Posted by: JohnPaul | October 10, 2013

The Church’s Answer to Socialist Security and Obamacare

Introduction

I have been reading When the Church Was a Family, a book by Joseph H. Hellerman about the American Church’s need to regain its family solidarity. He says we American Christians are too individualistic in our attitudes and decisions, not caring about the effects of those decisions on the church body. We need to return to the church-family-first ethics taught by Jesus and Paul.

Hellerman wrote that a major reason people of the Roman Empire flocked to the faith was that Christians cared not only for their own poor but also for outsiders’ poor. To me, this is at least a partial answer to how the Church can help today’s poor and needy.

Problem

Today’s economic catastrophes are due to government interference in the marketplace. The IRS taxes the rich and gives wealth to the poor who don’t earn it. The Federal Reserve manipulates interest rates as a throttle on the money supply…and prints valueless dollars as well. Excessive government regulations stifle invention and the creation of business. And now, a shut-down government interferes with private business for political points.

Principles

What is needed is a totally free (but not laissez-faire) market. Government needs to be limited to punishing murder, theft, fraud, and such. It might do well to become a source of information and guidance (but not a regulatory force) about goods, services, and practices in the marketplace. The economic decisions of free buyers will regulate the behaviors of sellers.

We must also recognize that “The poor you will always have with you, and you can help them any time you want.” Some people are simply unable, unwilling, or lacking in opportunities to make much wealth.

The Church (and other faith organizations) and families – not the government – are responsible to help the poor and needy. In the Old Testament, Yahweh commanded His people to help widows and orphans. In the New Testament, Paul instructed the churches to support their brothers in the faith who were in need.

Foreseen Results

With the government out of the charity business and out of the marketplace, taxpayers will have more wealth to spend on goods and services of the market, thus increasing the economy. People will have more wealth for investment and job creation. They will have more wealth to voluntarily share with the poor and needy. The economy will increase as poverty decreases.

Members of faith organizations will have more resources. Churches will be better able to help decreasing numbers of poor and needy members. Families will be better able to help their own relatives.

This will help bring increase to God’s Kingdom. People will see how the churches help those in need and will flock to take part in the love demonstrated. Yahweh will be honored and His rulership will be acknowledged more and more.

Posted by: JohnPaul | August 29, 2013

What’s Wrong with Being Fair? A Lot, Actually

 That’s Not Fair!

How often have parents, teachers, and other watchers of kids at play heard that plaintive cry? It seems children learn at an early age that fairness is something to be cherished. Of course, wise parents teach their kids early that “Life isn’t fair.” I’ve conceived my own interpretation of the complaint. “That’s not fair” actually means “I don’t like this!”

Some people, however, hold on to the notion that things should be fair. My supervisor at work called for three volunteers to work on Saturday. Two women and I raised our hands. Then the supervisor said she intended to “pitch a fit” to get us the day off with the others. Later, I told her I knew two of us wished she wouldn’t bother. (We wanted the overtime pay.)

She said, “But it isn’t fair.”

I said, “Sometimes people don’t want what’s fair.”

There is a lot of good unfairness in the world. The Occupy Wall Street protesters insist it isn’t fair that one percent of the people own so much of the nation’s wealth. Yet, those one percent of the people have justly earned their wealth. What I consider unjust is their control of so many of the nation’s assets. Some of those wealth-creating assets need to be distributed to the poor who could use the wealth generated by those assets. (See Kelso and Adler, The Capitalist Manifesto, pg.76, 78)

Finally, of course, there is the unfair treatment given to Jesus of Nazareth.

…the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.

He was oppressed and afflicted,

yet he did not open his mouth;

he was led like a lamb to the slaughter,

and as a sheep before its shearers is silent,

so he did not open his mouth.

By oppression and judgment he was taken away.

Yet who of his generation protested?

For he was cut off from the land of the living;

for the transgression of my people he was punished.

He was assigned a grave with the wicked,

and with the rich in his death,

though he had done no violence,

nor was any deceit in his mouth. (Isaiah 53)

It was so unfair what Jesus went through. Though he faithfully followed Yahweh’s law and gave in to no sin, he was arrested, unjustly tried, mercilessly beaten, mocked and scorned. His friends betrayed him and fled from his captors. The Jews rejected him as their King. The Romans nailed him to a cross. And Yahweh instigated it all.

Yet it was the Lord’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer. (vs. 10)

All this was done so that “whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

No, life isn’t fair. And it’s a good thing.

Posted by: JohnPaul | August 20, 2013

Wanted: Vigilante Sheepdogs

I have added a new member to my list of vigilante heroes. First were super heroes such as Superman, Batman, DareDevil, and Elektra. Then I liked the Western heroes Lone Ranger and Zorro. More lately it’s been former military men: Tom Clancey’s John Terrance Clark (see Without Remorse) and Lee Child’s Jack Reacher (One Shot).

The new member called herself the Black Stiletto. Born in West Texas and growing up a tomboy, Judy Cooper left home to escape an abusive stepfather and went to New York City. She found work in a boxing gym and took lessons from the owner. She became a student of judo and karate and learned knifefighting from her Mafia boyfriend. Oh, and this was in 1958 when women didn’t work out in gyms and Oriental martial arts were little known.

When twin Mafia soldiers killed her boyfriend under orders of the don, Judy sewed together a black leather disguise and killed the don and one twin, sending the other to prison. By then, fighting crime was in her blood. She took on thugs in the streets and a Cuban buying military secrets and she avenged herself on her abusive stepfather.

By the criterion of Tim Schmidt, founder of United States Concealed Carry Association, Judy Cooper was a sheepdog.

She was the kind of woman this society needs today, not a potential victim to be protected by the men in her life but a woman who could protect herself and those around her. Too many women are beaten and raped by the men in their lives. They need to become sheepdogs.

The government needs to stop trying to pull sheepdogs’ fangs with gun control but rather train them in effective methods of attacking society’s wolves. That is the purpose of the militia.

And to take a Darwinian approach, the government needs to stop penning up wolves and destroy them. Stop the wolves from passing on their murderous genes.

Posted by: JohnPaul | July 7, 2013

Spacers, Alcoholism, and Christian Parenting

What do Isaac Asimov’s Spacers, alcoholism, and an immaculate Christian upbringing have in common? Lack of immunity.

In Asimov’s Robot series, Earth’s enemies are the descendents of Earth people who left the planet for the stars. With their scientific know-how, they built homes on other worlds free of Earth’s diseases. The result is that Spacers totally lack immunity to ailments Earth people conquer as children.

In the same way, children raised in relaxed, wine-drinking cultures have a reduced chance of becoming alcoholics than those who grow up with abstinence or binge-drinking. Their families teach them how to handle alcohol in ways that moderate its objectionable effects.

Likewise, children raised in families and schools that thoroughly protect them from exposure to sinful behavior – in themselves as well as in others – tend to run amok when released into sinful society. They don’t see the damage done to themselves and others by immoral behavior. They don’t experience the relief from guilt given by forgiving parents and a forgiving Savior. They don’t learn how to stand against temptations society has to offer.

I don’t advocate Christian parents allowing their children free rein along with undisciplined bastards. Nor do I advocate exposing children to the dangers of pedophiles and kidnappers. However, I do believe that Christian parents and schools who outlaw teens’ exposure to dancing, alcohol use, and public displays of affection do them a disservice. They need the vaccinations.

Posted by: JohnPaul | June 22, 2013

A Godless Government and People

A standard has been raised that shows how far the US government has fallen into godless ways. Given that the voters elect most of our leaders, it is plain that we are no longer a “Christian” nation nor a godly people.

On May 2, 2013, The American Vision website published an article by Dr. Joel McDurmon, “The godless state and the road to serfdom (1 Samuel 8:9–22)” In it, he reviews the story of the leaders of ancient Israel demanding of the prophet Samuel that he anoint for them a king. They wished to be like the pagan nations around them.

As Yahweh God explained to Samuel, they were rejecting Him as their suzerainty king. The prophet told the leaders that they were rejecting the individual freedoms they enjoyed under Yahweh’s kingship.

He listed for them specifics of what a king would force their children to endure:

  • conscription into a standing army
  • compulsory service in military/industrial manufacturing
  • compulsory service in his own fields
  • compulsory service in activities meant only for Yahweh
  • disruption of the economy through taxation
  • outright slavery

At least as far back of the 1930s, the US government has fallen into similar godless ways. It has taxed people’s incomes rather more than the tithe (10%) due to God for His spiritual leaders. Young men are required to register for the draft so that “in times of national emergency”, they may be conscripted into the military. Since 1913, the government has placed controls on the money supply through the national banking system and the Federal Reserve Bank.

Beginning with Social Security and accelerating with the War on Poverty, the government has interfered in the lives of the poor and needy and further disrupted the economy…with disastrous results.

What is a godly person to do? Various options are available. One can rebel against the government as the American colonists did. Given our society’s lazy dependence on the government for easy provision and our humanistic mindset, rebellion would lead to a second civil war. At issue would be the tyranny of the federal government vs. individual freedom and local self-government. (See Judges 21:25.)

Another option is to withdraw into isolation as the Amish and survivalists have done. Their results have been  questionable.

There is the option of political action. Organizations such as the Moral Majority, Right to Life, the Tea Party, and Right to Work activists work to influence politicians and citizens toward their national goals. Without enough grassroots support, these will likely prove ineffective.

Certainly, the option moving Dr. Joel McDurmon and his fellows at The American Vision involves evangelism. They see the need for the Church to work at

  • declaring the kingship of Jesus the Messiah
  • prophesying inevitable judgment against this godless society and government
  • proclaiming the benefits of following Yahweh’s Law
  • promising the mercy of forgiveness, and
  • explaining faith in action.

Yahweh Himself has promised blessings on those who follow His Law and curses (as we now see occurring) on those who disobey.

PROBLEM

Most people in the US (especially those who wished to occupy Wall Street) would agree that our present economy has a vast disparity in the possession of wealth. One percent of people – they say – own most of the wealth and thus enjoy most of the quality goods of life.

They eat quality foods, live in quality homes in secure environs, receive quality health care, education, and legal protection.

These goods are enjoyed even by “undeserving” family scions, who “live off the labor of others”. The rich are able to indulge in expensive tastes and avoid various punishments.

The poor and needy, of course, live much less well. They are unable to buy many or most of the quality goods listed above. They have lower standards of living and cruder, less secure environs, much less education. Jobs that pay less well – if available at all – give much more incentive to crime with much less legal protection.

Why is there such a vast disparity in the power to earn income?

CAUSE

Wealth is created by applying labor to assets. The owners of assets receive more income than those who apply the labor. (Though Marx and his followers say this is unjust, it is nonetheless true.)

The control of assets brings greater wealth. The concentration of control of assets concentrates the earning of wealth. This leads to the vast disparity of incomes and enjoyment of wealth.

So, how is the enjoyment of wealth to be justly distributed among more people? Is it even just to redistribute wealth more equably? Socialists, of course, say, “Yes! Redistribute income earned so the poor and needy can have more wealth for their needs.”

SOCIALIST SOLUTION

Their solution to economic disparity is to tax people’s income disproportionately with progressive income tax rates. The higher the income, the higher the percentage of income taxed. The tax monies are then distributed through government bureaucracy to the needy so all may enjoy quality goods.

This started in 1935 with Social Security, which was meant to supplement – not replace – income for the elderly and disabled. Unfortunately, instead of being stockpiled like the grain of seven good years in Egypt, the Social Security monies were put to other uses (theft by Congress). And it’s impossible to reform the system. Benefits to the elderly and disabled are a political third rail – an untouchable sacred cow.

In the 1960s, President Johnson declared a War on Poverty. What resulted was a war on the impoverished. Minimum wages became a bar to employment of the most needy. Public welfare became opportunities for sloth. Entitlement programs led to attitudes of being entitled. This has resulted in worse poverty, a greater disparity between the haves and the have-nots.

CAPITALIST SOLUTION

I offer a solution put forth in 1958 by Louis Kelso and Mortimer Adler. They showed that wealth is created by those who own assets – not just those who labor. This is how the rich obtain their riches.

Thus, rather than robbing – I mean, taxing – people of the income they have justly earned, even by capital gains, distribute some of the wealth-producing assets to the most needy. Then, whether they work or not, these people would earn incomes from those investments.

Certainly, it would be as undeserved as by non-working scions. Certainly, they would need qualified, private managers to handle these assets. So do many wealthy families at present.

Just as with Social Security, grant assets to the elderly and disabled, people either past working for income or unable to do so. Continue with the most needy. Finally, provide assets to people of higher and higher income levels, thus raising everyone’s standard of living.

Of course, such a radical notion of redistributing assets would not gain much popularity. Meanwhile God Almighty has given His people another solution, the distribution of charity.

CHARITY SOLUTION

Yahweh God has called His people – not the state – to care for the poor and needy. He has given specific instructions how to help them justly without the coercion of taxes. In fact, there is no coercion in this. No punishment was specified for non-compliance with these laws. Blessing was simply withheld from those who refused this voluntary duty.

First, portions of people’s tithes (10% of their increase in wealth) were to be kept in storehouses for the purpose of helping the poor.

Second, farmers were instructed to leave the corners of their fields unharvested and to leave any stalks that fell on the ground. This gave opportunities for the able-bodied poor to glean the stalks for themselves. The grain wasn’t fully harvested and some given to the poor without their effort. (Ruth, an ancestor of King David and the star of her own book of the Bible, was commended for her hard work in gleaning during the harvest.)

Finally, Jubilee laws required the returning of assets to poor families who had been forced to sell them. Those sold into bondage for debts to rich landowners were to be released after seven years. In all this, freedom was maintained or restored after a prescribed amount of time.

PROBLEMS WITH EACH SCENARIO

Socialism is contrary Yahweh’s specific instructions and amounts to government-sponsored theft. It gives disincentives to work, is rife with bureaucratic inefficiency and power politics, and requires government interference in and harm to the economy. It results only in the loss of freedom and greater poverty.

The capitalist way requires that assets be taken from those who own them and given to people who are undeserving and not inheriting. It breaks up family legacies. The assets are given to people uneducated and untrained in using them – to people unable to appreciate and hold on to them.

Charity from the faithful would be – at present – inadequate to meet needs. It would require people to change their thought processes and heart loyalties.

POSITIVES OF EACH SCENARIO

Socialism seeks to help the poor and needy, which is encouraged by Bible. It grants them some of rich people’s wealth. However, this is not done Yahweh’s way and is intrinsically evil.

Capitalism is also encouraged by the Bible (See Proverbs). It grants just earnings to those who own assets and use them. It simply requires more equal distribution of the earning power of assets.

Charity from God’s faithful is specifically required by Yahweh’s Law. Gleaning upholds the recipients’ self-worth. Done according to the Law, it would bring blessings to the givers as well as the recipients.

CONCLUSION

In economics as in so many other areas of our society, we Americans must return to the freedom of Yahweh’s Law. I mean this not for individual salvation; that is through faith. However, Yahweh’s blessings will return to our nation if we put faith in Him and obey the stipulations of His Law.

Posted by: JohnPaul | June 12, 2013

Writing Hiatus Is Over

Last January, I was forced to leave my home of twenty-some years. I had to pack up, sort out, place in storage, give away, or move a houseful of stuff accumulated in more than twenty years of marriage and raising kids. This and the process of trying to buy that house along with my regular employment and church responsibilities took me away from writing stories and blog entries.

People told me house-buying would be a slow process. I hoped not. I had the money needed. I knew the house I wanted. All I needed was someone to make the decision to sell me that house. I dreamed of organic gardening, designing a layout for planting the whole back yard, and taking in single men for mutual pastoring. Image

The preparations I made for gardening fell through. I had to remove the compost row I piled in the back yard. The property managers filled in the garden plot lines I drew and the drainage troughs I dug. Someone carted off the storage shed my roommate and I built. I’m back to the planning stage and waiting for purchase steps to be taken.

Meanwhile, I have returned to writing.

I have been reading philosophical/political material from such sites as American Vision, United States Concealed Carry Association, and Rand Paul 2016. This has hardened my philosophy and attitudes against our godless government. Various blog ideas are in outline or draft form.

I have identified gaps in the story of Joshua and Caleb and have been writing more material. I will need to stitch it all together.

I have completed a draft of Jubilee and had it edited. I need to find the hardcopy of the editors’ suggestions to redo that work.

When I’m not working for a living or distracted by episodes of Firefly and CSI:NY, I will be putting words on paper or on the computer screen. I do wish I had a tablet with handwriting-recognition software.

Posted by: JohnPaul | December 29, 2012

In Celebration of the Slaughter of Innocents

Over the centuries, the Catholic Church has had feast days (with Mass) to celebrate so many saints and significant events. Saint Nicholas’s Day on December 6 celebrates the generosity of an ancient Christian bishop. Epiphany on January 6 celebrates the Magis’ visit in Bethlehem and Jesus’s baptism in the Jordan River. The feast of Elizabeth Ann Seton celebrates the first native-born American saint.

The Church even celebrates a Mass for the Christ Child on December 25. Three days later, it celebrates Holy Innocents’ Day or the Children’s Mass to commemorate the slaughter of thousands of baby boys by Herod, who hoped to rid the land of a rival to his throne. (See Matt 2.)

Evil men have always struck at the vulnerability of innocent lives. The murder rampage in the Sandy Hill Elementary School was just another occasion. God was not to blame for causing the slaughter. He was not to blame even for letting it happen. He refuses to force people to follow His instructions for living well. This world is headed for Hell because people demand to live apart from God’s goodness and love.

Neither are the weapons evil people use to blame for killing. Hitler used gas chambers; Genghis Khan and his men used recurved bows; Herod’s men used spears.

Just as the heroes of old sagas wielded swords to battle their monster enemies, we need to banish gun control so today’s heroes can protect today’s innocents from the predations of today’s monsters. I like the idea of armed guards or police officers patrolling school corridors or even Israel’s practice of arming teachers and training them to protect their students.

It is today’s monsters that need to be forcefully banned – executed on the spot with lethal injections of lead in order to stop them before they kill, not afterward. Disarming honest citizens will make things less safe for today’s innocents.

Posted by: JohnPaul | November 15, 2012

On Being a Blown Leaf

The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit. (John 3:8 )

As I took another opportunity last weekend to blow leaves from my yard onto a huge compost pile, I noticed a few interesting phenomena.

-       It’s individual leaves that get blown – even if many are blown together.

-       Big leaves get blown more easily than smaller ones.

-       Wet leaves clump together and are harder to move.

-       Leaves stuck in the grass need to be plucked away before they will move.

What does this mean?

-       The wind of the Spirit comes into our lives, wishing to move us in directions as God wills.

-       The Spirit moves us individually – even when He moves many of us along at once.

-       Those of us with hearts big toward the things of God are moved more easily.

-       Individuals clumped together, such as in families, are harder to move than single individuals.

-       When we cling to things in our environments, we resist being moved by the Spirit.

Recommendations:

-       Paul told the Corinthians to open wide their hearts toward him and his words as he spoke from God.

-       Prepare your families so that when God’s Wind blows, you all are able to move with Him. (Military families do it all the time.)

-       Hold loosely to the things of the world around you so you can be easily moved by the Spirit.

 

Is God’s Spirit active in your life, moving you from one task for His kingdom to another?

Are you moving alongside other people of God to do His will together?

Are you holding on to anything that keeps the Spirit from moving you?

Does holding tightly to many relationships keep all of you from moving freely as God wills?

Posted by: JohnPaul | October 30, 2012

The Curse of Winter Leaves

I waited three days for the rains to stop so the sun could dry the leaves that blanketed the back yard. Instead, the uncooperative weather brought a wet snow and I decided the job had to be done. Bundled warmly in a few layers of clothing, a winter cap, and cloth gloves, I used a leaf-blower to move leaves heavy with rain. Some were laden by clumps of wet snow.

Photo by Leping Zha

It wasn’t the rain dripping on my cap from the leaves still on the tree that sent me inside or the drudgery of the task. It was the biting cold of water-soaked gloves. Instead of a bath anticipated to remove the sweat of labor, I took a hot bath to warm up.

 

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