighbor as yourself. My personal freedom and individual responsibility, mixed with my Christianity, requires me to help the least of these... I don't read anything from Christianity that says - "If they Really tried" or, "if they didn't screw up" or, " if they have a good reason"... <_< That, in my mind is the radical compassion of Jesus the Christ... take care of others - all others - as you would yourself... very incompatible with our culture; and something I don't begin to live up to. But, if we're talking about Christian Government... I think from each as they are able; to each as they need is about as close as we'd get. Adding in human nature causes problems. :)

 

As for the role of government and what I'd like to see in the real world... I'm in way to hopeless a mood to address that just now. :(

 

Good question! Looking forward to some new discussions!!!

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I agree that our culture is not conducive to what a really Christian community would be, but that does not mean that we can’t work toward what one should be.

 

We should take care of others as we take care of ourselves. I take care of my family and myself, and my family in return takes care of me, in almost the same ways. But it can’t stop there; I should work to take care of those who are not able to care for themselves, or who have been driven down and are now unable to care for themselves. I don’t begin to understand how to accomplish this, but that is not the point, yet.

 

However, I take umbrage with your statement of, ... ‘I think from each as they are able; to each as they need is about as close as we’d get.’

 

What part of the Bible or Jesus teaching did this quotation come from?

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No umbrage needed :D - I think my intentionally inflamatory paraphrase is actually Karl Marx... but, scripturally my reference is Acts 2:43-47 (New Interpreters Study Bible)

 

"Awe came upon everyone, because many wonders and signs were being done by the apostles. All who believed were together and had all things in common; they would sell their possessions and goods and distribute the proceeds to all, as any had need. Day by day, as they spent much time together in the temple, they broke bread at home and ate their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having the goodwill of all the people. And day by day the Lord added to their number those who were being saved."

 

Maybe we need more Awe. B)

 

 

"I agree that our culture is not conducive to what a really Christian community would be, but that does not mean that we can’t work toward what one should be."

 

Of course... I'm (hopefully) temporarily a bit hopeless about the whole thing... I didn't mean that it wasn't worth doing!!

 

 

"We should take care of others as we take care of ourselves. I take care of my family and myself, and my family in return takes care of me, in almost the same ways. But it can’t stop there; I should work to take care of those who are not able to care for themselves, or who have been driven down and are now unable to care for themselves. I don’t begin to understand how to accomplish this, but that is not the point, yet.

 

Agreed! At this point it isn't deciding what to do, but finding some common ground, goals, and energy for those who are willing.

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Well I am glad that you knew who that quot was from (though I would not use the father of Marxism to make a point), and I too am a NISB user.

 

Your last remark was, ‘Agreed! At this point it isn't deciding what to do, but finding some common ground, goals, and energy for those who are willing.’

But I would say that we still need to decide what to do. What can we do? What can we find out? What can we pick up? What can we work together on?

 

All these questions need answers, or at least some talking about.

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No umbrage needed  :D - I think my intentionally inflamatory paraphrase is actually Karl Marx... but, scripturally my reference is Acts 2:43-47 (New Interpreters Study Bible)

 

"Awe came upon everyone, because many wonders and signs were being done by the apostles.  All who believed were together and had all things in common; they would sell their possessions and goods and distribute the proceeds to all, as any had need.  Day by day, as they spent much time together in the temple, they broke bread at home and ate their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having the goodwill of all the people.  And day by day the Lord added to their number those who were being saved."

 

Maybe we need more Awe. B)

 

 

"I agree that our culture is not conducive to what a really Christian community would be, but that does not mean that we can’t work toward what one should be."

 

Of  course... I'm (hopefully) temporarily a bit hopeless about the whole thing... I didn't mean that it wasn't worth doing!!

 

 

"We should take care of others as we take care of ourselves. I take care of my family and myself, and my family in return takes care of me, in almost the same ways. But it can’t stop there; I should work to take care of those who are not able to care for themselves, or who have been driven down and are now unable to care for themselves. I don’t begin to understand how to accomplish this, but that is not the point, yet.

 

Agreed!  At this point it isn't deciding what to do, but finding some common ground, goals, and energy for those who are willing.

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I guess what I was trying to get at with this post is, what if anything should we be doing through the government. Is there a responsibility that we have in regards to our government and its use of tax dollars? Do we owe it to ourselves and others to use the government for the betterment of the people, or is this better left up to the people? Should the government be limited in its scope; should it be make to get out of the way? Or should we try and use the government and make it have more of a say in what goes on?

 

What do you guys ( and gals) think?

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Well funny thing, but I think that the neocons (not the old school conservatives) think it is fine for government to be involved with:

supporting businesses in any and every way.

gay marriage and other things in bedrooms

abortion

etc

and any thing else they want to get involved with.

But government should have nothing to do with helping poor people.

 

I think it is unrealistic in this age to expect that the government will ever "get out of our lives". So I think the problem is "how is the government in our lives"?

And also how the government is like "Rome" circa 4 AD?

 

 

--des

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Well, I must say that the neocons have really turned a corner that had not been taken by conservatives (political) in this country. Neocons are like Marxist Christians, and because of their dependance on government, and willingness to jump conservative ship if need be, they are the worst kind of political people.

 

Neocons, most of whom have said that if the conservatives or Republicans refused to expand government they would become liberals, have no real goal other than to preserve Israel and become wealthy. Both of these are fine in moderation. I have no problem, and support, with the defense of Israel as long as Israel is willing to see new options. Likewise, I don’t mind if people want to become wealthy. There is nothing wrong with that, but it can’t be at the expense of all others.

 

I think that conservatives, I am one, and liberals, Classical Liberals, should get together and try and stop these Neocon policies and quests. If liberals really want to have a world or at least nation that is open to others and able to help all, we need to get the government out of it. And if conservatives, who wish that each person would be able to expand his or her horizons through independence and liberation, want this to happen they will have to return to their old ties of less government and more liberty.

 

What do you think?

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Steve, I just don't see that we can really make a dent in the root causes of poverty without some government. Health care reform, more affordable housing, etc. seem to me to be problems that aren't solvable without government. But to me it isn't a choice between government and non-government orgs (NGOs) is a choice I wouldn't make. We would need everbody on this.

 

 

--des

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"Likewise, I don’t mind if people want to become wealthy. There is nothing wrong with that, but it can’t be at the expense of all others."

 

 

Is this possible? To become wealthy without it being at the expense of someone... best I can tell, this world economy is a zero sum game.

 

"If liberals really want to have a world or at least nation that is open to others and able to help all, we need to get the government out of it. And if conservatives, who wish that each person would be able to expand his or her horizons through independence and liberation, want this to happen they will have to return to their old ties of less government and more liberty.

 

Give it a few years... (truely, no disrespect intended)... things get murkier as you realize that nothing is about what it is stated to be about. Human nature and people's apparent inability to put others first on a large and/or consistent scale generally messes up the best ideologies.

 

I would love to see the government get out of a lot of things... unfortunately, they tend to pick the "least of these" type issues... the ones there is no economic incentive for any wealthy christians (or other) to pick up. Health care, for instance. This is an area where in a wealthy country the government should be responsible, IMO, for the medically needy. Especially as they are now in the business of disallowing people to have choices (ie euthansia, choice in death, abortion) [i'm not saying that I support these] then refusing to help people left without choices. Is life a beautiful choice? If you're middle class and just not planning another child, absolutely. In many other circumstances, not so much... especially for the baby growing up malnurished in a meth lab... etc. A responsible solution, which Jim Wallis called for this week in Sojo mail, involves adoption reform, medical care, daycare, and support of families.

 

So, what I'm trying to say is that while ideological answers are easy, real world solutions are not. Hence the quandary. :)

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"Likewise, I don’t mind if people want to become wealthy.  There is nothing wrong with that, but it can’t be at the expense of all others."

 

Is this possible?  To become wealthy without it being at the expense of someone... best I can tell, this world economy is a zero sum game.

This is a common misconception about economics. Whenever two parties freely enter into a transaction, they both profit. One party values the other's product over his own money, and the other party values the other's money over his product. Florida farmers need Pennsylvania steel more than their own oranges, and vice versa, so that after the transaction, both sides are better off. That's why free trade is so important, especially for developing countries.

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  • 5 months later...
Is this possible?  To become wealthy without it being at the expense of someone... best I can tell, this world economy is a zero sum game.

Not even close, it's hard to think of a single action that's a zero sum game.

 

Positive Sum games:

Feeding people - improves the labor pool

Solar Energy

Teaching love

Building transportation systems

Education

 

Negative Sum Games:

Subsistance labor - no time for education, raisng kids

War

Teaching Hate

Using Methamphetemine

 

Two people may transact a deal, and one lose, like the guy who buys the drugs.

 

The world's economy only appears to be zero sum because we've let the blood suckers grab new supluses for themselves only.

Edited by TheMeekShall
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Agreed - it doesn't have to be.... sadly, it just is.

 

The W. VA miners were the perfect example. One of the 12 had reported explosive gases in the mine the week before according to his gf. I can't (thank God) imagine feeling that I had to go into a mine knowing that it was unsafe. The tragedy that continues for mining families, Wal-mart employees, etc, etc, etc doesn't get much press. "Nickeled and Dimed" by Barbara Ehrenreich is an excellent book about this.

 

I wish I could see a light at the end of the tunnel. But, at this point, I'm focused on living up to my beliefs in regards to the individuals I come in contact with... learned helplessness has set in on a larger scale although I continue to volunteer and contribute. I'm trying to learn detachment and trust :blink:

Edited by Cynthia
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  • 3 weeks later...

"Power corrupts, Absolute power corrupts absolutely" We have to look within to relate to God, not through a minister or Church hierarchy. Maybe God has given us such an abomoninable government to see that the best way to reach a "beloved community", is to start within, not to look to those using the patchwork of antiquated and usurped rule we call government.

 

A loving society starts with you, not The President. If you think about it long enough, you'll realise it's great news!

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"Power corrupts, Absolute power corrupts absolutely" We have to look within to relate to God, not through a minister or Church hierarchy. Maybe God has given us such an abomoninable government to see that the best way to reach a "beloved community", is to start within, not to look to those using the patchwork of antiquated and usurped rule we call government.

 

A loving society starts with you, not The President. If you think about it long enough, you'll realise it's great news!

 

 

I wish it were true. Unfortunately attitude and prejudice (unlike wealth) do actually trickle down. People take there cues from The President and seem to think that behaving the way he behaves is acceptable.

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Likewise, I don’t mind if people want to become wealthy.  There is nothing wrong with that, but it can’t be at the expense of all others.

 

 

Jesus has a different view on this. He seemed to think there was everything wrong with being/getting wealthy!

 

Most of the wealth the rich & privileged of Europe & US & Canada and the elite elsewhere have accumulated has definitely come at the expense of others. The gap is growing and the waste and greed and selfishness committed by most of the rich and privileged is outrageous and quite wrong. The planet is in jeopardy because of this greed and waste and selfishness. Billions live in poverty and war zones. Will there be anything or anybody left in the wake of what a few million of our current selfish, greedy, wasteful, destructive privileged class has done? It is our duty, our obligation, our responsibility to challenge this outrageous behavior on the part of a few million or maybe tens of millions who now seem hell bent on destroying the planet and exploiting the poor and oppressed and marginalized. Not to mention the all but forgotten future generations.

 

What Jesus said! What Jesus did! What Buddha said! What Buddha did!

 

love,

mystictrek

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