Monday, August 14, 2017

MAGA : Put God Back in America!

The Declaration of Independence was signed July 4, 1776. That makes the United States of America 241 years old. 

You often see “Put God back in America” displayed on church signs around the 4th of July. And there is that currently popular slogan - “Make America Great Again.” 

But my question is this:

When was God “in” America…and when were we “Great?" What time period is it we’d like to see revived?

Let’s look at our history and see if we can figure out when that was... 

The first permanent English colony in the New World: Jamestown, Virginia
They defined their purpose through the governing charter, which unequivocally established a Christian basis and purpose for the colony. The charter stated their task as governed by “the providence of Almighty God…to the glory of His Diving Majesty, in propagating of the Christian religion to such people, as yet live in darkness and miserable ignorance of the true knowledge and worship of God.”

Seems like a good start...I guess. Maybe this is that great time when God was in America?

But oh…the first kidnapped black Africans, 19 of them who were seized from a captured Spanish slave ship, were brought to the New World to work as slaves. These 19 were brought in not as slaves, but as indentured servants and later freed. But this is where it all began. 

(How they were transported)

The English poisoned the wine at a “peace conference” with Powhatan (Native American Indian) leaders, killing about 200. 50 more were physically attacked and killed.

In the Pequot War, English colonists commanded by John Mason, with Mohegan and Narragansett (Indian) allies, launched a night attack on a large Pequot village on the Mystic River in present-day Connecticut, where they burned the inhabitants in their homes and killed all survivors. Total fatalities between 600-700.

Massachusetts became the first colony to authorize slavery through enacted law.

The Virginia Slave Codes of 1705 defined people imported from nations that were not Christian, and Native Americans (Indians) who were sold to or captured by Europeans during raids - as slaves.

(The word Negro, btw, comes from the Spanish word for "black")

Militia volunteers and Indian allies under Colonel James Moore attacked Ft. Neoheroka, the main stronghold of the Tuscarora Indians. 200 Tuscaroras were burned to death in the village, and 900-1000 others were subsequently killed or captured.

Our Founding Fathers signed the Declaration of which they said this: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."

Maybe this is where the "God is in America" part happened? Maybe this is when we were "Great"?

Well...apparently the Founding Fathers didn't consider blacks to be included in "all men" because of the 55 delegates to the Constitutional Convention...the following men...49% of the Declaration's signers...owned slaves...

Richard Bassett (DE)
Jacob Broom (DE)
John Dickinson (DE)
George Read (DE)
William Houstoun (GA)
William Few (GA)
William Samuel Johnson (CT)
Daniel Carroll (MD)
Luther Martin (MD)
John Francis Mercer (MD)
Daniel of St. Thomas Jenifer (MD)
William Livingston (NJ)
William Blount (NC)
William Richardson Davie (NC)
Alexander Martin (NC)
Richard Dobbs Spaight (NC)
Pierce Butler (SC)
Charles Cotesworth Pinckney (SC)
Charles Pinckney (SC)
John Rutledge (SC)

900 Tennessee troops under John Coffee, and including Davy Crockett, attacked an unsuspecting Creek town. About 186-200 Creek Indian warriors were killed, and an unknown number of women and children were killed, some burned in their houses.

Oh. God was in THIS house? When was that?

No Party Affiliation
Owned between 250-350 slaves

THOMAS JEFFERSON - 3rd President 
Owned about 200 slaves

JAMES MADISON - 4th President 
Owned more than 100 slaves

JAMES MONROE - 5th President 
Owned about 75 slaves

ANDREW JACKSON - 7th President 
Owned fewer than 200 slaves

MARTIN VAN BUREN - 8th President 
Owned one slave

Owned 11 slaves

JOHN TYLER  - 10th President
Owned about 70 slaves

JAMES K. POLK - 11th President
Owned about 25 slaves

ZACHARY TAYLOR - 12th President
Owned fewer than 15 slaves

ANDREW JOHNSON - 17th President
(Abraham Lincoln’s VP…interesting because Lincoln was a Republican but had a Democrat VP)
Owned probably 8 slaves

ULYSSES S. GRANT - 18th President
Owned probably 5 slaves

A clause in the Constitution that gave the South added political representation for three-fifths of its slave population, so Southern slaveholding presidents governed the nation for roughly 50 of 72 years. And four of the six Northern presidents in that span catered to Southern proslavery policies. 

For example, Martin Van Buren, our 8th president, who came from a New York slaveholding family, sought to undermine the nation’s judicial process and send the captives from the slave ship Amistad back to Cuba – and certain death. 

Millard Fillmore, our 13th president, also from New York, signed the Fugitive Slave Law of 1850, which enforced return of escaped slaves even from free states.

From the start, America‘s foreign policy favored slaveholding interests, and administrations refused to cooperate with efforts by Britain to suppress the international slave trade, even though the United States had defined the African slave trade in 1820 as piracy, a capital crime. 

None of that sounds like God was in the White House to me.

(This little boy was kidnapped at age 7!  But he's not being saved by the FBI or police...he's featured in an ad to SELL HIM! Is THIS when our country was great!!!???)

Miners killed 300 Wintu Indians near Old Shasta, California, and burned down their tribal council meeting house.

White settlers launched an attack on a Tolowa Indian village near Lake Earl in California, killing between 65 and 150 at dawn.

Blacks were legally defined by our Supreme Court as “non-persons.”
In 1856, Dred Scott, a black slave, had been taken north of the Mason-Dixon Line into Illinois and Wisconsin where slavery was prohibited by the Missouri Compromise. He sued the court for his freedom - and lost. The Supreme Court of the United States ruled that the Missouri Compromise was unconstitutional - and that Congress had no authority to limit slavery that way. The choice to own slaves was an individual decision, a private matter for each citizen to struggle with, apart from interference from the government. If a person, in an act of conscience, chose not to keep slaves, that was his own decision, but he could not force that choice on others. Slaves were declared chattel - human property - “non-persons”. A slave was the possession of his owner, and the owner had the right to do whatever he wanted with his assets. 

The White House was staffed by black slaves. 

So far…I'm really looking...but I just don't seem to see any particular period when we were great,or where God was really "in" America...

Let’s keep looking…

In revenge for the killing of 3 cows and 1 stallion belonging to a white man, California militiamen massacred 240 Indians on the Eel River.

In three nearly simultaneous assaults on the Wiyot Indians, at Indian Island, Wureka, Rio Dell, and Hydesville, California, white settlers killed between 200-250. Victims were mostly women, children, and elders.

(There is actually a big chart of all the massacres perpetrated on and by the Native people…I just picked out a few of the big ones…

January 1, 1863
Lincoln and the Emancipation Proclamation
President Abraham Lincoln, by executive order, changed the federal legal status of more than 3 million slaves by ordering the freedom of all slaves. But in a pre-iPhone, pre-social media world, Texas didn’t get the memo until June 19, 1865.

The Civil War went on from 1861-1865
The North won, in case you don’t remember. The issue of slavery wasn’t the only thing they were fighting about, but there were people willing to kill and to die to keep the right to own slaves.

(One bit of shocking info I stumbled across when looking for all this info is that there were 69 blacks in North Carolina…who were slave owners! The biggest was William Ellison in 1860!)

Members of the Colorado Militia attacked the Indian village of Cheyenne, killing at least 160 men, women, and children.

August 6, 1865
Blacks were given the right to vote.

The Ku Klux Klan (KKK) was founded as a vehicle for white southern resistance to the Republican Party’s Reconstruction-era policies aimed at establishing political and economic equality for blacks. It’s members waged an underground campaign of intimidation and violence directed at white and black Republican leaders.

Colonel G.A. Custer’s 7th US Calvary attacked a sleeping village of Cheyenne Indians. 140 men, women, and children dead.

The US 7th Calvary attacked and killed between 130-250 Sioux Indian men, women, and children at Wounded Knee, South Dakota.

KKK membership exceeds 4 million. 

Dallas. A party of Klansmen kidnapped a black man, whipped him at gunpoint, and used acid to burn "KKK" on his forehead. The sheriff said he deserved it.  

1865 until 1964
The US Supreme Court established and upheld “separate but equal” laws, requiring the segregation of blacks. States had individual laws like an 1847 Virginia Criminal Code: “Any white person who shall assemble with slaves, [or] free negroes . . . for the purpose of instructing them to read or write, . . . shall be punished by confinement in the jail . . . and by fine . . .” 

3,446 lynchings of blacks occurred in the United States.

The US Supreme Court declares another group of humans to be non-persons, as it did with blacks back in 1856, and legalizes the live dismemberment of society's most vulnerable and defenseless. And so between 1973 and 2008 The Guttmacher Institute estimates 49.3 million babies were delivered in abortion clinics.

So as we search for the time in America when "God was in our country" or when "America was great" what have we found?

Our 1st 100 years
1776 - 1876 we had a country full of slaves, and routinely perpetrated mass killings on Native American Indians.

Our 2nd 100 years
1876 - 1976 we still had slaves and were still killing the Native American Indians. By our 200th birthday we were only 12 years past the ending of segregation, only starting to work toward treating blacks as equals. AND...already 3 years into the mass slaughter of our unborn.

Psalm 118:9
It is better to take refuge in the Lord 
than to trust in princes.

Psalm 146:3
Do not trust in princes, in mortal man, 
in whom there is no salvation.

Truth is..."America" as a "country" has never been like Christ. Maybe our original lawmakers had thought of themselves as Christians, but they were just people. So they put praises of God and of the Bible into their writings, their laws, and State Constitutions. They did those things while slaves staffed the White House and mass killings were part of our culture.

John 18:36
Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world
If My kingdom were of this world, 
then My servants would be fighting 
so that I would not be handed over to the Jews; 
but as it is, My kingdom is not of this realm.”

The United States is not the kingdom of God - it is the kingdom of this world. The only thing that can be "Christian" or "Christlike" are those who were made in His image. Humans. Individuals who reside within any nation can be Christian, but even then, we are to be aliens to this world, and members of God's kingdom, aren't we?

What was Judas' big mistake? Didn't he think that Jesus was going to take over Israel by military force? Didn't he think Jesus was going to behave the way the kingdoms of the world do? 

Is that what you're thinking? 

If you want the world you live in to have God in it...and to be "great" have to have God in you, and be great. You have to go therefore and serve your neighbors. You have to care for orphans and widows in their distress. You have to think more highly of others than you think of yourself. You have to not judge. You have to love your neighbor as yourself. You have to do unto others as you'd have them do unto you. You have to be perfect as your Heavenly Father is perfect, and then...if God is in you...then the world around you will be made great. 

Matthew 5:48
Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

Remember...the greatest among us will be the servants. Luke 22:26
The greatest quality a person can have is LOVE. 1 Cor. 13:13

Philippians 2:9
For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, 
and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name

Greatness looks like Jesus...
And God can only be in you...not in a country...
Go therefore...

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Caging the Church

If you were to go to a zoo today you'd see some of the animals in enclosures with paths around the perimeters because they will constantly pace or walk around. Most people will look at this and find it kinda' neat and handy as the animals will often walk past the viewing windows repeatedly, getting up nice and close for everyone to see.

But what we don't realize is that these behaviors are signs that the animals are not okay.

Google it...

Why do tigers pace at the zoo?
Tigers, like all captive animals, can tend to pace back and forth as a way of coping with the stress of captivity. Due to stress, captive wild cats breed poorly, which is why it is hard to maintain population levels in zoos and also why zoos are bad because the cats are sometimes imported from the wild.

What is the meaning of Zoochosis?

Zoochosis is the term used to describe the stereotypical behaviour of animals in captivity. Stereotypic behaviour is defined as a repetitive, invariant behaviour pattern with no obvious goal or function.

Why do animals pace in the zoo?

Being in a small enclosure with little stimulation leave the animals distressed. Wild animals spend the majority of their time hunting and stalking prey over large distances. Being fed by zookeepers removes this normal activity. The animal has a natural drive to roam and hunt.

Why does an elephant rock back and forth?

When they are in captivity this is a sign of psychosis. This is brought on because they are not in their natural habitat and their needs are not being met. Mostly because of the lack of space to roam.

Taking a living organism out of its natural environment puts it under stress that causes it to function abnormally.

"The church" God speaks of in the Bible is a living organism, with a natural environment God intended for it. Its members are anyone anywhere in the world who loves Jesus, and we get an idea of our natural environment from how the early church lived in the New Testament.

The natural environment for "the church" is the wild. Outside. Free. Walking among the people in the world, yet not walking 'like' them.

But over the last few hundred years, as mankind has moved indoors, just as we've snatched animals from the wild and caged them for our convenience, we've done the same thing to the church. The church has been snatched from the wild, even from infancy, and put in a nice clean, convenient, climate-controlled, structured, predictable cage we call a church building.

And at this point in history we fail to see how the behavior of the body is indicative of it being "not okay."

We have come to think it's normal to sign on the dotted line that we're a "card-carrying-member of X church." We've come to think it's normal to go to this building weekly doing the same things each week, each year, giving our money, singing the songs, and following the program. But a tiger pacing back and forth past a viewing window at the zoo is behaving abnormally, and so are we, because no matter how large, how new, how fancy, how full of nice people and nice programs the cage is - it is still a cage.

The Body of Christ which once had the reputation for being the people who stayed behind when everyone fled a now posting about their rights to health care on Facebook. We "pace back and forth." We engage in "repetitive, invariant behaviour patterns with no obvious goal or function..." sitting in the same pews/seats, singing the same praise and worship songs, attending the same Sunday School classes, planning the same church socials and festivals, planning the same mission trips, and doing the same programs week-after-week, month-after-month, year after year, attending our special "services", etc...

And the end result is we "reproduce poorly."

Oh...our church memberships grow...sure...but the actual Body of Christ? Do we see the world becoming more Christ-like with time's passing, or does the world seem to be spiraling down a godless drain?

We've taken "the church" out of its natural environment and put it in a nice, neat, convenient, climate-controlled cage...and we can't even see it. We've no reference point as to what "the church" looks like in its natural environment that we can't even see how sick the church really is.

Building/planting more churches won't grow the body of Christ.
Going on more mission trips won't grow the body of Christ.
Singing more worship songs, and adding more church programs won't grow the body of Christ.

The world looks at the church and can see us pacing and engaging in our repetitive behaviors from the outside of our cages/churches. They see us as a novelty, but nothing more because we are not demonstrating what the church...what really like from inside our cages/churches.

Set the church free.

It was, after all, for freedom that Christ set us free.

Until we get out of our buildings...out of our routines, schedules, structures, and services...we're only wild animals trapped in a zoo cage pacing around...

Get out of the building. 

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Hypocrites keeping you out of church?

I think we've all heard the excuse people use for not going to church because of all the hypocrites

Well a Christian friend of mine told me, what she felt, was the perfect response to that argument. She said, "If you don't go to church because of hypocrites, well, there are hypocrites everywhere, so are you not going to go anywhere in the world?" 

She laughed and really felt this was the perfect response.

Is it?

I believe it ignores an important fact - that is a hypocrite in a car repair shop isn't selling me morality or truth about God...but is selling me car repairs. So for him to be morally a hypocrite does not affect what I'm there to get from him. But I do go to church to get morality and truth so hypocrisy there means you don't get what you've gone there for.

So let's say there's a restaurant in town. They advertise "Hot Roast Beef Sandwiches." You go in and half the time they hand you a cold fish sandwich. You gonna keep going there to that restaurant?

What about a maid service? They advertise a clean house. You come home after they've serviced your home and they didn't even vacuum or dust. You going to hire them again?

We all know this. When it comes to businesses...and even friends...if a business advertises a service that's what we expect, and if that service is bad we discontinue our patronage.

Church Buildings stand on each corner of America offering you and enhanced morality, a higher level of righteousness, and truths about God.

The church will teach... 
- the sexually immoral go to hell
- children are to obey their parents
- the Bible is God's truth in all things
- put others first
- serve your neighbor
- love your neighbor as yourself
- forgive 70x7

And in the same church the same people preaching these things...
- look at porn on their computer
- have affairs
- beat their kids - 70x7 does not apply to them
- drive with no regard for the posted speed limits
- text and drive
- lie on their taxes
- don't put their carts away at the grocery store ;) (just had to add that one)
- gossip
- care very much about money and their possessions 
- post absolutely horrible slanderous hateful gossipy things about whatever political person they do not prefer

You hear preaching from pulpits about how God is always there and that we are to take all our cares to Him anytime anywhere and we are to be like Him...then those same preachers go home and lay in bed with their baby monitors turned off, ignoring a helpless crying baby.

You don't get what's advertised. 

You wouldn't go anywhere else that failed to offer you what you went there for so why would anyone who actually loves God...continue to participate in this corrupted system? 

Because nice people go there? There are nice people everywhere.

Because their friends are there? I'm sure friends can be seen the other 6 days a week.

Because the organization does some good things? There are lots of organizations that do good things and you don't have to be part of an organization to do good things! In fact...if everyone who is supposed to be part of the body of Christ just DID those good things with everyone in their world...there would be no need for those organizations to do those good things because they'd already be done.

Truth is..."the church" in its current form has done far more damage to the world than it has helped. It's programs and "ministry" and open doors to help are a result of the lies the church itself has spread about God. Horrific childcare teachings, for example, have led to problems with relationships, divorces, crime, and addictions. And yet professing Christians keep feeding the monster...building more buildings...funneling their money into it...and participating in it...and then blaming the devil for all the ills in society...

It's not a religion it's a relationship...really?

So I was just thinking about this thing church people love to say, "It's a relationship not a religion."

You's supposed to be...but it's not. Know how I know this?

If ten people who didn't know each other all knew one person. Say me. Ten unrelated people get to know me and then meet each other. While the ten may each know something about me the other nine don't...just because maybe I share one particular interest with one of them and not the other nine...while they may know different additional things each other don't know, they won't believe conflicting things.

One person isn't going to say I'm pro-life and another insist I'm pro-abortion.
One person isn't going to say I'm a Democrat and another insist I'm a Republican.
One person isn't going to say I'm a morning person and another insist I'm a night person.

If they're all people in a friendship...a relationship with me...they're all going to know some core things about me like that I'm pro-life, I'm neither a Democrat nor a Republican, and that I eat morning people for lunch. They'll all know this.

So if you look at the world at all the church buildings out there with their signs and their labels...and then dig into them into their core beliefs and their'll find them all believing highly contradictory things about God.

So no. For most of the people who fill those buildings religiously every Sunday...It's not a relationship. It's a religion. 

If it were a relationship...slowly over the years those church buildings would be everyone supposedly getting to know the same One God would be all realizing how and who He is and that, being one way, would make them all become more and more like-minded.  

If it were a relationship missionaries would stop building buildings...and "church people" would stop looking across borders to "be in ministry" but would just start loving their neighbors everywhere all the time...and there would be heaven on earth because the church is supposed to be God's kingdom...and if we really had a relationship with the King we'd bring His kingdom to every person we have contact with.

But instead we have religion and we have church buildings and church services and missionaries obliviously doing harmful things to the world that make them feel good about themselves as they take their selfies and promote their particular brand of church...And we have hateful posts on Facebook arguing about who should or shouldn't be president...


You still wanna say it's a relationship not a religion? Fine. Then prove it

Stop going religiously to your church building. Stop adhering to your doctrines and promoting your brand of church, calling yourself "a Mennonite" or "a Methodist" or WHATEVERist...and go love your neighbors as yourself...Go lay down your life for your friends. 

If that scares you...if the idea of abandoning your church building is like something you "could never do" because how could you still be "a Christian" if you didn't go sit in that building each week and listen to that one person's monologue each week about what you should believe...then fine internet reader...are engaged in a religion NOT a relationship with the Living God. 

So stop trying to kid yourself. 

A house divided can't stand.
The church buildings stand so this means 
that "the church" (the body of Christ) is what's broken because of those buildings.

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