Thursday, April 26, 2012

Throwing My Vote Away



This article is less written to support or denounce a certain political candidate and more written to hopefully cause all of my conservative Christian friends to step back and think about why they are making the decisions that they are making.  I'm going to start with my conclusion and then work backwards.

Assuming that he is indeed nominated, I have no intention of voting for Mitt Romney in the 2012 presidential election.

There, I've said it.

Now for the response: "A vote third-party is a vote for Obama!"

Actually, no it isn't.

It's a vote for third-party.  It's one more voice saying "not only am I not OK with the socialistic agenda of the Democratic party- I'm also not OK with the socialistic agenda of the Republican party."

But that's all irrelevant.  Irrelevant.  The real issue here is not whether my vote for the, say, Constitution Party candidate is going to make it that much easier for Obama to win.  The real issue is whether it's my job to worry about that in the first place.

The real issue is whether I am doing my duty before God when I give my vote to a man that God's Word denounces as unqualified.  

I'm so tired of hearing conservative people that I really respect towing the Republican party line- not just because I firmly believe that oftentimes the Republican party is thoroughly wrong, but ultimately because it's a decision made on the basis of projected results instead of Biblical principle.

This is pragmatism.  As far as I can see from Scripture, pragmatism is only allowed within the purview of Scriptural Principle.  Once we have narrowed down our choices to those that are Biblically acceptable, then, and only then, may we perhaps apply other methods of reasoning.

But that is not the thought process of conservatives, even conservative Christians, today.  Instead of making decisions first from principle and then from practicality, we look at what we think will happen given a certain set of circumstances and then try to fix the circumstances so that something better happens.  We look at the worst possible outcome and then try to conjure up a solution that will prevent that terrible thing from happening- whatever the cost, whatever the compromise.  So long as we prevent the greater evil, we're fine with advancing the cause of a lesser evil.

How far must it go before we realize that this is an absurd basis for any kind of serious decision-making?  We will elect Romney the Republican to prevent the election of Obama the Democrat- would we just as readily elect Hitler the Republican to prevent the election of Stalin the Democrat?  Yes, the candidates are very different- but the reasoning is exactly the same.

Does God's Word give us the freedom to live life based on the hypotheticals of our frightened imagination?  Is this the pattern that we see in Scripture?  What is our first rule of conduct?

"Trust in The LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding.  In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths."

In our understanding it may be best to vote for the electable candidate in hopes that we don't get another four years of the tyrannical advances that have characterized the last four years of the American federal government.  We may feel the need to do something- like Uzzah, who reached out to catch The Ark of the Covenant as it fell to the ground- only to, like Uzzah, find ourselves living with the consequences of disobedience to The Word of God.

Please, please reconsider your assumptions before you jump on the bandwagon of conservatism.  If you are a Christian, your first duty is to God, not to any party- nor even, primarily, to your country.  We must walk in obedience to our King.

The thing is, this will be the best thing possible for our country.  How blessed is the nation whose God is The LORD!  The Church of America has forsaken the rich birthright passed down from her forefathers.  We have given up our place as the pillar and support of Truth, left the driver's seat, turned the reigns over to the world, and abandoned the true relevance that is to be found in simple obedience to The Word of God.

So I will not vote for Mr. Romney because I believe that he is not a Biblically qualified candidate.

It is true that there will never be a perfect candidate.  Some might make a straw man out of this argument and say "Well in that case, you should write in your dad, or your pastor, or someone that you agree with on just about everything."  This is ignoring the principle by abusing the practice.  I believe that there is room for pragmatism- as a secondary consideration.  Within the purview of Biblically qualified candidates, we may then look at which one seems like the best choice.  But we must seek God first.

A parallel example may be cited in Jack Bauer, the hero of the TV show "24", who frequently commits immoral acts because in his estimation they will prevent acts that are more immoral.  Jack frequently commits crimes to prevent crimes- he kills in the name of saving lives- he chooses what he sees as the lesser of two evils.


Voting for Mr. Romney is far removed from the act of murder, but really, isn't 24 just the same reasoning grown up?

How far must it go before we realize that when we act on perception and not on principle we are building on foundations of sand?

If we can all agree that our voting decisions must be made first on the basis of God's Word, before we give room for any other consideration, then I'm OK with not always checking the same boxes on the ballot sheet.  Let us start with not worrying about tomorrow- with not catching the Ark- with leaving the results to God, trusting history to Providence, and following the one certain rule of faith and obedience that He has left to us, His perfect Word.

It is for God to worry about the consequences.  It is for us to simply obey.

P.S.

If the nation is a car and the road that we are on leads to a drop into oblivion, and if the president is the driver, then I might rather have another term of Obama than a term under a big-government Republican.

While Mr. Obama might drive us faster towards our demise, a big-government Republican will not change direction.

He may just slow the car down enough for the passengers to go back to sleep.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Yoga

 

Those of you who have followed my blog for a while might have picked up on my passion for physical fitness.  My physical fitness regimen consists primarily of a daily workout with Tony Horton and the crew of P90X.  It was through this workout system that I was first introduced to yoga.

I still do yoga, and I enjoy it very much.  Why?  Because it's a killer workout.

However, I have discover that yoga is a very controversial topic in the Christian community.  Is it just a series of harmless moves?  Is it a pagan philosophy that will corrupt its practitioners?  Should Christians even do yoga?

To answer the first two questions, it's both.  Yoga is an exercise system which often comes laden with tons of spiritual baggage.  I haven't studied (nor do I plan to) the religion of yoga, but I know it's bad karma.  No, I don't believe in karma.  Teehee...

To answer the third question, I believe that Christians may do yoga.  Obviously, because I'm a Christian, and I do yoga.

But why?

I do yoga simply for the workout.  Christians should be self-disciplined stewards of their body, whatever that looks like for each individual believer before God.  I see yoga as one application of this principle of good stewardship.

I see the spiritual aspects of yoga as falling under the category of the idols of 1 Corinthians 8.  In this passage, Paul talks about how believers may eat meat sacrificed to idols because the idols are nothing!  We know that there is only one God, and we are not somehow spiritually wounded because we ate meat that someone else sacrificed to an idol.

So it is, I believe, with yoga.  Are the moves in yoga sinful by themselves?  Of course not.  Take that hamstring stretch in the picture, for instance.

Do the moves become sinful when labeled as "yoga"?  I don't believe so.  Like with the meat offered to idols, I do yoga simply because it's a good workout.  I do it in faith and with thanksgiving to the True God of Scripture- not the mystical spiritism of yoga.

Then comes the argument "but what about the weaker brother?"  It is true that Paul brings up this very important consideration, and for a long time it was something that made me hesitate to publicize the fact that I do yoga.  Then, however, I realized that Paul did not hesitate to reason with believers about their superstition over meat sacrificed to idols.  Thusly, I desire to do the same over the issue of yoga.  

Needless to say, at our house, when we do yoga we separate the physical category from the spiritual.  We don't bother clearing our minds, meditating, chanting, or any of that other demonic stuff.  Sometimes we talk, sometimes we recite Scripture (yoga really is a great opportunity to meditate on God's Word), and- well, usually, I'm working too hard on properly performing the exercise to be concerned about much else.

So I am in no way arguing for the philosophy, spiritism, religion, or anything besides the physical exercise of yoga.  That's all garbage and anti-Christian.  I am arguing that we as Christians should be educated, knowledgeable, and Biblically-grounded in our views of things like this- things that can appear scary on their face.

We have not been given a spirit of fear.  We serve the God Who reigns sovereign over all the earth- both the physical and spiritual realms are subject to His Word.

There's no reason for us to be superstitious.