The Parable of the Community Organizer

imageTheologian Susan Sarandon trotted out her tired proverb once again (hopefully for the last time) on inauguration day. In her latest attempt to equate President Obama with Jesus Christ, she said “He is a community organizer like Jesus was.” Continuing her vacuous line of reasoning, she verbally prostrated herself before him saying, “And now, we’re a community and he can organize us.” Civic and national pride is a good thing, but I’ve got to ask Miss Sarandon, where was this pride during the past eight years? Were you among the Diaspora of yearning souls who just couldn’t connect with one another? Ever hear of Facebook?

As I pored over the pages of my Bible I grow concerned that I am unable to find the stories of the Lord’s community organizing. The principle of community agitation is centered on creating a critical mass of humanity to address a problem that they are facing. Kind of like the Boy Scouts, seeing trash in their neighborhood and picking it up. Later, they build a trash bin so that the problem doesn’t reoccur. The Lord Jesus, on the other hand, did not come to organize humanity to address the problem that they had. There was no possible way for them to do so since propitiation required a perfect sacrifice. He was to become that sacrifice, something we would never be able to do on our own. His shepherding consisted of a single message, believe in this grace and put aside your personal god to worship the One who offers it.

I can’t begin to address the small, confined world in which celebrities exist and form their philosophy. Alfre Woodard voiced her tempered opinion of those outside of her bubble, “I think we might finally grow up as a nation.” Fact, Ms. Woodard, most of us grew up years ago.

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A Bailout for Moral Bankruptcy?


The depths of moral bankruptcy seem to know no bottom, do they? We are inundated with opinion pieces masquerading as news in which a victim is portrayed as the aggressor in the Israeli-Gazan conflict. The newsreaders display their lack of principles as they attempt to portray some measure of moral equivalence between the culture of death which rules in Gaza and the democratic, peace-seeking culture of Israel. Will we soon see sympathetic portraits of the Somali pirates?

Sarah Palin was savaged mercilessly during her ninety days in the public spotlight. Her rise through public service was belittled and searched for scandal. The Palin family was trashed and portrayed as ‘Deliverance’ extras, pregnant in their mukluks with questions about lineage paraded across the front page. All this because she proudly stands up for her conservative principles. While all this was happening, the media at large happily avoided any difficult questions of the principles or beliefs of the next president that they so gleefully carried into office. Obfuscations dismissed, questionable relationships ignored, morality murdered.

Perhaps the most disturbing trend that has been developing for some time but is now reaching its zenith is the ascendance of the ‘celebrity pastor.’ These men (and women) have become consumed with self-aggrandizement and promotion. It is especially apparent in the blogosphere where their posts are couched in introductions in which they are “humbled” to have preached at four distant churches on one Sunday as they remind us of how great they have become. Shouldn’t people who have been redeemed and gifted through no aspect of their own character seek out a true humility? True achievement is recognized by others, not ourselves.

Is there anything left in the till for a bailout here?

Psalm 20 ~ Pray for the King

Psalm 20 reminds us of an often neglected responsibility for disciples of the Savior, to pray for our leaders (1 Tim 2:1-4). Whether you may have voted for a leader or find yourself in opposition, the Christian is called to exercise his or her intercessory moments and seek wisdom, guidance, and protection for the authorities recognizing all the while that God’s providence directs the course of history. This psalm was used to seek these God given tools for the king before he went out to war and can offer the same things to a current leader who faces an immensely complex world.

May the Lord answer you when you are in distress; may the name of the God of Jacob protect you.

May he send you help from the sanctuary and grant you support from Zion.

May he remember all your sacrifices and accept your burnt offerings. (vv 1-3)

The psalmist takes an interesting turn in his form in verse six. In exuberance, a liturgist proclaims loudly the truth of the psalm’s words, bursting forth with a proclamation of assurance for the effectual nature of the believers prayer. Our modern prayers can lead us to the same confidence if we approach them fervently and humbly, confident in God’s course and not insistent on our own ways.

Now I know that the Lord saves his anointed; he answers him from his holy heaven with the saving power of his right hand.

Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.

They are brought to their knees and fall, but we rise up and stand firm. (vv 6-8)

The Cost of Compromise

The Wall Street Journal reports that twenty five percent of Protestants and better that fifty percent of Catholics voted for president-elect Barack Obama. They cast their vote despite his clear anti-life record and the agenda of abortion support and economic enslavement that his party has vowed to support. If you identify yourself among these numbers you have compromised your principles, the Church, and your God.

Can someone explain this?

How does one who lays claim as an heir or heiress to Christ support and put in a place of authority leaders who have promised to forward a culture of death at all costs? Does the sanctity of life, every life, that is a reflection of the imago dei in even the unborn child mean nothing? Holiness in a follower of Christ does not compromise holiness in their actions.

I read Christians who claim that it is Obama and his coalition’s support for the poor that made their compromise valid. They say that government will now do more for the least of these. Sadly, this is not the gospel of Jesus. The fruit by which the orphans and widows are cared for comes from individual disciples transformed by the Holy Spirit into the likeness of Christ . This spiritual fruit is not provided by government. It comes from the capital C Church, the community of saints who together, in their transformed state, seek out the least of these and serve them through the desire of their heart, not a mandate of human authority. Government imposed solutions are nothing more than an abdication of the responsibility given by our Lord. We compromise and we fail.

For those who will respond by saying that God places all of our leaders in their positions of authority, I would ask that they read their bible again. Read particularly in Judges. Not all leaders are in place for the good. Sometimes, leaders and their failure before God cause us to repent and return to Him in our brokenness, despondent and terrorized by the decisions that we have made.




We as Americans are at a tipping point in our history. Our nation is roughly divided into two ideological camps; one leans toward the notions of individual responsibility with minimal interference from the a central governing authority and the other finds its identity in a large, caretaker governing authority and abdication of individual responsibility to that authority. Christians find themselves on both sides of this division with a decision to make as to whom the next leader will be. Unlike many other elections in the past with little other than the cacophony of partisan slogans and frenzied lowing to differentiate the ideologies, this event is different. It is kairos.

Some in the Christian community will insist that a call to action is misguided and unnecessary; God will place the man or woman that He ordains into this position of authority without human involvement. While miraculous intervention is always a possibility, this ‘sit back and observe’ attitude shows a profound misunderstanding of how God interacts with His world. Even a cursory review of the biblical record demonstrates that God works through His human agents, imbuing them with appropriately formed hearts and the ability to act on what is right. In a country in which we practice representative self-rule, our responsibility is to exercise our franchise based upon the ethics and morality of Christ.

This moment in the history of the United States is kairos. For those unfamiliar with the Greek term, it is a decisive point in a place, situation, or time where the divinely ordained purpose must be grasped boldly by moral agents. It is an opportune time in which human decision is crucial to the fulfillment of divine purpose. Those whose wills are attuned to divine purpose will recognize kairos, those who only hear their internal drummer will not.

Will you act decisively for life in this moment? The next president will be filling positions in the Supreme Court in the coming terms. Will those appointments be men and women who ‘find’ legislation in the Constitution or those who interpret it according to the intention of its authors? Your vote will decide the direction.

Will you act decisively for individual liberty in this moment? The corollary of liberty is individual responsibility guided by your Spirit-driven ethics and morals. The next president will lead the country from either the perspective that you are able to exercise this liberty and be responsible for yourself or that you are unable to be responsible for yourself and that a large government presence and intervention are necessary for your good. Your vote will determine that direction.

Will you act decisively to reverse deepening corruption of the culture? It becomes more difficult each day to see the imago dei in our fellow citizens. The humanity that we each posses is challenged with debasement by a pornified, violent, crass culture that is supported by an underlying attitude of moral equivalency. Cultural insistence that you or I are not to apply our moral or ethical standards to someone else, thus judging their ethics is at the root of the continued and quickening downward cultural spiral. The next president will either lead by an example of honor and principled service to others or from a position in which no morals or ethics are to be judged superior to any other system and that each should seek out whatever they feel is right. Your vote will determine that direction.

If you decide that this is not a kairos moment that needs your action that certainly is your privilege. I urge Christian readers though to review Christ’s insistence that we not retreat into fortresses but that we carry His message of the restoration of humanity and justice in both orthodoxy in the Church and orthopraxy in the world. The Kingdom exists as a here and now concept as well as a yet to come idea. In the here and now, your purpose is to be an influence in the culture, to spread your Christlikeness like yeast throughout your sphere of influence. As a citizen, your responsibility is to apply your values and ethics to selecting the fellow citizen who will lead  us into a strange and new future.

Politics and the Christian

Politics are not the task of a Christian. Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Should we as Christians take this as a definitive statement? Is there no place in the political arena for a follower of Christ or is the whole of politics so fraught with temptation and corruption that even the Holy Spirit might hesitate to tread? Unlike Luther who insisted on a separation of the world into two kingdoms, the sacred and the worldly with a barrier between, I see the whole of the world as God’s dominion. As his servants, we are to surrender nothing and if called, participation in politics is no exception.

It is important, as the calendar turns toward fall and the upcoming election, that we begin to examine the positions of the candidates in light of Christian values and the Word of God. We can debate the positions but the Word, traditional values, and the historical church will provide us with the final word.