A Prayer for Election Day


O Lord our truest Ruler and King, many words have been said these past months leading to this election day. Far too many of these words have been hurtful, fearful, divisive, angry, and anxious. Being able to see our nation’s policies so tangibly, it is far too easy to equate this nation with your Kingdom, and so act as if this election were of supreme eternal importance.

Lord, forgive us, we pray.

Bless the leaders of our land–those currently in office and those elected today–that we may be a people at peace among ourselves and a blessing to other nations of the earth. Let this be the conviction of every leader as they model for us, however imperfectly, political relations amongst both their fellow countrymen and citizens of the world.

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A Prayer for America & President-Elect Trump


Ruler and King of all, our nation is now entering into such a delicate time. Many emotions are being felt very deeply after this election. It was a hard-fought fight that many had much invested in. Would you be with us as the immediate emotional aftermath of the election occurs?

Lord, hear our prayer.

O God of peace, you do not desire that we would be filled with anxiety, fear, or gloating, as if our greatest joy or pain would be the result of this one election. You have taught us that in returning and rest we shall be saved, in quietness and confidence shall be our strength: By the might of your Spirit lift us, we pray, into your presence, where we may be still and know that you are the God who is the sustaining Presence in all nations,

Lord, hear our prayer.

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A Prayer for Election Day


O Lord our truest Ruler and King, many words have been said these past months leading to this election day. Far too many of these words have been hurtful, fearful, divisive, angry, and anxious. Being able to see our nation’s policies so tangibly, it is far too easy to equate this nation with your Kingdom, and so act as if this election were of supreme eternal importance.

Lord, forgive us, we pray.

Bless the leaders of our land–those currently in office and those elected today–that we may be a people at peace among ourselves and a blessing to other nations of the earth. Let this be the conviction of every leader as they model for us, however imperfectly, political relations amongst both their fellow countrymen and citizens of the world. Continue reading

The Moderate We Need: Why I’m voting for Bernie Sanders in PA


BernieSanders-3

At this point it is a cliché to point out the brokenness of the American political system. In the past eight years, we have seen the least productive Congressional sessions in our country’s history, and have watched as even the most routine political acts are turned into controversial sideshows. What we need is not ideology, dogmatism, or a “political revolution”. We need a functioning, effective democracy.

And it is for that reason that this Tuesday, April 26th, I will be voting for Senator Bernie Sanders in the Pennsylvania Democratic Primary.

Let me explain.

Though I cannot in good conscience throw my lot in with today’s Republican party, I consider myself a conservative in my political philosophy. I am a registered Democrat (rather than an Independent) only because in a city as blue as Philadelphia where our Democratic primaries are the decisive ones, I’d have no say in my city’s politics if I weren’t.

Nevertheless, I do not agree with the idealistic and utopian vision that much progressive politics entails. I loathe the cynical identity politics of the Democratic party. I think the bigger the federal government is, the more frayed our communal bonds become. Further, politics must also have a moral foundation. Now, both Democrats and Republicans would agree with that, but there is a difference between ideology and morality.
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Weekly Must-Reads {2.12.14} | Creation, Masturbation, & Communism


guy-newspaper-reading

Well, it’s been a good long while since I’ve posted a Reading List for you all to enjoy–too long, in fact. These were some of my favorite things I read this week. What were some of yours?

__________

In defense of creationists | The Week
Michael Brendan Dougherty

I referenced this at the end of my post yesterday, but this is a stunningly beautiful piece that wrestles with humanizing those that frustrate us the most in the Christian family. A must-read for sure.

Escaping the Prison of the Self: C.S. Lewis on Masturbation | First Things
Wesley Hill

Don’t overlook this piece too quickly. It is an incredibly powerful piece that speaks to how all of us–married, single, gay, straight–engage our sexuality in this world. It showed me how having celibate unmarried people in the world is necessary for healthy marriages, as well as how masturbation ruins even good friendships.

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Evangelicals on Immigration: finally doing something right.


barbed-liberty-flag-wallLast Thursday, after so much grueling debate and a tough amendments process, the Senate passed a comprehensive Immigration Reform bill. Now the bill moves from the grown-ups to the children in the Legislature, the House of Representatives, where Republicans are already playing politics with the issue, most likely thinking it will just magically “go away” like other reform attempts have.

But, the New York Times published a great article about how the pressures on the House are different this time. It was really encouraging.

The encouragement did not just come from Immigration Reform’s potential, but where Evangelicals have found themselves in the debate. In the article, there were these amazing lines:

Asked why he thought the overhaul had a fighting chance in the House, Ali Noorani, a veteran of many immigration wars, pointed to a big green mobile billboard that had circled Capitol Hill every day this week.

Its flashing message was “Praying for immigrants. Praying for Congress.” Groups of evangelical Christians prayed on the Capitol lawn for the Senate to pass its bill. Mr. Noorani’s group, the National Immigration Forum, has worked with Southern Baptists and other large evangelical denominations to coordinate prayer campaigns and run pro-overhaul spots on Christian radio stations in states where lawmakers might be persuaded to change their views.

“In 2007, we weren’t even on the radar,” said the Rev. Samuel Rodríguez, the president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, an evangelical group. Mr. Rodríguez said he had been on the road continuously, addressing primarily non-Hispanic Christian conferences to spread the message on the overhaul.

Now, you may be an Evangelical and may be thinking “hey, I don’t agree with that bill!”. That’s not really my point. Evangelicalism has never been as monolithic or homogenous as many of its leaders have wanted it to be. I am under no illusion that all (or even most) Evangelicals find themselves actually agreeing with the Senate reform plan.

What’s more astonishing to me is that regardless of the nuances and complexities of thought among Evangelicals on this issue, this is the reputation Evangelicals are having in this discussionThis is what the wider world sees. This is what has been noted in America’s paper of record as the primary takeaway that the world needs to have when fitting in the force of Evangelicalism and Christianity into the broader narrative of this story.

Of the many forces this article talks about that push this discussion forward (religious, electoral, business, labour, etc.), I love that American Christians have the pride of place here as the first “force” listed.

For once, Evangelicals are being known for taking the lead in actual cultural change and not stalwart reactiveness to the force around them.

Yes, I know there are other potential factors: many Evangelicals might be more concerned with maintaining Republican dominance by “winning Hispanic votes” through this effort. Some may be reacting to their own demographic changes in the South, instead of their own heart and theological changes.

But still, it’s telling that none of these alternative narratives are offered in this piece.

I am certainly not one of those Christian twentysomethings that think that theological convictions have no place in one’s political beliefs, nor do I think that “laws” are inherently morally-neutral. All politics and legislation reflects one’s morality (just look at a nation’s wallet to see where their heart is) and, ultimately, their theological convictions. For once, I’m proud of American Christians as they interact politically on this issue.

As Christians, we are called to love Neighbor before Nation. Whatever “damage” you think these poor, marginalized people do to America economically, politically, or demographically, we are called to have more concern for their welfare than the welfare of the abstract idea of “our country”.

That’s not to say that illegal immigrants are not “breaking laws”, but as Christians we are not called to primarily relate to others based how obedient they have been to civil authorities or not. The main thing that dictates how we relate to them is the image of God in which they are made. And this has been sorely lacking in the Evangelical presence in this discussion.

There are few–if any–illegal immigrants that come to this nation with any malice in their heart or hostility in their intentions. At the very least, they deserve compassion before condemnation–especially from Christians. Even if you ultimately think they should legally be carted away, should not the first concern of Christians be to love them? Or at least not demonize them?

Illegal immigrants in America are some of the closest we’ll ever get to a single group that fits almost every criteria for those to whom Christian should offer support, deference, protection, and resources: the outcast, foreigner, poor, needy, alien, outsider, downtrodden, despised, and poor in spirit.

Supporting immigration reform is the easiest way that I can think of, in our current political situation, for Christians to follow-through with this oft-neglected dynamic of Christian faith. It’s one of the clearest ways that Christians can act “Christianly” in a direct, political way.

So learn about the bill, contact your representatives, and then pray for our leaders and those who will be most affected by their actions. And then go out and try love your neighbor some.

What do you think about the immigration bill? How does your faith guide this decision? How do you feel about Christians being known for this advocacy?

[image: “Barbed Liberty” by myself]

a prayer for President Obama & America for Inauguration Day [Re-post]


[I posted this prayer after election day. I thought it would also be appropriate for today, as we pray for our President’s second term.]

Ruler and King of all, our nation is now entering into such a delicate time. Many emotions are being felt very deeply after this election. It was a hard-fought fight that many had much invested in. Would you be with us as the immediate emotional aftermath of the election occurs?

Lord, hear our prayer.

O God of peace, you do not desire that we would be filled with anxiety, frustration, or gloating after elections, as if our greatest joy or pain would be the result of this one vote. You have taught us that in returning and rest we shall be saved, in quietness and confidence shall be our strength: By the might of your Spirit lift us, we pray, into your presence, where we may be still and know that you are the God who is the sustaining Presence in all nations,

Lord, hear our prayer.

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Okay, election: done. Time to get this blog back on track. [casual fri]


Well, on this blog we’ve contemplated electing Romney, electing Obama, each of the election debates, laughing at the election, the election foreign policy, the election domestic policy, reminded ourselves it’s all going to be okay, votedlaughed on voting day, partied on election nightprayed for the election, and we prayed for the elected officials.

Now we’re all election’d out.

It has now become almost as cliche as election-season Facebook politics posts, to complain about those election season Facebook politics posts. In fact, I think my Facebook feed was filled with more complaining about political posting than actual political posts. (This is not to discount the very real experience that many of us had, to be sure, with those one or two people ib our feeds that would put 12 to 15 posts up a day and carry on endless vitriolic arguments in the comment section.)

I wonder if our malaise wasn’t even as much about other people posting as much as it was the campaign itself. With all the politicking having already wearied us, seeing anything more on Facebook surely just put many of us over-the-top. For any ways that I may have been “that guy”, please forgive me. I had hoped I would be a more clear-headed voice in the political wilderness.
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a prayer for President Obama & America


Ruler and King of all, our nation is now entering into such a delicate time. Many emotions are being felt very deeply after this election. It was a hard-fought fight that many had much invested in. Would you be with us as the immediate emotional aftermath of the election occurs?

Lord, hear our prayer.

O God of peace, you do not desire that we would be filled with anxiety, frustration, or gloating after elections, as if our greatest joy or pain would be the result of this one vote. You have taught us that in returning and rest we shall be saved, in quietness and confidence shall be our strength: By the might of your Spirit lift us, we pray, into your presence, where we may be still and know that you are the God who is the sustaining Presence in all nations,

Lord, hear our prayer.

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Adventures of a social worker on election day


Today is one of my proudest days as a case manager, as I’ve been able to assist several of my clients in voting today. Sitting down with them, helping them find their local polling place, driving to the center, walking them through the ballot and the voting machines, and then watching them vote has been amazing. I wanted to share a conversation I had today with (as we’ll call him) “Chris”. He’s grown up well-within poverty his entire life in the roughest neighborhoods of Philadelphia. He’s been in the mental health system since he was very young, with a mind full of voices and confusion.
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a prayer for election day


O Lord our truest Ruler and King, many words have been said these past months leading to this election day. Far too many of these words have been hurtful, fearful, divisive, angry, and anxious. Being able to see our nation’s policies so tangibly, it is far too easy to equate this nation with your Kingdom, and so act as if this election were of supreme eternal importance.

Lord, forgive us, we pray.

Bless the leaders of our land–those that have been and those that will be, after today–that we may be a people at peace among ourselves and a blessing to other nations of the earth. Let this be the conviction of every leader as they model for us, however imperfectly, political relations amongst both their fellow countrymen and citizens of the world.

Lord, keep this nation under your care.

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The Atlantic gets it right on Obama’s civil liberties abuses & the value of your vote


Yesterday, Conor Friedersdorf (Twitter) wrote an amazing piece for The Atlantic in which he explains why–no matter how liberal he is–he is not voting for President Obama. He writes:

Sometimes a policy is so reckless or immoral that supporting its backer as “the lesser of two evils” is unacceptable. If enough people start refusing to support any candidate who needlessly terrorizes innocents, perpetrates radical assaults on civil liberties, goes to war without Congress, or persecutes whistleblowers, among other misdeeds, post-9/11 excesses will be reined in.

I found this link on Facebook through J.R.D. Kirk. I absolutely agree with every word of this post. I shared it to my own Facebook wall, and….wow…I got some major pushback, mainly over my inclination to vote for a third-party candidate. People through around the same phrases I’ve heard the past few weeks about “wasting my vote” and “throwing it away” and “de-valuing it”. I found this odd for a few reasons.
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ACLU of Pennsylvania Files Suit Against Voter ID Law


I’ve not hidden my opposition to the recent wave of Voter ID laws being passed and pursued across the nation. I have written about this on this site, posted articles on the topic, and argued extensively on Facebook about this.

I have offered a simple mathematical challenge that no supporter of these laws has been able to meet: if it can be shown that more fraud would be prevented than voters being disenfranchised, I’ll change my mind and support these issues.

As I said, no supporter of these laws has been able to demonstrate this. They have given anecdotal evidence of random voter fraud, they have appealed to philosophical reasons behind this policy, and to try and show how the voters that would be disenfranchised wouldn’t deserve to to vote anyway because they would not be “enthusiastic”, “eager”, or “self-motivated” (because apparently every person without an ID  only ever votes because liberal social activist organizations manipulate and pay them to vote Democrat).

Yesterday, the ACLU of Pennsylvania, among other organizations, officially filed suit against the Commonwealth, claiming that the Voter ID law passed by Governor Tom Corbett violates the Commonwealth’s Constitution. They seem to have a pretty good case.
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