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Out of Focus

Words are a powerful weapon; they can be used for either good or bad, but words burn deep into our psyche and shape and fashion society whether we like it or not. When influential people twist words or use them to focus on the wrong thing, life tends to get out of focus.

Some time ago, a senator grilled a potential government appointee on his religious preferences (even though the Constitution forbids any kind of “religious test” for government service). During the interrogation, the senator kept focusing on the fact that in this person’s faith certain people groups were condemned to Hell. If this was a one time thing, I wouldn’t be writing this article; however, the news media is also focused on this idea: the exclusion of certain people groups by Christianity to Hell if they don’t believe in Jesus.

Unfortunately, they’re focusing on the wrong thing.

The Bible says, “All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. Romans 3:23.” ALL. Including Americans. Christianity isn’t about excluding certain groups or religions; it’s about showing that nothing we do will meet the standards of a Holy God.

But the major focus of the Bible (and Christianity) isn’t how badly we’ve all messed up–that’s the starting point. The focus of Christianity is God’s unconditional love and that He has provided a way for ALL to be saved. “The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life.” This gift is available for ALL, regardless of color, race, ethnicity, language, religion, or location. “The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance. 2 Peter 3:9 ” And it isn’t about turning everyone into Americans. (Christianity is actually the counter-culture to America.) You can be a Christian and retain your ethnicity, your language, your culture, something most other religions don’t allow. Other religious services look surprisingly the same in different cultures, but Christian services are as diverse as the cultures they represent.

It is the idea of unconditional love – love that accepts everyone no matter what – that seems to frighten the media and government. Because this type of love is completely inclusive, it frightens those who want to dominate or exclude or stereotype or limit others. “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name. John 1:12 ” This kind of faith, that doesn’t limit believers to a specific people group, that doesn’t depend on what I do or who I am, that’s a powerful force that can’t be controlled by government. And what the government can’t control, it has a tendency to fear. It’s why religion and a free press are the first things to go in a repressive regime.

But this isn’t a blog about freedom of religion. It’s about unconditional love as the center and foundation of Christianity. The reason so many people are confused about what Christianity is truly about is because Christians are such a contradictory people. We mess up; we don’t get it right 100 percent of the time and those who judge our God based on our actions don’t always see the loving Father who cared enough for His children to die for them while they were still sinners. “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8.”

Christianity isn’t about hate and exclusion. It’s about everlasting love and inclusion.

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Why I Hate Daylight Savings Time

Every fall I look forward to the resetting of our clocks to the natural rhythm of the day/night cycle. Every spring I dread the artificial manipulation of time which tends to warp the fabric of rationality and leave us drained and deprived of energy instead of refreshing us.

Daylight savings time is the creation of evil overlords desiring the destruction of the human race.

Maybe there’s some part of the planet where the thing actually works. I’ve never lived there. It makes no sense to me to get up at 7 or 8 a.m. in the dark, and still have daylight at 8 or 9 p.m. at night. The human body wasn’t mean to tweak its natural rhythms to such extremes.

Humans, like morning glories and sunflowers, are set to the natural rhythms of the sun. Get up in daylight, go to sleep at night. The invention of the electric light causes us to be more productive during dark, but it doesn’t upset the human body’s natural rhythms quite like daylight savings time.

Getting up in the dark starts our day off in tired mode. The unnatural sunshine late at night keeps us playing long after we should have been winding down for the day. Instead of a natural rhythm throughout the year, we frenetically overspend during the summer and play catch up during the winter. No wonder Americans are stressed!

Ecuador tried daylight savings time one year. In a country where the sun consistently comes up at 6 and goes down at 6, this seemed a bit ridiculous. But the higher ups wanted to be “civilized.” After about six months of this nonsense, the president had to discard the idea. His people simply did not comply with something that was so utterly counterproductive.

I know all the reasons why people want daylight savings time, but I’ve never seen it work in a way that made sense. From a child’s perspective, I hated having to go to bed while it was still daylight. From a parent’s perspective, I hated having grumpy, irritated children who stayed up too late because they couldn’t sleep in the daylight. As an adult, I hate the false sense of time the extra hours created, lulling me into believing it was still early when in reality it was very late.

So I’m looking forward to getting back to normal and allowing my circadian clock to reset to a proper rhythm. Maybe one day, Americans will be as wise as Ecuadorians and rebel against the stupidity of government officials who mess with the natural order of time

Why Governments Don’t Work

Anywhere you find people, you will find some form of government; something designed to maintain order, protect the citizenry, and build wealth. However, governments by their very nature don’t work.

The problem is all forms of government are created from a flawed idea: the idea that there are inherently good people who have the best interests of others at heart and are willing to work to that end. The reality is that humans are fallible and government officials are human. It’s also why political television series are so popular and the public loves a good scandal. And while this makes for interesting television, it makes for bad reality.

Most politically oriented television series proceed from a faulty premise: that good is weaker than evil and principles aren’t powerful. Again, this makes for good television, but bad government.

America’s founding fathers seemed to understand this; which is why they framed both the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution from a position of rationality rather than emotion. They chose to limit lawmaking and governmental power because they understood that in spite of best intentions, those laws would eventually be used by people who had personal agendas or axes to grind or just worked from a position of sheer greed.

I believe in government. It is something we must have to survive, but it doesn’t always work. In spite of this, life goes on as usual for common folk no matter what country they live in. And flaws and problems not withstanding, America’s form of government is still the best there is.

It is the best simply because the founding fathers created a form of government which despite the machinations of poor leaders or inefficient officials still could move the country forward and sustain a measure of liberty and freedom, while protecting its citizens. It is a system of government that manages to protect people under flawed, selfish leaders and to elevate people under leaders of integrity.

As long as there is a Constitution and a Declaration of Independence, there will be an America; there will be a place of hope for generations to come.

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