Posted in A to Z Blogging, Dave Handles the Tough Issues, Writers

The Politics of Christianity

*** If you are stopping by from the a to z road trip, click here to get links for all my 2020 a to z posts. If you want to see what the blog looks like post a to z challenge, feel free to read this post prior to clicking***

Dave Handles the Tough Issues

The other day I overheard my wife Amy ask the following question:

“How come all the people I know who are protesting the stay at home order are Christians and the people I know who are defending the order are not?”

It is a great question, one that she’s going to ask our small group leader when we meet next. It got me thinking not only about that question but about some broader questions that her question made me ponder. One of these was: Is american evangelicalism becoming more about politics and less about following Christ?

Wikipeidia defines Evangelicalism as

Evangelicalism (/ˌiːvænˈdʒɛlɪkəlɪzəm, ˌɛvæn-, -ən/), evangelical Christianity, or evangelical Protestantism, is a worldwide, trans-denominational movement within Protestant Christianity that maintains the belief that the essence of the Gospel consists of the doctrine of salvation by grace alone, solely through faith in Jesus’s atonement.] Evangelicals believe in the centrality of the conversion or “born again” experience in receiving salvation, in the authority of the Bible as God‘s revelation to humanity, and in spreading the Christian message.

Wikipedia

That simply is what I mean when I say that I am a Christian. I’ve been saved by God through Christ’s life, death and resurrection, I believe the Bible is the Word of God and I believe that I am called to share this good news to all. “Christian” may mean other things to other people, but this is what I mean by it. Also, since we are doing definitions, when I say “Church” I mean the world wide group of Christians per the above definition.

My concern is that evangelicalism at least in America seems to be adding to the Wikipedia definition. Which leads us back to Amy’s question. Why was all the support she was seeing for the stay at home order coming from those who believed differently than she does and everything she was seeing in opposition to the stay at home order coming from “like minded” believers.

Now it doesn’t surprise me that there is a political divide in this country about the response to the corona virus. There seems to be a political divide in this country about everything these days. We all seem to have been transported into a Seussian childrens’ book entitled “Red State, Blue State.” I get that. What I don’t get is that the evangelical church seems to have picked sides.

I remember 30 to 40 years ago when the republican party was courting the evangelical vote, but since then it seems like they’ve got engaged to it. Why is the church getting engaged to the republican party when we are supposed to be the Bride of Christ?

My political beliefs tend to originate from my Christian faith. A better way to say that is my faith informs my political preferences. I do vote republican much of the time, but there have been many instances where my faith has informed me the better candidate was not riding on the elephant. I have received much grief, even ridicule over the years for this practice. Some people it seems, have their political preference inform their faith. A few years ago a young man who had just moved to our near Chicago suburb from downstate Illinois visited our youth group. While introducing himself he said something to the effect of “Of course I’m a Christian I’m a Republican.”

Over the years I have seen a growing tendency to think the exact thing. This kind of thinking has had many evangelical leaders promote Republican dogma like it’s a tenet of the Christian faith. One of my heroes, the late Billy Graham, has 3 very instructive quotes regarding the mix of politics and religion.

…  it would disturb me if there was a wedding between the religious fundamentalists and the political right. The hard right has no interest in religion except to manipulate it.

Billy Graham – Parade Magazine 1981


“I’m just going to preach the gospel and am not going to get off on all these hot-button issues. If I get on these other subjects, it divides the audience on an issue that is not the issue I’m promoting. I’m just promoting the gospel.”

Billy Graham 2005 – quoted in What Billy Graham taught us about a healthy relationship between religion and politics – Deseret News 2/21/2018

“I’m trying to stay out of it and just keep preaching the gospel, because there’s nothing coming out of Washington or any of those places that are going to save the world or transform men and women. It’s Christ,”

Billy Graham 1987 – quoted in What Billy Graham taught us about a healthy relationship between religion and politics – Deseret News 2/21/2018

I think that Graham’s quotes are even more instructive when you consider in his lifetime he met and prayed with every president from Truman to Obama.

Unfortunately not everyone agrees with Graham on this. I have been embarrassed and outraged by how unchristian much of the political rehtoric I see by fellow believers. Our President had his share of rants during the early days of his daily co-vid briefings. On at least 2 occasions he went off on journalists who were asking valid questions. In both cases, I saw on Facebook people I respected saying the reporters deserved those attacks and not one apology for our President’s behavior. One person referred to one rant as one of the best things he ever heard him say. The main gist of the commentary was that the left deserved everything the President was doling out.

As a Christian I believe that the only thing I deserve is a Christless eternity as a result of my own sins. I also beleieve that my salvation comes from God through Christ and is taught in the Bible. Nothing else is needed. When evangelicals defend unchristian behavior because they like the politics behind it they are not showing an understanding of Christ’s redemptive love to a watching world.

I am very passionate about political involvement. I have written many blog posts, letters to the editor and letters to my elected officials regarding my beliefs. I have had many politically charged conversations and firmly believe that I have a duty and a responibility to share my convictions with my representatives.

Another passion I have is my passion to shower the world with the love of Christ. If I had to choose between passions I hope I’d choose the passion mandated in the Bible. Jesus states this passion very succinctly in the book of John …

12 My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.

John 15:12-13

As I come to an end of my thoughts about Christianity and politics, I will try to circle back and answer my wife’s question. The Christian response to the Covid 19 situation, or any situation for that matter, should be the response that speaks in the economy of God rather than man. Man’s economy may be all about life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. God’s economy is about experiencing Christ’s love, sharing that love and putting others needs ahead of your own.

Posted in A to Z Blogging, Flash Fiction, Saturday Six Word Story Prompt

Saturday Six Word Story Prompt.

Last month I was visiting blogs for the a to z challenge road trip and I came upon A blog called Keith’s Ramblings. I really enjoyed his theme and I like his flash fiction so I have returned a few times since. When I visited his blog today I saw that he was participating in something called The Saturday Six word story prompt (6WSP) at My Random Ramblings. Each Saturday the host gives a prompt and then you write a six word story that is about the prompt but does not need to contain the word.

Since I already participated in a 6 sentence story, I thought a 6 word story wouldbe kind of fun. This weeks word was Coffee. What I decided to do was write 2 stories and then I had my wife and daughter vote on which one to submit.

Today’s winner…

Coffee, not my cup of tea.

For more 6WSP click here.

Posted in 10 Things, Baseball, CCM, Dave Out Loud, HOF, music, Top 3

10 People I’d love to interview for a podcast.

I’ve been thinking of doing a podcast for some time now. You could say I’ve been building up to it for years. When I was in junior high my friend Roger Johnson and I used to make 8 track tapes (google it) like we were on a radio show. I moved from 8tracks to cassettes in high school (but always said I could quit at anytime) and send them to friends. In college I actually volunteered at a campus radio station as a disc jockey, I had to provide my own music so I was frequently carrying 200 records and 100 cassettes across campus after my shift ended at 1am. When I lived in Russia , I would record letters to my friends and send them home. Over the past 30 years I have hosted a “radio” show that emanates from my head and broadcasts in my car when I am driving by myself. I also have have a vlog, Dave Out Loud, that as has almost as many viewers as my radio program has listeners.

Over the past few weeks, as I have been more seriously considering a podcast, I have been thinking about the components of such things. I started to think about who I might want to interview in a podcast. I started writing down a list of people whom I’d love to interview. The list quickly evolved to well over 10 people, so I had to do a bit of whittling to get to the list below. If I ever do host a podcast I do want to make a quick disclaimer on this list. It is not necessarily the top 10 people I’d like to interview for a podcast. It is just a list of 10 of the many people I’d like to interview. The 10 I ended up choosing I share some type of commonality with, that I’d love to explore in an interview. Some of these people you have heard of others are people I’ve met along the road on the journey that is my life. In no particular order here they are …

10 people I’d love to interview for a podcast

Vladimir Lebedev

Just to clarify when I say Vladimir Lebedev. I do not mean the illustrator or the skier I mean the pastor, musician, translator, student, driver, interpreter, missionary friend of mine from Russia. Vladimir was one of the first people I met when I went to Russia in 1992 and is the person who coined the phrase ministry of bad ideas for me. He is a dear friend who has a wonderful love for and understanding of God’s word.

Allen Levi

I met Allen Levi in 1995 in Irmo, South Carolina where he was doing a concert at the church I was attending. I connect to Allen on many levels, we both write songs, blog, have a passion for missions and youth ministry. We both have lost brothers to illness. Allen stopped practicing law to go into full time music ministry. A few years ago he left music ministry for a while and served one term as a judge in family court. In 2004 my wife booked him to play a concert for my 40th birthday. It was the last time I saw him in person and I would love to catch up with him and talk about his eclectic yet Christ centered life.

Steve West

1/2 my list is composed of people I’ve never met. Steve West is probably the least well known person on that side of the list. I must be drawn to the blogger lawyer type as Steve West is both those things. When I first started reading his blog, out walking, I didn’t even know what a blog was, let alone that I was reading one. Reading his blog over the last 12 years I have discovered movies like Once, Pet Sounds by the Beach Boys, and house concerts. The thing I like most about Steve is that although he blogs infrequently that his posts are always thoughtful, insightful, challenging and worth waiting for.

Weird Al Yankovic

The commonality I share with Weird Al, is strangely not the weirdness. Although I am extremely weird. I consider myself a bit of a parodist myself. My parodies are on a much smaller scale then Mr. Y, I once wrote a variation of Hakuna Matata cal led Hakuna Renatta for a girl from our college and career group who was moving from Illinois to Florida. I believe her name was Renatta. I also wrote this one for my my 500th post at a differnet blog.

Amy Roller

One of the nice things about being married to your best friend is being able to book her as a guest on your podcast. I mean I love our conversations why not share them with an audience?

Sheryl Ryan

Sheryl is an OT from California, a breast cancer survivor (like my wife), a facebook friend who is both insightful, funny and compassionate. I’ve known Sheryl since we were teenagers and even though I haven’t seen her since 1990 she is still one of my favorite people.

Gordy Jorian

Gordy is one of 2 friends who has an imdb page. Gordy is another friend I have not seen for decades but spending time with Gordy is always time at the fun table.

Steve Martin

Steve and Gordy have both worked with Kermit the Frog (who would definitely be on this list if it wasn’t limited to people). Steve Martin has been my favorite comedian since I was in middle school. If it wasn’t for Steve Martin, I’d be my favorite comedian ( I wouldn’t be as funny as I am now, as I have learned so much about comedy from him even without the benefit of his Masterclass).

Carlton Fisk

Some of you may be surprised that I went 8 people without mentioning a White Sox player. If I made this list 6 months ago prior to his death, I may have included Ed Farmer on this list. Carlton Fisk is also deserving of a spot here, as he was my favorite non white-sox player in 1980 when he signed as a free agent for my team. He continued and concluded his HOF career on the south side.

Michael Card

Michael Card is one of my favorite singer songwriters. He also an excellent author and makes a mean bowl of chili. Actually I don’t know about the chili part but he does make a mean bowl of podcast.

Well those are 10 people I’d love to interview for a podcast. I guess the next step would be figuring out how to go about making a podcast.

Posted in A to Z Blogging, Capitals

A to Z Roadtrip 2020

Every year, a few weeks after the A to Z challenge has ended, the A to Z road trip begins. The A to Z road trip is a challenge to go back and review all the particpating posts from the challwnge before the beginning of next year. Here is a link to the 374 blogs suitable to all ages that particpated in the challege this year. If you are stopping by from the challenge, I have constructed this post for you so you can link to all my a to z 2020 posts. I have also constructed a page that does the same thing.

My theme this year was Capitals, but that is somewhat misleading. While I have a few posts that give information about the capital itself, most of my submission are based on what pops in to my mind when I think of that capital. It was a crazy bumpy covid lock down ride. Some times more than one capital was listed in the same post, so don’t be confused if you link to the same post from different letters.

Most of my posts also include links to previous years a to z submissions form the same letter, so feel free to visit them as well.

Enjoy your visit and have a wonderful road trip. I will also try to visit all the participating blogs before 3.31.21 and hope to feauture some of my reactions to them in upcoming entries.

To go directly back to the a to z challenge page click here.

Albany, New York

Boston, Massachusetts

Columbia, South Carolina

Dover, Delaware

Edinburgh, Scotland

Frankfort, Kentucky

Georgetown, Guyana

Honolulu, Hawaii

Indianapolis, Indiana

Jerusalem, Israel

Kaskaskia*, Illinois

* Previous Capital

Lansing, Michigan

Madison, Wisconsin

Nashville, Tennessee

Olympia, Washington

Pierre, South Dakota

Quito, Ecuador

Raleigh, North Carolina

Springfield, Illinois

Tallahassee, Florida

Ulan-Ude, Buryatia*

*Russian republic

Victoria, British Columbia*

*Province of Canada

Washington D.C., USA

Xalapa, Vera Cruz*

*State of Mexico

Yucatan, Yucatan

*State of Mexico

Zanesville*, Ohio

* Previous Capital

Trip Over. To go directly to my a to z 2020 archive page click here. To go back to the a to z challenge page click here.