Keeping it Real
July 4th Special Issue
July 4th, Patriotism, Paying Taxes and being a Christian.
While you think about your bar-b-q, fireworks and parties this weekend, I hope that you will remember what this weekend is about. It’s all about our independence from England.
To summarize; we just didn’t like it there anymore, so we decided we wanted to leave and start our own country. We started a pretty good one too. There are many soldiers in foreign countries that are fighting and dying, even this weekend, to protect our freedoms. Please think about them this weekend and take a few moments out of your day to reflect on all that God has given us.
The latest fad to hit seems to be something called a Tea party. It is hard to find any real information on this movement. When you Google it, you get a lot of YouTube videos of rally’s, and the official Tea Party site. I went to their official site to check it out.
The site talks a lot about how much the Obama admistration is spending. It even has a cute counter on it to let you see how much our national debt is. The site list other cutesy facts like how many times our debt would stack up to the moon and back. It list why the Obama administration is spending way too much. To me, it seems like a lot of hype with the goal of scaring you. Scare you into what you ask? Joining their movement of course.
No don’t get me wrong. I don’t like how much the present administration is spending either. Neither do I like that I’m being forced to watch and support homosexual activities. In short, Im not a fan of the Obama admistration. I wanted to say that right up front. But neither do I think that we should be attacking our government.
The Tea Party was set up with this specific name to be a direct reflection on the Boston Tea Party. In case you were asleep during history class, like me, I will refresh you on this.
The Boston Tea Party was a direct action protest by colonists in Boston, a town in the British colony of Massachusetts, against the British government. On December 16, 1773, after officials in Boston refused to return three shiploads of taxed tea to Britain, a group of colonists boarded the ships and destroyed the tea by throwing it into Boston Harbor.
It was basically a revolt that situated around them feeling that they got unfairly taxed without appropriate or adequate representation. It was the Boston Tea Party that is said to have had a direct result in our American Independence.
Now, I won’t go into if the Boston Tea Party was a good idea or not. I will only say that I do not believe Christians should take part in a revolt against their government.
The Tea Party movement here seems to be saying that they do not want more taxes. Though as I mentioned before, I cannot verify much, as specific details of the movement seem to be hard to find.
However, it sounds like a pretty similar theme to the Tea Party in Boston. I also found another web site that I wish to mention here. This movement is called Fairtax. Im not listing the site address here, because I don’t wish to promote them. This group has a disturbing agenda to say the least. They wish to abolish all personal tax and instead institute some sort of nationwide sales tax.
Perhaps Im dense or something.
Doesn’t most every state already pay sales tax?
And if we were to abolish federal tax, how would we pay for our kids to go to school, feed the hungry, and all those other programs that the feds have?
But this is not the main problem that I see with these groups. According to the Bible, we are to pay to Caesar what is Caesar’s. To update that; we are to pay to the federal government what belongs to the federal government. And who decides what belongs to the federal government. Well, they do of course. Hey, no one said that the system was perfect, but it’s the best that we have.
This came from an email I received from GotQuestions. I agree completely with the them.
“As far as a Christian’s responsibility towards government, we know from Romans 13:1-7 that we are to be subject to the governing authorities and to honor them, even when they are not honorable because it is ultimately God who has placed them in authority over us. So as Christians, we are under obligation to God to be model citizens, subject to the governing authorities over us by obeying laws, paying taxes, etc. However, our responsibilities are first and foremost to be obedient to God. In America, a democratic republic where individual citizens have the ability to change and influence government by voting or by being politically involved when appropriate and in appropriate ways, part of being a good citizen is voting and having whatever positive influence we can on government.It is very hard to love oppressive governments. However, as Christians we are still obligated to pray for our leaders (1 Timothy 2:1-4). God will honor our obedience to this command, and in His perfect timing, He will judge leaders who turn away from Him.”
I do have a few things to add to this. You knew I would, right?
Most that complain about paying taxes say that they don’t want to pay because
The government is corrupt
They are just lining their own packets
We have way to much debt
Or they don’t like the agenda of the current government
Now, listen up carefully folks.
According to the Bible, obeying ones authority, in this case the federal government, does not depend on if you like them or not, or if you think they are corrupt, or misusing your tax dollars, or even what their agenda is. God does not give us a choice in these matters. He tells us that we MUST obey all authority.
It does not matter one bit if we like them or not. God says that all authority was set up by Him. Let’s follow through with that train of thought. If we do not obey authority, we are not obeying God. And if we are not obeying God, we are serving Satan.
Have you ever noticed that most of the people that jump on these band wagons, of not wanting to pay taxes, are middle income to wealthy? I think it’s because most of these folks are greedy and want to keep their wealth. My opinion is that they are just a bunch or whiners that do not want to pay their share.
There are millions of people in third world countries that would gladly give most anything to have even the smallest portion of what we have. If these people, that have nothing, were to be given the opportunity to come to America, they would not be whining and complaining about paying taxes. They would be so grateful for the opportunity, that they would gladly pay them.
They would not be carrying signs in protest against our government and defying them. They would be grateful for what God has given them. It’s only those that live here and have lived like, or turned into, spoiled brats that do all this complaining.
My advice for these folks.
Go live in the ghetto and slums of a third world country for a while. Perhaps after you have done without, you will learn to be grateful for what you have.
Just Keeping it Real
Pastor Phillip Dacus
Friday, July 3, 2009
Keeping it Real
Saturday, January 17, 2009
In the times of Jesus, the Pharisees got very riled up when Jesus appeared on the scene. That’s because what Jesus was talking about went completely against what the religious community believed and held dear. Their theology was so entrenched and impenetrable, that they just could not accept anything that went against it.
In their defense, they thought they were being good religious folk and defending the faith. They just could not accept that the very same God that had written the Old Testament and given us all those laws could be the very same God that was now telling them that those laws were no longer in effect, actually summed up in Love, and now talking about forgiveness.
The Pharisees had such a very tightly woven theology, that they just could not accept that God may be just a little different than the one that they have built up in their minds. They had put God inside a little box in order for the world and God to make sense to them.
If anything, like this book, challenges that and indicates that God might actually have the capability to exist outside this box, it is going to cause them to revolt. Their universe, including their God must make sense to them.
This is just a fact of our human existence. We are human and therefore bound by natural laws. Our human nature wants to put everything into a nice neat equation. Just like mathematics and science. We learn the formulas necessary to make sense out of how the universe works. If anything comes along to challenge our formulas, we resist it. It’s always been this way.
In the days of Columbus, it was believed that the world was flat. That was what they needed to believe at that time in order for them to make sense of their world. That theory was challenged; people resisted, called Columbus a heretic, and just plain got angry. The history of the world is filled with many many more examples just like that.
Anytime an accepted view or formula is challenged, there are those that will get angry and refuse to accept it.
That is until it is proven? The world is not flat and neither is my God in a box.
Just Keeping it real
Pastor Phillip Dacus
Thursday, January 15, 2009
I entitled this review "What if God was one of us." For those of you that may not remember it, its a song by Joan Osborn. I chose this song as the title for my review for 2 reasons.
First, because when it was released several years ago, it too was very controversial, just like this book. Some in the Church have hailed it as the best thing since Peanut Butter. Others have condemned it has heresy.
(Ive come to the conclusion that anytime something comes along that inspires huge controversy in the Church, its something that I need to take notice of.)
My second reason is because this song fits the book very well. What if God was one of us? Not just some entity that is far away up in the sky somewhere looking down in on us every now and then to make sure we have not yet blown ourselves up.
I felt that I had to write a short disclaimer on my review of book; “the Shack.”
I have already received some flack for taking a positive stance for this book, as I’m sure many others have. It’s a highly controversial book among those in the Church. In fact, I have not seen or read anything that has generated this much controversy in quite a while.
Most of this controversy comes from those that are very hard wired into their theology. They find that this book has theological flaws and see it has a threat. To this my response and disclaimer is;
I’m aware that this book in not 100% theologically accurate. What I’m not aware of is why it is expected to be. It is a work of fiction. It’s not expected to be a replacement for the Bible. If you are looking for something that is 100% theologically accurate, read the Bible. Millions of people have found that this book has changed their perspective on how they see God and have grown closer to Him because of it. How can that be a bad thing?
I have never liked all the things we do to keep God at a distance. I have never liked how it is that we see God. As some far off distant unreachable entity. This book brought him down to our level. A fact that is really stirring up folks in the Church. Folks that have a nice little neat theology and cant stand the thought of it being messed with. Their image of God is so fragile, that it cannot stand any movement or challenge at all.
If this is you, you may have a hard time with this book.
But if you are dealing with issues like; why God allowed your son, daughter or other loved one to die, Or why there is so much evil in the world that seems to be allowed to flourish, or you are simply having a hard time relating to God, then this book is a MUST read.
Dont miss this one!
Tuesday, January 13, 2009
This might seem like an odd thing to say, but please bear with me.
I was in a church service a couple weeks ago. The pastor was talking about why we don’t feel that God can meet our needs. He said that this is because we just don’t understand how big our God really is.
Well, I do agree that God is big and certainly big enough to handle any problem that we have. But what I want to explore is the opposite problem. Is it possible that we have made God out to be so huge that we just can’t grasp Him at all?
Let me explain what I’m thinking here. We spend our entire Christian lives putting God up on a pedestal. Our Church ceremonies are filled with pomp and circumstance. When we pray to God, we bow our heads in reverence and out of respect. In some churches, they have taken this reverence of God to huge heights like putting on robes, lighting candles etc....
Now, please don’t mishear me. I’m not saying that God is not big and does not deserve respect. What I am saying is that we have made God out to be so huge, and so high up there and exalted, that maybe He has become too big for us.
Most of what I have learned about God has been in the past few years and has been the result of becoming a father myself. I think it’s a bit ironic, and telling, that becoming a Pastor did not accomplish this. Only becoming a dad did.
Let’s use your earthly relationship with your Father as an example. Let’s says that every day, when you come to your Father, you say “Hello Father.” “How are you doing Father.” ”Can I serve you today Father? “You are so mighty and able to help me father” You walk around bowing to your father, clothing your father with flowing robes and in general, just revering him and honoring him.
Now, what kind of relationship do you think you will have with your father if all you ever to is this? Do you really think that you will be able to go to him with your needs and desires? I’m sure that fathers out there might like it for a little while, but it would get old very quickly. What a father really wants is for his children to be able to talk to him openly and honestly. No pretense, no reverent “Hail mighty Father” or anything like this. Just simple and intimate relationship.
This time, let’s substitute the word Daddy. “Daddy, how are you doing today”, Daddy, how can I help you today”
The first example just comes off as that you are revering and honoring your Father, but the relationship is cold and distant.
In the second example, the relationship is intimate, warm and cozy. It’s an example of a close relationship where you feel like you truly know the man and he can know and help you. Want proof? Are you close to your dad? Try calling him daddy. It feels right doesn’t it? If you are not close to him, you will probably find that the words are hard to say.
Another wonderful example of this is the book that I just finished called “The Shack.” (http://www.TheShackBook.com)
In this book, the God head (God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit) are portrayed as normal people just like you an me. Reminds me of that song from a few years back. “What if God was one of us.” In the book, God is portrayed as a warm, intimate loving Character. God talks one on one with the main Character in the book. He cooks, washes dishes, works in the garden, and lays on a dock staring up into the heavens.
Many people that have read this book have said that they will never see God quite the same again. They say that they can now relate to Him and have an intimate relationship with Him.
Try an experiment.
Next time you are in Church, instead of simply raising your hands and singing to a God that is way far out of reach, try this. Look over at that empty spot next to you and imagine Him as a real person. Talk to Him like he is a real person. Hold his hand and tell Him that you love Him. My guess is that you will feel closer to Him. And if you do this regularly, you might even get to know Him and feel like He is capable of meeting your needs.
Keeping it Real