Archive for the 'Patriotism' Category

15
Jun
17

A Flawed Historical Viewpoint.

The state of the western political world today:

 

  1. USA and Donald Trump (does any more need to be said?)
  2. Britain: Brexit, Theresa May and a hung Parliament.
  3. In Australia, partisan politics continues to cripple a government that often seems to have more policy disagreements within its own ranks than it has with the official opposition party.
  4. France: power to be in the hands of a new, untested, quickly cobbled together party based on the charisma of a young leader. Can such a party provide longstanding stable government?
  5. German elections in September… what surprises could that bring?

 

Some religious commentators are attributing the increasing instabilities in the “Western World” to a departure from our historical Judeo-Christian foundations; but I find their view of history is seriously flawed.

What kind of “Judeo-Christian” foundation was “Western democracy” ever built upon? Has there ever (REALLY) been an all-encompassing embracing of Jesus or His gospel?

 

Over over centuries there was a lot of religious superstition, theological rhetoric, and political USE of the Church as a tool of government.

And while there may have been individual pockets of society that at times have shown authentic devotion to God, has there ever been a GENUINE widespread, long-lasting commitment to Jesus and His Kingdom that could result in a claimed blessing of “the West” over past centuries – blessings that are now allegedly being forfeited?

 

If anything, it seems to me that during the period AFTER the claimed abandonment of Judeo-Christian ideals, the west experienced its most peaceful and prosperous period: that is post WWII.

Of course there were ongoing problems, but arguably, things had never previously been better for the average person in the west as the world got back to its feet after the death and destruction of the Second World War.

It’s mostly in the last decade or two (significantly post 9/11) that perceived threats have led to growing fear that blessings (our comforts, safety and wealth) will be forfeited due to a casting aside of Judeo-Christian” ideals. (Proffered evidence of this casting aside can date back a century or two. One case I’ve seen points way back to the French Revolution* as an example!).

Those fears of loss at the heart of the argument seem mostly founded on a fear of others – those “not of the west” . A fear that others coming into our nations will disrupt and compromise our “western values” – values that to a great part are not necessarily Kingdom values anyway.

 

Apart from the current issue of promoting a fear-based ideology, the fictionalising of history projects the cause of perceived problems onto society at large, putting the blame on “THEM” and THEIR (society’s) relationship to God; shifting the focus away from the personal and our own relationships with God and the unbelieving society we live among.

 

 

_________________

 

example here

 

___________________

06
Jun
17

The Radicalisation Environment

During the ongoing coverage of the weekend’s terror attack in London, I saw the end of an interview with Australian Labor Party politician, and “global counter-terrorism expert” Anne Aly, who, in 2015, was the “only Australian invited to the White House to speak at a countering-violent-extremism summit”.

 

A phrase she used caught my attention when she spoke of the conditions that led young Muslim men to turn to the kind of violent extremism displayed in the London attack and other terror events before it.

 

She spoke of a “radicalisation environment”, and from the short part of the interview I saw, I realised that the term could also be used to describe a very common kind of experience – where a community of likeminded people create an “environment” that reinforces particular views and a particular way of thinking. Contrary views are excluded, creating an echo-chamber of ideas where their adopted views are never seriously challenged.

In the “old” days – (my younger days) the term brainwashing was often used to describe a similar process, and it was conducted by groups that were often recognised as “cults” – which were comparatively benign in practice (relative to the Islamists of today), presenting no violent security threat to the community at large despite the personal and family costs that often resulted.

 

While the above mentioned “radicalisation environment” (or brainwashing) can create, reinforce and validate violent actions (as per the Islamists), that basic type of environment isn’t completely different to the experience of anyone who takes faith in God seriously. It is easy to isolate ourselves within groups of people of similar beliefs where the validity of those beliefs is not seriously challenged

The most significant difference is the nature of the God in whom we place our faith. How we think about God and what we believe about God will affect the way we act in response to Him. Simply stated; obedience to a violent god will produce violent followers and obedience to a loving God will produce loving followers.

 

A similar kind of “radicalisation environment” can be found in political groups, and partisan bias becomes so entrenched that the faults in one’s own “wing” of politics can become invisible, as can good aspects of the other political “wing”. Those within that “environment” can easily find themselves going with the flow, turning a blind eye to things they wouldn’t normally accept because it is part of the environment they entered and settled within. By identifying as “conservative” because the “conservative” wing of politics has certain views of morality that we see as scripturally endorsed, we can also be prone to aligning ourselves with some ideological stand points that under scrutiny contradict other parts of scripture.

 

Not only are religious and political thought affected by the insularity of “radicalisation environments”, the influence extends to embrace wider cultural norms; where our own culture is seen as the best, and others are seen as lacking, or aberrant in some way. In the past this has been displayed on the “mission field” where westernised cultural standards, such as dress codes and fashion styles were pressed upon communities as part of the “gospel” being presented.

But religion, politics and culture are never experienced in isolation from each other; and the wrong mix has the potential to become toxic, with national, cultural and political identities blending with religious identity. So our particular nation and culture, or our political views, (in our minds) become more favourable to God than other countries, cultures and political viewpoints. Our group is seen as His group. Our standards are seen as His standards. Our ways are seen as His ways.

 

That can give unwarranted justification to any group’s actions that in reality may be far outside of God’s agenda, and even contrary to it.

28
Apr
17

Short Expression of Concern

Over the past 15 years or so, I believe the Lord has made me aware of three serious areas of deception affecting the church. They are not the ONLY examples, but they are the beliefs and attitudes that I’ve personally experienced or observed close-up.

  1. The extremes of Charismania and its associated beliefs and practices.
  2. The misguided understanding of God and the gospel promoted through Calvinism.
  3. Christian devotion to patriotism/nationalism

 

The first two have been the subject of many of my posts in the past, and I’ve also addressed the third to various degrees on a few occasions. At the moment I see that third has become the most pressing problem – embracing adherents from across the Christian spectrum. And that third example is no less vociferously defended by its adherents than those who hold to the other two.

 

I’ve seen and heard many professing believers express pride in their nations and their citizenship, and I’ve heard them justifying that pride and their right to have that pride. But if you are one of those proud citizens, have you REALLY taken the time to examine what you are taking pride in? Have you looked at the history and the foundations of your nation?

And I mean the REAL history, and not some mythical version of it.

Have you looked into its wars, its invasions, its mistreatment and abuses, its murders. Have you looked into the things your nation values? Have you looked into its origins and how it built up its “prosperity” and how you came to share in that prosperity (as small as that share may be).

Have you looked at how your nation has treated the least of its citizens – or those it excludes from citizenship?

 

Can you REALLY be proud of your association with ALL of those things? Do you think those things would be approved by Jesus?

 

One justification I’ve heard for a person’s patriotism is that their nation has done more to spread the gospel than any other. But even if we take that gospel-preaching claim at face value – was it REALLY your secular nation at work and therefore deserving credit and your “pride”? Or was the gospel being spread by CHRISTIANS who happen to live in your nation. Spread by citizens of the Kingdom of God, sojourners, strangers, people not belonging to this world and its Kingdoms. Ambassadors of Christ, representing Him in foreign territory.

 

To whom or what do you give your allegiance, your devotion, your service?

 

No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other.

 

choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve

 

 

 

 

16
Mar
17

Making [ your nation ] Great Again. The Sequel

What are the priorities and practices of man’s nationalistic politics and where does YOUR heart lie?

Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; Who put darkness for light, and light for darkness; Who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!

(Isaiah 5)

Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world.

(James 1)

Has God not chosen the poor of this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom which He promised to those who love Him?  But you have dishonored the poor man. Do not the rich oppress you and drag you into the courts? Do they not blaspheme that noble name by which you are called?

(James 2)

No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.

(Matthew 6)

Now godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.

But you, O man of God, flee these things and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, gentleness.

(1 Tim 6)

_____________

Your kingdom come.
Your will be done
On earth as it is in heaven.

08
Mar
17

Making [ your nation ] Great Again?

The promise:

Then the devil, taking Him up on a high mountain, showed Him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. And the devil said to Him, “All this authority I will give You, and their glory; for this has been delivered to me, and I give it to whomever I wish. Therefore, if You will fall down and worship me, all will be Yours”.

The alternative:

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.’…
…From that time Jesus began to preach and to say, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”

My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, My servants would fight … but now My kingdom is not from here.”

06
Mar
17

Lies, Hypocrisy and Deja Vu. (from the Evangelicals’ choice): Addendum

Fact check: what did Trump’s tweets about Obama’s ‘wiretaps’ mean?

Trump accuses former president of illegal wiretapping – claims that appear to be based on rumors circulating in rightwing media about a ‘silent coup’

 

On Saturday morning, without presenting evidence, Donald Trump
accused former president Barack Obama of illegal wiretapping.

Using Twitter, the president also mounted a defense of his attorney general, Jeff Sessions and his meetings with the Russian ambassador.

The six tweets appeared to originate with rumors circulating in rightwing media, especially talk radio and Breitbart News – recently run by Steve Bannon, now the president’s chief strategist – about a “silent coup” against Trump, by members of the Obama administration.

 

 

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/mar/04/fact-check-trump-obama-wiretap-tweets-rumors

03
Mar
17

The Last Trump: Lies, Hypocrisy and Deja Vu. (from the Evangelicals’ choice).

Vice-president Mike Pence used a personal email account to discuss security issues as governor of Indiana and was hacked last summer, it was reported on Thursday…
…The revelation comes after a bruising election campaign in which Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server while secretary of state was a recurring theme. Commenting on an FBI investigation last September, Pence told NBC’s Meet the Press that the Democrat was “the most dishonest candidate for President of the United States since Richard Nixon”.

But now it is his own email system under scrutiny.

full article here:
https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/mar/02/mike-pence-personal-email-hacked-aol-governor

And déjà vu from the Trump camp after the recent “resignation” of Michael Flynn.

US Attorney-General Jeff Sessions has removed himself from an investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election, following revelations he twice met with the Russian ambassador and did not say so when pressed by Congress.

Earlier, Mr Sessions had denied meeting Russia’s US ambassador, Sergey Kislyak, during the presidential campaign, despite the Justice Department saying two meetings took place.

“I have not met with any Russians at any time to discuss any political campaign and those remarks are unbelievable to me and are false,” Mr Sessions said earlier.

full article here:

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-03-03/sessions-denies-meeting-with-any-russians-during-campaign/8320826

and where/when will it end?

President Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner was with Gen. Michael Flynn when he met with the Russian ambassador during the presidential transition, making him the latest figure to receive scrutiny for unreported contacts with the diplomat.

full article here:
http://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/jared-kushner-meeting-flynn-russian-ambassador-article-1.2987334

Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness?




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