Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Of Government and Men

Men are sovereign before God. There is no question in this respect, but what about government? It always seems to get in the way of man and his Creator. For instance, man is sovereign to marry a wife. But government now guides and interferes with marriage through licensing. Man is sovereign to build a house and own land, but now governments interfere and steal from man by imposing property taxes and requiring permits.

Many non-Christians are put off because Christians and their input into politics and government in general. For instance, many Christians believe that life begins at conception and that abortion is murder in a very real sense. What many non-Christians fail to see is that many Christians are working hard or contributing considerable financial aid via local churches to help young men and women live godly lives and never be faced with health situation that would lend itself to abortion.

In fact, many Christians that I know, give 10% or more of their gross incomes to improving the safety, peace, and joy of those around them through the local church. A personal decision and a private one. And what I mean by that is: Christians aren’t demanding that the federal government or even the state or local governments give money to their local church or denomination if they are part of one.

“BUT TAX EXEMPTION!!!” you may scream in rage. And I agree with you, the church does have a tax exemption but what you may not realize is that the church staff still have income taxes. Including the pastor. And social security still applies to their income with the current exemption of the pastor, but only if he opts to do so forever and never receive SS benefits. So, there’s that.

That rant aside, I’d like to talk about several things. First, let’s start with Abraham.

Abraham left the city of Ur. This is a powerful part of scriptures that many Christians fail to keep in mind during their politicking. And to my dear non-Christian readers, I mean that with the greatest of respect to my fellow Christians. But to Christians, this world should seem a temporary home. There is no holy land, there is no physical heritage. But what off-puts many non-Christians IMO is the insistence that America is a Christian nation or that the land of Israel is God’s chosen people. No, neither of these are actually true, they are just what some Christians believe and they are wrong.

America is not a Christian nation.
Israel is not the land of God’s chosen people.

But what do I mean to say by those surprising statements?

What I’m trying to explain is that Jesus Christ, God’s Son, came down to this earth and preached of a kingdom that is not of this earth. Then He died, was buried, and rose again the third day. For your sins. And now He sits on the right hand of the Father, coming soon to a city near you. And THEN He will rule this earth. And it will be a wonderful place.

But until then, we are pilgrims on this earth. So it begs the question: If we are sovereign before God and if we are not of this earth, what business do we have paying taxes or voting?

Yes and no.

The general principle that the New Testament teaches, that Jesus lived, and that the Old Testament laid out the framework for was “as much as possible, live peaceably with all men.” For instance, Jesus paid taxes but never called for the bombing of Rome because they were “occupying” the land of Israel. He was an anarchist in that respect. He didn’t believe in the validity of the human government, but He recognized its power and treated it like the Mafia, He paid them off to just get them to leave Him alone.

The New Testament teaches us to honor the king. This seems to be another “in the world but not of it” idea.

The Old Testament was never meant to be taken as what God really intended as a worldly system. Abraham being a prime example that the Old Testament was part of a curriculum if you will. The NT describes the law as being a “schoolmaster.” Israel was a real thing in the same way that your first grade class was a real thing. As a 20 year old, you don’t still call yourself “Ms Mowry’s Special Kids.” But it was a very real class and had very specific things that you did in it; as a group.

But because we do live in the world, even though we may not be OF it, real men of God can choose to lead. Weak effeminate “Christian” men should have nothing to do with politics. Also, real men of God are not required to participate in any way other than that mandate to “as much as possible, live peaceably with all men.”

What are the dangers of effeminate “Christian men” getting involved in politics? It will lead to the use of the state as a entity of violence. Things like drone-strikes in the Middle East. There is NO FEAR from some general ordering a drone pilot to drop a missile on some target all the way across the world. NO COURAGE. It’s basically bullying. Real “Christian men” are the ones that offer their lives on the front line. They know what it means to fear. They know what it means to have courage. Effeminate “Christian” men will lead to the rise of the anti-Christ.

Case examples include Joseph and Daniel. Both of these men were active in politics and very influential. Many of the prophets were part of the king’s counsel, and when the king ignored the fiery men of God, it always turned out bad for the king AND the people of the country.

So, the Bible teaches a clearly worldly anarchy that includes a clause for “living peaceably.”

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Monday, January 23, 2017

Wild Caught vs Farm Raised

Seafood department jobs give an insight into human perception like never before. It’s also an interesting study into the change that government can bring into the sale of products and the supply and demand adjustments that it makes. But I’ll save those for later. Today, I’d just like to write about how people see products and the way that that view shapes their buying habits.

Growing up, as a military brat, I got to experience the world in many different ways and these “worldviews” as I like to call them, melded and created a unique view of how the world works. In my early life, we lived in Fairbanks, Alaska, far from manufacturing and with a very rugged type of vegetable growth. Along the way, I experienced the Midwest with an overabundance of grains and finally several years on the East Coast with unlimited tags on deer in DC and a huge raised bed garden in upstate NY.

We experienced both the local farmers markets and the military commissary. We ate wild caught salmon in Alaska and wild shot deer in Maryland. All of these experiences taught me the complexities of the free market; or not so free in many cases.

Over and over, I’ll have customers come through my grocery store meat counter and ask me where the “wild caught” seafood is. And of course, I’m more than willing to show them. Wild caught seafood is the way that God intended it. It has survived the ravages of a shark eat fish economy and has all of the correct nutrients, hardships, and environmental variables to produce a healthy end-product.

This, of course, is then played as if in opposition to “farmed” seafood. Which many believe to be a sterile, lifeless, and stressful environment for the food that they will eventually eat. Ironically, while stressing about where their food comes from. Farmed seafood is seen as bad and wild is seen as good. Of course this is a false dichotomy.

Just this last year (2016) radiation made it’s way to the coast of the united States. This of course is a major deal, because the radiation affects the food that we eat as well as ourselves after we eat it. Another major finding that affects Alaskans especially, is that certain species of wild salmon in Alaska were found to have tapeworms.

These are serious problems and they do not affect farmed seafood.

Now, for the record, I’m NOT an advocate for farmed food only living. But I am for the ceasing of the prideful attitude that people walk in with that they are “wild caught only.” I get it, you are for doing it the way that God intended. But God didn’t intend for you to drive a giant gas-guzzling vehicle to a incredibly large retail store.

Branding and advertising is an incredibly effective hijacking of the human conscious and we would all do well to recognize when we are affected by them. And remember, I’m not just talking about billboard advertising and branding, I’m also talking about subliminal branding. Buying off politicians as “green” leaders is a powerful strategy. So powerful that we may never know who is telling the truth. Maybe I’m the propaganda for the advocacy for not eating seafood at all... HMM. As for me, I’ll probably be just as guilty the next time I’m shopping for seafood. Even though I know all the risks of eating wild caught fish or shrimp.

After I got the job in the seafood department, I decided to look into some of these issues, and I found that the most professional, organized and devoted people were the farmers. Many of the wild fishermen that I watched were dirty and didn’t care much for their job. This is probably the biggest reason I’ve tried bringing up this discussion to people. As a farmer, you have a responsibility. As a fisherman, you have a quota.

And actually, all in all, I personally don’t mind either one as a provider for the free market; given that the government doesn’t try to step in and decide what a “free market” should have in it. But that’s for another article.

Farm-raised shrimp won’t kill you because it’s farm-raised. It will kill you because of an error of some kind or a rogue chemical. Which is also true about wild-caught shrimp.

Oh, and I’m all for people buying local. Farmers or fisherman from the state you live in are family of sorts and buying from them should be a great priority. Russian crabs, Mexican shrimp, and clams from Maine just don’t support our local economy and while they may not be bad for any reason, I think it’s a much better idea to funnel money to your locality where you will get to experience the success of those around you.