True Power

True Power

Thursday, March 10, 2011

What Would Jesus Cut?


Reverend Jim Wallis is the president of Sojourners. This is a group who are asking leaders of congress and the senate etc., to stop and think when cutting funding to certain groups or projects: What Would Jesus Cut? Of course this movement, complete with bands, caught my attention because in my book "The Politics of Prayer" I asked the reader almost the same question as the below excerpt shows:

"George Ozuna Jr. of the Learning Resources Center compiled a list of controversial issues that fall into the political sphere and issues Christians would and should care about. To say the list was substantial is an understatement. While looking at the list I began to wonder: opposition or support for which subject or policy signals without a doubt whether one is a Christian or not? Look at the list below and try to rank, by importance, from top to bottom which controversial policy would signal Christianity to society if you took up the cause:

Homeland Security
Health Insurance
Energy
Censorship
Capital Punishment
Abortion
Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA)
CIA and Drugs ($5-600 billion per year in drug money is moving through the US economy and the illegal covert operation which maintain control of that cash flow for US economic interest).
Homeless-National Coalition for the Homeless
Crime
Death Penalty
College Drinking
Racism
Corporate Crime
Diseases, the Global Threat of New and Reemerging
Education
Environmental Health
Nuclear Issues
Prisons
        
How many of the issues facing our society are we to rally against if we are truly Christians? Has involvement for or against specific policies become the determinate of Christianity and if so who is doing the judging; God or man? I often hear those involved in political causes state they are doing what Jesus would do. Jesus did not lead social causes but went to the source of change, individuals. He offered them a better way of life. He offered them eternal life. Jesus’ ministry focused on the condition of the human heart and soul. His prayers were for those that were lost in wickedness, not by changing laws, but by changing lives.
When laws are changed, conduct on a large scale is enforced. Laws can be obeyed without any affect on the heart or the soul. Walter Rauschenbush, a theologian of the Social Gospel, scratched the surface of this idea when he said “What we have is a society that makes good people do bad things. Poverty and lack of education lead to crime, abuse, and addiction. What we need is a society that will make bad people do good things, a society where laws will compel selfish people to think about the common good and ensure that greedy people can only get rich by meeting genuine human needs.”

No matter what laws are instituted, it is the heart of each individual that will make the difference. The Christian does not rely on law for righteousness (right choices and right actions) but on God. The Christian that does look to government to do what is Godly or right will be a disappointed Christian."

Those who are for cuts believe financial funding for state programs make people lazy and dependent on the government. For some this is completely true; for others, the funding is a matter of life and death. Jesus said wheat and tare grow side by side almost identical until the final stage of maturity. He said He will be the one to do the separating of the two plants. The same goes for those in need and those who abuse laws, policies, and government funded programs. Christians should be aware of the big picture and not have tunnel vision. Obamacare is declared health insurance to pull the plug on grandma, but cutting funding to Medicare kills grandma too. Right to lifers state someone must stand up for the unborn, the babies. Cutting Medicaid hurts babies also. So, what is a Christian to do? Asking ourselves, What Would Jesus Cut would be a great beginning without focusing on the sinful who take advantage and abuse everything and everyone in life; they will have their day of reckoning, but don't throw the baby out with the bath water.

It is always hard to make Godly choices in a sin sick world, but trying to make heaven on earth; forcing everyone to live like a Christian when they have not freely made that choice, is not the answer either. Regardless what the world is doing, Christians must still remain true to Jesus' teachings.
Some say it is Christian to work hard and obtain possessions and not have to share with their fellow man (also known as Socialism). What they have worked to have is theirs and they should decide to whom they will be charitable to. In the Old Testament, there was a thing called Jubilee:

A year of celebration devoted to liberty and justice and observed every fifty years by the Israelites. During this year, Israelites serving as indentured servants were released from their debts and set free. All properties given up because of indebtedness since the last jubilee were returned to the original owners. Cropland was allowed to go unplanted as a conservation measure(Lev. 25:8-55). The edges of fields were left unharvested so the hungry could eat. No one was allowed to pick up anything that was dropped during harvesting, it too was left for the hungry.
2 Thessalonians 3:10 has a warning for Christians (notice I said Christians because the Bible is the word of God for His children)"...If a man will not work, he shall not eat." The previous verses states the apostles were telling the Thessalonians not to be idle but to work so they can be a model for others to follow. As my book tries to drive home, change begins with self. We must get past conservative versus liberal and just be Christian.

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