God's Politics

God's Politics


Gareth Higgins: Ray LaMontagne, Irish Car Bombs, and Business Travelers

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Ray LaMontagne’s recent album “Till the Sun Turns Black” ends with one of the most beautiful songs about peacemaking I’ve ever heard—in which he simply repeats the refrain “War is not the answer, the answer is within you” over the most delicately lilting instrumentation. It’s the kind of sentiment that could be accused of being too vague to have any practical meaning, but warm and positive enough to be popular. But there’s something about it that feels deeper than that.
It comes to mind as I sit in a cramped and crowded airport in Missouri, between cities on a trip that will take me from the Deep South to the Pacific Northwest, meeting and talking with people seeking to explore faith at the margins of institutional Christianity. I’ll be part of a conference the week after next on the topic “Dangerous Living”(www.solitonnetwork.org)—a title ambiguous enough to invite further interrogation. The organizers aim to build a temporary community of fellow travelers asking questions and sharing experiences of what it means to follow the radical Jesus in a culture that often seems to privilege consumerism above all else and seeks to avoid anything resembling physical work at all costs. We’ll talk about faith and social justice—just what does it mean in our day to hear Jesus tell the rich young ruler how hard it is to get into the kingdom of heaven? We’ll investigate faith and authority: What kind of leadership is required when so many of our public role models leave so much to be desired? We’ll immerse ourselves in faith and creativity, hoping to become more attentive to the voice of God in art, film, music, and nature. Most of all, we will wonder together what it means to be stewards of the Christian tradition that we inherit without falling into the trap of religious imperialism. In other words, how can we take responsibility for sharing our faith without imposing it on others in a way that prevents anyone taking us seriously?
These questions were not far from my thoughts this afternoon, as we sat down for a meal at one of the in-house airport restaurants. Just after my Diet Coke arrived, the gentleman next to our table took a phone call, the first few lines of which went as follows:
‘Hi there—didn’t realize you were on that side of the pond. You looking for more bombers, or just drinking Irish car bombs?’
I froze in my seat, absorbing the impact of his comedic spin on the horrific conflict around which I grew up. I thought of the people I know back home in Belfast who have lost relatives or friends to bombs, sometimes hidden under their cars, and became so incensed that my body began to shake. It turns out that “Irish car bomb” is a name for a drink mixed from Bailey’s Irish Cream, whiskey, and Guinness. As the guy kept talking, I had to seriously consider whether or not to speak to him when the call was over. Wouldn’t it be a betrayal of all the Northern Ireland troubles’ dead if I remained silent? I freely admit that in the grand scheme of things, whether or not a burger-eating business-class traveler understands the pain he may cause by invoking the name of an insensitively-christened cocktail should not be the greatest of our concerns. But at the same time, I have come to believe that it is the small moments of dehumanization that allow the larger context of destruction on our planet to occur. What the late cultural critic Benjamin DeMott in the August issue of Harpers magazine calls the obsession with “impact”—the catharsis that is present when human beings watch images of other human beings violently killed—has become one of the driving forces of our society. Jokes about Irish car bombs not only reveal the ignorance of the speaker, but reinforce the often brutal way in which we are teaching ourselves to relate to each other.
In the end, I didn’t speak to our table neighbor; I felt that it would be unfair to make him carry the responsibility for all the angst I feel about the decades of death from which my home society is emerging. But when we have lost touch with our humanity—and the humanity of others—to the extent that we are willing to sacrifice the dignity of those who have died in war for the sake of the name of a drink, then perhaps our desire for “impact” is stronger than our hopes for peace. When Ray LaMontagne sings that the answer is “within you,” might he just be suggesting that we already know that the path we’re on is the way of destruction? That, for a start, we could at least commit ourselves to being careful with the words we use for fear they may re-victimize people who have already suffered far too much?
Gareth Higgins is a Christian writer and activist in Belfast, Northern Ireland. For the past decade he was the founder/director of the zero28 project, an initiative addressing questions of peace, justice, and culture. He is the author of the insightful How Movies Helped Save My Soul and blogs at www.godisnotelsewhere.blogspot.com



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Moderatelad

posted July 27, 2007 at 11:35 am


In other words, how can we take responsibility for sharing our faith without imposing it on others in a way that prevents anyone taking us seriously?
Why would sharing the Gospel cause anyone to not take us seriously? It is just sharing the story of what Faith in Christ has done for you and why Christ did what He did for all mankind. If they reject it – which has happened to me several times when I have shared with friends and family. But I have nevered lost a relationship because I stepped out and shared the Good News. (some sow – some water and some harvest) I thought that evangelicals at times made something so easy as ‘Salvation’ so complicated. You seem to be taking it to a whole new level that they have not considered.
“Irish car bomb” or the “Kamakazzi” – “Grim Reeper” – etc. Think you need to pick your battles – I look at the name is a little over the top but think of the Irish distillers and brewers that are making a lot of money on this drink.
After reading this article – I am left wondering what I should think or care about. You have about 4 issues going here and never come to a conclussion on any of them. You scratch the surface but never develope it to a point that I can hang my hat on the topic. I have the sizzil but not the steak.
Have a great day –
.



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Rick Nowlin

posted July 27, 2007 at 1:28 pm


Why would sharing the Gospel cause anyone to not take us seriously?
Because if it doesn’t cause radical change in every area of life, it won’t be seen as worth a hill of beans. The Gospel is far more than the “afterlife”; it’s God’s call of reconciliation to Him through Jesus’ cross and His people to each other, through which He will eventually redeem the world. It represents the “good news” that things can and eventually will be different. My own testimony involves being delivered from racism, but that makes sense only in places where folks understand that as an issue.
Much “evangelism” in fact is little more than slapping the name of Jesus on accepted cultural values, and I appreciate Gareth’s “getting” that — we need something different from what the world offers.



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Moderatelad

posted July 27, 2007 at 1:39 pm


Posted by: Rick Nowlin | July 27, 2007 1:28 PM
I agree – Faith in Christ has brought change is all of us to one extent or another. I being raised in a Christian home surrender my life at an early age. But I understand that God does offer a second chance to all His children. There is no reason that we should have to slap anyone around in delivering the Gospel message. I believe that in many situations we do more for the Kingdom by showing the ‘Sweeter’ side of God.
Have a great day!
.



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mark

posted July 27, 2007 at 2:37 pm


modlad sez:
Why would sharing the Gospel cause anyone to not take us seriously?
In my experience, many people have heard only a cut-down version of the gospel which they find either laughable or oppressive. Take the conversation I had with a new acquaintance a couple of days ago – typical of many conversations I’ve had over the years. He was brought up to rigidly believe in a series of doctrines, and when he reached adolescence he realised that he wanted to use his brain and think for himself, something which while permitted was just not done in his church. So, convinced that the gospel was no more or less than the rigid system he’d grown up with, he drifted away, and it will always be that little bit more difficult for him to hear the gospel without recoiling at the intellectual straitjacket he was in. (That won’t stop me trying.)
I’m not saying which tradition he grew up in, because there are churches that behave like that all across the theological spectrum. It wasn’t a new religious movement or “cult”.
Mark



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Moderatelad

posted July 27, 2007 at 3:11 pm


OK – I understnad that things are not perfect – we are juman and make mistakes. Some people live their faith ih Christ in very narrow margins. This does not make them bad people. Some have very large margins as to what they believe Christ and Scripture allow. That does not make them bad either. It is the freedom we have in Christ to view life the way that works for us, understanding our own frailities and shortcomings. Does someone need to apologize for the short comings of these individuals – fine – I will gladly apologize – period.
Not sure if I am going to continue on this thread – finding the way it is going and the article very opressive. I look at the glass as half full – in my opinion Sojo and Co. looks at it as half empty. I – for the most part am a positive, energized person. But the more time I spend on here – I am getting depressed. Not because of the issues – I will meet the challenge on almost any topic that I can be involved with. But Sojo does a great job on the accessment of what is wrong – the solution(s) lacks inspiration. Most solutions can be boiled down to Impeach Bush or Dobson is stupid and evangelicals are a bunch of dolts.
See ya sometime later – going to let God direct me as to how soon I will return. Sure that – no not going to say that –
Hope you are blessed in some significant way this weekend. To those of you who know that I pray on Mondays for you or your children / friends in the military. I will continue to do so no matter what happens in the future. For the few that have taken issue with my doing so – that is your choice.
Blessings –
.



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jesse

posted July 27, 2007 at 3:14 pm


It’s a great album, but I always skip the last song which is kind of boring. What is the answer “within you”? No one knows. Not even Gareth. It’s the kind of utopian, humanistic, holding hands, air headed-ness that makes you feel good but means nothing. I like LaMontagne a lot, but that last song made me take him a lot less seriously as an artist.



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mark

posted July 27, 2007 at 4:28 pm


“War is not the answer, the answer is within you”
True if you have the Spirit of God living within you, or if you have it in you to listen to that Spirit…
Mark



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Anonymous

posted July 27, 2007 at 4:43 pm


Why would sharing the Gospel cause anyone to not take us seriously?
There have always been people , and always will be people who will reject the Gospel , ridicule , and worse . The Lord told us this would happen .
I have seen people get saved by Thunder and Brimstone , but hard to say anything if a person meets etermity with God because of it . Some people need a slap over the head I guess. I fell for He Loved Me First , He will take me for who I am Sermon my self .
But to some people , that would be a trick , there are nay sayers all the time , sometimes maybe even using truth as their weapon , but its not to promote Love , its to promote rebellion against God or within his House.



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Rick Nowlin

posted July 27, 2007 at 8:22 pm


Not sure if I am going to continue on this thread – finding the way it is going and the article very opressive. I look at the glass as half full – in my opinion Sojo and Co. looks at it as half empty.
It could be that you need to consider a different perspective once in a while. Most of the criticism this blog gets comes from people who are so committed to their agenda that truly cannot relate to other viewpoints.
Most solutions can be boiled down to Impeach Bush or Dobson is stupid and evangelicals are a bunch of dolts.
That’s an oversimplification, and Sojo has never actually said those things. But the last few years have given considerable ammunition to “liberals” who were tired of conservative denigration over the past two decades. It is clearly true that we (and I count myself as one) evangelicals have offered pat answers to complex problems because, frankly, we didn’t want to be stretched by God, to trust Him fully. But that “stretching” has been taking place over the past two or three years anyway, and for that I’m grateful. I’m actually expecting revival to break out over the next couple of years.



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grandrapidshippie

posted July 28, 2007 at 1:18 am


“But that “stretching” has been taking place over the past two or three years anyway, and for that I’m grateful. I’m actually expecting revival to break out over the next couple of years.”
I totally agree. I pray that the deconstruction will come to that. I am nervous that it won’t. I know the Church needs it, but am not sure where it will bring us.



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Mick Sheldon

posted July 28, 2007 at 4:17 pm


Most of the criticism this blog gets comes from people who are so committed to their agenda that truly cannot relate to other viewpoints.
;0) Could it be that most of the support comes from the same people who are so committed to their agenda .



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Rick Nowlin

posted July 28, 2007 at 11:21 pm


Could it be that most of the support comes from the same people who are so committed to their agenda.
Not in the same way, no — remember, we “progressives” were a minority in evangelicalism and only now have found our voice. Besides, we’ve never excluded anyone.



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Anonymous

posted July 29, 2007 at 6:06 am


“progressives” were a minority in evangelicalism and only now have found our voice. Besides, we’ve never excluded anyone.
Progressives are still are a minority in evangelicalism , and have not found their voice as of yet . They will never be able to find a voice unless they realize to become credible , at times they will have to exclude other voices .



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Rick Nowlin

posted July 29, 2007 at 1:43 pm


Progressives are still are a minority in evangelicalism, and have not found their voice as of yet. They will never be able to find a voice unless they realize to become credible, at times they will have to exclude other voices.
Which voices should we then exclude? I mean, conservatives have always accused us of excluding their voice, which isn’t and has never been at all true. But if you expect us to subscribe to a more “conservative” view that eliminates all except the “received” doctrine, that simply isn’t going to happen because we believe (and more people are figuring out) that the Scripture is far more comprehensive than traditional evangelicalism would have you believe. This movement exists not to give some people a title, BTW.



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Mick Sheldon

posted July 29, 2007 at 4:56 pm


Rick ,
Thats a good one , you think the left does not exclude people ? Disagree with one on a major democratic political platform , see what happens .
To me a difference would be between an Evangelical holding hands with a Gay Organization and speaking for tolerance , which is the right thing to do from my point of view and scripture . . But for an Evangelical to hold hands with a gay group and ask for marriage rights ,that is a vocie that is contray to scripture , and also hurtful to the gay person if you believe in the Gospel in my opinion . Gay people are better off , like all of us with a Mom and Dad , nothing hurtful about that standard unless you have been deceived in thinking it is .
But the Gospel voice gets stimied when you become a pawn for the political party . The religious left is no different then the right , but the right has more power , they both are shills , the right has more clout . Big deal , numbers mean nothing , in fact most of the Bible is standing up to the majority by Faith .
Holding hands and speaking for health care and then promoting an organization and securing funds that does address healthcare and provide more abortions then any other provider world wide .
Does the religious left embrace one evil in order to bring health care to all ?
Well its too complicated for me yet . I guess I have been re thinking . I have stepped back from my political activitism , blog maybe , but that is it .
It is not clear to me , the right had issues I could support , but I will not support corporate welfare or country club republicans who have deep pockets .
I don’t think you understand that or agree with that . Your dogma somehow circumvents by logic on this . The left basically stands for secular government taking control more of the dollars and lives of people in our country . More secualrists in the democrtaic party by a large margin . There is a reason for that .
Politically I guess it is smart , for in a growing secular country , gay marriage will happen , abortion on demand will always be here . You are being fooled if you think liberal Evangelicals have Christ to be thanked for those rights . Or Christ believes government needs to compromise with those who provide abortions , or that Christ actually believes republicans or democrats have a Godly political platform .
To me its one person at a time . That is the message of the Gospel , God and you Rick .



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Rick Nowlin

posted July 29, 2007 at 5:56 pm


Disagree with one on a major democratic political platform, see what happens.
That’s irrelevant for our purposes. We’re talking about Christians, not political parties.
The left basically stands for secular government taking control more of the dollars and lives of people in our country. More secularists in the Democratic Party by a large margin. There is a reason for that.
Au contraire — in fact, the “religious right” always had secular backers from the word go. Thus, secular conservatives are far more dangerous than secular liberals. And BTW, the right is no different from what you say about the left, but evangelical Christians sold out to the right because they knew they’d benefit personally. That said, would you call Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, whose religious commitments are well-known, secularists? If so, is that because — and only because — they don’t share your ideological agenda?
You see, your focus on abortion and gay marriage is exactly the problem — there are far more issues than those that Christians need to address. That’s why this blog exists in the first place, to consider what the whole of Scripture says.



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Andrew Kreider

posted July 29, 2007 at 6:42 pm


if we could only just become the church Acts portrays….
http://andrewkreider.squarespace.com/



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Brandon

posted July 29, 2007 at 7:58 pm


Jesse,
“It’s a great album, but I always skip the last song which is kind of boring. What is the answer “within you”? No one knows. Not even Gareth. It’s the kind of utopian, humanistic, holding hands, air headed-ness that makes you feel good but means nothing. I like LaMontagne a lot, but that last song made me take him a lot less seriously as an artist.”
Um…the answer is love…which he sings right after singing “the answer is within you…” And that still may seem “utopian, holding hands” etc. to you, but not if you really listen to the rest of the CD and have any idea at all what he’s getting at. It’s unfortunate that the fact that LaMontagne singing about love within yourself being an answer to the violence we perpetrate could make you think less of him as an artist.
And i love gareth higgins. within me even.



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jesse

posted July 29, 2007 at 11:07 pm


Brandon,
Okay, if it is “love” he is speaking about “within you” it still sounds air-headed because love is not within everyone and war has definitely been the answer in times past (unless you want to sit idly by holding hands while your neighbor is annihilated).
Regardless, I gather that Ray is a pacifist who likely does not believe in the fallen nature of man. I’ve never heard any case for pacifism that doesn’t sink into meaningless slogans like the one included in this song. Which is why it annoys, I guess.



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Moderatelad

posted July 30, 2007 at 8:17 am


It’s Monday and I have prayed for those on this site that have someone in the Iraqi conflict or they themselves are there or going there. May they know God’s care and protection during these times.
Blessings on them now and in the days to come.
Moderatelad
.



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Anonymous

posted July 30, 2007 at 2:15 pm


Rick You said
You see, your focus on abortion and gay marriage is exactly the problem —
No Rick , the focus of the left to support the orgainzations that go along with those agendas are the problem . Especially from this one . They never adress it realy , and support those folks who speak out in support of the left wing secular groups . You don’t see that on the right , they may ignore it , pretend their not there , cover it up , but you won’t see a James Dobson supporting Log Cabin Republicans . Thats why this group and liberal churches often loose their creditability , they stand for everything , therefore standing for nothing . The right wing Christian groups close they eyes .
I live in a liberal state , it does not stop with abortion . Next you have health clinics in schools , next you have teachers and counselors teaching morality , and saying they are only choices . Its not homosexuality , its instead of teaching right and wrong , its teaching your right could be another’s wrongs , their wrong could be your right . Our kids , this generation is being brought up in a decide for yourself belief system .
Maybe its why I am a conservative is because considering the decisions I have made, so many being wrong in regards to what i was taught . I could not imagin what I would have done if the things I did wrong , I actually did not even consider as wrong but just a choice .
You can’t see that ? Whats going on .
Homosexuality is just the focus of the debate because so many people have a prejudice against gays , and gays have been mis treated .
Its much more then that
Rick said
Thus, secular conservatives are far more dangerous than secular liberals
LOL , that is why intellectual conversation is hard to be taken seriously on this blog at times , Ok if it makes you feel better .
I don’t see the difference when the folksare in power and make policy or moral decisions myself that effect others .
Rick Said
That said, would you call Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, whose religious commitments are well-known, secularists?
Pleasantly surprised Hillary had a background in church , actually I was pleased . Barack I know does . I almost got in line with the rest of star crazed folks to support him , he has a voice and a sincerity that you can see the hope come out of him .. America could use that ,
I think they compromised who they were , especially Barack, . I believe I would
feel at home in Barack’s church , they worship Jesus Christ .
I also believe he has compromised so much of himself by liberal dogma he lost the biggest part I liked about him , his core. i believe he puts on a another suit when he steps into the public arena .
I liked Bush because he was a Christian , I read his Testimony . I still believe it . I do not have the hatred for him seen on
blogs like this . I do wish he was never elected . I happen to think he has stopped listening , I
believe he still prays .
You will never find justice from politics Rick , but I hope for your sake you find peace .
Mick



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Mick Sheldon

posted July 30, 2007 at 2:29 pm


Rick You said
You see, your focus on abortion and gay marriage is exactly the problem —
No Rick , the focus of the left to support the orgainzations that go along with those agendas are the problem .
They never adress it really , and support those folks who speak out in support of the left wing secular groups . You don’t see that on the right , they may ignore it , pretend there not there , cover it up , but you won’t see a James Dobson supporting Log Cabin Republicans . Thats why this group and liberal churches often loose their creditability , they stand for everything , therefore standing for nothing . The right wing Christian groups close they eyes .
I live in a liberal state , it does not stop with abortion . You think your area is different ?
You think sin stops at one point , dare , call anything a sin these days and you are put in the flat earth category list around my state .
Next you have health clinics in schools , next you have teachers and counselors teaching morality , and saying they are only choices . Its not homosexuality , sex, obey parents , its instead of teaching right and wrong , its teaching your right could be another’s wrongs , their wrong could be your right . What is right for your parent is not right for you , etc etc . You should know this stuff from the right wing dialogues you have had ?
Our kids , this generation is being brought up in a decide for yourself belief system .
Maybe its why I am a conservative is because considering the decisions I have made, so many being wrong in regards to what I was taught . I could not imagin what I would have done if the things I did wrong , I actually did not even consider as wrong but just a choice . Why look to a God , if everything is an EQUAL moral choice .
You can’t see that ? Whats going on .
I hope you can explain to me this , because the causes you seem to support , I do. But for me , its as though I have to compromise my God , not my agenda Rick . I figure this world is in a downward spiral , and no political right or left will stop it . I am a holy roller Rick , God is the answer to me .
Homosexuality is just the focus of the debate because so many people have a prejudice against gays , and gays have been mis treated . Plus the Bible teaches sex out of marriage is wrong .
Its much more then that , Its the way beliefs have been challenged because for Gay Rights to gain , Religious Doctrines had to be ignored and sometimes attacked . Different then other civil rights issues , even though the left claims they are .
Rick said
Thus, secular conservatives are far more dangerous than secular liberals
LOL , that is why intellectual conversation is hard to be taken seriously on this blog at times , Ok if it makes you feel better .
I don’t see the difference when the folksare in power and make policy or moral decisions myself that effect others .
Rick Said
That said, would you call Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, whose religious commitments are well-known, secularists?
Pleasantly surprised Hillary had a background in church , actually I was pleased . Barack I know does . I almost got in line with the rest of star crazed folks to support him , he has a voice and a sincerity that you can see the hope come out of him .. America could use that ,
I think they compromised who they were , especially Barack, . I believe I would
feel at home in Barack’s church , they worship Jesus Christ .
I also believe he has compromised so much of himself by liberal dogma he lost the biggest part I liked about him , his core. i believe he puts on a another suit when he steps into the public arena .
I liked Bush because he was a Christian , I read his Testimony . I still believe it . I do not have the hatred for him seen on
blogs like this . I do wish he was never elected . I happen to think he has stopped listening , I
believe he still prays .
You will never find justice from politics Rick , but I hope for your sake you find peace .
Mick



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knerd

posted July 30, 2007 at 4:51 pm


Gareth–I look forward to hearing Ray LaMontagne’s album and the new song you describe. He has an amazing voice, does he not?
A few thoughts on your post:
Ironic and oblique humor used with some topics can often be ways to hold the horrible and macabre at bay. I am thinking of the drink named after the violence in Ireland.
Your depth of feeling and your knowledge about Irish/English politics certainly have value and there is nothing wrong with sharing your personal awareness with the gentleman with the cell phone. At best it will lead to a life-changing encounter for both of you. At the very least it is an opportunity to sharpen your own talking and listening skills.
DeMott’s thoughts on our preoccupation with “impact” has raised a troubling point–one I take very seriously. While thinking about it the idea of the “self-mutilating teen” comes to mind. This is the person who deliberately cuts into the skin of his arm to drive home the lesson that because he bleeds and scars he is alive.
Is our post-modern fascination with death and dying the outward expression of profound inner questions we are afraid to ask about our own life?



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Rick Nowlin

posted July 30, 2007 at 11:19 pm


I don’t see the difference when the folks are in power and make policy or moral decisions myself that effect others.
I saw the effects of Reaganism in my city almost immediately. Gradually I saw its ultimate aim — to establish an aristocracy.
I liked Bush because he was a Christian, I read his Testimony. I still believe it. I do not have the hatred for him seen on blogs like this. I do wish he was never elected. I happen to think he has stopped listening, I believe he still prays.
That has never impressed me — he can pray all he wants, he can give all the testimonies all he wants, but I don’t see sufficient deeds that go along with his faith, and besides, that kind never has listened to anyone outside its purview. I remember after the 2000 SCOTUS desicion making him president that I was talking to a guy who was exulting over the result, and I responded, “I voted for Gore.” His answer was, “You must know something I don’t know.” I haven’t seen the guy since the war started, but I knew from the start that Bush was that kind of person.



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Rick Nowlin

posted July 30, 2007 at 11:23 pm


You will never find justice from politics …
Then why are you trying?



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Mick Sheldon

posted July 31, 2007 at 5:17 am


I saw the effects of Reaganism in my city almost immediately. Gradually I saw its ultimate aim — to establish an aristocracy
Your serious aren’t you . Give me example of something immediate . Reagan wanted an aristocracy ?
11111111111111111111111111111111111111111111
You will never find justice from politics …
Then why are you trying?
To promote opportunity , to allow people to be free. Freedom is why I am involved .
After the corruption and lost goals or compromised goals of the GOP, I
had pretty much given up .
I have had people tell me I have a political mantle . Have had people say things to me from different Christian groups and speakers , in the prophetic and in the natural say it to me .
I am a Reagan Conservative , and those days appear be totally gone , at least in this state .
Looks to me its see what government can do for me , actually enjoyable hearing people such as your self still see hope in the system .
I don’t see it . Looks to me you are dragging much what hurts people coming along on your back for the ride .



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Rick Nowlin

posted July 31, 2007 at 10:36 am


I have had people tell me I have a political mantle. Have had people say things to me from different Christian groups and speakers, in the prophetic and in the natural say it to me.
You do, the truth be told — in the next paragraph you identify yourself as a Reagan conservative, which is the biggest part of the problem (indeed, it was Reagan that got me to take a greater interest in politics in the first place). You see, Reaganism, far from getting the government off people’s backs, actually resulted in less freedom and less justice for those that were not as well off. In fact, if you take a look at the history of the conservative movement it was always focused upon building itself up as an aristocracy, where the rich and powerful made all the decisions (conservative organizations as a rule are bankrolled by a few super-wealthy benefactors, one of which lives in my city, plus corporate America) and I was especially infuriated by its use of religion to achieve those goals. Think the likes of James Dobson got rich simply “preaching the Gospel”? Not on your life — they simply told a bunch of people what they wanted to hear. The same goes for every single black conservative.
Ultimately, the conservatives focused on maintaining ideology rather than good governance, and that has been exposed. One reason they hated Bill Clinton so much is because he actually knew how to run a government, which directly challenged their idea that “government was the problem, not the solution.” Today, with the incompetence of the Bush Administration, people are beginning to see that government does have a role to play in people’s lives. That’s why Reaganism is dead despite conservatives’ continued attempts to prop it up.
But because they intended to own everything the conservatives also in the process became so arrogant that they decided that they could simply give orders to everyone without any feedback from non-conservatives (I don’t use the term “liberals” because not everyone who doesn’t subscribe to modern conservatism is purely liberal in the true sense of the word). And that’s precisely why we’re stuck in Iraq right now. Now, you can blame Bush personally all you want, but he was the logical end — and I mean that in more ways than one — of the political right.



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Anonymous

posted July 31, 2007 at 11:58 am


rick; if revival does break out i don’t think you will like it. why? because i think it will be sorta intolerant of waffling, progressives.
right on jesse; what if what is within you is to be a suicide bomber? or…is lamontagne singing to born again christians only?
i wonder who coined the name for the drink? irish pub owners????
…..burger eating business class traveler… what do we have here gareth? maybe the traveler sas a christian.
…how can we take responsibility for sharing our faith…… just do it gareth!
instead of dwelling on the rich young ruler, why not think about the prostitute at the well or barabas. me thinks gareth is an isolated progressive floating in a sea of feel good conferences. the world is satan’s gareth don’t try to spiritualize it with yourself.
try sedona arizona, where everyone feels good.



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Mick Sheldon

posted July 31, 2007 at 12:22 pm


Rick ,
James Dobson’s organization does much good in the help it does for families .
Despite his politics , either they be left or right , he happens to be right , mainly family as as the center . You can be liberal or conservative and see the need for that I would think .
Interesting , thanks , I have been thinking of this much for about two years now .. But liberalism always has left me easily seeing the scapegoating that is done , just as of the past couple of years , I have seen it so easily coming from the right also .
Thanks … But you still have not answered the concerns of the liberal secualar view that has engulfed our culture . No right , no wrong , one plain , your right can be someones’ wrong . To a generation of young people , that can not be good . That has to be conflicting message , and even an anti Gospel message in a way . For you and I know there is one truth , Jesus Christ .
You don’t have to be a person who thumps people over the head to be considered a bigot if you believe that Jesus Christ is the one and only God . That truth , that liberty and pure justice is considered immoral almost to some it appears .
Now he is just another god . Even liberal Christian denominations on the far left , who are in the mainstream of democratic politics say this . That bothers me greatly . How come it does not you ? Are you not concerned with your message getting lost in the poliics and religion of many gods being all the same ?



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Anonymous

posted July 31, 2007 at 4:43 pm


If revival does break out I don’t think you will like it. Why? because I think it will be sorta intolerant of waffling, progressives.
I daresay you don’t know yourself what revival is. Most people think of revival as people streaming into the church to forsake their sins; rather, it results from the church looking inward and saying, “LORD, where have we missed you?” and start retooling their ministries accordingly. Put another way, revival starts among the people of God, focusing on holiness and readies them for His service. “Moral reform,” if it occurs at all, only results from that. In other words, revival glorifies only God, not anyone’s ideological agenda, so if you’re looking for evangelism or “revival” to “clean up” this land you can forget it.
My own church is in the midst of a mini-revival but to get there it had to confront its outright racism, going so far as to pray out the spirit of racism even in every closet! Now it’s pretty integrated, even as far as lay leadership, but no one is satisfied with the progress that’s already been made.
But you still have not answered the concerns of the liberal secualar view that has engulfed our culture. No right, no wrong, one plain, your right can be someones’ wrong. To a generation of young people, that can not be good. That has to be conflicting message, and even an anti-Gospel message in a way. For you and I know there is one truth, Jesus Christ.
I have never seen things in such stark ideological terms. I’ve seen far, far more corruption from the political right than from the left; indeed, I think it is far more dangerous to misrepresent God than to ignore him because one leads to the other. This is where and why ideological labels and their corresponding political parties have no bearing on this discussion.
Besides, the early church never took the time to fight “culture wars,” so consumed was it with what they considered the imminent return of Christ. It became so strong because it held to nothing else.



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Rick Nowlin

posted July 31, 2007 at 4:44 pm


That last post was mine.



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Mick Sheldon

posted July 31, 2007 at 7:25 pm


Rick
rather, it results from the church looking inward and saying, “LORD, where have we missed you?” and start retooling their ministries accordingly. Put another way, revival starts among the people of God, focusing on holiness and readies them for His service.
Right On .



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marelda

posted August 1, 2007 at 8:22 am


excellent piece, gareth. your observations are thoughtfully written, spiritually provocative. carry on. marelda



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dam hy lap dinh cuom

posted April 26, 2013 at 3:12 pm


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