AMBUSHED AGAIN…..SIGH!

childrenI suppose I should know better than to post comments on some blogs.  Shrug.

To prove something or other (figure it out for yourself), violetwisp posted a fragment of a comment I made on her blog. See punishing children. I suppose I could comment in some detail, but I won’t bother. Mostly, I will just post a few comments from this post: breaking news: more bible translation errors discovered also at violetwisp.

Why not say more? When I read their comments at punishing children, it quickly became obvious that the people whose opinions I care about think violetwisp is being absurd.

So here is my reply. We make choices. Then we deal with the consequences, but some people grow up thinking they are exempt from suffering the consequences of their bad choices. Those people try to shift the consequences of their bad choices onto others. The enslavement of others is an extreme example of such behavior.

Children who receive proper discipline know that it is not right to make others suffer the consequences of their bad choices. That’s the basic difference between a responsible citizen and one who isn’t. The responsible citizen accepts personal responsibility. It also seems to be a big difference between the Modern Liberal and a Conservative. Hence that is probably why Modern Liberals and Conservatives divide so predictably on this issue.

Anyway, violetwisp has given me a good excuse to post some Bible verses.

To our modern ears, the Bible can make discipline sound harsh.

Proverbs 23:12-14 New King James Version (NKJV)

12 Apply your heart to instruction,
And your ears to words of knowledge.

13 Do not withhold correction from a child,
For if you beat him with a rod, he will not die.
14 You shall beat him with a rod,
And deliver his soul from hell.

Beating a child with a rod sounds awful, but consider the alternative.  The rod was for the child who would not listen.

Proverbs 29:15 New King James Version (NKJV)

15 The rod and rebuke give wisdom,
But a child left to himself brings shame to his mother.

Moreover, the point of proverb is to encourage parents to save their children, not hurt them. The point is to get a child’s attention so they will listen.

When I was little, I was a rascal. My mother was a small woman.  Once she realized spanking me with her hand hurt her hand more than my butt, she began using a wooden brush.  Still, I was trouble and had an uncontrolled temper.  When I threw a toy gun (made with metal in those days) and hit another child, my father used his belt on my butt. After that, I finally began to understand the consequences of bad behavior.

Anyway (again), here is the first link (to my first comment in the thread) to the comments in the thread violet that violetwisp extracted a fragment of one of my comment on her post.

https://violetwisp.wordpress.com/2017/02/10/breaking-news-more-bible-translation-errors-discovered/#comment-29948

Here is the full text of the comment that the fragment violetwisp quoted came from.

@violet

We are works in progress. We each have to deal with our problems as we best know how.

Did I discipline my children as well as I should have? No. I have a temper, and the ability of my eldest when she was two to set it off scared me. So I would have been stupid to wait until I was furious. Did that once. Did not hurt the kid, but I was thoroughly ashamed that I was about to lose it. It is important to be meek.

Just the same, when my wife was home alone with two kids, she had to do something with the older child or she could not take care of the new-born. She finally conceded the necessity of punishment (spanking was not something she liked either). Mostly she just stuck the two-year old in the backyard (fenced) until the child agreed to behave. Even with a shaded patio deck, Houston, TX can be quite uncomfortable without air-conditioning. Watching that stubborn, wilful little girl cry hurt my lady more than it did my eldest. Still, it worked.

There are spankings, and then there are very disagreeable alternatives that are just as punishing. Frankly, I prefer what my wife did, but it takes more patience, and the weather has to cooperate.

Why was the oldest misbehaving? Part of the reason is that she had lost her status as the center of mommy’s attention. So mommy included her as much as she could in taking care of her sister. Still, two-year old children will act up, and sometimes the “reason” for their bad behavior is they just want to do something they know they are not suppose to do. Even a two-year old child can be a control freak, and that kid was smart. She is an MD now. (from => https://violetwisp.wordpress.com/2017/02/10/breaking-news-more-bible-translation-errors-discovered/#comment-30008)

Here is the first link in another thread on the same post that that also relates disciplining children.
https://violetwisp.wordpress.com/2017/02/10/breaking-news-more-bible-translation-errors-discovered/#comment-29896

I suspect these two comments are the ones that most irked violetwisp.

  • “she disapproves of punishing children when they do wrong”
    Absolutely! It’s all about setting good examples and providing reasons for behaving in a socialised manner that takes other people’s feelings into consideration. Children aren’t ‘bad’, they’re just clueless about social norms until they’re sufficiently exposed to them, and they have some very basic needs (food, rest, comfort) that people tend to overlook before they launch into counter-productive disciplining. And this is one of the reasons I can never accept the Christian god in the Bible – the caricature of this omniscient being punishing its puny creation is disgusting.

    • @violet

      Well, you just gave away the game.

      It was never was anything about what insanitybytes22 actually said. It was about your perception, what you believe. It was about the fact Christianity offends you. Its mere existence offends you.

      I was that way once. The notion of God dying on a cross caused me to roll up my eyes. I could not understand the idea of original sin, that we are born with an affliction that only the love of God can cure. And the idea of a God with so much power…… What was little Tommy compared to Him?

      I have watch children grow. Brothers. A sister. My own. They are not entirely clueless. They waste no time learning the word “mine”. We are born with an insatiable pride. ME FIRST!

      Only love can quench a child’s pride, but first we must get a child’s attention. Without a bit a of mild punishment that’s next to impossible. With one child? Maybe. We can hold a child until it is willing to accept direction, if you have the time. With two or more? No way. Not even the most devoted stay at home mom or dad has that kind of time.

      If you love your kids, the choice between letting them run wild and smacking them on the bottom quickly becomes obvious. At least it does for people who raise their own kids.

I don’t think violetwisp liked my explanation of her attack oninsanitybytes22, not that I said anything that was not obvious to everyone from the start.

WHAT QUALIFIES AS CHARITY AND WHO IS WORTHY OF OUR CHARITY?

The Parable of the Good Samaritan by Jan Wijnants (1670) shows the Good Samaritan tending the injured man. (from here)
The Parable of the Good Samaritan by Jan Wijnants (1670) shows the Good Samaritan tending the injured man. (from here)

The Parable

In WHO IS MORE INCONVENIENCED, THE DETAINED OR THE DEAD?, some of the commenters in the discussion that followed insisted that Jesus would insist that our Christian beliefs obligate us to let refugees of all sorts into the United States. One even cited The Parable of the Good Samaritan to support his argument. Let’s examine what Jesus expected.

When we think of being charitable to our neighbor, most Christians do in fact think of The Parable of the Good Samaritan. What is important is that when we read this parable we suddenly realize that everyone is our neighbor. There is no one God does not expect us to love.

Luke 10:25-37 New King James Version (NKJV)

The Parable of the Good Samaritan

25 And behold, a certain lawyer stood up and tested Him, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?”

26 He said to him, “What is written in the law? What is your reading of it?

27 So he answered and said, “ ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind,’ and ‘your neighbor as yourself.’

28 And He said to him, “You have answered rightly; do this and you will live.”

29 But he, wanting to justify himself, said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”

30 Then Jesus answered and said: “A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, who stripped him of his clothing, wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead. 31 Now by chance a certain priest came down that road. And when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. 32 Likewise a Levite, when he arrived at the place, came and looked, and passed by on the other side. 33 But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was. And when he saw him, he had compassion. 34 So he went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine; and he set him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him. 35 On the next day, when he departed, he took out two denarii, gave them to the innkeeper, and said to him, ‘Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, when I come again, I will repay you.’ 36 So which of these three do you think was neighbor to him who fell among the thieves?”

37 And he said, “He who showed mercy on him.”

Then Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise.”

Why a good Samaritan? The Jews and the Samaritans were notorious for detesting each other. The Jews still attempted keep the law, but the Samaritans had fallen away and intermarried with non-Jews. Thus, Jesus contrasted the behavior of a couple of Jews who knew the law and disobeyed with a Samaritan whose conscience guided him to obey the law.

The Lesson

So what is the lesson of the parable? When we look around the world, we see seeming endless numbers of people suffering. What does this parable tell us to do about that? Well, if we draw the wrong conclusion from The Parable of the Good Samaritan, we can become hopeless. What can we do? How are we suppose to love all the people in the world as we love our self? That’s not possible. Which of us can solve all of our own problems? How are we suppose to relieve the entire world of all its suffering? We cannot.

With dreams of Utopia and out of guilt, many of us call upon government to end human suffering.  These think of the immense power of large numbers of people working together. They think that if we can just get everyone to work together we can solve all the world’s problems. That is, for the sake of fulfilling a dream they deify (or make an idol of) the government. That misses the point of the parable. With this parable, Jesus calls upon each of us, not bureaucrats in some government, to care about each other. When the good Samaritan came across someone in trouble, he gave from his own resources what help he could. Does anyone actually think God will admit us into heaven just because we paid our taxes?

So it is the early church organized charities. Here are some examples.

  • Act 6:1-7 describes the organization of the first charity to help widows.
  • 2 Corinthians 8-9 speaks of a collection for needy Christians in Jerusalem and exhorts the brethren to be cheerful givers.
  • 1 Timothy 5:3-16 provides the guidance the Apostle Paul gave a protegé, Timothy, as to how a church should support needy widows.

Consider again the lawyer’s question. “Who is my neighbor?” Does it make a difference that the man the good Samaritan helped was a stranger? Yes. So long as we remain in this life Jesus does not expect us to treat our husbands, our wives, our children, our relatives, our friends, and members of our community the same way we treat complete and total strangers. That was the amazing thing about the good Samaritan. He actually helped a stranger.

What We Owe The Stranger

Consider that good Samaritan. He had other business to attend to.  So he did not stay with the injured man.  Instead, he gave the innkeeper two denarii and left the stranger he had helped in someone else’s care. The good Samaritan had other obligations that had a higher priority than the personal care of a stranger. Still, he did what he could.

Because we are all the image bearers of our Creator in one sense we are all neighbors. Nevertheless, we each have greater obligations to family, friends, and the people in our community than we do to strangers. Since the word stranger occurs over a 100 times in the NKJV, we can safely say the Bible makes a clear distinction.

Leviticus 19:33-34 New King James Version (NKJV)

33 ‘And if a stranger dwells with you in your land, you shall not mistreat him. 34 The stranger who dwells among you shall be to you as one born among you, and you shall love him as yourself; for you were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God.

That’s why the Bible calls upon us to allow the stranger who dwells among us to become one of us. Moreover, the Bible reminds us with some irony, to take care of our own.

Leviticus 25:35-38 New King James Version (NKJV)

35 ‘If one of your brethren becomes poor, and falls into poverty among you, then you shall help him, like a stranger or a sojourner, that he may live with you. 36 Take no usury or interest from him; but fear your God, that your brother may live with you. 37 You shall not lend him your money for usury, nor lend him your food at a profit. 38 I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, to give you the land of Canaan and to be your God.

Note, however, that when a stranger lived among the Jews, the Jews expected that stranger to conform to their customs. So over time that stranger became Jewish or he had to leave.

Strangers might receive sympathy, but they were not trusted.

Proverbs 11:15 New King James Version (NKJV)

15 He who is surety for a stranger will suffer,
But one who hates being surety is secure.

The Jews knew in fact that strangers could be especially dangerous.

Isaiah 1:7 New King James Version (NKJV)

Your country is desolate,
Your cities are burned with fire;
Strangers devour your land in your presence;
And it is desolate, as overthrown by strangers.

Nevertheless, Jesus calls upon us to help even the stranger.

Matthew 25:37-40 New King James Version (NKJV)

37 “Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? 38 When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? 39 Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ 40 And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’

How much should we sacrifice to help others? That’s a personal choice.

  • We have no right to sacrifice what belongs to others. We don’t starve our own to feed the hungry.  We don’t take the clothes off our children to clothe others. When we nurse the sick, we strive to avoid getting sick. When visit prisoners, we don’t stage jailbreaks. When we take in strangers, we don’t give up our own culture and beliefs or risk invasion and conquest.
  • Because we each belong to God, we have no business carelessly sacrificing our self. We must take care of our self so that we might serve as long as we can.

Other Views On The Parable of the Good Samaritan

  • The Good Samaritan (settledinheaven.wordpress.com): This post is a traditional verse-by-verse exegesis.  If you really want to dig into the parable, this is a great place to start.
  • What is the meaning of the Parable of the Good Samaritan (altruistico.wordpress.com): As its title suggest, this post seeks the meaning of the parable.  The focus here is on the concepts Jesus wants us to learn from the parable.
  • Go and do likewise (lifereference.wordpress.com): Here the author examines the last two verses from the parable, calling these lines the most fundamental of all of the teachings of Christ. Effectively, this is the minimum we must get out of the parable.
  • Love According to God-Part 1  (thei535project.wordpress.com): This post uses the The Parable of the Good Samaritan to emphasize God expects us to love everyone. This post fits the parable into the overall concept of Christian love.
  • Who Crosses Your Path? (secretplacesofelelyon.wordpress.com): This post explains how some can twist the parable into a guilt trip.
  • Syrian refugees and Christian values? (insanitybytes2.wordpress.com): This post deals most directly with the refugee issue. It also has the least to say about the parable, but it says more than enough to justify including it here.

WHAT IS A QUALIFIED PRESIDENT?

Donald Trump, the President of the United States since January 20, 2017 (from here)
Donald Trump, the President of the United States since January 20, 2017 (from here)

insanitybytes22 has this post that left me chuckling, Okay Piper… In her post, reviews an article by John Piper, “How to Live Under an Unqualified President.” Why laugh?

Piper always seems to have this idea that our authority and leadership must always be worthy, qualified, above us, and to some extent that is true, but consider marriage for example. One could simple declare one’s spouse unworthy and unqualified, but that kind of denies the hidden truth that you chose them. It takes some humility to see it, but who really is the one with poor judgment here? And if your own judgment is so flawed, should you really be pointing fingers at someone else? As the saying goes, “don’t be too critical of your husband or wife’s choices, you were one of them.” (from here)

Since quite ably attacks the faith-based matters in her post, I decided I would consider a more practical problem here. What is a qualified president?

What drives the qualifications we expect from our elected officials? If you were hiring an employee, how would you decide what qualifications that employee needs? Would you come up with a job description? Would you not your list the qualifications of your new employee based upon what you expect that employee to do?

So how should we come up with a job description for our president? Well, don’t we have this thing we call our constitution, The United States Constitution? Doesn’t that document describe the functions of our president?

Article II describes how we select our president and our president’s primary powers and responsibilities. Of course, whatever the president does generally requires money. Since Congress controls spending, that makes Congress the most powerful branch of government. That makes Article I, Section 8 important to the president’s job description. Article I, Section 8 lists the things that Congress has the power to make laws about, and as the head of the executive branch, the president is obligated to enforce those laws.

Before he enter on the Execution of his Office, he shall take the following Oath or Affirmation:—”I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.” (from Article 11, Section 1)

Effectively, the president of the United States should be someone we trust to take that oath and fulfill it.  The man must be worthy of our trust and competent to execute the duties assigned to him by the Constitution. Is Donald Trump such a man? If not, why not? Before we select an employee, perhaps we need to qualify ourselves to select that employee.

  • Because we need them to be trustworthy, we require the president and all the officials of our government to take an oath. Are we trustworthy? Is it reasonable to expect people who are not trustworthy to select trustworthy people to lead them?
  • Because we need them to know what they are doing, we want the president and all the officials of our government to be competent people. Do we know what we are doing? Do we understand what our government is supposed to do? Is it reasonable to expect the incompetent to select competent people to lead them?

When we started this post we said we would focus on the practical problem of selecting a president. Nevertheless, because the Bible provides practical wisdom, here is a quote from it.

Matthew 7:1-6 New King James Version (NKJV)

Do Not Judge

“Judge not, that you be not judged. For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you. And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove the speck from your eye’; and look, a plank is in your own eye? Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.

“Do not give what is holy to the dogs; nor cast your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you in pieces.

We get the leadership we deserve.  So long as we do not ask our Lord to help us remove the planks in our own eyes we will not do a good job of judging the qualifications of the people we elect.

  • We will find the promises of candidates for public office more important than their character.
  • Instead of the law of the land, we will give preference to our egos and our pocketbooks.

If we let ourselves become foolish enough, we will become the dogs and the swine who trample the pearls of God’s wisdom and tear His people to pieces.

2016 POST ELECTION STRATEGY AND TACTICS – PART 5

It may be laid down, as a primary position, and the basis of our system, that every citizen who enjoys the protection of a free government, owes not only a proportion of his property, but even of his personal services to the defence of it, and consequently that the Citizens of America (with a few legal and official exceptions) from 18 to 50 Years of Age should be borne on the Militia Rolls, provided with uniform Arms, and so far accustomed to the use of them, that the Total strength of the Country might be called forth at Short Notice on any very interesting Emergency. -- George Washington, in "Sentiments on a Peace Establishment" in a letter to Alexander Hamilton (2 May 1783); published in The Writings of George Washington (1938), edited by John C. Fitzpatrick, Vol. 26, p. 289. (from here)
It may be laid down, as a primary position, and the basis of our system, that every citizen who enjoys the protection of a free government, owes not only a proportion of his property, but even of his personal services to the defence of it, and consequently that the Citizens of America (with a few legal and official exceptions) from 18 to 50 Years of Age should be borne on the Militia Rolls, provided with uniform Arms, and so far accustomed to the use of them, that the Total strength of the Country might be called forth at Short Notice on any very interesting Emergency. — George Washington, in “Sentiments on a Peace Establishment” in a letter to Alexander Hamilton (2 May 1783); published in The Writings of George Washington (1938), edited by John C. Fitzpatrick, Vol. 26, p. 289. (from here)

What posts have gone before?

  • PART 1: We spoke of my personal goal for good government. Is it the same goal you might have? Perhaps.
  • PART 2: We considered the primary obstacle to good government.
  • PART 3: We reviewed the defensive components of a strategy for good government.
  • PART 4: We reviewed the offensive components of a strategy for government.

PART 5 begins a discussion of tactics. This post is the first in a series about how ordinary men and women can affect the operation of our government for the better. This posts explains why we must participate in politics. How do we get motivated?

Why We Must Participate In Politics

What’s our obligation? Consider the words of George Washington (under his picture at the beginning of this post).  Because our government protects our freedom and the freedom of our family, friends and neighbors, we have an obligation to protect it. Whereas Washington spoke of protecting the government of a free society with arms, here we speak of the peaceful duties of citizenship.

citizenship noun

  1. the state of being vested with the rights, privileges, and duties of a citizen.
  2. the character of an individual viewed as a member of society; behavior in terms of the duties, obligations, and functions of a citizen: an award for good citizenship.

Most of us have the odd idea that joining and participating in a political party is something only a political junkie would do.

Political Junkie
One who is obsessed with all things political, watches C-SPAN, and votes in every election. Rachel Maddow is often credited with coining this term.

Example usage: I am such a political junkie, I need to stop writing emails to Senator Feinstein and get out more.

The political junkie, however, for the most part merely seeks entertainment. Many regard politics as a blood sport and fun to watch. These vote for the one they think the winner of the contest.

Voting is important. Writing our elected representatives is also important, but more is required. Consider.

to learn and not to do is really not to learn. To know and not to do is really not to know. ― Stephen R. Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change (from here)

To know and understand in politics, we must participate in politics. Why would we do that? If politics fascinates us — if we crave to learn about politics — then God has given us a call to participate in some way, however large or small.

The end of learning is to know God, and out of that knowledge to love Him and imitate Him. — John Milton, quote reported in Josiah Hotchkiss Gilbert, Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895), p. 364. (from here)

Whatever calling we have, we must apply what we learn in the way we think our Lord Jesus would have us. Do we care about the freedom of our family, friends and neighbors? Don’t we innately understand the importance of being a good citizen?

We all know what the Bible says about justification by faith. In fact, the first reference goes back to the Old Testament.

Habakkuk 2:4 New King James Version (NKJV)

“Behold the proud,
His soul is not upright in him;
But the just shall live by his faith.

We demonstrate our faith with works. We know Jesus expected us to help the poor and needy. Thus, the Apostle James spoke of the relationship between faith and works.

James 2:14-17 New King James Version (NKJV)

14 What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? 15 If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, “Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,” but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? 17 Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.

What we often forget is that God made us all poor; He made us all needy. We come into this world with nothing. If we are fortunate, we have good and capable parents. Yet even the best of parents must depend upon others, including that institution we call government.

In the United States, we don’t have a king. We live in a constitutional republic.  We elect officials we constrain with laws, laws we enforce as good citizens. As good citizens, we insist that the people who rule in our name obey the law. So it is that as citizens we must be spiritual warriors, protecting our families friends, neighbors, and ourselves from Satan’s mechaniations.

Spiritual warriors? Does that sound weird? Then remember how Satan tempted Jesus with all the kingdoms of the world.

Matthew 4:8-10 New King James Version (NKJV)

Again, the devil took Him up on an exceedingly high mountain, and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. And he said to Him, “All these things I will give You if You will fall down and worship me.”

10 Then Jesus said to him, “Away with you, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve.’”

Could Satan tempt Jesus with that which he does not control? Of course not! Then Satan rules this world. To follow Jesus we must resist Satan and force him to flee (James 4:7). So let’s open our Bible and consider the meaning of Matthew 22:15-22, Romans 13:1-7, Ephesians 6:10-201 Timothy 2:1-7, and Titus 3:1-8. Let us also consider that we call the first five books of the Bible the Mosaic Code. Let us remember that in 1 Samuel 8 the Bible warns us against allowing ourselves to be governed by a king instead of God. Let us remember the alternative to good citizenship; it is slavery. If we are unwilling to take responsibility for our government, then those who govern us will enslave us.

What do warriors do? They organize, train, and equip for war.  Then, when they must, they battle their enemies.

In posts to come, we will consider how Christians can fight on that complicated field of battle we call politics. Hopefully, when we participate in politics we will mostly find our find ourselves merely in disagreement with people we call family, friends, and neighbors. Sometimes, however, our disagreements will be more serious. Then we must call upon our Lord for greater wisdom and greater strength. Then we must remember who it is we love most.

Matthew 10:34-39 New King James Version (NKJV)

Christ Brings Division

34 “Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword. 35 For I have come to ‘set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law’; 36 and ‘a man’s enemies will be those of his own household.’[a] 37 He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. 38 And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. 39 He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake will find it.