Sunday, February 03, 2013

The Politics of Truth - Jesus, Truth & Courage

 When it comes right down to it, the truth is something that many don't really take seriously. Talk about? Yes. Live out in you life? Now that's a different matter!

Many issues seem to be open to negotiation. While it might be the right thing to do and it might be what the Bible specifically commands us to do, but to actually do it? Oh, Please, be real! No one really lives that way, not in today's society!

In today's churches, even the Pastors don't, can't or won't come right out and say that something is right or wrong. It's all up to the individual or determined by the situation a person finds himself in. And only that person can determine whether something is right or wrong.

And worse, anyone who says that they know what is right and wrong is "hardcore." They are "judgmental." They are "intolerant."

And then there's Jesus, the one person everyone wants to identify with because He's so soft and cuddly. He never speaks harshly, never raises his voice, never condemns a person and never offends the sensibilities of those around Him.

Yet, when it comes to the particulars of His teaching, well, we shouldn't go too far. After all, to do the same things Jesus did, to actually follow His Words.........well..........we might end up just like Jesus, with people trying to figure out a way to eliminate you from their lives. It's called persecution. And it's something that Jesus promised if you identify with Him, live like Him according to all He said.

The fact is, that in spite of his popularity, the large crowds to hear him teach, the healings, the miracles, the kindness, the love, the gentleness, the anger, the rebukes, etc., they wanted Him dead. And they killed Him simply because He was a threat to their power and influence.

Don't be surprised when you aren't the most popular person in the room or the building for speaking and living the Truth. We are following in His steps.

Saturday, February 02, 2013

Politics - The Way of God, The Way of Man - Are They the Same?

The Bible says that Solomon was the wisest man who ever lived, thanks to his request and God's provision.
He made a statement that many times is quoted, but I wonder how much attention is paid to the details.

It begins this way, "There is a way that seems right to a man........"

Many issues today are approached, discussed, argued over, then decided based upon this one premise that "Well, it just seems the thing to do" or "It just seems the right way of thinking" and so on.

I find this true especially when it comes to political discussion. Most people are proceeding from a very similar mindset when the details of politics are discussed.

Among Christians, this way of thinking can sometimes seemingly be supported with a verse or two of Scripture. The result is that many think that, "Well, this way seems right for us as Christians, so that 's the way it's going to be." After all, who can argue against The Bible? That includes the Bible itself. If you bring up a verse that contradicts another verse quoted, many times they will fall back on the "it just seems right."

Couple this with the Subject of American History, specifically the Founding era, and it becomes almost impossible to engage in a true discussion because of the aura surrounding the Founding Fathers. Their wisdom is almost Divine itself, especially because they, too, used the Bible periodically to support certain policies. And, once again, pragmatism wins out. It just seems divinely right, the way God would want things to be. It just makes sense from God's point of View.

The problem with this is that God actually says in Isaiah that His Ways are higher than the ways of men, as far as the Heavens are from the Earth. And God's People are instructed to live according to God's Ways while on this earth, not the ways of men. Try inserting that into a conversation and see how far you get.

The rest of that verse from Solomon? Well, "........for the end thereof are the ways of death."
The Final Authority!

And you wonder why societies are crumbling around you? And you want to keep relying on "it just seems like the right way"? Following the herd will only get you the approval of the herd. I really want the approval of God, not because I think that seems like the right way, but because His Word tells me so. This is the same Word that has proven itself time and time again. It's veracity amazes me and I will continue to trust it and, at least, attempt to live by them, counting on His Blessings in my life. I also trust His Word to provide the understanding for all that is going on in this world, even in political discussions!

The Standard of American Liberty - Taxes, Tyranny & Jesus

How did Jesus resist Tyranny?
Within the realm of American Secular Politics, there remains one steadfast rule for the wanna be patriot, rebellion or resistance. The two are so closely allied, I group them together.

For those aligned with the idea of resistance being nothing more than pacifism, you will be disappointed with this post. But for the true Disciple of Jesus and Biblical ideas of resistance, this article will hopefully provide some Truth and Peaceful Understanding.

In a previous post, I dealt with the issue of a person paying taxes that they weren't legally required to pay, all for the simple reason of protecting the Tax Collector from legal harm. Next I want to very briefly introduce an idea that will leave many patriots probably feeling a bit uncomfortable, especially in their bid to return America to her Christian roots.
No Taxation w/o Representation

This issue was one of the Hallmarks of the American Revolution. In fact the Cry "No Taxation without Representation" was the official motto that accompanied it and the Founding Fathers' resistance to tyrannical taxes passed by King George and Parliament as well as the Officials in the Colonies having the duty of enforcing these edicts.

For those desiring to return to the Christian roots of America, I wonder how well the official policies of the Founders, as well as their actions, line up with the Words and actions of Jesus. Do they even come close to being the same?
The Bostonians Paying the Excise-Man, or Tarring and Feathering,
attributed to Philip Dawe, 1774, in the Colonial Williamsburg collection.
If Jesus would go so far as to pay a tax He didn't owe in order to protect the Tax Collector, I wonder if the Founders ever went this far in there dealings with officials and Governing Bodies? Surely there are examples within American History to justify this return to such lofty Christian ideals and actions, aren't there?

And surely, those espousing such resistance and rebellion would be most willing to point us to the loftiest standards, say, those of the Christ they would have us emulate, right?  And the example set by Patriots of old that also believed the words of Jesus and were willing to follow them, even in the face of further tyranny and even death? Please, let the prophet for American Patriotism speak from authority. May he disdain empty words and rhetoric not espoused by God in the flesh!

God, Politics & Taxes - Viewing the IRS Through the Eyes of Jesus

Many remain unsure about Caesar & God.
In this age of using Jesus Christ as a poster child for the nearest available cause to trumpet to the world, it's easy to take the glib merger of the holy and profane. I'm sure many could say the same about the hot button issue of taxes.

Over the past three decades, many personalities have given their take about taxes, even using The Bible coupled with the IRS Code and other Law as their main source for authority. If you have any familiarity with this august group, you will know that most of them are now shining their light of truth while enclosed within the authority of United States Federal Prison Bars.
Irwin Schiff - Now in prison
Larken Rose - Now in prison

Kent Hovind - Now in prison
From Irwin Schiff to Larken Rose to Kent Hovind, particular issues have been researched, debated and argued in open court (local, state, federal, IRS, etc) as well as the most public of forums, the World Wide Web, all with losses of time, money and, ultimately, freedom.

Instead of rehashing these arguments from the legal realm, I prefer to take a look at the words and actions of Jesus as recorded in the Bible in Matthew, chapter 17. And also, instead of looking at his response to the Pharisees about "rendering unto Caesar," a look at his ultimate response when His Disciples were asked by the Tax Collector, "Does your Master pay taxes?" is preferred.

After Peter answers for His Master, Jesus proceeds to give Peter a legal and historical reminder of current fundamental tax law under Rome (which has not changed to this day). Peter is then further reminded that, while Jesus generally paid taxes, Jesus was not obligated by law to pay this particular tax.

If you are familiar with this story, you know that Jesus sent Peter to catch the fish, remove the gold coins from the mouth and pay the tax for both of them.
Certain Roman Tax Law has not changed!
It definitely makes for interesting discussion the fact that Jesus was not legally required to pay this tax, yet payed it anyway. Many might be tempted to conclude that Jesus caved in to Roman barbarism and any subsequent ill effects of resisting and rebelling against the powers that be. The Word of God, however, does not leave us to guess or draw educated conclusions. Jesus specifically tells us why he payed the tax he did not owe.

Jesus paid a tax he did not owe in order to protect the Tax Collector from proceeding against Him unlawfully and suffering the legal consequences of his actions. Once again the summary wrath of Rome could be brought to bear, for the life of the Tax Collector was subject to forfeiture if caught violating the terms of the license they operated under. Rome was not known for their tenderness when dealing with violations of its Law, especially from its own Officers.

For this reason, Jesus took the highest road possible. Knowing what the Law stated and required from Him personally, He was well within the boundaries of the Law. And yet, to protect the Publican from any potential mistake and violation in the exercise of his Official duties, Jesus paid a tax not required of Him!

Think about that! How many are willing to rise to that level of action in their lives? Who would be willing to act in such a way to protect any IRS agent? Yet, Jesus is our example to follow. How many are serious about it?

Friday, February 01, 2013

Jesus & Taxes - Was Jesus an IRS Tax Protestor?

I've seen the following picture on Facebook recently about Irwin Schiff, Taxes, the IRS and prison. I finally shared it with a preface statement and questions as follows.

"If you, like Irwin Schiff and others, were faced with a government that wanted you to pay taxes you weren't required by law to pay, what would your response be? Would it be the same as Irwin Schiff and others? Would it be the same as Jesus?"
Did irwin Schiff know Jesus' Tax law?

I wonder how many know what the response of Jesus was to the idea of paying a tax He wasn't legally liable to pay? Were you aware that Jesus faced this dilemma? Do you know the choice Jesus exercised? Can you guess?

I assure you that the option chosen by Jesus was not one most of us would have seriously considered, much less actually performed. I will make another post about His choice. In the meantime, see if you can figure it out.