Earlier today, I noticed that a fellow Christian sister who I have a lot of respect for and have learned from, had posted something that, at first glance, I couldn't bring myself to read. It made me uncomfortable.
This evening, I forced myself to read it as I found myself considering blogging about how I couldn't read it and I realized how ridiculous that was, how can I post about something I didn't read?
What made me so uncomfortable that I didn't want to read the post initially? Very simple. It was her announcement that:
"...since I do not have any mountains nearby, I am more than happy to shout the news here, if you want to call it that, that I am a socialist."
I was glad I forced myself to read it. I can respect The Rogue Angel, as she proudly cries from, as she titled the post, "The Top Of My Mountain."
That's not to say that I agree completely with Angel, but I can understand where she's coming from. I agreed with her sentiment when she wrote:
"I think it is wonderful that I live in a country that wants to ensure that all children have a safe place to live with electricity and clean running water,"
I'm just not sure that I agree that it is necessary for the government to take quite the active role it takes in accomplishing the goals she listed, and there were more.
"For not one minute, do I believe we can just chuck all that on the "church" either ... because "we" are the church. We make up the Body of Christ. And, as a member of that "Body" ... I am more than happy for my tax dollars to go to programs that help people. That help children. That help the elderly. That help the poor. That help "the least of these.""
She is right, we, Christians, are the church...but not America, not the government.
In some ways I agree with her because I believe the church, Christians, have done an abysmal job in helping the poor and "the least of these," but I also think it might be worth considering that there are ways to help the poor and "the least of these" without delegating our Christian duties to the government, and I understand also that she likely meant she's comfortable, as a Christian, with our government taking these actions, using her Christian tax money to meet the needs of the poor among us.
I question, by the church, individual Christians, giving over that responsibility to the government are we really doing what Christ has called us to do? Would we, the church, be more able to help the poor and "the least of these" if the government wasn't taking our money from us and then redistributing it to others in need, others of their choice? (And, I also do not mean to imply that all Christians give over their responsibility to the government but, I have no doubt that some feel they don't have to help the poor because the government will take care of it, or some may even assist the poor with getting government assistance as a way of "helping" the poor, themselves.)
Those are the questions I ask. I ask myself if Christ wants Christians, even some of them, to delegate the duty they are bound to, to the government so that they don't, personally, have to take that responsibility?
The government making choices for us about what charities we give our money to prevents all of us from having more money with which to act on our own, with which to make personal decisions.
I'm not saying, either, I'm ready to throw the baby out with the bath water, so to speak.
I'm not such a staunch conservative that I think every government safety-net program should be done away with completely. In part, because I believe the Bible is true all the way through, and scripture tells us that the poor will always be with us. I'm not a heartless individual.
There are nagging questions that trouble me, however:
Should the church, we Christians, expect others who are not Christians and, therefore, not a part of the church, to be our brothers keepers?
Should people have their individual choices taken away so that the government can be in the business of taking care of all of our needs or should it be a lesser contribution on the part of the government with more of the responsibility being on the shoulders of the Christian who has taken that cross to bear? (I'm hearing the cries of "humanity," that it is as much a "humanity" issue as a Christian issue, but that doesn't change the question, substitute the word Christian for humanitarian.)
Now, I think it is very unfortunate that Angel ran across a blog written by a person who is a flame throwing, name caller, rather than a compassionate and respectful person willing to listen and hear, willing to respect another's opinion, but I have a little beef of my own. It didn't come from Angel, who I really have come to respect and feel I can allow a good measure of trust, rather it came from a comment in the comment section of her blog entry:
"You ever wonder how someone can be pro-life, but then doesn't want to feed that life after it is born? It really confuses me!"
I do not believe for one minute that it is true that people who are "pro-life" do not want to feed a life after it is born. I will give the commentator the benefit of the doubt that she really believed what she wrote and wasn't intentionally misrepresenting pro-lifers but, it's always best to let the people explain themselves, rather than do it for them. I'm not very liberal, I'm more conservative so, I'd never dream of trying to speak for a liberal, shucks, I don't even try to speak for other conservatives, there are many of them with whom I disagree, too.
Many people who are pro-life are also pro-active in insuring that babies who are born, rather than aborted, are fed, clothed, cared for and loved. I have been blessed by meeting such a Christian-founded group and interacting with them. Not only does Newborns In Need (NIN) provide needed items to newborns but they continue to clothe and assist the child for YEARS and other Christians and non-Christians, alike, including children, are offered an opportunity to serve and help the poor and "the least of these" through their organization. It is a win/win. NIN actually even assists the elderly by giving them service opportunities. They assist home schooled children by allowing them service opportunities and they are a national organization.
Pro-life individuals also act to assist in the individual lives of children. For instance, Senator John and Cindy McCain adopted a child and brought her home with them, doesn't that qualify a pro-lifer as, "wanting to feed a life after it is born?"
So, I just wish everyone, from both sides of political ideology, could be respectful of each other. It is a two-way street.
The ideological question for me is: Could Newborns In Need, for instance, and for the sake of discussion, be receiving higher donation amounts and be able to assist even more babies and children if the government didn't require potential donors, the church, Christians, "humanitarians," to give them money to redistribute for us? I doubt we'll ever know the answer to that question but, I do think there should be respect for the good intentions of some people who believe government distribution is the only way these vital needs will be met. Others don't believe that, others believe the government should stay out of the business of making our charitable choices for us and that viewpoint is deserving of respect, as well. It is possible to be a good, Godly and giving person with well intended motives in either case.
Until we recognize and respect good intentions and understand we all really seek the same goal and the same outcome while disagreeing on the way to achieve those goals, there can be no dialog, no consensus, no middle ground or cooperation. Consider that we hear during every election cycle that this candidate will offer bi-partisan solutions, or that candidate will offer bi-partisan solutions, as though we all recognize that is what it will take to make progress, to find solutions. If we recognize it, then we should try to observe it. I wish we'd walk the walk.
Note, if interested: To locate the Newborns In Need chapter near you, click HERE.
Our local Springfield Chapter's Web site is HERE.
Tell Judy I sent you and send my love! She's one awesome lady!